Thursday, 26 August 2010

Henry VIII's Castle

Portland Roads has been a refuge for ships in bad weather for centuries, and control of the harbour area has been vital. During the sixteenth century when Henry was falling out with most of Europe because of his divorce from Katherine of Aragon and formation of the Church of England, a number of fortifications were built along the south coast to protect against invasion by the French and Spanish.

Some of these still stand, one being Portland Castle now in the hands of English Heritage. While our laundry dried at the Marina, we wandered around the castle, looking out of the gunports to see how it would have dominated the harbour. It remained armed and garrisoned for nearly 250 years, then serving as a prison, private house and military barracks and an embarkation point for the D-Day landings in the Second World War. Two of the big Phoenix  Caissons, intended for Mulberry Harbour are still at Castletown Pier.

The rain has stopped, but the wind is still strong.

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