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The Downs Beach Fortifications

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Great Turf Bulwark; Little Turf Bulwark; Great White Bulwark of Clay; Black or Walmer Bulwark

In the civil parish of Deal, Walmer.
In the historic county of Kent.
Modern Authority of Kent.
1974 county of Kent.
Medieval County of Kent.

OS Map Grid Reference: TR37595430
Latitude 51.23840° Longitude 1.40228°

The Downs Beach Fortifications has been described as a certain Artillery Fort, and also as a certain Linear Defence or Dyke.

There are no visible remains.


Circular earthen bulwarks and linear trench system which linked Sandown (TR 3759 5430), Deal (TR 3777 5220) and Walmer (TR 3775 5010) Castles. Built between 1539-43 in response to the invasion crisis of 1538. The exact locations of the Great Turf Bulwark (poss TR 376 536) and Little Turf Bulwark (poss TR 376 529) between Sandown and Deal are uncertain, yet more accurate locations are known for the Great White Bulwark and Black Bulwark between Deal and Walmer. The four bastions, or blockhouses, were linked by a trench, poss. by a covered way. The bulwarks were first manned in October 1540, and were defaced and without guns as early as 1547, though they were not disassemled until 1550. In a 1640 estate plan, the earthworks are named the 'Great White Bulwark of Clay' and the 'Blacke Bullwork' (Saunders; HKW). There is no trace of their existence today, yet at the proposed site of the Great White Bulwark (TR 376 514, near the modern lifeboat station) are three semi-circular banks of mounds which resemble the shape of the bulwark. Similar evidence exists for the Black Bulwark (TR 376 507), where there is a slightly raised rectangular area at the proposed location. The bulwarks were represented on an Admiralty Chart of 1795 and were overlayed with a current map of the area to derive the proposed locations (Harlow). (Kent HER)
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:06

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