Coastal defence, Castles

Norden's Hampshire 1607

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coastal defence The three legs of The Solent, Southampton Water and Spithead were the launching pad for medieval military expeditions to the Continent, and in due course became the main base of the Royal Navy. The area was equally liable to attack from the Continent, and had to be defended. This map was drawn only a few years after the Armada. John Norden was aware of the importance of forts along the south coast of Hampshire, showing the 'Henry VIII' castles and others

castles BEWARE: to get back to this list after clicking on an item, use the back button.
'modern' name (parish; ngr) = old name (hundred) if given
The list includes one inland castle.
Calshot Castle (Fawley parish; SU488025) = Calshott cast (Newforrest Hundred)
Haselworth Castle (Gosport parish; SZ6198?) = Ruynes of Haselworth castle (Alverstoke and Gosport Liberties)
Hurst Castle (Milford-on-Sea parish; SZ3189) = Hurst castle (Christchurche Hundred)
Malwood Castle (Minstead parish; SU277121) = Cast of Malwood (Newforrest Hundred)
Netley Castle (Hound parish) = Netley cast (Titchfeild Hundred)
Portchester Castle (Fareham parish; SU6204) = Portchester (Portesdowne Hundred)
Southsea Castle (Portsmouth parish; SZ6498) = South cast (Portesdowne Hundred)
St Andrew's Castle (Hamble parish; SU4806?) = S. Androw cast (Titchfeild Hundred)
Camden's Britannia, in which John Norden's map was published, includes the following notes about coastal defence:-
Castles But least the sea coast, for so long a tract as that forrest is heere, should lie without defence all open and exposed to the enimie, King Henrie the Eighth began to strengthen it with forts, for, in that foreland or promontorie shooting far into the sea: From whence we have the shortest cut into the Isle of Wight, hee built Hurst Castle, which commandeth sea ward every way. And more towards the East he set up also another fortresse or blockhouse, they name it Calshot Castle for Caldshore, to defend the entrie of Southampton Haven, as more inwardly on the other [shore] are the two Castles of , and Netly. For, heere the shores retiring as it were themselves a great way backe into the land, and the Isle of Wight also; butting full upon it doe make a very good harbour, which Ptolomee calleth The mouth of the river Trisanton, (as I take it) for Traith Anton: that is, Anton Bay. For, Ninnius and old writer giveth it almost the same name when he termeth it Trahannon mouth. As for the river running into it, at this day is called Test, it was in the foregoing age (as wee read in the Saints lives) named Terstan, and in old time Ant, or Anton: as the townes standing upon it, namely Antport, Andover and Hanton in some sort doe testifie.
Southampton ... the towne [Southampton] which now is to be seene, but situate in a more commodious place betweene two rivers: for number of houses and those faire built much renowned, for rich inhabitants and concurse of merchants wealthy: fenced round about with a double ditch, strong wals, and turrets standing thicke betweene: and for defence of the Haven a strong Castle it hath of square stone, upon a Mount cast up to a great height, built by King Richard the Second.
The Solent ... the river Hamble at a great mouth emptieth it selfe into the Ocean. Beda calleth it Homelea, which, as he writeth, by the lands of the Intae entreth into Solente: for so termeth he that frith our narrow sea, that runneth between the Isle of Wight & the maine land of Britaine: in which the tides at set houres rushing in with great violence out of the Ocean at both ends, and so meeting one another in the mids, seemed so strange a matter to our men in old time, that they reckoned it among the wonders of Britaine.
Portsmouth ... the shore with curving crookes draweth itselfe in, and the Island named Portesey maketh a great creeke, within the more inward nooke or corner whereof sometimes flourished Port-peris; (where, by report Vespasian landed) An haven towne which our auncestours by a new name called Port-chester, not of Porto the Saxon, but of the port or haven. For, Ptolomee tearmeth it [ ], that is THE GREAT HAVEN, for the widenesse of it, like as that Portus Magnus also in Africk, as Plinie witnesseth. And verily there remaineth yet a great Castell which hath a faire and spatious prospect into the haven underneath. But when as the Ocean by with-drawing it selfe, tooke away, by little and little the commodity of the haven, the inhabitants flitted from thence into the Island Portsey adjoining, which taketh in circuit much about foureteene miles, beeing at every full sea floated round about with salt waters, out of which they boile salt, and by a bridge that hath a fortresse adjoining unto it, is united to the Continent. This Island Athelflede King Eadgars wife had given to the New monasterie of Winchester. And in it at the very gullet, or mouth where the sea entreth in, our fore-fathers built a towne and thereupon named it Portsmouth, that is, the mouth of the haven. A place alwaies in time of warre well frequented, otherwise little resort there is to it: as beeing more favourable and better effected to Mars and Neptune, than to Mercurie, that is to warre rather than to Traffique. A Church it hath of the old building, and an Hospitall (Gods house they call it) founded by Peter de Rupibus, Bishop of Winchester. Fortified it is with a wall made of timber and the same well covered over with thicke bankes of earth: fenced with a platforme also or mount of earth in times past on the North-east, nere to the gate: and two block-houses at the entry of the haven made of new heawen stone: Which being by King Edward the fourth begunne, King Henrie the seaventh as the Inhabitants report did finish, and strengthened the towne with a garrison. But in our rememberance, Queene ELIZABETH at her great cost and charges so armed it (as one would say) with new fortifications, as that now there is nothing wanting, that a man would require in a most strong and fenced place. And of the garrison-soldiors some keepe watch and ward both night and day at the gates: others upon the towre of the church, who by the ringing or sound of a bell give warning how many horse or foote are comming, and by putting forth a banner shewe from what quarter they come.

Saunders, A D: 1977: Hampshire Coastal Defence since the Introduction of Artillery: Royal Archaeolgical institute:: with excellent references

Saunders, Andrew: 1997: Channel Defences: Batsford:: ISBN 0 7134 7595 1

Fox, Russell: 1991 (Nov): Portsmouth's Ramparts Revisited: Fortress: no 11: pp29-38

:: Defence of the Realm: (unpublished):: interpretive planning for Portsmouth and the surrounding area

Williams-Freeman, J P: 1934: Coast of Hampshire, The: ProcHFC: 12: 218-220

Butchart, C B R: 1955: Hampshire castles: Warren and Son (Winchester, Hampshire)

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