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Guidebook: Dartmouth Castle


Product Code: 19564

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Dartmouth Castle sits on a promontory where the river Dart meets the English Channel. It was first built in 1388 by the townsmen of Dartmouth under their mayor, the merchant and privateer John Hawley, to guard the town against French raids during the Hundred Years War.

A century later Hawley's 'fortalice' was strengthened with a purpose-built gun tower, among the first in Britain, equipped with iron guns and a chain stretched across the river to stop warships entering the harbour. A battery with heavier guns was later built facing out to sea. It was improved on several occasions, culminating in the Victorian 'Old Battery' whose powerful guns were capable of firing far out into the Channel.

Dartmouth Castle saw fighting during the Civil War, when it fell to the king and then to Parliament. Thereafter it continued to safeguard the harbour, its ships, shipyards and quays, which formed the town's life blood, and was used during the frequent wars between the European powers until the 20th century.

In 1909 the castle was released by the War Office as a historic monument but was soon requisitioned again to serve in both world wars. It was handed into the guardianship of the state in 1955 and is now in the care of English Heritage.

Key Features:

  • 40 pages
  • Paperback
  • Published in 2013

Size: Approx. 160 mm (w) x 285 mm (h)
Author: Paul Pattison
ISBN: 9781848022416

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Guidebook: Dartmouth Castle