Camber Castle

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Camber Castle

Camber Castle is one of Henry VIII's Device Forts, also known as Henrician Castles, built to protect the huge Rye anchorage (grid reference TQ921184).

It is approximately 2 km (1.2 mi) south of Rye and 2 km (1.2 mi) northeast of Winchelsea and is a grade I listed building. [1]


Camber Castle seen from the air

Between 1512 and 1514 Sir Edward Guldeford built a circular tower to defend the harbour. This tower was incorporated into a new fort which was built between 1539 and 1544. It was expanded to become a symmetrical artillery fort. The original tower was augmented with four outer towers linked by an octagonal wall concealing a covered passage. Part of this construction was directed by Stefan von Haschenperg. Finally, four large D-shaped bastions serving as gun platforms were placed in front of the earlier towers. As the shoreline receded south the height of the central tower was raised in order to maintain the range of the castle's cannon.

However by the end of the 16th century the silting of the Camber made the castle largely obsolete and in 1637 it was abandoned.

It is now owned by English Heritage after being taken over by the state in 1967. It opened to the public in 1994 after the walls were re-pointed in order to stabilise them.[2] There are guided walks round Rye Harbour Nature Reserve most months in the summer, which include the castle and local farm; but it is best to call before visiting to check that it is open. It is managed by Rye Harbour Nature Reserve.

See also[edit]

The central tower of Camber Castle (right) and the later surrounding defences


  1. ^ "Name: CAMBER CASTLE List entry Number: 1234738". English Heritage. Retrieved 27 July 2014. 
  2. ^ Oliver Gillie (2 April 1994). "A flawed bastion against the Armada reopens: Camber Castle was preserved because the sea left it behind. Oliver Gillie reports". The Independent. Retrieved 30 August 2012. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Biddle, Martin, J. Hiller, I. Scott and A. Streeten (2001). Henry VIII's Coastal Artillery Fort at Camber Castle, Rye, East Sussex: An Archaeological Structural and Historical Investigation. London: Oxford Archaeological Unit for English Heritage.
  • Colvin, H.M. (ed) (1982). The History of the King's Works, Vol. IV, 1485–1600, Part II.
  • Fry, Plantagenet Somerset (1980). The David & Charles Book of Castles. David & Charles. ISBN 0-7153-7976-3
  • 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

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 50°55′59″N 0°43′57″E / 50.93305°N 0.73248°E / 50.93305; 0.73248