Old Portsmouth

Friends of Old Portsmouth Association

Old Portsmouth Fortifications

OLD PORTSMOUTH'S HISTORIC FORTIFICATIONS - A Brief History (Keith Feltham September 2006)


Round Tower Old Portsmouth Fortifications - click for Wikipedia entry

In the 14th century simple defences in the form of earthworks and moats were constructed to protect the town against attacks from the French during the Hundred Years War. No vestige of these early works remains and the fortifications were improved, altered and developed through the following centuries.


Further hostilities with France in the 15th century resulted in the construction of a tower, the precursor of the Round Tower, for the protection of the harbour entrance. This tower was erected on a spit of land (known as 'Point') which was outside the town. It was rebuilt in the time of Queen Elizabeth I and increased in height in the 19th century.


History of Old Portsmouth


Following the Norman Conquest, it was recognised that Portsmouth Harbour was ideally situated for communications and trade with France, and a small community was established around the Camber. The area flourished during the twelfth century and Richard I granted the town a charter in 1194. However, the town then started to decline and war with France resulted in attacks on the area with the largely timber buildings being burnt down, but buildings constructed of masonry survived, notably the church of St Thomas (now the Anglican Cathedral) and the Domus Dei (now the Royal Garrison Church).   


History of Buildings and sites


(Places of Historical Interest - Numbers refer to locations shown on the map)



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