The King's Gate, or King's Gateway, from the Keep Yard, Dover Castle, Kent, UK

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Comments (6)

John Latter on December 27, 2009

The King's Gate is the northern entrance in the Inner Bailey walls to the Keep Yard; the Keep, or "Great Tower", is immediately behind the viewer.

The King`s Gate Barbican lies on the other side of King's Gate, offset to the right.

The southern entrance to the Keep Yard is Palace Gate.

Click to see all photos of Dover Castle, one of Dover's English Heritage sites.

Abridged extracts 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:

The King's Gate, and Bridge

...There was a portcullis at the great gates (of King's Gate), opening immediately into the Keep (Keep Yard); and on each side a tower; from which archers could command the whole vallum. Though these towers were open in front, they had floors in them; for the holes are still remaining in the walls, which received the ends of the timbers.

The ground compartments were places of safety; where the soldiers could retire to rest, and the women and children remain, in case of a siege. As all the towers were open in front, in the interior walls, it is evident that our hardy ancestors did not require very close rooms to shelter them from the inclemency of a winter's sky.

...After the drawbridge was drawn up, and the great gates shut, they were not to be opened until the rising of the sun. If the King came unexpectedly in the night, the great gates were not to be opened to him, but he was to go to the postern, called the King's Gate, towards the north; the there the Constable (1), and those who accompanied him, might admit the King, and a certain number of his suite.. When the King was admitted, he had the command; and in the morning, when it was full day, he might admit the remainder of his company.

(1) See the List of Constables of Dover Castle up to 1226, after which the office was combined with that of Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports.

Abridged extract from "The History of the Castle, Town and Port of Dover" by Reverend S. P. H. Statham, Rector of St Mary-in-the-Castle (ie St Mary-in-Castro) (Longmans, Green, and Co., 1899):

Two gates (in the Inner Bailey walls) led in to the inner ward (or Keep Yard), the one on the north, called the King's Gate; that on the south being named the Palace Gate, or the Duke of Suffolk's Gate. They are vaulted passages between two flanking square towers, and are early English in character. Both were fitted with a portcullis.

An outwork, consisting of a wall with towers, was thrown out in front of each of these gates, and the entry to these works was placed obliquely to the main gate so as to allow the approach to be commanded. That at the King's Gate (the King`s Gate Barbican) remains much as it was first built, but the one at the Palace Gate has been entirely destroyed.

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

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John Latter on December 28, 2009

A similar Keep Yard view of the King's Gate also appears in the A Medieval Trebuchet in the Keep Yard of Dover Castle photo.

John Latter on March 19, 2013

This photo shows the archway and drawbridge of:

The King’s Gate, Inner Curtain Wall, Dover Castle, United Kingdom

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on December 26, 2009
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by John Latter
    • Camera: PENTAX Corporation PENTAX K100D
    • Taken on 2009/12/18 11:38:14
    • Exposure: 0.004s (1/250)
    • Focal Length: 28.00mm
    • F/Stop: f/11.000
    • ISO Speed: ISO200
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash