Peverell's Gateway Round Tower, Western Outer Curtain Wall, Dover Castle, Kent, UK

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John Latter on October 24, 2007

A view from the north-east of the round tower of Peverell's Gate (alt. Peverell's Tower: view from the north) which lies between Gatton's Tower and Queen Mary's Tower on the west outer curtain wall of Dover's 12th Century Norman Castle.

On viewing this photo on my computer, I was first reminded of european medieval castles perched on the sides of picturesque mountains and then, somewhat sentimentally, of Glücksburg Castle near my mother's home town of Flensburg in Germany. Schloss Glücksburg, however, is a "water castle" whereas the moats or ditches of Dover Castle have always been dry.

Furthermore, the round tower of Peverell's Gate is an addition to the original structure and was built during the reign of Henry III.

A few comments on the scene to the left of Peverell's Gate before adding historical notes on the Gate itself:

To the left of the round tower the distant hills of the Western Heights on the other side of the Dour Valley can be seen. There is a long dark horizontal patch on the hills on a line midway down the top tower window which identifies the location of the Napoleonic Grand Shaft triple staircase. This spiral stair system enabled troops to rapidly deploy from the Grand Shaft Barracks on top of the cliffs to Snargate Street in the town below. St Martin's Battery (Victorian) is on the higher ground above the Grand Shaft (internal view) and a 200-year-old 'miniature castle' known as the Court's Folly is hidden on the cliff-face itself. The few visible sections of the Drop Redoubt are obscured by the round tower from this viewpoint. The horizon of the English Channel meets the Western Heights at Shakespeare Cliff which actually is some distance beyond the rest of the hills in this photo.

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 de Peverell), Constable 1066".

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.

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's, Beauchamp's, 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.

Peverell's Gate is also sometimes called Peverell's Tower, Peverell's Gateway, Peverell's Tower and Gate.

John Latter on November 21, 2010

Other views include:

Peverell Gateway from Palace Gateway

Peverell`s Gateway or Tower from the South

Peverells Gateway and the Keep

Drawbridge of the Peverell Gateway

Drawbridge Pit of Peverell`s Gateway

John Latter / Jorolat

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Photo taken in Dover Castle, Castle Hill, Dover, Kent CT16 1HU

Photo details

  • Uploaded on October 24, 2007
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by John Latter
    • Camera: PENTAX Corporation PENTAX K100D
    • Taken on 2007/10/19 10:53:57
    • Exposure: 0.006s (1/180)
    • Focal Length: 35.00mm
    • F/Stop: f/8.000
    • ISO Speed: ISO200
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash

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