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Harwich Town Defences

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;

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: TM261324
Latitude 51.94446° Longitude 1.28863°

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

There are no visible remains.


In 1338 Edward III made a grant of murage on goods coming by land or water to Harwich or the port of Orwell to pay for the building of a town wall. Ipswich protested and the grant was revoked. A second grant was made in 1377-99, but again Ipswich protested. The walls were however built at some point in the second half of C14. A licence to crenellate was issued in 1352. The early post-medieval maps depict its approximate line. On the east and south-east side they appear to have been built of stone, probably septaria, with occasional wall turrets and a castle tower on the north-eastern corner. On the northern side, there was a palisade, which linked the large stone buildings fronting on to the quays, forming a barrier. To the west and south-west there was an earthen bank and ditch, cutting across marshy wasteland. The defences were pierced by a number of gates: the main Towngate was located on the south side on the main road to Colchester; then there was Castlegate at the north-east corner; St Austin's Gate at the end of St Austin's Lane; Barton's gate at the end of Market Street; and Eastgate on Eastgate Street which opened on to the quays. There were also large banks and ditches along the main road out of Harwich, although these may have been a later addition. The town walls were strengthened and the ditches re-dug between 1553 and 1558, first in response to the threatened revolt of the Duke of Northumberland and then because of continuing war with France. A big tower and bulwark called the Queen's Mount was erected at the south-eastern corner of the town. The Armada threat of 1588 led to the repair of the walls, construction of a palisade to defend the quays and a stone bulwark to defend the port, as well as the scouring of the harbour. (Essex HER)

A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1352 Aug 25 (Click on the date for details of this licence.).

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This record last updated 18/08/2017 07:59:48

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