Monday, 12 December 2011

Constable's Gate, Entrance to Lock and Key of the Kingdom, Dover Castle, Kent, UK

The classic view of Constable's Gate, today's pedestrian entrance to Dover Castle and what Matthew Paris (1), a medieval Benedictine monk and English chronicler, once famously described as the "Lock and Key to the Kingdom of England":

Constable's Tower built by John de Fiennes under William the Conqueror. Rebuilt as Constable's Gateway by Henry III after 1216 siege. Now Deputy Constable of Dover Castle residence. English Heritage Listed Building.
(Click this Constable's Gate of Dover Castle text link to see the largest size)

The approach to the drawbridge doorway on the Western Outer Curtain Wall of this 12th century Norman castle is via Constable's Road, a junction on Castle Hill Road above Connaught Park and the Zig-Zags Park (both Victorian).

The entrance for vehicular traffic lies further south at Canons Gate, or Canons Gateway.

Constable's Tower was built by John de Fiennes (John de Fienes) under William the Conqueror (2) and for this reason was once known as Fiennes' Tower.

In the 1216 Great Siege of Dover Castle during the First Barons' War against King John (3), the Dauphin Prince Louis, later Louis VIII of France (4), son and heir-apparent of Philip Augustus (one of the most successful medieval French monarchs), unsuccessfully besieged Dover Castle.

The importance of Dover Castle to the Dauphin's campaign is reflected in this 1784 account (5):