Rare Panorama of Dover Castle Keep and Eastern Battlements at Sunrise, Kent, UK

Selected for Google Maps and Google Earth

Comments (10)

John Latter on June 7, 2011

This 180-yard long section of the Eastern Outer Curtain Wall (North), usually included as part of the "Northern Defences", stretches from Avranches Tower (for crossbows) on the left to the Norfolk Towers on the right. Along the way are the South Watchtower, North Watchtower, and Fitzwilliam`s Gate (or gateway); the latter converted into an entrance after the 1216 Siege of Dover.

Just above the bottom right-hand corner, a red-bricked stepped causeway crosses the outer ditch (moat) from in front of Fitzwilliam's Gateway to enter the base of the outer embankment.

Dominating the skyline is the 12th Century Norman Keep, built in the1180s with AD 1180-1185 often being the range quoted.

The length of the sides and height of the corner towers vary, but the Keep, or Great Tower (night view), is approximately 100 feet square, over 80 feet high, and has walls up to 21 feet thick. It was designed by Henry II’s architect, ‘Maurice the Engineer’ (or mason), based on designs used by Gundulf, Bishop of Rochester (alt. Gundulph).

The Union Jack flag is flying from the South Tower (Flag Tower); the North Tower is on the right with the East Tower in between.

The top of the massive Forebuilding attached to the Keep projects outwards from the right-hand side of the North Tower. From this angle, the Forebuilding appears to cover the whole of the Keep from the South Tower right around to the North Tower.

The Keep and Forebuilding are located in the Keep Yard, or Quadrangle, surrounded by the fourteen towers of the Inner Curtain Wall (Inner Bailey wall). Five of the towers are visible in the photo.

The red-tiled roofs and chimney stacks below the Forebuilding belong to buildings such as Arthur's Hall, set against the inside of the Inner Curtain Wall.

The top, or roof level of Avranches Tower was "lowered" (removed) in 1755-1756 by the military engineer, John Peter Desmaretz (J P Desmaretz, c. 1686-1768) in order to strengthen the northern defences.

In fact, Desmaretz remodelled the whole of the Eastern Outer Curtain Wall all the way from Avranches Tower to the Norfolk Towers, thus giving clear fields of fire to the two artillery positions of Four Gun Battery (near the Saxon church of St Mary-in-Castro and the Roman Pharos) and Bell Battery (between the Inner Curtain Wall and Pencester Tower).

To the left of Avranches Tower, the Eastern Outer Curtain Wall changes direction for 30 yards (the "Avranches Flank") before resuming its previous course at the point where Pencester Tower once stood (out-of-shot).

The Outer Curtain Walls of Dover Castle are built above the ditches (moats) of a much earlier Iron Age hillfort. The left-hand face of Avranches Tower in the above photo faces the point where the main entrance to the hill fort was believed to be (the Avranches Gap).

This panorama view was taken at 6.40 am on Tuesday, 31 st of May, 2011, from the Horseshoe Bastion (a huge earthwork added to the north-western defences of the castle by Colonel William Twiss of the Royal Engineers sometime during the Napoleonic Wars with France).

Alternative names: Avranche's Tower, Averanches Tower, Averenches Tower, Averanche's Tower, Averenche's Tower, Maunsell's Tower; Fitzwilliam's Gate, Fitzwilliam's Tower.

There are a number of photos showing the Western Outer Curtain Wall, two of which are:

The Keep and Western Outer Curtain Wall of Dover Castle

Crevecoeur Tower, Godsfoe Tower, Treasurer Tower, Dover Castle

Standard entry for Dover Castle photos (May, 2011)

Dover Castle is a Grade I Listed Building (1).

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 (13th Century) and improved for defence during the Napoleonic period. Ancient Monument.(Abridged).

Listing NGR: TR3249141696

Source: English Heritage.

The English Heritage Pastscape entry for Dover Castle (2):

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, Architect, 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 between1794 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 (see Casemates Balcony, Entrance to the Secret Wartime Tunnels of Dover Castle).

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.

See wikipedia entries for Portus Dubris and Anglo-Saxons

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

(2) Pastscape: Dover Castle (Pastscape Homepage)

Dover Castle appears in the video, "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.

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

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.

John Latter on June 11, 2011

More alternative names for Avranches Tower: Maunsel's Tower, Albrincis Tower.

Sign up to comment. Sign in if you already did it.

Photo details

  • Uploaded on June 2, 2011
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by John Latter
    • Camera: PENTAX Corporation PENTAX K100D
    • Taken on 2011/05/31 06:40:23
    • Exposure: 0.004s (1/250)
    • Focal Length: 24.00mm
    • F/Stop: f/11.000
    • ISO Speed: ISO200
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash