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A Coloured View of the North Cliffs, Dover, Showing "The Bulwerck under the Castell Dyke"

A Coloured View of the North Cliffs, Dover, Showing

Cartographer: Unknown

Date: 1541

Shelfmark: Cotton Augustus I.ii.f.84

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Manuscript Map

This is a pictorial representation of a cannon on a cliff, almost certainly at Dover, dating from around 1541. The drawing shows a gun platform with six cannons, titled ‘The Bulwerck under the Castell Dyke’. The platform is more elaborate than other bulwarks, with gun ports for heavy armament. Behind the platform is a long timber building in an advanced state of decay which was probably a store house. The construction of a harbour under the Western Heights in around 1500 meant that Dover Castle was too far away to provide sufficient protection for the expanding town and port and so an additional program of defence became necessary. This was one of several bulwarks constructed between March 1539 and midsummer 1540 that controlled landing in the harbour and the shallow bay opposite the town. They were made of earth revetted with timber, provided by the harbour works. The reason for these additional defences was Henry VIII’s fear of an invasion from the combined forces of France and Spain as in 1538 Francis I of France, and Charles V Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain signed a peace treaty. France was England’s historical enemy and Henry VIII’s divorce of Catherine of Aragon, Charles V’s aunt, had offended the militantly catholic King of Spain.

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