Georgian Sergeant Major's House from Gatton Tower, Dover Castle, Kent, UK

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John Latter on November 19, 2010

The Sergeant Major's house, just south of Peverell`s Gate on the Western Outer Curtain Wall, was once the home of the Battery Sergeant Majors who were garrisoned at Dover Castle. It is now an English Heritage "Holiday Cottage":

This is an elegant and spacious four-storey Georgian house standing in its own grounds with expansive views to the English Channel, one of the busiest waterways in the world. On one side of the house are the inner fortified battlement walls reaching to the Castle above and, on the other side, the outer walls sweeping down to the moat and town below. Just behind is the 13th-century Peverell’s Gateway. Once home to the Battery Sergeant Majors garrisoned at the Castle, the house was more recently lived in by the Custodian of the Castle.

The house has three bedrooms; two doubles and one twin. There is a bathroom with shower over the bath and a further separate shower room and cloakroom. There is a very large kitchen/ diner and a cosy sitting room. In the basement there is a games room and further sitting room with plasma TV.

As well as its stunning location right in the heart of Dover Castle, Sergeant Major’s House itself offers something for all the family. Enjoy the magnificent Keep views from the sitting room while the kids wear themselves out at the table tennis table and at the end of the day gather the whole family together for meals around the generous dining table and plan your next day of fun!

I would love to stay in the Sergeant Major's House, not least because of having the Castle grounds all to myself first thing in the morning and last thing at night - taking photographs at those times would be brilliant :)

Unfortunately, I'll have to win the Lottery first: the price for 7 nights between the 15th July 2011 and 1st September 2011 (the most expensive period) is currently scheduled to be GBP1593!.

Peverell's Gate (or Peverell's Tower) is on the left-hand side of the photo; the Keep, or Great Tower, is above and behind the Sergeant Major's House; the west flanking tower of Palace Gate on the Inner Bailey walls is at top right.

This view was taken from near Gatton Tower.

Extract from "The History of the Town and Port of Dover and of Dover Castle (With a Short Account of the Cinque Ports)", Volume 2. Dedicated by the Reverend John Lyon, Minister of "Saint Mary`s", on April 21st, 1814, and published the same year:

Gatton Tower

This tower was built by William Peverell, to strengthen the curtain (wall) between his own and Arsick's Tower (now Say's Tower); and he granted the manor of Throwley, to one William le Dane, knight, and he held it on castle-guard tenure.

Robert de Gatton held of the same Lord, and by the same service, the town of Gatton, in Surrey; and he gave his name to this tower. There was originally a house for the officer, near this building.

A person, of the name of Copeley, was also appointed to this tower; but as we do not find that the historians have recorded any thing memorable in their lives, they probably never stepped beyond the common routine of duty.

Dover Castle is an English Heritage site.

Abridged from The English Heritage Trail:

Dover Castle

Guardian of the 'Gateway to England', Dover Castle displays a solid strength and determination that has obviously carried it through many troubled times. Proudly standing atop the White Cliffs, overlooking this busy port, Dover Castle has withstood the test of time remarkably well throughout its long and eventful history. Dover Castle, as it stands today, dates from the rebuilding work during Henry II's reign, but the site has been of vital importance since the Iron Age. The first castle at Dover was probably an Anglo-Saxon fortress and, on the arrival of William the Conqueror, the existing fortifications were improved with the building of an earthwork castle. This Norman 'motte' (mound) which supported the castle is today known as 'Castle Hill'.

Work began on Dover Castle in the latter part of the 12th century with the construction of the Keep (or Great Tower) - the largest in Britain - and is entered through a forebuilding more substantial than any other built before or since. At each corner of the Keep lies a buttress turret, and mid-way along each wall is a pilaster buttress. Four storeys high, the Keep comprises a basement, first floor, and a second floor that spans two storeys, the upper level of which is a mural gallery that can be seen today at the end of the Great Armour Hall. The second storey provided the royal accommodation, and the first floor, based on a similar plan to the second, contained rooms with a much less elaborate decor. All floors were connected by staircases set in the north and south corner turrets.

Providing the entry staircase, and two chapels, is the magnificent forebuilding. It is interesting to note the decor of the chapels - the lower chapel of a Gothic style, and the upper chapel late Norman and richly decorated. From outside of the Keep, the significance of the three-towered forebuilding can be fully appreciated, as it can be seen travelling along the eastern wall of the Keep and turning at the corner of the southern wall. It was around this stronghold that the concentric castle was developed and work was completed mid-13th century.

Dover Castle appears in "Dover in World War Two: 1942", a ten minute British Ministry of Information film, released by the US Office of War Information, and narrated by the American journalist, Edward R. Murrow.

John Latter / Jorolat

Dover Blog: The Psychology of a Small Town

This is the Images of Dover website: click on any blue "John Latter" link to access the Entry Page.

John Latter on November 19, 2010

The Sergeant Major's House adjacent to Peverell`s Gateway is a Grade II Listed Building (1).

The following is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence (PSI licence number C2010002016):

Building Details:

Building Name: HOUSE ADJOINING PEVERELLS TOWER Parish: DOVER District: DOVER County: KENT Postcode:


LBS Number: 177824 Grade: II Date Listed: 07/03/1974 Date Delisted: NGR: TR3246241851

Listing Text

1. 1050 DOVER CASTLE House adjoining Peverells Tower TR 3241 1/94 II 2. Late C18 (C18 = 18th Century) to early C19. 3 storeys stock brick. Hipped renewed tiled roof. 2 sashes with glazing bars intact. Rear elevation has 2 hipped dormers.

Listing NGR: TR3246241851

Source: English Heritage. Click to see photos of Listed Buildings in the town of Dover, England.

(1) Grade II: buildings that are "nationally important and of special interest".

John Latter on November 19, 2010

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Photo taken in Dover Castle, Castle Hill, Dover, Kent CT16 1HU, UK
Dover Castle

Photo details

  • Uploaded on December 15, 2009
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by John Latter
    • Camera: PENTAX Corporation PENTAX K100D
    • Taken on 2009/12/14 13:01:16
    • Exposure: 0.001s (1/1600)
    • Focal Length: 23.00mm
    • F/Stop: f/5.000
    • ISO Speed: ISO400
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash