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Rufus Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Bow & Arrow; Rufus's; Portlaund

In the civil parish of Portland.
In the historic county of Dorset.
Modern Authority of Dorset.
1974 county of Dorset.

OS Map Grid Reference: SY69757117
Latitude 50.53955° Longitude -2.42829°

Rufus Castle has been described as a certain Masonry Castle.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

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

Description

Rufus Castle, an irregular pentagonal tower with walls of roughly squared rubble and no roof, may be a rebuilding of the castle which was captured by Robert, Earl of Gloucester, in 1142. The present building is probably mainly of the late C15. The walls to the north and west stand to their full height and retain at the top a number of shaped corbels for a machicolated parapet, but part of the south-east wall, which is thinner, has broken away. To the south-west is a gateway with four-centred, arched head; to the north is a C19 gateway with a round-arched head approached by a bridge of the same date. In the south-east wall is a chamfered stone jamb of a doorway which has been closed up. In the north and west walls, at first-floor level, are five embrasures, splayed internally under segmental rear arches, with circular gunports. Outside the south gateway are the remains of stone footings and there are said to have been further buildings to the east, where the cliff has fallen away (RCHME).
The pentagonal tower of Bow and Arrow Castle overlooking Church Ope Cove has late Medieval gunholes, but rests uncomfortably on an earlier foundation (to the north) and stepped plinth (to the west) which may have been a C12 keep (Renn; Scheduling Report).
The gunports consist simply of a hole bored through a single ashlar slab, and are typically 15th century ( Fort 1980). (PastScape)

Aylmer de Lusignan obtained a licence to crenellate, in 1257, the insulam de Portand' and Robert, Earl of Gloucester, was granted a similar licence just 14 months later. It is generally presumed that Rufus castle is the site of any work that may have resulted from these licences and any remains that may date from the period exist only at foundation level, or have been lost to cliff erosion.

A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1257 Dec 12 (Click on the date for details of this licence.).
A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1259 Feb 7.

Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER   Scheduling   Listing   I. O. E.
Maps >
OS getamap   Streetmap   Old-Maps   Where's the path      
Data/Maps > 
Magic   V. O. B.   Geology   EarthTools   GeoHack  
Air Photos > 
Bing Maps   Google Maps   Getmapping   Flashearth      
Photos >
CastleFacts   Geograph   Flickr   Panoramio      

Sources of information, references and further reading
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The author and compiler of Gatehouse does not receive any income from the site and funds it himself. The information within this site is provided freely for educational purposes only.
The bibliography owes much to various bibliographies produced by John Kenyon for the Council for British Archaeology, the Castle Studies Group and others.
Suggestions for finding online and/or hard copies of bibliographical sources can be seen at this link.
Minor archaeological investigations, such as watching brief reports, and some other 'grey' literature is most likely to be held by H.E.R.s but is often poorly referenced and is unlikely to be recorded here, or elsewhere, but some suggestions can be found here.
The possible site or monument is represented on maps as a point location. This is a guide only. It should be noted that OS grid references defines an area, not a point location. In practice this means the actual center of the site or monument may often, but not always, be to the North East of the point shown. Locations derived from OS grid references and from latitude longitiude may differ by a small distance.
Further information on mapping and location can be seen at this link.
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*The listed building may not be the actual medieval building, but a building on the site of, or incorporating fragments of, the described site.
This record last updated on Saturday, March 29, 2014

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