Portchester Castle, Portchester, England


Portchester Castle, Saxon tower and wall
1910s
Publisher: A.H.S, Southsea (possibly A.H.Sweasey)

Google Street View.

Wikipedia.

Saxon Shore forts were heavily defended later Roman military installations located exclusively in south east England. They were all constructed during the third century AD, probably between c.AD 225 and AD 285. They were built to provide protection against the sea-borne Saxon raiders who began to threaten the coast towards the end of the second century AD, and all Saxon Shore forts are situated on or very close to river estuaries or on the coast, between the Wash and the Isle of Wight. Saxon Shore forts are also found on the coasts of France and Belgium. The most distinctive feature of Saxon Shore forts are their defences which comprised massive stone walls, normally backed by an inner earth mound, and wholly or partially surrounded by one or two ditches.
Historic England

Portchester Castle was begun as a Roman fort, one of the series of coastal forts now known as the Forts of the Saxon Shore. These forts were built over the course of the 3rd century, to meet the threat presented by Saxon pirates who were then raiding the south coast of Roman Britain.

The walls of the Roman fort seem to have housed a community for most of the long period between the end of Roman rule and the Norman conquest of 1066. Evidence of four huts with sunken floors, a well, and signs of ploughing, datable to the 5th century, has been found. In the 7th to 9th centuries a number of timber houses and ancillary buildings were built, perhaps forming two residences. Around the end of the 9th century there seems to have been a break in occupation, with extensive dumping of rubbish over the sites of earlier buildings. In 904 the Bishop of Winchester gave the fort to the English king Edward the Elder (reigned 899–924). Following this, the fort became a burh – one of a series of fortified places which protected the kingdom from Viking attack.
English Heritage

Following the Norman Conquest, Portchester was granted to William Maudit and it was probably he who raised the castle. The Roman Walls were utilised to form the perimeter around the Outer Bailey whilst a moat and timber barrier were used to separate the north-west corner of the fort which then became the Inner Ward. When William died in 1100 the castle passed to his son, Robert Maudit, but he was killed in the White Ship disaster in 1120. Thereafter the castle passed through marriage to William Pont de l’Arche. William commenced rebuilding the Inner Ward defences of Portchester Castle in stone including raising the Great Tower during the 1120s and 1130s. William also built St Mary’s church to serve an Augustinian Priory he founded within the walls although by 1150 this community had relocated to Southwick.
Castles Forts Battles

Hastings Castle, Hastings


Hastings | The Castle
c.1910
Publisher: J. Davis, 24 Queen Victoria St, E.C.

Google Street View (approximate).

Hastings Castle is a keep and bailey castle ruin situated in the town of Hastings, East Sussex. It overlooks the English Channel, into which large parts of the castle have fallen over the years. Immediately after landing in England in 1066, William of Normandy ordered three fortifications to be built, Pevensey Castle in September 1066 (re-using the Roman Saxon Shore fort of Anderitum), Hastings (prior to the Battle of Hastings) and Dover. Hastings Castle was originally built as a motte-and-bailey castle near the sea. Later that year, the famous Battle of Hastings took place some miles to the north of Hastings Castle, in which William was victorious. In 1070, William issued orders for the castle to be rebuilt in stone, along with the St Mary’s Chapel.

In 1287, violent storms battered the south coast for many months and the soft sandstone cliffs eventually succumbed to the elements. Large sections of the face fell into the sea along with parts of the castle. In both 1339 and 1377, the town was attacked by the French leaving many burnt buildings which included homes. Throughout the next century erosion was unchecked and gradually more of the castle was lost to the sea. The mid 16th century saw the castle receive another blow as Henry VIII commissione

The site was purchased by Thomas Pelham on 23 June 1591. After the purchase, the site was purchased by the Pelham family and used for farming until the ruins had become so overgrown they were lost from memory. In 1824, the then owner the Earl of Chichester commissioned some archaeological investigations of the ruin. As a result of these, the chapel floor and parts of the chancel arch and walls were re-constructed out of blocks found lying on the ground.


Motte under construction Wikimedia Commons

Following the death of King Edward the Confessor in 1066, the English throne was claimed by William, Duke of Normandy. However, the English chose Harold Godwineson as Edward’s successor and accordingly William raised an invasion army. It eventually sailed from Saint-Valery-sur-Somme and landed near Pevensey on 28 September 1066. King Harold however was in the north, where just days earlier he had defeated another rival at the Battle of Stamford Bridge. This gave William time and he used it to build castles to protect his beachhead. Hastings was one of them (the others were Pevensey and Dover). All three were adjacent to important harbours and, in the case of Hastings, the site of a Saxon burh (fortified town).

Hastings Castle is one of the few Norman structures that can be dated with certainty. Not only is there is a picture on the Bayeux Tapestry, its narrative states William the Conqueror “commands that a castle be dug at Hestengaceastra”. The castle is also mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and the Domesday Book (1086). Finally the Chronicle of Battle Abbey stated William I built a “wooden castle” at Hastings. Together these sources strongly suggest the castle was started before the Battle of Hastings (which wasn’t fought until 14 October 1066) using wooden prefabricated parts imported from Normandy. William was probably accommodated within its walls prior to the battle and in the immediate aftermath it would have been crucial as a secure logistical hub ensuring his sustainability in the south east.

The original castle consisted of a motte, which would have been topped by a timber palisade and tower, with a large broadly rectangular bailey to the west. An outer bailey, probably used for livestock, was located to the east. The castle was built on top of a cliff overlooking the Saxon settlement, markedly different from elsewhere which saw Norman castles stamped on top of former urban settlements (good examples can be seen at Exeter, Totnes and Wallingford).
Castles Forts Battles

Clifford’s Tower, York, England


York, Clifford’s Tower
c.1910
Publisher: Francis Frith

Google Street View.

Much of York’s layout is the result of Roman and Viking construction but one iconic feature is distinctly Norman. The original mound of Clifford’s Tower, with a timber structure at the top, was constructed by William the Conqueror in 1068 as a statement of his power over the region. This building stood for just over a century before being burnt down in one of York’s bloodiest and tragic moments, when, in 1190, 150 Jews were massacred on the site.

Between 1190 and 1194, it was repaired at great expense, and the mound was raised to its present height. The second timber structure was destroyed (this time by a gale) in 1245. Under pressure from his wars with the Scots, Henry III ordered the tower to be rebuilt and strengthened, this time in stone. Master Simon of Northampton and Master Henry of Reynes, the senior carpenter and stonemason respectively in Windsor Castle, were sent up to York to consult on the new design of the castle. The result was a tower some 50ft (15m) high and 200 ft (61m) in diameter. Its design is ‘quatrefoil’, with four overlapping circles, resembling a four leafed clover.
History of York

The large stone tower, which we now know as Clifford’s Tower, was built in the 1250s during the reign of King Henry III.For much of the 14th and 15th centuries, Clifford’s Tower was used as treasury, exchequer, mint, gaol and seat of royal power. During the Civil War (1642-9), Clifford’s Tower was held by the royalists while the city was under siege. In 1684 the tower was reduced to a shell after a fire. Eventually, most of the castle buildings were swept away when a new prison and court were built in the 18th and 19th centuries, leaving Clifford’s Tower as the principal surviving remnant of the York Castle.
English Heritage

Dunkeld Cathedral, Dunkeld, Scotland


Dunkeld Cathedral Tower
1900s
Publisher: G.W. Wilson & Co. (1852-1908)

Google Street View (approximate).

Canmore entry (has images including a floorplan)

The history of Dunkeld can be traced to the ninth century when it emerged as an important religious centre for the early Celtic Church. No building of this period survives, the present Cathedral dates from 1318. Partly destroyed during the Reformation (1560), the choir is roofed and now serves as the parish church for regular Sunday worship. The rest of the cathedral is ruinous, but is preserved as an Ancient Monument in the care of Historic Scotland
Dunkeld Cathedral

In 849, relics of St Columba were removed from Iona to protect them from Viking raids. They were brought to Dunkeld by King Kenneth MacAlpin, who appointed a bishop at Dunkeld. Columba became the patron saint of Dunkeld and its monastery. The see was revived in the early 1100s, when Cormac became Bishop of Dunkeld. The cathedral developed over about 250 years, and the earliest surviving part is the choir of the late 1200s. It later became a parish church. The nave was begun in 1406, and lost its roof shortly after the Protestant Reformation of 1560. There are paintings dating from the 1500s on the vault of the bell tower’s ground floor, which once served as an ecclesiastical court. There are also fine memorials in the choir (not in our care), including the effigy of Alexander Stewart, Earl of Buchan – notorious as “The Wolf of Badenoch”.
Historic Environment Scotland

Historian Sir Richard Burton describing Dunkeld as the site for a battle wrote: ‘it is difficult to imagine a position by the nature of the ground more dangerous for a Lowland force, for it is deep sunk among hills commanding it and cutting off a retreat while a rapid river forms the diameter of the semi-circle. But the next day – despite the fact that it was a. Sunday – the garrison set about fortifying Dunkeld Cathedral tower and the Duke of Atholl’s new mansion Dunkeld House.
Dunkeld Cathedral: Battle of Dunkeld

The much-restored cathedral choir, still in use as the parish church, is unaisled and dates to the 13th and 14th centuries. The aisled nave was erected from the early 15th century. The western tower, south porch and chapter house (which houses the cathedral museum) were added between 1450 and 1475. The cathedral was stripped of its rich furnishings after the mid-16th century Reformation and its iconoclasm. The nave and porch have been roofless since the early 17th century. They and the tower in the 21st century are in the care of Historic Environment Scotland. Below the ceiling vault of the tower ground floor are remnants of pre-Reformation murals showing biblical scenes (c. 1490), one of very few such survivals in Scotland. The clearest to survive is a representation of the Judgement of Solomon. This reflects the medieval use of this space as the Bishop’s Court.
Wikipedia.


Dunkeld Cathedral from the North-West
1900s
Publisher: G.W. Wilson & Co. (1852-1908)

The House of Agnes, Canterbury, England


Canterbury “The House of Agnes” (“Dickens”)
1918-1921 (1d postage)
Publishers: E. Crow & Son, Canterbury

Google Street View.

The history of the House of Agnes goes back in the days when it was a travellers inn as far back as the 13th Century, and is so named as it was the home of Agnes Wickfield in Charles Dickens’ story David Copperfield. Several passages in the book describe aspects of both the exterior and interior of our historic building.
House of Agnes

The inn was one of a number built just outside the Westgate built during the 16th century to exploit the trade generated by visitors to the city. Those who did not arrive before the nightly curfew would have stayed here overnight. It is a three storied jettied timber framed house with three gables to the street frontage. In the late 17th century the first floor bay windows with round-headed centres were added and in the 18th century two ground floor bay windows.
Canterbury History and Archaeological Society

Maison de la Reine Bérengère, Le Mans, France


LE MANS. — Maison de la Reine Bérengère, – Cour
House of Queen Bérengère, courtyard
Note on back dated July 1914 or 1919

Google Street View.

Wikipedia (French).

Berengaria of Navarre was queen of England as the wife of Richard I of England. She was the eldest daughter of Sancho VI of Navarre and Sancha of Castile. As is the case with many of the medieval English queens, relatively little is known of her life. Traditionally known as “the only English queen never to set foot in the country”, she may in fact have visited England after her husband’s death, but did not do so before, nor did she see much of Richard during her marriage, which was childless. She did (unusually for the wife of a crusader) accompany him on the start of the Third Crusade, but mostly lived in his French possessions, where she gave generously to the church, despite difficulties in collecting the pension she was due from Richard’s brother and successor John after she became a widow.
Wikipedia (English)

Bérengère (ca. 1165-1230) was Queen of the English as the wife of King Richard I of England. Musée de la reine Bérengère is a museum of Le Mans history located in three half-timbered merchant’s houses, ca. 1230. The museum is located on the old High Street that served to connect all the medieval city, both canonical and aristocratic houses. It is in the area known as la cité Plantagenêt. After being seized by William I of England, Le Mans fell into the hands of the Plantagenets in the mid-12th century. The houses were restored by Adolphe Singher (1836-1910) and acquired by the city in 1924.
CurateND

Dunheved Cross, Launceston, England


Launceston, Dunheved Cross
c. 1910
Publisher: Francis Frith

Google Street View (current location)

Wayside crosses are one of several types of Christian cross erected during the medieval period, mostly from the 9th to 15th centuries AD. In addition to serving the function of reiterating and reinforcing the Christian faith amongst those who passed the cross and of reassuring the traveller, wayside crosses often fulfilled a role as waymarkers, especially in difficult and otherwise unmarked terrain. The crosses might be on regularly used routes linking ordinary settlements or on routes having a more specifically religious function, including those providing access to religious sites for parishioners and funeral processions, or marking long-distance routes frequented on pilgrimages. Over 350 wayside crosses are known nationally, concentrated in south west England throughout Cornwall and on Dartmoor where they form the commonest type of stone cross

The monument includes a wayside cross known as the Dunheved Cross and a protective margin around it, situated beside a minor road next to the main east-west route, the modern A30 road, on the southern outskirts of Launceston in east Cornwall. The Dunheved Cross is visible as an upright granite shaft and head set in a two stepped base. The cross is a composite structure of three medieval cross parts found in the vicinity, together with a modern lower shaft and lower base step. The upper basal step is a medieval cross base originally located at the Badash, or Dunheved, crossroads, 20m north of the monument’s present location. The upper shaft of the monument was discovered 400m to the south west at Badash Farm and is considered to have derived from the cross base when complete. The cross head was discovered in a field on Tresmarrow Farm, 1.3km to the WSW. The separate pieces were assembled, with the modern lower shaft and lower base, at the Badash cross-roads in 1902. The resulting cross was re-erected 20m further south to its present site when the Launceston by-pass, the A30 trunk road, was built in 1981.

Historic England

Clapper Bridge, Postbridge, England


Celtic Bridge at Post Bridge, Dartmoor
c.1910
Publisher: Valentine

Google Street View.

Clapper bridge over East Dart river. Probably C13 although it may have had more recent repairs. Roughly shaped blocks of granite to the piers with 3 rough granite lintels. 3-span bridge. This bridge is one of the medieval routes across the moor from Exeter to Tavistock.
Historic England.

The first written record of a clapper bridge here dates from 1655, but the bridge was definitely built sometime in the medieval period, possibly the 12th century. It is composed of three large granite piers supporting four massive slabs, with a total span of over 42 feet.The slabs were probably brought from Bellever, 1.5 miles away, or possibly from Lower White Tor, 2 miles distant. Either way, it was a serious undertaking to quarry, then transport the huge slabs. The bridge crosses the East Dart, a tributary of the River Dart, and was built so that packhorses could carry tin to Tavistock.

Immediately beside the clapper bridge is a second bridge, built in the 1780s to replace the medieval bridge and take traffic between Moretonhampstead and Tavistock.

Britain Express

Chepstow Castle, Chepstow, Wales


In the keep, Chepstow Castle
c.1920

Google Street View (exterior)

Chepstow Castle at Chepstow, Monmouthshire, Wales is the oldest surviving post-Roman stone fortification in Britain. Located above cliffs on the River Wye, construction began in 1067 under the instruction of the Norman Lord William FitzOsbern. Originally known as Striguil, it was the southernmost of a chain of castles built in the Welsh Marches, and with its attached lordship took the name of the adjoining market town in about the 14th century. In the 12th century the castle was used in the conquest of Gwent, the first independent Welsh kingdom to be conquered by the Normans. It was subsequently held by two of the most powerful Anglo-Norman magnates of medieval England, William Marshal and Richard de Clare. However, by the 16th century its military importance had waned and parts of its structure were converted into domestic ranges. Although re-garrisoned during and after the English Civil War, by the 1700s it had fallen into decay.
Wikipedia.

Building was started in 1067 by Earl William fitz Osbern, close friend of William the Conqueror, making it one of the first Norman strongholds in Wales. In turn William Marshal (Earl of Pembroke), Roger Bigod (Earl of Norfolk) and Charles Somerset (Earl of Worcester) all made their mark before the castle declined after the Civil War. These magnates and power-brokers were constantly on the move. Chepstow was just one residence in their vast estates – an impressive shell into which they would bring their gold and silver vessels, rich silk and brightly painted furniture.
Cadw


The store chamber, Chepstow Castle
c.1920

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Glastonbury Abbey, Glastonbury, England


Glastonbury Abbey – Judges Ltd
Publisher: Judges Ltd

Google Street View.

Glastonbury Abbey: Archaeological Investigations 1904–79 (online book)

The abbey holds a special place in English identity and popular culture. In the middle ages it was reputed to be the burial place of the legendary King Arthur and his queen Guinevere, and was regarded as the site of the earliest church in Britain, thought to have been founded by Joseph of Arimathea. According to the Gospels, Joseph was the man who had donated his own tomb for the body of Christ following the crucifixion.
Glastonbury Abbey Archaeology

“The First Christian Church in Britain.”

The abbey was founded in the 7th century and enlarged in the 10th. It was destroyed by a major fire in 1184, but subsequently rebuilt and by the 14th century was one of the richest and most powerful monasteries in England. The abbey controlled large tracts of the surrounding land and was instrumental in major drainage projects on the Somerset Levels. The abbey was suppressed during the Dissolution of the Monasteries under King Henry VIII of England. The last abbot, Richard Whiting (Whyting), was hanged, drawn and quartered as a traitor on Glastonbury Tor in 1539.
Wikipedia

When the monastic buildings were destroyed in the fire of 1184, the medieval monks needed to find a new place to worship. There is evidence that the 12th century nave was renovated and used for this purpose for almost 30 years, until some of the work was completed on the new church. The monks reconsecrated the Great Church and began services there on Christmas Day, 1213, most likely before it was entirely completed.
Glastonbury Abbey


Choir & Site of High Altar, Glastonbury Abbey
c.1920
Same publisher as “Abbot’s Kitchen” card at bottom

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