Western Outer Curtain Wall from Canons Gate Bridge, Dover Castle, Kent, UK 1

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John Latter on November 25, 2007

A view looking northwards of the west outer curtain wall of Dover Castle. The photo was taken from the bridge of Canons' Gateway (Canons' Gate) and shows, from right to left, Fulbert's Tower, Peverell's Tower, Queen Mary's Tower and Constable's Gate. Queen Mary's Tower is the single rectangle at the end of the curtain wall coming from Peverell's Gate and is difficult to identify because it stands in front of the far larger Constable's Gate complex.

Additionally, because this is a 'zoomed' photo, Rokesley Tower, which lies immediately north of the Canons' Gateway entrance, is not shown.

Owing to the 'curve' of the west outer curtain wall the towers between Fulbert's Tower and Peverell Tower are also not visible. These are Hurst's Tower (Hirst's Tower), Say's Tower (Arsick Tower), and Gatton Tower.

The 'ditch' (or moat) surrounding Dover Castle has always been dry and looks quite shallow in this photo. Looking down on either side of the Canons' Gateway, however, is a different experience altogether! (Where the east outer ditch/moat leaves Avranches Tower on its way to the cliff edge is equally impressive but I haven't a photo of it yet).

From "Dover Castle" by R. Allen Brown (Her Majesty's Stationery Office, HMSO 1974) (Abridged):

To the north [of Canons' Gate] the towered outer curtain leads off along the crest of the original Iron Age earthen rampart to enclose the whole perimeter of the castle. The appearance of these outer defences was considerably altered in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries by the deepening of the great ditch in front of them, by the addition of an outer parapet for defence by rifle fire, the further addition of various brick caponiers [alt. caponniers] and subterranean works and, above all, by the regrettable cutting down to a greater or lesser extent of most of the mural towers, many of which were turned into gun platforms, towers and wall alike being earthed up on the inside. The entire curtain on the west side from the cliff's edge to Peverell's Gate is part of Henry Ill's work with some modern rebuilding of the wall itself towards Peverell. Fulbert of Dover's Tower is said to have been rebuilt by Edward IV in the later fifteenth century, and is both rectangular and different in appearance from its thirteenth-century neighbours with a 'keyhole'-type gunport in its northern face. The other towers in this section are semicircular in plan and rise from battered and/or spurred plinths, the three northernmost, Hurst, Say and Gatton, still forming an impressive thirteenth-century trinity to guard an original approach from the south to Henry Ill's new Constable's Gate and barbican. 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.

The section of the outer curtain from Peverell's Tower to the Norfolk Towers [the northernmost point of the outer curtain wall] is considered to be the work of King John, with certain medieval and post-medieval alterations. The wall itself between Peverell and Queen Mary's Tower is a late eighteenth-century rebuild, and the latter tower is said by the Elizabethan William Darell to have been rebuilt by Mary Tudor, though structurally, it shows little if any signs of this. Immediately north of Queen Mary's Tower rises the splendid structure of the Constable's Gate it should certainly be viewed from the outside as well as from the inside of the castle), which was built and inserted into the curtain at this point between 1221 and 1227, when the old gate to the north was blocked and as part of the reconstruction of the castle following the siege of 1216. It is one of the most elaborate castle gateways in the country, having certain affinities with the Black Gate at Newcastle upon Tyne (1247-50), consisting in all of five conjoint towers, and so designed to thrust well forward towards the field and provide maximum flanking fire over the widest possible area. [Pages 21 - 22] [Originally posted November 4, 2007]

John Latter on December 30, 2009

Recent photos of Dover Castle relevant to this page include:

Fulbert`s Tower and Debtors Prison

Peverell`s Gate (South)

Rokesley`s Tower

Constable`s Barbican from Rokesley 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.

John Latter on April 4, 2010

Click to see rare views of various towers along this stretch of the Western Curtain Wall:

Gatton`s Tower

Say`s Tower (alt. Arsick's Tower)

Hurst`s Tower (alt. Hirst Tower)

Fulbert`s Tower (alt. Calderscot's Tower)

John Latter on April 13, 2010

Click to see the Interior of Rokesley`s Tower.

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on October 25, 2007
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by John Latter
    • Camera: PENTAX Corporation PENTAX K100D
    • Taken on 2007/10/19 11:13:27
    • Exposure: 0.004s (1/250)
    • Focal Length: 35.00mm
    • F/Stop: f/11.000
    • ISO Speed: ISO200
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash