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

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John Latter on March 6, 2011

Peverell's Gateway (alt. Peverell's Gate, Peverell's Tower) is situated on the Western Outer Curtain Wall of Dover Castle about 40 yards north of Gatton Tower (to the left) and 60 yards south of Queen Mary`s Tower (to the right).

This rare view (if not unique, at least as far as the internet is concerned) of the drawbridge from the west was taken at 11.40 am on Sunday, 27th of February, 2011, from a usually inaccessible location: perhaps once was a pathway, but now only a narrow strip of earth between the top of a steep slope and the outside of a high ancient wall. A place that Saxon Geoguth (young warriors), and probably Roman legionnaires, too, once patrolled.

The Norman Peverell's Gate was built in the early 13th Century and according to a plaque within the archway was "possibly named after William Peverell (alt. William Peverel, William de Peverell), Constable of Dover Castle 1066".

The drawbridge marks the beginning of Knight's Road which then follows the Western Outer Curtain Wall southwards as far as the Canons Gate entrance to the castle. The West Norman Road begins to the right of Peverell's Gateway.

More information about Peverell's Tower follows these notes:

Also taken this day was the (equally) Rare view of the Georgian Sergeant Major`s House. The roof of this building can be seen in the the bottom left-hand corner of the photo. Once home to the Battery Sergeant Majors (1) garrisoned at the Castle, the house was more recently lived in by the Custodian of the Castle.

In the background above the outer tower of Peverell's Gateway (ie on the far side of the drawbridge and arch) is a small vertical white rectangle. This is the tower of the Dover Grammar School for Boys (DGSB). I was a pupil there between 1962 and 1967 (school photo) before joining the Royal Signals at the Army Apprentices College, Harrogate in Yorkshire.

In the River Dour valley to the left of the outer tower are the Town Hall, the Bowling Green, and the spire of the ex-church of St Columba (scene of a 2007 fire); below the skyline at top left is Plum Pudding Hill.

Click to see all photos of Dover Castle, a Dover English Heritage site and Listed Building.

Standard Info for Peverell's Gate (Updated 2011)

The Peverell Tower, like The Sergeant Major`s House, is now an English Heritage "Holiday Cottage" (2):

A fair maiden with golden tresses waiting to be rescued by a handsome prince – as in the best classic fairytales – sadly won’t be part of the inventory for a stay in this romantic 13th century tower.

Ground Floor: Hallway and stairs to bathroom with shower.

First Floor: Kitchen with dining area, sitting room and double bedroom.

Roof: Terrace (with restricted access).

Outside: There is no private garden but there is plenty of space within the castle grounds for guests to walk and relax. There is a courtyard area at the front entrance to the property. You may pull up outside Peverell's Tower to unload your car, car parking is a short walk away .

Sorry under 16’s are not permitted.

The cost for 7 nights between the 15th July 2011 and 1st September 2011 (the most expensive period) is currently scheduled to be GBP 1264 - well beyond my means until I win the Lottery!

Other views of the Peverell Gate include:

Dover Castle Western Outer Curtain Wall, Central Section

Peverell Gateway from the South

Peverell Gateway from Palace Gateway

Peverell`s Gateway or Tower from the North

Peverells Gateway and the Keep

Peverell`s Gateway and Round Tower

Drawbridge of the Peverell Gateway

Drawbridge Pit of Peverell`s Gateway

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 Tower, Beauchamp Tower, 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.

Dover Castle is a Grade I Listed Building (3).

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 all photos of Listed Buildings in the town of Dover, England.

The English Heritage Pastscape entry for Dover Castle (4):

Medieval castle possibly originating as a pre-1066 motte and bailey castle, remodelled during the reign of Henry II (Curtmantle), to became a castle with concentric defences, one of the first examples of its kind in western Europe.

Much of this work was supervised by Maurice the Ingeniator (Maurice the Engineer, or Mason) and started with piecemeal additions to the defences during the 1160s and 1170s and major construction work, including the Keep (or Great Tower), walls of the Inner Bailey (Inner Curtain Wall) and parts of the Outer Curtain Wall between 1179 and 1188.

Work during the reign of Henry III included strengthening of the defences and the modernising of the castle's accomodation. Much of this took place between 1217-57 and was supervised by Hubert de Burgh (first Earl of Kent). Additions included construction of St John's Tower outside the northern defences which was linked to the castle by a tunnel. Limited work on the castle and its defences took place during the 14th and 15th century and by the 17th century it was in neglect.

The castle was in use as a prison for prisoners of war from 1690 and until the 1740s when a programme of modernisation was started. This included the updating of the defences and construction of barracks, supervised by John Peter Desmaretz (military engineer, c. 1686-1768) . Further changes took place in response to the Napoleonic Wars. Much of this took place between 1794 and 1805 and was implemented by Lieutenant Colonel William Twiss, and included bombproofing of the keep, installation of additional gun batteries and outworks and the excavation of underground tunnels for communication and additional accomodation.

The castle was also adapted to protect itself from new explosive shells in 1853 and new barrack were constructed. The castle was used during World War I and World War II when features including anti aircraft and search light batteries were constructed. (Abridged)

Dover Castle is located upon the famous White Cliffs overlooking the town and port below. The Normans, beginning with William the Conqueror, built upon earlier Roman and Saxon fortifications on a site first selected by their Iron Age predecessors.

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.

(1) See Royal Garrison Artillery (RGA), once an arm of the Royal Artillery

(2) The Peverell Tower Price List

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

(4) Pastscape: Dover Castle (Pastscape Homepage)

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.

A Middle Ages (5th century to the 15th century) history photo.

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.

Alfredo Brant on April 25, 2011

Fantastic shot!!Beautiful picture!!Congratulations!!Best regards from Brasil. Brant. * VOTED & LIKE 1*

John Latter on April 26, 2011

Alfredo Brant, on April 25th, 2011, said:

Fantastic shot!!Beautiful picture!!Congratulations!!Best regards from Brasil. Brant. * VOTED & LIKE 1*

Thank you, Alfredo - Greetings from Dover, England!

Nicoara Lidia on April 29, 2011

Deosebita realizare!Like+Vot Mult succes.Lidia

John Latter on April 30, 2011

Nicoara Lidia, on April 29th, 2011, said:

Deosebita realizare!Like+Vot Mult succes.Lidia

Vă mulţumesc, Lidia - Salutări de la Dover, Anglia!

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on March 6, 2011
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by John Latter
    • Camera: PENTAX Corporation PENTAX K100D
    • Taken on 2011/02/27 11:40:45
    • Exposure: 0.004s (1/250)
    • Focal Length: 43.00mm
    • F/Stop: f/10.000
    • ISO Speed: ISO200
    • Exposure Bias: -0.70 EV
    • No flash