Norman Keep or Great Tower of Henry II at Night, Dover Castle, Kent, UK

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Comments (12)

John Latter on December 31, 2010

A view of the north-western face of Dover Castle's Keep, or Great Tower, at 9.02 pm on Saturday, 18th of December, 2010; too dark to show the snow that kept Castle Hill Road (A258) traffic-free long enough for this 30-second exposure to be taken (click to see a larger size)

The Norman Keep is "83 feet (25.3m) high and just under 100 feet (30m) square, with walls up to 21 feet (6.5m) thick... (it was) designed by Henry II’s architect ‘Maurice the Engineer’ (or mason) and built between 1180 and 1185" (see below).

Half-way down the Keep on its north-eastern face (ie to the left) is the Forebuilding which has been described as, "...more substantial than any other built before or since...": see the Forebuilding of the Great Tower photo.

The dimly-lit structure furthest to the left from the Forebuilding is the square tower of the Saxon church of St Mary-in-Castro (more Dover Churches).

Below the Keep are three of the fourteen uncrenellated (ie flat-topped) towers of the Inner Bailey wall, or Inner Curtain Wall. The two close together on the right-hand side of the image flank the King`s Gateway (or King's Gate), entrance to the Keepyard.

Silhouetted against the bottom of the Inner Curtain Wall is the top of the Norfolk Towers (photo not yet available). In front of the Norfolk Towers, unseen in the darkness at bottom-right, is The Spur earthwork and its Second Word War concrete blocks: see the The Norman Keep, or Great Tower, at Dusk and The Spur Dragon`s Teeth Anti-Tank Obstacles under Snow photos.

Below bottom-left is Upper Road which leads to the Louis Bleriot Memorial in Northfall Meadow.

Click to see all photos of Dover Castle.

Extract from "History of Dover Castle" (1):

Dover Castle is above all a great medieval fortress, created by King Henry II and his Plantagenet successors. At its heart stands the mighty Keep or Great Tower, 83 feet (25.3m) high and just under 100 feet (30m) square, with walls up to 21 feet (6.5m) thick. The grandest and among the last of the keeps raised by the kings of England during the 11th and 12th centuries, it was designed by Henry II’s architect ‘Maurice the Engineer’ and built between 1180 and 1185. A symbol of kingly power and authority guarding the gateway to the realm, it was also a palace designed for royal ceremony, and to house Henry’s travelling court.

Within this magnificent showpiece, Henry could welcome and impress distinguished visitors to England - particularly noble pilgrims travelling to the new shrine in Canterbury Cathedral of St.Thomas Becket, slaughtered before the altar by Henry’s household knights only a dozen or so years before the Great Tower was begun.

Dover Castle is a Grade I Listed Building (2).

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

Building Details:

Building Name: DOVER CASTLE

Parish: DOVER

District: DOVER

County: KENT



LBS Number: 177823

Grade: I

Date Listed: 07/03/1974

Date Delisted:

NGR: TR3249141696

Listing Text:


TR 3241 1/47

TR 34 SW 7/47



Norman keep C.1155 of rag-stone ashlar blooks picked out flints with Caen stone dressings. Around the keep are ranges of C18 (=18th Century) houses of 2 to 3 storeys ashlar with a flint galleting. Round headed windows. Surrounding these ranges are 2 concentric rings of walls and towers dating from Mediaeval times. Beneath the castle are a whole series of subterranean passages dating from the C13 and improved for defence during the Napoleonic period. Ancient Monument. (Abridged).

Listing NGR: TR3249141696

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

(1) The Medieval Castle

(2) Grade I: buildings "of exceptional interest, sometimes considered to be internationally important".

John Latter / Jorolat

Dover Blog: The Psychology of a Small Town

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

d3funovic on January 8, 2011

Very nice!


Greetings, d3funovic.

John Latter on January 8, 2011

d3funovic, on January 8th, 2011, said:

Very nice!


Greetings, d3funovic.

Thank you, d3funovic - and Greetings from Dover, England!

babuskica on January 21, 2011



Good luck in the contest.

Best regards

John Latter on October 9, 2011

A description of Dover Castle from an 1818 book (1):

It is now generally believed, that the ancient Britons had a place of defence on Dover cliffs before the invasion of the Romans, notwithstanding historians attribute the foundation of the Castle to the latter; yet the natural strength of the situation must have rendered it a very obvious post for defence to the former; and its contiguity to an enemy's shore must have pointed it out as very necessary to be defended.

That the Romans occupied the cliffs, and greatly enlarged and improved the fortifications, there is no doubt, as many remains of Roman erections are yet distinguishable; particularly part of a pharos or lighthouse, within an advanced circular work (Harold’s Earthwork) in the southern division of the Castle, which is built partly with Roman tiles intermixed with flint, its outward form octagonal but internally square, and at an earlier period considerably higher than at present. Near it are the remains of an ancient church (St Mary-in-Castro), in which is still to be discerned Roman workmanship.

The ancient parts of this Castle occupy an area of about six acres, in the midst of which stands pre-eminently conspicuous the keep or citadel. The other buildings of the Castle are very extensive, and erected at different times.

Within the outer walls are included about thirty-five acres of ground: nearly the whole of it covered with erections, to describe, or even to name all which, within our limits, is impossible. They comprehend a great variety of fortification adapted for defence in ancient and modern warfare, and are now garrisoned by a large force. All the parts of the works are connected with each other by subterranean passages and covered ways cut through the solid rock. The hills opposite to the Castle (the Western Heights)have also been fortified, and every other means employed to render the works impregnable.

Dover’s white cliffs have been celebrated from the earliest period of our annals, their magnitude and grandeur exciting the admiration of all visitors. The views from the north turret of the Castle are unparalleled for beauty and extent. The whole breadth of the channel (English Channel) is distinctly to be seen, together with a considerable extent of the coast of France, including Dunkirk, Calais, and the hills between Calais and Boulogne.

On the English side, the town and singularly situated harbour of Dover strike the eye, with the North Foreland light-house, the towns of Ramsgate and Sandwich, Richborough Castle, Reculver and Minster churches, intermingled with a vast extent of highly cultivated land. The interest of this scene is greatly heightened by the vicinity of the sea, though so far below, that:

The murmuring surge, That on the unnumber'd idle pebbles chafes, Cannot be heard so high. (Spoken by Edgar in William Shakespeare's King Lear - see the King Lear and Shakespeare Cliff photo for an extended quotation)

(1) From The antiquarian and topographical cabinet; containing a series of elegant views of the most interesting objects of curiosity in Great Britain. Accompanied with Letter-Press descriptions, by James Andrew Storer, John Greig (engraver). London 1809, 1818.

John Latter on December 16, 2012
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 31, 2010
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by John Latter
    • Camera: PENTAX Corporation PENTAX K100D
    • Taken on 2010/12/18 21:02:36
    • Exposure: 30.000s
    • Focal Length: 55.00mm
    • F/Stop: f/25.000
    • ISO Speed: ISO200
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash