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Harwich Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Herewiche

In the civil parish of Harwich.
In the historic county of Essex.
Modern Authority of Essex.
1974 county of Essex.
Medieval County of Essex.

OS Map Grid Reference: TM25993287
Latitude 51.94822° Longitude 1.28707°

Harwich Castle has been described as a certain Masonry Castle, and also as a certain Urban Defence.

There are no visible remains.

Description

The murage tolls granted by Richard II (1377-99) were intended both for wall-building and the erection of a castle at the north-east corner of the town. Following a protest by Ipswich the murage grant was revoked, but the castle seems to have been built anyway, for Henry V (1399-1413) granted permission to the town to levy tolls for its repair. The sixteenth and C17 maps depict the castle as a tower on the north-eastern corner of the town wall. (Unlocking Essex's Past–Ref. Weaver)

A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1405 March 15 (Click on the date for details of this licence.).

Comments

Given the status of Harwich as base for formation of medieval fleets this tower probably had a function as a storehouse and administrative centre and was more than just a large town wall tower. However, as it was owned by the town and was on the line of the town defences it could be considered as an urban defence.
Gatehouse can not find a permission to levy tolls granted to Harwich by Henry V in either the patent or close rolls. Murage grants are referenced in Harwich Town Defences which should also be consulted for full bibliography.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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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.
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This record last updated before 1 February 2016

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