Dover Town Defences

Has been described as a Certain Urban Defence

There are no visible remains

NameDover Town Defences
Alternative Names
Historic CountryKent
Modern AuthorityKent
1974 AuthorityKent
Civil ParishDover

No remains of defences constructed during the period of the Hundred Years War which consisted of stone walls and gates.

The first murage was received in 1324 and thereafter the series was almost unbroken series until 1483. Chamberlains' account are extent from 1365 onwards and show continuous heavy expenditure on the defences... Nothing now remains above ground today, but even Leland seems to have been uncertain whether the town was completely walled. (Turner)

The town of Dover was in antient time strongly walled round and embattled, especially toward the sea, but it seems not to have been ditched round. The wall, in which there were ten gates, has been long since demolished, and some few fragments of it only are left; and of the gates there is not one remaining. The walls did not encompass a space of more than half a mile square (Hasted)

Gatehouse Comments

Sea walls suffer greater erosion and would required constant work on their upkeep. Gatehouse suspects these sea walls may even have included a harbour breakwater, which would certainly require considerable regular maintenance. The murage grant in 1435 specifically states 'The wall and gates of the town have been damaged by the late frequent storms.' The murage for Dover was not the usual surtax on market goods but a toll on travellers.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceTR324415
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  • Salter, Mike, 2013, Medieval Walled Towns (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 61
  • Creighton, O.H. and Higham, R.A., 2005, Medieval Town Walls (Stroud: Tempus) p. 204, 224, 262
  • Bragard, P., Termote, J. and Williams, J., 1999, Walking the walls: historic town defences in Kent, Côte d'Opale and West Flanders (Maidstone: Kent County Council) p. 23-32
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 120
  • Coed, Jonathan, 1995, Dover Castle (London: Batsford)
  • Bond, C.J., 1987, 'Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Defences' in Schofield, J. and Leech, R. (eds) Urban Archaeology in Britain (CBA Research Report 61) p. 92-116 online copy
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 239
  • Barley, M.W., 1975, 'Town Defences in England and Wales after 1066' in Barley (ed) The plans and topography of medieval towns in England and Wales (CBA Research Report 14) p. 57-71 download/view online
  • Turner, H.L., 1971, Town Defences in England and Wales (London) p. 155
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co) p. 207
  • Lyon, John, 1813-14, The History of the Town and Port of Dover and Dover Castle (Dover and London) Vol. 1 p. 18-21
  • Hasted, Edward, 1800 (2edn), The history and topographical survey of the county of Kent Vol. 9 p. 475- online transcription


  • Chandler, John, 1993, John Leland's Itinerary: travels in Tudor England  (Sutton Publishing) p. 251, 255
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1909, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 4 p. 49-50, 63 online copy
  • 1532, ffor dovour pere (Plan of Dover harbour) online copy
  • Celia Fiennes, 1888, Through England on a Side Saddle in the Time of William and Mary (London: Field and Tuer, The Leadenhall Press) Vision of Britain online transcription


  • Creighton, Oliver, 2006, ''Castles of Communities': Medieval Town Defences in England; Wales and Gascony' Château Gaillard Vol. 22 p. 75-86
  • Amos, E.G.J. and Wheeler, R.E.M., 1929, 'The Saxon-shore fortress at Dover' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 86 p. 47-58 online copy

Primary Sources

  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1891-1916, Calendar of Patent Rolls (1324-1327) p. 51; p. 175; (1343-1345) p. 442; p. 457; (1350-1354) p. 429; (1361-1364) p. 249; (1367-1370) p. 111; (1370-1374) p. 168; (1374-1377) p. 423; (1377-1381) p. 428; (1385-1389) p. 505; (1391-1396) p. 691; (1399-1401) p. 121; (1405-1408) p. 143; (1408-1413) p. 434; (1413-1416) p. 17; (1422-1429) p. 139; (1429-1436) p. 496; (1441-1446) p. 220 (murage grants) online copies
  • - < >Also see the Gatehouse murage pages for full details of murage [grants >], [petitions > ] and [other such >]. < >