Mote's Bulwark of Henry VIII at Sunrise, White Cliffs of Dover Castle, Kent, UK

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John Latter on July 25, 2011

An early morning view of the coastal artillery ruins known as Mote's Bulwark (alt. Moat's Bulwark) situated at the bottom of the cliffs directly below the moat of Dover Castle's Western Outer Curtain Wall.

Mote's Bulwark is one of the many "little castles" built by King Henry VIII, and one of three located in Dover (the other two being Archcliffe Fort and the Black Bulwark; I have yet to find out who built the Tudor Bulwark near the Canons Gate (alt. Canons Gateway) entrance to Dover Castle).

The outer wall of the semi-circular lower level terreplein of Mote's Bulwark can be seen to the right of the arrow in the roadsign (a terreplein is platform or surface on which heavy guns are mounted).

Above and behind the outer wall in the centre of the photo is a red-bricked zig-zag, or switch-back staircase connecting the lower level to the upper level.

On the left-hand side of the upper level is the ivy-covered West Gateway wall and the West Gatehouse tower: see the Ruins of Mote’s Bulwark Gatehouse photo. On the right-hand side of the upper level is the East Buttress. The gatehouse is sometimes called the guardroom.

The lower level wall originally had crenellations (the "up and down" bits shown, for example, in this photo of the hidden Court’s Folly, Dover's "Lost Castle"). A road once ran down the side of the cliff from the upper level West Gateway to sea-level.

The Tudor Mote's Bulwark has been extensively modified over the years. The Guildford Shaft spiral staircase inside the cliffs, for example, was constructed in the 19th Century (C19) to connect the Mote's Bulwark and nearby Guildford Battery to the castle above.

The photo was taken at 7.54 am on Thursday, 24th of March, 2011, from the junction of Marine Parade with the foreground A20 Townwall Street dual carraigeway near East Cliff.

An entry in the "Calendar of State Papers" (1) for June 1660 (during the reign of King Charles II) states:

Fifty-eight: Increased Collins, His Majesty's servant. For restoration to the Keepership of Mote's Bulwark, near Dover, to which he was appointed in January 1629, and held it till 1642, when he was dismissed as not trustworthy, imprisoned, sequestered, and, in 1645, tried for his life.

It would be so interesting to find out the outcome of the trial (there being a 15 year gap between the trial and reinstatement) but I've had no luck so far!

However, a book published in 1880 does give some information about his family tree (2):

Increased Collins, "Captain of Motes and Bulwark, in Dover", was the second son of Thomas Collins of Brightling (East Sussex). He married Frances, the "only daughter of Matthew Parker, son of Sir John Parker, son of Matthew Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury". Increased and Frances had three children: Thomas, Mary, and Francis.

"Increase" or "Increased" was a Puritan forename (3) alluding to Psalm 115: 14 (4):

The Lord shall increase you more and more: you and your children.

English Heritage Pastscape entry for Moat's Bulwark (5)

(TR 32534152) Ruin (NAT)

TR 326415 Mote's Bulwark

Mote's or Moat's Bulwark was one of the forts built during the reign of Henry VIII. It is situated at the foot of the cliff below Dover Castle. A semi-circular battery built of squared rubble with a revetted parapet. On a terrace above are the ruins of a guardroom, probably 17th century.

Additional reference.

In 1539-40 King Henry VIII built three artillery fortifications at Dover to protect the newly constructed harbour. One of these, Moats's Bulwark, was situated at the foot of the cliff beneath Dover Castle, and provided additional protection to its southern flank. A 16th century plan depicts it as a timber revetted platform approached by tunnels in the cliff, although it was remodelled as a large semi-circular battery in around 1750, and in 1856 linked with the castle by a spiral stairway tunnelled into the cliff (the Guildford Shaft). Scheduled.

(1) Calendar of State Papers, Domestic Series, of the Reign of Charles II: 1660-1661 edited by Mary Anne Everett Green (1860). Also see the King Charles II Commemorative Walk on Dover Beach photo.

(2) County genealogies: Pedigrees of the families in the county of Sussex by William Berry (1830).

(3) Curiosities of Puritan nomenclature by Charles Wareing Endell Bardsley (1888).

(4) Psalms 115:14 (1611 King James Bible)

(5) Pastscape entry for Moat’s Bulwark

A Dover British Army, Royal Artillery, and Coastal Artillery history photo.

Dover Castle is one of the town's Grade I Listed Buildings and a Dover English Heritage site.

Geology: The White Cliffs of Dover are composed mainly of soft, white chalk with a very fine-grained texture, composed primarily of coccoliths. Flint and quartz are also found in the chalk.

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.

John Latter on January 11, 2013

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on May 3, 2011
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by John Latter
    • Camera: PENTAX Corporation PENTAX K100D
    • Taken on 2011/03/24 06:54:43
    • Exposure: 0.005s (1/200)
    • Focal Length: 31.00mm
    • F/Stop: f/8.000
    • ISO Speed: ISO200
    • Exposure Bias: -1.00 EV
    • No flash