Calshot Castle is one of Henry VIII's device forts, built on Calshot Spit at the Solent near Fawley to guard the entrance to Southampton Water (grid reference SU488025). Also known as a Henrician Castle, Calshot was built as part of Henry's chain of coastal defences to defend England's coast from foreign invasion especially during the turbulent times after his break from the Roman Catholic Church.
It was built as a circular blockhouse with a three storey central keep in 1540 using stone from Beaulieu Abbey. The castle was subject to a number of alterations in 1584. The outer walls were lowered in 1774 and the gatehouse was rebuilt in order to provide more living space. The poet Caroline Anne Bowles (1786–1854) spent childhood summers there when it was owned by a military uncle, Sir Harry Burrard. The south east battery was added in 1895 but has since been demolished. The castle was in use until 1956.
It is now owned by English Heritage and visitors to the castle can park in the adjacent leisure centre car park.
Historical events involving the Castle
In late September 1651, Col. Robert Phelipps arranged passage for Charles II, then on the run after the Battle of Worcester, with a shipmaster from Southampton for transportation to France. The shipmaster was to pick up Charles at a point "between Southampton and Calshott castle," according to Phelipps's account. Unfortunately, a day or two before the appointed rendezvous, the Parliamentary forces engaged in the invasion of Jersey requistioned that very vessel. Charles and his supporters were forced to try again. Had the plan succeeded, Charles would have slipped out of England under the Castle's guns.
- Fry, Plantagenet Somerset (1980). The David & Charles Book of Castles. David & Charles. ISBN 0-7153-7976-3
- Goad, J. G. (1991). Calshot Castle, Hampshire. London: English Heritage (Second edition). ISBN 1-85074-183-2
- Colvin, H.M. (ed) (1982). The History of the King's Works, Vol. IV, 1485–1600, Part II.
- Harrington, Peter (2007). The castles of Henry VIII. Oxford: Osprey. ISBN 978-1-84603-130-4
- Morley, B. M. (1976). Henry VIII and the development of coastal defence. London: H.M. Stationery Office. ISBN 0-11-670777-1
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