Sunday, 25 September 2011

The Medieval Colton Gateway of Dover Castle, Kent, UK (1)

Colton Tower or Colton Gate (Alt. Coclico ). A Norman tower built on a Saxon or even earlier base:

The entrance though which Roman, Saxon and probably their Iron Age predecessors once entered their respective fortifications.

The replica Victorian-style lamp post in the foreground is a reminder of the many buildings erected, and alterations made, during the reign of Queen Victoria.

The bank on the right leads up to the large horseshoe-shaped Harold's Earthwork upon which the Roman Pharos and Saxon church of St Mary-in-Castro are located.

Abridged excerpts from a Victorian account written in 1864:

"It seems that the way of entering by Colton Gate has always remained the same, having afforded access successively to the Roman and Saxon fortress; and visitors, still winding their way up the chalk cutting and under the Octagon Tower, are probably following the footsteps of Roman garrisons, British chiefs, Thanes (Thegns) and Churchmen of Saxon times, the forces of Earl Godwin, and many others of earlier generations, till the Normans made their own approach to their statelier towers and Keep. Passing under the gateway, the space to the left, within the double line of defence, is described as the site of the buildings serving for the primitive residences of the canons of Eadbald's foundation, close to the Church they had to serve.

From thence, by a zigzag descent to the extreme angle on the cliff, under a tower long called the Canons Gate, they could hold communication with the town."

"...The tower over this (Colton) Gate - a Saxon work at first - has undergone much later alteration; the entrance arch having the character of the time of Edward III., when it was commanded by Lord Burghersh (Robert or Bartholomew de Burghersh), whose coat of arms are borne on the stone shield above."

(Heraldry: "Or (ie tincture of gold), a lion rampant; Gules (red), double tailed.")

More information (including sources used and a Google Earth satellite map) can be found on this photo's original webpage at:

Medieval Colton Gate or Tower, Dover Castle, UK (1)

Also see:

The Colton Gateway, ex-Roman and Saxon entrance to Dover Castle
Colton Gate, the Roman and Saxon Entrance to pre-Norman Dover Castle
The Norman and Saxon Colton Tower, Harold's Earthwork, Dover Castle

A Dover Middle Ages history photo. The English Heritage "Pastscape" entry for Dover Castle states:

"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."

Links to the main Images of Dover website:

All castle photos first appear under the Dover Castle tag.

The castle is one of Dover's Listed Buildings and English Heritage sites.

John Latter / Jorolat

Dover Blog: The Psychology of a Small Town

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