Drawbridge of Peverell Gateway, Western Outer Curtain Wall, Dover Castle, Kent, UK

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John Latter on March 30, 2010

A view of Knight's Road which runs south from the drawbridge of Peverell's Gateway (alt. Peverell's Gate or Tower) down towards the Canons Gate Entrance of Dover Castle.

On the right of Knight's Road is part of the Western Outer Curtain Wall and the truncated Gatton's Tower (also shown in the The Norwegian Gem Cruise Ship, Admiralty Pier, from Dover Castle photo).

The privet fence to the left of Knight's Road marks the garden boundary of the Georgian, "Sergeant Major`s House": from the 17th of July to the 3rd of September, 2009, it cost GBP1351 to stay there for 7 nights (see "prices" on this English Heritage webpage).

Main photos of Peverell's Gateway itself include: Peverell Gateway from the South, Peverell Gateway from the North, and a personal favourite, Peverell Gateway from the West (the gateway also appears on several photos of the Western Curtain Wall).

Behind the viewer, the West Norman Road leads to Queen Mary Tower and Constable`s Gateway, etc..

Click to see all photos of Dover Castle, an English Heritage site.

Standard Info for Peverell's Gate (Updated 2009)

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:

This tower was built by William Peverell, of Dover, one of the confederate knights; and he had several lordships and manors granted him, in capite, which he held by castle-guard tenure.

Peverell built his tower in the angle of the exterior wall of the Saxon works; and it was constructed for defensive warfare, on every side of it. He had a noble arched gate-way, with a ditch and drawbridge, with several apartments, and over them an embattled platform for the archers.

From the interior front they could command a considerable part of the Saxon vallum; and the whole space was open to them, on the side of the hill, between the Castle and the town.

On the side of the tower, fronting the Keep, there was an arched passage from the principal gateway, for opening a communication with a caponnier (alt. caponier), between two parallel walls, leading up to the Palace Gate. This concealed passage was for a place of defence, and it added a considerable length to the fronts of Peverell's tower. The walls of the caponnier are destroyed from their foundations.

In the year 1771, the whole length of the exterior curtain, from Peverell's to Porth's Tower (ie Queen Mary`s Tower), fell into the ditch, after a very wet season; and the workmen, in digging for a new foundation, discovered the piers of the bridge, before the arched gate-way of Peverell's tower.

Hugh Beauchamp, who commanded in this tower, was also Marshal of the Castle. He was a Norman by descent, and like many of his countrymen, he had the good fortune to procure a considerable landed property in this kingdom.

His arms, cut in a stone shield, were remaining in the front of this tower, until the year 1801, when they were taken away by the order of the engineer; but they have been preserved by one of the gunners of the Castle. Arms - Gules, a fesse betwen six cross crosslets.

The building is now deformed, by taking away the battlements (crenellations), and raising a parapet of brick work; which will never be so durable, as the masonry they have taken down.

Extract from "Dover Castle" by R. Allen Brown (Her Majesty's Stationery Office, HMSO 1974) (Abridged):

Peverell's Gate or Tower marks the juncture of the work of King John and Henry III, and is itself a composite structure of both reigns. It basically consists of a great mural tower with a spurred base, facing the field and backing on to a gateway within the castle facing north and south. Henry III further fortified this gateway by adding a semicircular tower facing south.

Within the main passage way of the gate an archway, now blocked, led off at right-angles northwards to the vanished Harcourt Tower. Peverell was further altered about 1300 and the remarkable conical roof, with its king-post to the apex inside, may date from. that time. The original battlemented top was replaced by the present unsightly brick parapet evidently in the early nineteenth century.

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):

Peverell's Tower, also called The Marshal's, Beauchamp's, and the Bell Tower. The manors of Wrensted and Throwley in Kent were responsible for the up-keep of this fine tower, which with its arched gateway, ditch (moat) and drawbridge constituted the entrance into the middle ward. At one time it was used as a prison and the residence of the marshal, and hence its name. On the side of the tower fronting the keep there was an arched passage from the main gate, which communicated with the caponiere (alt. caponier, caponnier) leading under Harcourt's Tower.

The arms of Hugh Beauchamp, marshal of the Castle, were cut on a stone shield placed on the front of the tower, and were visible in 1801, when the stone was removed. The original battlements have been replaced by a parapet of brick. In 1771 the wall between this tower and Port (ie Port Tower, alt. Laswells, Gostling or Queen Mary`s Tower) fell down, and in digging for a new foundation the piers of the old bridge before the gate were discovered.

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 18, 2010
John Latter on November 21, 2010

Another view from the west: Peverell`s Gateway from Palace Gate.

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on March 30, 2010
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by John Latter
    • Camera: PENTAX Corporation PENTAX K100D
    • Taken on 2009/12/14 12:59:53
    • Exposure: 0.001s (1/1600)
    • Focal Length: 21.00mm
    • F/Stop: f/4.000
    • ISO Speed: ISO400
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash