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Southampton Town Wall, Bargate and Gods House Tower

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Suthampton; South Castle; The Spur; Millhouse; Bargate; Polymond Tower; Arundel Tower; Windwhistle Tower; Prince Edward Tower; Catchcold Tower

In the civil parish of Southampton.
In the historic county of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
Modern Authority of Southampton; City of.
1974 county of Hampshire.
Medieval County of Hampshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SU41981163
Latitude 50.90269° Longitude -1.40416°

Southampton Town Wall, Bargate and Gods House Tower has been described as a certain Urban Defence, and also as a certain Artillery Fort.

There are major building remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.
This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.


The original town defences of Southampton comprised a bank and ditch, but these were replaced by circa 1200 by stone walls. Defences were constructed on the south and west sides between circa 1360 and 1385, after attacks from the French. By the late C14 to early C15 the defences included seven gates and posterns. The west wall and parts of south wall survive with bastions and towers. Well preserve Bargate, West gate and South gate also survive. God's House Tower, added in reign of Henry V, projects beyond line of wall, controlled the sluices of the moat and was equipped with 8 gunports.

Bargate and Guildhall - Dates from circa 1180 with addition and alterations of circa 1290, C18 and restored in 1864-5. It was built as a town gateway with Guildhall at first floor level. Breaches were cut in the adjoining Town Walls in the 1930s. Two storeys built of stone and flint. Ground floor has a central round-headed archway of circa 1180-1200 the arch and responds round-chamfered with small square abaci. Two other arches added in 1764 and 1774. Large drum towers were added on the north side circa 1280-90. These retain arrow slit windows. Embattled north front added circa 1400. South side 2 storey portion added probably in late C13 with 4 windows lighting the upper storey room (restored 1864-5). Between the centre 2 windows is a trefoiled niche containing a statue of George III in Roman costume. This replaced a wooden statue of Queen Anne, now in the Bargate Museum. Bell of 1605 attached on the left hand side. This was the curfew and alarm bell. Sundial of 1705. Five panels containing painted shields of C18 date. The interior of the Guildhall contains late C13 stone fireplaces with cinquefoil arch. This is one of the finest town gateways in England. (Listed Building Report)

God's House Gate - A circa 1300 gateway defended by a double portcullis. It was known as the Saltmarsh Gate and God's House Gate after the nearby hospital for poor travellers. The tower above the gate was called Lambcote Tower and was used as a prison. Built of stone rubble. Three storey tower with arched gateway with double portcullis and 3 storey building adjoining. The windows are trefoil or cinquefoil headed lights. (Listed Building Report)

Water Gate Tower - C14 and C15. The remains of the Watergate, the south gate of the town. Built of stone rubble. Drum tower of 3 storeys and part of fourth storey with 3 arched windows. Three storey rectangular tower added to west in early C15. South facade has a central part recessed between buttresses and a parapet with machicolations resting on 3 stepped corbels. Remains of garderobes on each floor. Four centred doorway. Late C15 extension to the north, the west wall retaining a 2 light square-headed window. (Listed Building Report)

Section of wall running west from Bargate to Arundel Tower and then south to point just south of Castle Water Gate. It includes Arundel Tower, Catchcold Tower, Garderobe Tower, The 40 Steps, Castle Water Gate and Castle Vault.
Mediaeval City Walls. It includes the Arundel Tower, a round tower built early to Mid C13 with another stage added probably 1377-9 when Sir John Arundel was governor of the Castle Catchcold tower, an early C15 tower with 3 gunports, amongst the earliest in Europe. South of Catchcold Tower are the 40 Steps, a series of stone steps built on to the wall in 1850. The Castle stood to the south of this in mediaeval times. Between 2 buttresses is the entrance to Castle Vault a C12 rectangular tunnel-vaulted undercroft, with some corbels, which was built to store the King's wines. The barrels were unloaded directly from the quay into the vault. Single round-headed window to south of entrance. Immediately to the south is the Castle Water Gate with a blocked segmental-headed C14 doorway. (Listed Building Report)
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:07

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