Henry VIII's coastal artillery fort at Camber Castle, Rye, East Sussex: an archaeological, structural and historical investigation
Oxford Archaeological Unit for English Heritage, 2001 - History - 374 pages
Camber castle is located on the south coast of England, a short distance to the south of the town and Cinque Port of Rye. Largely constructed between 1539 and 1543, it was an elaborate artillery fortification that represented an important element of Henry VIII's 'Device', or coastal defence network, put in place from 1539 as a response to the threat of invasion following England's breach with Rome. The castle was operational for 100 years. By the 1630s, the steady advance of the coastline had left it stranded well inland from the sea. This, combined with changes in the concept of the artillery fortification, resulted in its decommissioning in 1637. Unusually, Camber Castle was not adapted for continued use through the 18th and 19th centuries, and survives as an example of a largely unmodified Henrician artillery fort. It displays several clear and discrete phases of construction, which reflect changes in thinking about the design of fortifications. The construction phase of 1539-40, under the direction of Stephen von Haschenperg, is of particular interest since it represents the first attempt to build in England an artillery fortress of ultimately Italian inspiration. Doubts about the effectiveness of von Haschenperg's design led, however, to a complete remodelling of the castle's defences along more conservative lines, undertaken in 1542-3. The castle, which is in the guardianship of English Heritage, has seen numerous campaigns of research, survey and excavation. This volume draws together all the available evidence to provide a full and synthesised account of the current state of knowledge regarding this monument. It includes a revised and expanded version of Martin Biddle's authoritative study, originally published in The History of the King's Works. Full reports are also included on the artefact and animal bone assemblages, which are of considerable importance for the early post-medieval period. These include the extensive 16th- and early 17th-century assemblage of English and imported pottery, a German ceramic tile-stove, a wide range of 16th- and 17th-century military artefacts, and a significant collection of vessel glass including facon de Venise cristallo. The animal bone collection is a useful benchmark for the zoo-archaeology of post-medieval England, and provides evidence for early livestock improvements. There is also a detailed review of the surviving building accounts for von Haschenperg's fortification.
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16th century Arrowhead assemblage ball base basement gallery basement level bodkin point bones bowl brick Caen Stone Camber Castle cannon casemates Chapter chord wall construction context copper alloy culverins Curtain Wall decorated demi-culverins deposits Diameter door drinking jugs early 17th-century Earthenware English Heritage Entrance Bastion evidence excavation Fabric Fabric 20 fireplace flanged dishes flasks Forework fragments Gaimster garderobe Gatehouse glaze Group gunports guns humerus identified illustrated inches infilling iron Keep late 16th layer lead material medieval mortar moulded nails ordnance parapet phase IIb Plate possible post-medieval postholes pottery probably radial passages Rampire Red Earthenware Redware roof sandstone sgraffito sherds shingle short bodkin point Slipware socketed Stirrup Tower stone stove Streeten string-course structure suggests surviving SW courtyard Table tiles timber trench tripod pipkins Vaulted Ring Passage vessels Ware Winchelsea