Mote Bulwark


The Mote Bulwark on the cliff face below Dover Castle (top) and what is believed to be an army drill hall being built off what is now Townwall Street, before the Second World War. An unusual feature of the picture is the small structure, bottom left. This appears to be a French style pissoir (wc.) This was not far from another pissoir, of different design, near to Old St James Church and the junction of Woolcomber Street and Maison Dieu Road, until just after the Second World War.

The Moat’s Bulwark was built by Henry VIII as part of artillery fortifications intended less as a strengthening of the castle than as protection for the newly enlarged harbour. These fortifications took the form of comparatively small block houses or batteries: the Black Bulwark on the Pier, Moat’s Bulwark below the castle cliff and a third bulwark in the castle moat.

Moats Bulwark has been greatly altered and little of the original structure remains. It is first mentioned as ‘the bulwark subtus castrum Doveri’ and was probably built circa March 1539, when Charles de Marillac, the French Ambassador, saw ‘the new ramparts and bulwarks in the rock where the sea beats’. I

The large semicircular battery which is now the most obvious feature, dates from the invasion scares of the 1740s when the harbour defences from Archcliffe Fort to Moat’s Bulwark were strengthened and barracks built at both places.