23 March 2013

portchester castle

The great castle fort (or "chester") that stands at the mouth of Portsmouth. As soon as you see it, you begin to understand why few people were eager to attack it. It has been used by each people who have taken control of the harbor and has been added on to and improved through the years. The Normans added a great keep that towers (haha...sorry) over the inner bailey, much less the entire bay. Each power layered their own architectural style onto the fortress, causing roman brick decoration to be jumbled in with Norman arches and British stonework.


Soon after it was used as a prison where some three thousand prisoners were kept during wars with France. You can still see French graffiti on some of the walls, as well as some in English.


The top of the keep affords some beautiful views of the center of Portsmouth as well as the city on its edges. It was a delight to breathe in the sea air and long to be out on it along with generations of sailors, captains, and admirals. Others who ran through my mind standing on the shore were Fanny Price, from Jane Austen's Mansfield Park and Charles Dickens as a young boy growing up breathing this air. Here is the lovely Katina who was just as excited as I was about this wonderful thing we take so for granted.


Next it was off to Portsmouth itself!

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