The castle was in a convenient position for royal parties to stay at when preparing to travel across to Normandy and both Henry II and Richard II made improvements to it during their reigns. But Portchester Castle lost its status as an important Royal residence in the reign of King John when the castle was almost destroyed after being captured by the Dauphin Louis in 1217 and Portsmouth became the favoured departure point to Normandy, rather than Portchester. In more recent times the castle was used a prison during the Napoleonic Wars when French soldiers were held there.
|Portchester Castle Key Facts|
|County||Hampshire (5 castles)|
|Directions||On the shores of Portsmouth harbour|
|Categories||Stone / Norman Square Keep|
|Remains||Not complete but much survives|
|Access to site||Only open at certain times|
|1133||Augustinians at Portchester|
|A small priory was built by Augustinian monks within the confines of Portchester Castle.|
|1217||Portchester castle captured|
|Prince Louis captured and almost destroyed the castle at Portchester.|
Episode: The First Barons' War
|1415||Aug 11||Henry sails for France|
|Preparations for war were complete and Henry's army set sail from Southampton for the French coast.|
Episode: Henry V - The Hundred Years War
White Tower, London
One of the most important types of building in the time of William the Conqueror and William Rufus were the Norman keeps. Although many were rebuilt in the following century there are many good examples still remaining. The White Tower in London (pictured left), Dover and Rochester in the south east, Newcastle, Appleby, Carlisle, Brough, Richmond in the north are all examples of this type of castle. Other examples include Portchester, Guilford, Goodrich, Norwich, Castle Rising, Hedingham and Colchester. The castles are all built from a roughly uniform plan. A massive square tower with a square turret at each of the corners that project slightly. Each of the main faces of the castle has a flat buttress running up the centre of the wall for extra strength. The only parts that have decoration are usually the main doorway at the entrance and the chapel. At the centre of the keep are large halls. Some keeps have a dividing wall down the middle. Access to different levels and sections of the castle are by passages and spiral staircases built into the thick walls.
Take control of a medieval trebuchet to destroy the enemy castle and capture their flag.
Transport yourself back up to a thousand years and explore historical buildings as they may have appeared in the past.