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Design for Henrician castle on the Kent coast

This fortification plan or ‘plat’ is a survivor of the many that were stuffed into drawers in Henry’s office in Holbein Gate in Whitehall Palace. In February 1539 Henry ordered three new castles to be built in the Downs of Kent, at Deal, Sandown and Walmer. This drawing must date from a few weeks later. 

The relatively high artistic quality suggests that it was presented to the King for his approval. ‘A Castle for the Downes’ shows a prototype for Walmer and Sandown castles; elsewhere there is an early drawing for Deal, originally the largest of the three. Although appropriate for their purposes, the drawings are uninfluenced by the latest Italian ideas. The designers of the plan – respectively the surveyor, master mason and master carpenter of the King’s Works – had previously only designed palaces. Sandown has been demolished and only Deal Castle is relatively unchanged.

Clips from the Channel 4 series 'Henry VIII: The mind of a tyrant'

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