Deal is a town in Kent, England. It lies on the English Channel eight miles north-east of Dover. It is a small fishing community situated between Dover and Ramsgate. Closely associated with Deal are the villages of Kingsdown, Sholden and Walmer, the latter being where Julius Caesar first arrived in Britain (best guess by historians).
Deal was named as a 'limb port' of the Cinque Ports in 1278. Due to its position on the Downs, the town grew to become for a while the busiest port in England; today it enjoys the reputation of being a quiet seaside resort, its quaint streets and houses the only reminder of its fascinating history. The coast of France is approximately twenty-five miles from the town, and is visible on clear days.
Its finest building is the Tudor Deal Castle, commissioned by King Henry VIII and designed in a rose floor plan.
30 May 2009 - Deal (Walmer Castle), EnglandWalmer Castle and its beautiful formal gardens are a major attraction for visitors. The official residence of Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports since the 18th Century. Famous Lords Warden have included Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, Sir Winston Churchill, William Pitt the Younger, and the Duke of Wellington (of the Battle of Waterloo fame). Wellington lived there for 23 years and the castle houses not only a collection of Wellington memorabilia but also the room in which he died. The Castle was built in 1540 as one of three on this part of the Kent coast by orders of Henry VIII. The others were nearby Deal and Sandown (north Deal) - Sandown has been lost to coastal erosion.
Walmer Castle - View across the moat
At the centre of Walmer Castle is a circular keep, surrounded by an open courtyard and protected by a concentric wall, from which four, squat, semi-circular bastions project. The northern bastion forms the gatehouse and would have had a gun on its roof; the other bastions would have had guns mounted inside them and on the roof. The central keep would also have had guns mounted on its roof giving the castle the capacity to mount 39 guns.
Walmer Castle - Viewed from the moat
A gallery running around the castle at basement level has 32 loops for hand-guns covering the moat.
Walmer Castle - Across the moat looking to the castle
The defences were never put to the test during the Tudor period and it wasn't until 1648, during the English Civil War, that the castle finally came under siege. The three 'castles of the Downs' were initially held for Parliament, but the forces switched allegiance to support the Royalist cause. It took Parliamentary forces, led by Colonel Rich, nearly three months to defeat the three castles, with Walmer surrendering first after a three week siege.
Walmer Castle - Invasion defences
The Cinque Ports Confederation originated in the 11th century when the five ports of Hastings, Romney, Hythe, Dover and Sandwich joined forces to provide ships and men for the defence of the coast and protection of cross-channel trade. In return for these services they received substantial local privileges including immunity from all external courts of justice and from national taxation. In the 13th century the office of Warden was instituted to oversee and regulate the affairs of the Confederation.
Walmer Castle - The beautiful gardens I
The gardens surrounding the house include a commerative lawn, woodland walk and a working kitchen garden. The remainder of the grounds are mostly wildlife gardens.
Walmer Castle - The beautiful gardens II
Over the years successive Wardens converted the fort and its grounds into a comfortable country house and gardens. Resident Wardens included William Pitt the Younger (whose niece Lady Hester Stanhope initiated the castle's gardens, using labour from the local militia).
Walmer Castle - Duke of Wellington's death mask
The scourge of Napolean, the Duke of Wellington held the post of Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports for 23 years. This position originally carried real power, but with the forming of a Royal Navy and the decline of the Cinque Ports, the role of Warden became more of an honorary position.
Walmer Castle - Duke of Wellington's death chair
This is the armchair in which Wellington died on 14th September 1852. Many of his personnel effects can be seen in the Wellington museum including his campaign bed.
29 May 2009 - Deal (Deal Castle), EnglandDeal castle is one of the most impressive forts built by Henry VIII between 1539 and 1540 as an artillery fortress to counter the threat of invasion from Catholic France and Spain. It is shaped like a Tudor rose, being perfectly symmetrical, with a low, circular keep at its centre. Around the circumference of the keep are six bastions, with a further series of six bastions in the curtain wall, one of which serves as the gatehouse. All the outer walls of the castle and bastions are rounded to both provide strength and to deflect shot more efficiently than flat walls. Over 200 cannon and gun ports were set within the walls and the entire structure was completely surrounded by a very deep, wide moat.
Deal Castle - Revolutionary castle design
The castles were built to a revolutionary design being intended to engage in short, violent action against an invading enemy rather than to withstand long sieges. They were built low to provide the minimum target the ship's guns while offering a clear view for their own guns. They had no flat or angular surfaces as rounded walls would deflect most cannon balls without damage.
Deal Castle - Gun platform
The basic design has a hollow stone central keep in the form of a cylinder with 14 feet thick walls and a well of water at its base. Inside there was basic living accommodation and gund positions at the top as in this photo. Semi-circular lunettes, or buttresses were built against the circular wall of the keep and were provided with strong platforms on which the heavy guns were mounted. The entrance door is studded with 1200 bolts to deflect the axes of any invader and, above it, are the 'murder holes' from which quicklime or missiles would be dropped onto attackers.
Deal Castle - Sloped gun platform
The gun platforms are sloped to reduce the recoil effect of the guns when fired. As well big guns, Deal is also equipped for close quarter defence, with no less than 145 embrasures for firearms. The fort guarded the sheltered anchorage of 'the Downs' - the stretch of water between the shore and hazardous Goodwin Sands.
Deal Castle - Dry moat I
The castle looks very low from some distance and vulnerable to scaling but this photo shows the wide moat which was dug around the castle to increase the height of the walls, making Deal truly formidable.
Deal Castle - Dry moat II
The foreign invasion that Deal was built to defend against never materialised, but the Castle saw hard fighting during the English Cicil War (1648). It was briefly captured by Royalist forces and was besieged twice by Parliamentarians, only surrendering after the bloody repulse of a relief attempt.
Deal Castle - Entrance to the castle
The entrance door is studded with 1200 bolts to deflect the axes of any invader.
Deal Castle - Murder holes above the entrance
Above the entrance are the 'murder holes' from which quicklime or missiles would be dropped onto attackers. Today, the whole of the castle can be explored, from the storerooms including where gun powed was stored and copper is the only metal used to prevent sparks. This, the other rooms and the captain's residence can all be visited and the history of Deal Castle understood.