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Dover: Lock and Key of the Kingdom

Dover Castle - The Constable’s Gate

The Constable’s Gate was built to replace the northern gateway, breached in the French siege of 1216 and blocked in the  subsequent strengthening of the defences. It was built between 1221 and 1227 and is one of the most elaborate castle  gateways in the country. It consists of five conjoined towers, designed to thrust well  forward of the curtain wall and provide maximum flanking fire  over the widest possible area. The whole complex structure is  bound together at the rear to provide a hall and chambers for  the Constable of the castle and his household, and adequate  guardrooms and fighting platforms for its military working.  The entrance passage itself was defended by a portcullis, the  grooves of which remain, and a drawbridge. While the actual  outer entrance has been altered, the tall piers of a mediaeval  bridge leading up to it still stand. The approach to the gate ran  parallel to the curtain wall so any enemy approaching would be  subject to fire from the Castle’s defenders. From the time it was built until the present day the Constable’s  Gate at Dover has been the residence of the Constable of the  Castle, or (as now) his or her Deputy. The fact that it is an  official residence has preserved in the past it from the worst of  the cutting down and mutilation that has befallen so many of  Dover’s towers. As a residence too there have been changes to  make the interior less spartan for its inhabitants. In 1882 the  back of the gate, within the Castle, was heavily restored. The  brick arched structures joining the central tower to the flanking  towers to the north and south are comparatively modern  insertions, as are the Georgian windows and the balcony.
The Constable's Gate from the appoach road. The Constable's gate from inside the castle, showing the Victorian improvements to the accommodation. Back to Castle Index