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Brighton Town Defences

In the civil parish of Brighton.
In the historic county of Sussex.
Modern Authority of Brighton and Hove; City of.
1974 county of East Sussex.
Medieval County of Sussex (Rape of Lewes).

OS Map Grid Reference: TQ309039
Latitude 50.81989° Longitude -0.14305°

Brighton Town Defences has been described as a certain Urban Defence.

There are no visible remains.


Town defences were provided for Brighton, or Brighthelmston, following attacks by the French in 1514 and 1545. A flint wall 15 feet high and 3 feet thick was erected on the cliff for a distance of 400 feet westward from East Street (TQ 311038) and continued by a parapet with embrasures as far as West Street (TQ307039). Four gates were included. (East Sussex HER)

Beacons on the Downs were kept ready to give an alarm (of attack) and on the cliff just to the east of the Steine was the 'Cage', an iron basket full of burning fuel swung aloft on a high post. It is clearly drawn in the view of 1514. (VCH Vol. 1) The earliest fortification was 'the Bulwark', called 'the werke' in 1497, at which date there was a sea-gate (porta marina), (Mins. Accts. Hen. VII) which suggests that a wall was already in existence, stretching along the west cliff; but neither the wall nor 'the werke' is shown in the view. (VCH Vol. 7)

The town wall was considerably strengthened (if not actually newly constructed. The suggestion that a reference to 'the werke' implies a complete wall is not entirely convincing) when the Blockhouse was built in 1559.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:01

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