Exploring Kent's Past

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Monument details

HER Number:TR 35 SE 388
Type of record:Monument
Name:Downs earthworks

Summary

Coastal Defences of Henry VIII- Earthen Bulwarks


Grid Reference:TR 376 521
Map Sheet:TR35SE
Parish:DEAL, DOVER, KENT

Monument Types

  • BULWARK (BULWARK, Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Full description

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Circular earthen bulwarks and linear trench system which linked Sandown (TR 3759 5430), Deal (TR 3777 5220) and Walmer (TR 3775 5010) Castles. Built between 1539-43 in response to the invasion crisis of 1538. The exact locations of the Great Turf Bulwark (poss TR 376 536) and Little Turf Bulwark (poss TR 376 529) between Sandown and Deal are uncertain, yet more accurate locations are known for the Great White Bulwark and Black Bulwark between Deal and Walmer. The four bastions, or blockhouses, were linked by a trench, poss. by a covered way. The bulwarks were first manned in October 1540, and were defaced and without guns as early as 1547, though they were not disassemled until 1550. In a 1640 estate plan, the earthworks are named the 'Great White Bulwark of Clay' and the 'Blacke Bullwork'. (1-3) There is no trace of their existence today, yet at the proposed site of the Great White Bulwark (TR 376 514, near the modern lifeboat station) are three semi-circular banks of mounds which resemble the shape of the bulwark. Similar evidence exists for the Black Bulwark (TR 376 507), where there is a slightly raised rectangular area at the proposed location. The bulwarks were represented on an Admiralty Chart of 1795 and were overlayed with a current map of the area to derive the proposed locations. (4)


<1> Not applicable, SMR Kent uncatalogued index entry, Andrew Saunders, Fortress Britain (Beaufort, 1989) pp. 37-8. (Miscellaneous Material). SKE6440.


<2> Not applicable, SMR Kent uncatalogued index entry, Andrew Saunders, Eniglish Heritage Book of Channel Defences (Batsford, 1997) pp. 49-50 (Miscellaneous Material). SKE6440.


<3> Not applicable, SMR Kent uncatalogued index entry, HM Colvin, ed, History of the King's Works, vol. IV, Part II (HM Stationery Office, 1982) PP. 455-65 (Miscellaneous Material). SKE6440.


<4> Not applicable, SMR Kent uncatalogued index entry, Ray Harlow, 'Bulwarks at Walmer,' Ravelin (June 1997) pp. 18-19 (Miscellaneous Material). SKE6440.

Sources and further reading

Cross-ref. Source description
<1>Miscellaneous Material: Not applicable. SMR Kent uncatalogued index entry. Andrew Saunders, Fortress Britain (Beaufort, 1989) pp. 37-8..
<2>Miscellaneous Material: Not applicable. SMR Kent uncatalogued index entry. Andrew Saunders, Eniglish Heritage Book of Channel Defences (Batsford, 1997) pp. 49-50.
<3>Miscellaneous Material: Not applicable. SMR Kent uncatalogued index entry. HM Colvin, ed, History of the King's Works, vol. IV, Part II (HM Stationery Office, 1982) PP. 455-65.
<4>Miscellaneous Material: Not applicable. SMR Kent uncatalogued index entry. Ray Harlow, 'Bulwarks at Walmer,' Ravelin (June 1997) pp. 18-19.
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