Dover Port Defences

Has been described as a Possible Artillery Fort, and also as a Possible Chain Tower

There are no visible remains

NameDover Port Defences
Alternative NamesDover Havyn; Clerk's Pier
Historic CountryKent
Modern AuthorityKent
1974 AuthorityKent
Civil ParishDover

Two masonry round towers forming artillery emplacements were built upon a stone pier constructed by John Clerk about 1500 running out from the Archcliffe promontory. One of these towers may have been largely destroyed by the sea in 1530 but according to Batcheller the foundations of the other (perhaps the earlier of the two) survived at 'the entrance to Round Tower Street near the National School'. Barrington Jones asserts that the foundations of both towers had been discovered (CAT, 1991). (Kent HER)

Gatehouse Comments

Two round towers with artillery pieces and a chain between them, are shown at the mouth of Dover port, on the ends of the piers, in a plan of 1541 and on The Embarkation of Henry VIII at Dover. (?c. 1520). These may be intended fortifications or idealisations but also occur on a plan of 1575, although not on a plan of 1585 (although the South jetty is labelled Black Bulwark). A plan of proposals for Dover Harbour may include existing features including a square block house ladelled 'The Black Bulwark' half way along a pier. A plan of 1595 seems accurate and shows no artillery on the pier but does so many pieces at Archcliffe and a piece on the sea wall at the base of a pier and two more pieces behind the sea front road within the harbour. Although there are clearly fanciful and proposed features on these plans it does seem likely there was some sort of artillery placement on the Dover port pier in the 1530-40s. By the late C16 artillery had longer range and placing artillery on the pier, where salt sea spray would have caused considerably trouble in rusting iron and wetting powder, was no longer necessary. The existence of a harbour chain or boom seems less certain.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceTR317404
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

No photos available. If you can provide pictures please contact Castlefacts

Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.

Calculate Print


  • Bennett, D., 1977, A handbook of Kent's defences from 1540 until 1945 p. 17-30


  • Renn, Derek, 1987, 'English fortification in 1485' Ch√Ęteau Gaillard Vol. 13 p. 169-174
  • Coad, J.G., and Lewis, P.N., 1982, 'The later fortifications of Dover' Post-Medieval Archaeology Vol. 16 p. 141-208


  • Smith, V.C. and Saunder, A., 2001, Kents Defence Heritage
  • Canterbury Archaeological Trust, 1991, The New Dover Sewers Scheme - archaeological implications.