Inscription from Lympne © David Gill
This altar was discovered in April 1852, subsequent to the 1850 excavations of the east gate of the Roman fort at Lympne in Kent (RIB 66). The inscription shows that it was a dedication to the god Neptune, set up by L. Aufidius Pant(h)era who was serving as the praefectus of the British fleet, clas(sis) Brit(annicae).
Pant(h)era, from Umbria, served as prefect in a cavalry unit in Upper Pannonia and is named in a diploma dated to 2 July 133. He probably moved to Britannia subsequent to this date.
It appears that the altar was reused in the later Saxon Shore fort, probably dating to the second half of the third century. The altar was purchased by the British Museum from Charles Roach Smith in 1856 (inv. 1856.07-01.5026).
Yarmouth Castle © David Gill
Yarmouth Castle on the Isle of Wight retains a number of Ministry signs. One on the upper gun deck reminds visitors ‘to avoid accidents’.
For other types of Ministry warning signs:
For guidebooks to Yarmouth Castle see here.
Yarmouth Castle © David Gill
Hurst Castle © David Gill
Hurst Castle was built to guard the western approach to the Solent. At the centre lies the Tudor artillery fort constructed between 1541 and 1544.
The coastal defences were strengthened during the 1850s, and the west and east wings at Hurst were added in the 1860s and 1870s. It served as a coastal battery in World War II.
Opposite Hurst Castle was Fort Albert (on the right of the picture below).
Hurst Castle from Needles Point © David Gill
Hurst Castle and east wing © David Gill
Fort Albert, the Needles, and Hurst Castle © David Gill
St Helen’s Duver © David Gill
The 13th century tower of old St Helen’s church stands above the beach at St Helen’s Duver on the Isle of Wight [National Trust]. It formed part of the Benedictine Priory, that was abandoned in the early 15th century. In the 18th century the tower was bricked up and served as a landmark.
Adjacent to the tower is a World War II pillbox intended to defend the entrance to Bembridge harbour [HER] [Citizan]. This was carefully disguised to look like part of the ruins.
Portchester Castle © David Gill
Portchester Castle consists of a Late Roman Saxon Shore fort, with a Medieval castle and church placed within its walls. It was placed in Statue Guardianship in 1926 and Sir Charles Peers wrote the first official guidebook in 1933.
1965 (3rd impress. with amendments, 1969)
Stuart E. Rigold revised Peers’ text in a 3rd edition of the text (1965). This was divided into two main parts: a history and a description. The description included sections on the Roman fortress, the medieval castle, and the church (for an Augustinian priory). There are two fold-out plans inside the back cover: the Roman fort, and a plan of the medieval castle.
The new English Heritage guide was prepared by Julian T. Munby (who had excavated on the site with Barry Cunliffe). This contains two tours: The Medieval Castle, and the Outer Bailey and Roman Fort. These are followed by a history of the castle including the Roman fort and the Saxon settlement. The guide has numerous reconstruction drawings and photographs. The centre pages provide an overview of the whole castle.
2003 (2nd ed. 2008, rev. reprint 2011)
The current English Heritage guidebook is by John Goodall. It contains a tour followed by a history, with special sections on ‘Building the Roman Fort’ and ‘Prisoners of War’. There are plans of the fort and the different levels of the castle on a foldout plan inside the back cover.
Yarmouth Castle on the Isle of Wight was one of a series of defences for the Solent
. It was constructed after a French raid of 1545 during the reign of Henry VIII
, and was nearly complete by the autumn of 1547. The castle continued to be used for coastal defence until 1885. The castle was placed in the care of the Office of Works in 1913.
1958 (repr. 1962)
S.E. Rigold wrote the first paper guide for the castle in 1958. It consisted of a detailed history (nearly five and a half pages) followed by a description. The centre page consists of a site plan along with plans of the ground, first and second floors. The price (in 1962) was 4d.
1985 (repr. 1987, 1990)
Rigold’s guide was reprinted in 1978, and formed the basis of the English Heritage ‘white’ guidebook (1985). This started wit ha description followed by the history. It is illustrated with black and white photographs, and the centre pages use the 1958 plans though with updated typography. The text is also identical to the 1958 guide with the addition, ‘Since 1984 Yarmouth Castle has been in the care of English Heritage’.
The back cover of this guide bears the Gateway marketing.
1985 (repr. 1987, 1990)
The present English Heritage guidebook is essentially the same as the 1985 publication except with a colour cover (most recently reprinted in 2012).
The Solent provides access to the major harbours of Portsmouth and Southampton. Given the naval sensitivities of the area this seaway was heavily defended by a series of fortifications. The western entrance was defended by Hurst Castle built on a spit of land projecting into the Solent. The earliest phase was a Tudor fort
contemporary with Deal and Walmer Castles
in Kent. The castle was adapted in the Napoleonic Wars, and expanded in the 1850s, 1860s and 1870s. The English Heritage guidebook is by J.G. Coad.
Yarmouth Castle is located opposite Hurst Castle on the Isle of Wight. This was also a Tudor foundation. The guidebook is by S.E. Rigold
Calshot Castle is located at the mouth of Southampton Water. This was also part of the Tudor defences of the Solent. During the First World War, Calshot became a seaplane base to protect against submarines. The guidebook is by J.G. Coad.