I know, holidaying in Britian in January? what more proof that madness prevails in this country do you need? Nevertheless last week we spent a few days in and around Eastbourne. The south coast has seen its fair share of invasion scares (and actual invasions too) and naturally some defensive measures have been taken. During the Napoleonic Wars three large forts were planned along the south coast, at Eastbourne, Rye and Dymchurch as part of a scheme which also included 83 Martello Towers. In the event only 74 Martello Towers were built and the fort at Rye was cancelled.
The view of the moat from the access bridge. Unfortunately the fort is only open at weekends over the summer months so this was as much as I was able to see. During the Napoleonic Wars the fort fired only two rounds 'in anger', against a passing French frigate, both of which missed.
At the other end of the promenade at Eastbourne is a Martello Tower, called locally the Wish Tower. As noted above it is one of the 74 built along the South coast, another 29 were constructed to cover Essex and Suffolk.
The towers were surrounded by a dry moat and had one piece of artillery, housed on the roof. For details of the other south coast martello towers see this link.
Some time ago Steve and I organised a 'Lion Rampant' game for the RECON show based on the battle of Lewes. As the town was near to Eastbourne it seemed only right that myself and management should go and visit. The battlefield site has changed completely of course over the centuries, but the castle still stands proudly over the town and the ruins of the priory can be seen. As part of the castle entry you gain access to the SAS (Sussex Archaeological Society) museum. This houses several interesting finds including Anglo-Saxon swords and shield bosses
The restored barbican for the castle
Unusually, the castle had two mottes, with an enclosed bailey between them. The view below looks towards the older, northerly motte from the top of the other.
We enjoyed our stay and there are plenty of interesting sites in the area. Perhaps we may visit again when longer days and warmer weather arrive.
Days of King Louis and Queen Anne event
20 minutes ago