Queen Mary's Tower, Western Outer Curtain Wall, Dover Castle, Kent, UK

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Comments (5)

John Latter on October 27, 2007

Queen Mary's Tower is located on Dover Castle's west outer curtain wall between Constable's Gate and Peverell's Gate. It is a fairly typical D-type tower but its location within the garden grounds of Constable's Tower makes close-ups difficult to get (although I've a couple of schemes in the offing).

As a rule of thumb, 'square' towers were built in the days of arrows, curved ones marked the advent of cannon.

The photo shows the internal arch and was taken looking over the garden wall from the raised ground between West Norman Road and Harold Road.

From "The History of the Castle, Town and Port of Dover" by Reverend S. P. H. Statham, Rector of St Mary-in-the-Castle (Longmans, Green, and Co., 1899) (abridged):

Port Tower [1] has been known under various names, Laswells Tower [Laswell's Tower?, Gostling Tower or Queen Mary's Tower. It was supported by the Manor of Dane in Sussex, according to Sir Ed. Bering, but it is more probable that the manor of Laswell in Kent was set aside for this purpose. Otherwise one of its names loses all significance. Gostling seems to have been the name of one of the knights who held this manor on military tenure, and so gave his name to the tower. It felt down in the reign of Edward VI, and was rebuilt by Queen Mary [Mary I or Mary Tudor], after whom it was consequently named. It seems to have been used as an office before its ruin. [Page 267]

[1] The same book lists it as 'Porth Tower' in the index.

Queen Mary's Tower in the map of Dover Castle given in Canon Puckle's "The Church and Fortress of Dover Castle" (published 1864) is annotated with 'Sir Hugh de Porth'.

Statham, however, states that William I (William the Conqueror) selected John de Fenes (or John de Fiennes - Constable's Gate was once known as Fiennes' Tower) as "guard of the castle" to be assisted by eight other knights with "many of the towers being called after them" [page 248]. Among these knights were William de Albrincis (Avranches), William Piperell (Peverell), and Robert de Porth. Consequently it isn't possible to say at this point exactly who Porth's Tower was originally named after.

Statham also notes:

In 1771 the wall between [Peverell's Gate] and Port Tower fell down, and in digging for a new foundation the piers of the old bridge before the [Peverell's] gate were discovered [page 267].

Midway along the skyline to the left of Queen Mary's Tower Dover Grammar School for Boys can be seen partially obscured by the top right-hand leaf. It's the white building with the red roof. If you're feeling brave, take a look at a photo of me at "DGSB" in a 1963-1964 school photo. OK, don't look then - see if I care! ('sob').

Marilyn Whiteley on January 10, 2009

Thanks for the beautifully framed photo and for the information. Greetings from Canada, Marilyn

John Latter on January 11, 2009

Marilyn Whiteley said:

Thanks for the beautifully framed photo and for the information. Greetings from Canada, Marilyn

Thank you, Marilyn :)

And Happy New Year!


John Latter on March 4, 2013

Also see:

The Queen Mary Tower from Peverell’s Gateway


The Queen Mary Tower from Peverell’s Tower

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.

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on October 23, 2007
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by John Latter
    • Camera: PENTAX Corporation PENTAX K100D
    • Taken on 2007/10/19 10:56:35
    • Exposure: 0.004s (1/250)
    • Focal Length: 35.00mm
    • F/Stop: f/9.500
    • ISO Speed: ISO200
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash