Heritage tourism: Messenia

The fortress, Pylos © David Gill

Messenia in the south-west Peloponnese has been developing as a tourist destination. One of the main archaeological attractions is the classical city of Messene, and the Late Bronze palace near Pylos (‘Nestor’s Palace’). The fortresses at Pylos and Methoni are now tourist attractions in their own right with 46,000 and 71,000 visitors respectively.

Methoni © David Gill

The six archaeological sites in Messene now attract over 221,000 visitors a year (2019).

Data: Hellenic Statistical Service. Chart © David Gill

Heritage tourism on Crete: Spinalonga

Spinalonga © David Gill

The Venetian fortress of Spinalonga is located on an island in the northern part of Mirabéllo Bay, Crete. It was built in 1579 and was taken over by the Ottomans in 1715.

Spinalonga © David Gill

In 1903 it became a colony for those with leprosy; the colony closed in 1955.

Visitor numbers to Spinalonga. Data: Hellenic Statistical Service. Chart © David Gill

The fortress attracts over 400,000 visitors a year, and since 2014 has been on the UNESCO tentative list for World Heritage status.

Maryport: Cohors I Hispanorum

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Maryport © David Gill

The Senhouse Roman Museum at the Roman fort of Maryport on the Cumbrian coast contains an extensive series of Latin inscriptions. Among them is this altar (RIB 816), found in 1870 to the north-east of the fort.  It was dedicated by the prefect of the Cohors I Hispanorum, L. Antistius Lupus Verianus, from Sicca in Africa (Numidia Proconsularis). David Breeze provisionally dates his command to 136 (and prior to 139 when the Cohors I Delmatarum arrived).

St Mawes: John Leland’s texts

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St Mawes © David Gill

The Tudor Royal Arms were placed above the main entrance to the keep at St Mawes, with the Latin text, Dieu et Mon Droit, below. Above the crest is the statement:

Semper Honos / Henrice Tuus / Laudesque Manebunt.

(Henry, your honour and praises will remain forever.)

This is one of four texts composed by the poet, antiquary and royal chaplain, John Leland (c. 1503–1552) at the request of Thomas Treffry of Fowey (a detail mentioned in Leland’s Itinerary).

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St Mawes © David Gill

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St Mawes © David Gill

On the opposite side, above the door leading from the keep to the forward bastion is another Royal Coast of Arms. Either side are two Tritons:

Semper Vivet A(n)i(m)a Re/gis Henrici Octavi / Qui An(no) 34 Sui Reg/ni Hoc Fecit Fieri.

(May the soul of King Henry Eighth, who had this built in the 34th year of his reign, live forever.)

Henry came to the throne in 1509, and this places the completion of the castle in 1543. (It was started in 1540.)

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St Mawes © David Gill

Another text is placed above the crest on the west bastion, celebrating Henry’s son, Edward (who is proclaimed on the eastern bastion as Duke of Cornwall, a title given at his baptism in 1537).

Edwardus Fama Referat Factisque Parentem.

(May Edward resemble his father in fame and deeds.)

Further texts are placed on the south (Henry, king of England, France and Ireland) and east (Edward) bastions.

VE Day 75: Pendennis

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Half Moon Battery, Pendennis © David Gill

The Half Moon Battery at the south end of Pendennis was placed to defend Carrick Roads and the port of Falmouth was first built in 1793, and then remodelled in 1894–95. The concrete bunkers were constructed in 1941 to defend against aerial attack. They battery housed 6-inch Mark VII guns, and from 1943 Mark XXIV guns.

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Half Moon Battery, Pendennis © David Gill

VE Day 75: Landguard

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Landguard Fort © David Gill

The 8th May 2020 marks 75 years since the end of fighting in Europe (VE Day). The towers on Darell’s Battery at Landguard Fort, opposite Harwich, were constructed in 1939–40 to direct guns (twin 6-pounders) defending this strategic port.

Tilbury Fort: guidebooks

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1980 (1985, repr. 1987)

The fort at Tilbury was designed to protect the Thames. The 17th century artillery fort was built on the site of a fort constructed by Henry VIII. The first English Heritage guidebook was written by A.D. Saunders, who prepared texts for other artillery forts. This contained the standard format of history and description. A ground plan of the fort was provided in the centre pages.

The fort was transferred from the War Office in 1948 after it had ceased to be used for military purposes. It was opened to the public in 1982.

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2004 (rev. repr. 2014)

The replacement English Heritage guide was by Paul Pattison. A colour bird’s eye view of the fort is provided inside the front cover, and colour coded plan inside the back cover. The guide contains a tour of the fort followed by a history.

 

Yarmouth Castle: information board

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Yarmouth Castle © David Gill

Yarmouth Castle on the Isle of Wight retains some of its original Ministry signs including this information board close to the entrance. The blank section at the bottom would have indicated (using similar signs), ‘This monument is in the care of the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works [or Ministry of Works] / It is an offence to injure or deface it’.

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Yarmouth Castle © David Gill

Pevensey Castle: 1939–45

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Pevensey Castle © David Gill

During the Second World War gun emplacements and pill boxes were inserted into the Roman and medieval remains at Pevensey Castle in Sussex (see here). A gun emplacement was constructed on the north side of the perimeter where parts of the Roman wall had collapsed.

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Pevensey Castle © David Gill

These later additions to the defences were marked by the attachment of Ministry signs.

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Pevensey Castle © David Gill

Pevensey Castle: Roman signs

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Pevensey Castle © David Gill

The west gate of the Roman Saxon Shore fort at Pevensey is marked (in the path) with a Ministry sign. The gate itself is flanked by massive bastions. The Roman walls in effect became an outer bailey for the medieval castle.

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Pevensey Castle, Roman west gate © David Gill