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History of Dover Castle

Dover Castle has the longest recorded history of any major castle in Britain and is built on the remains of an Iron Age hillfort. Within the walls of the castle are a Roman lighthouse and an Anglo-Saxon church.

The Saxon Church
Roman Lighthouse

The Romans
The Romans called the Dover DUBRIS after DUBRAS, the British name meaning 'waters'. They built two lighthouses in Dover to guide ships across the Channel. The remains of one of these lighthouses can be seen in Dover Castle.

The Saxons
The church standing today in the castle was probably in the middle of a Saxon fortified town.

The KeepThe Normans
Archaeological evidence suggests that a wooden castle was built by the Normans around the church and lighthouse.

Between 1179 and 1188, Henry II had Dover Castle completely rebuilt. The great square tower, or keep was built in the 1180s. Its walls vary in thickness between 17 and 21 feet.

It was put to the test in 1216 when French forces landed at Thanet and attacked the outer walls with sophisticated stone throwing engines. Nevertheless, the castle survived and, by 1240, had been strongly refortified.

Second World War
In the Second World War, the castle was armed with anti-aircraft guns, searchlights and radar.

 
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