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Archaeologia Cantiana - Vol. 87   1972 page 131

Rochester East Gate, 1969. By A. C. Harrison, B.A., F.S.A.

that both were reconstructed as part of a single extensive remodelling of the defences.14 Any attempt at closer dating must depend upon the character of the work itself. Canon Livett suggested that the wall and corner-turret were built c. 1340,15 but this may be too early. The architecture of the wall and of the corner-turret is not particularly distinctive, but one feature of the design occurs regularly in work of the last quarter of the fourteenth century, viz. the plan of the tower, circular externally and polygonal within. Dated examples of this feature include the West Gate at Canterbury16 (1378); the gateway the the inner ward at Saltwood Castle17 (1382); the north-eastern tower of the inner ward at Cooling Castle18 (1381-2); the drum-tower of Bodiam Castle19 (1385).20 There was, in fact, a considerable amount of defensive building in the south-east during the early years of Richard II's reign in response to the danger of raids by the French,21 and it seems not unreasonable to attribute the rebuilding of the East Gate and the adjoining wall, together with the additional corner-turret, to this period also.
   There is no documentary evidence as to the date of the demolition of the East Gate. As mentioned above (see page 126) it was clearly still standing in 1588 but, by the time the Mathematical School
was built in 1708,22 it had been swept away, the ditch filled in and the road widened to cover the site of its northern drum-tower. A date fairly late in the seventeenth century seems most probable because in the title-deeds of no. 120 High Street, dated at the end of that century,23 the bridge is mentioned as still in existence.

   14 In Arch. Cant., lxxxiii (1968), 80-1, it is argued that the defences in the south-eastern and southern sections were put in order at about the same time.
   15   Arch. Cant., xxi (1895), 56-7.
  
16 Arch. Journ., lxxxvi (1930), 242.
   17    Arch. Cant  xxiii (1898), 56.
 
18   Arch. Cant., ii (1859), 95 ff. for documentary evidence, and Arch. Cant., xi (1877), 132 and plan.
   19  W. D, Simpson, Castles in England and Wales, London, 1969, p. 96.
   20  Most of these examples are circular/hexagonal in plan, but the Canterbury West Gate towers are octagonal internally like the one under discussion.
   21   Between the Earl of Pembroke's defeat at
La Rochelle in 1372 and the Earl of Arundel's victory at Cadzand in 1387, England virtually lost control of the Channel. Bye and Gravesend were sacked in 1377, and Winchelsea sacked and burnt in 1380.
  
22  The original conveyance describes the area of the ditch purchased as 'garden ground'. The dimensions coincide exactly with those of the Victorian building demolished in 1970.
  
23  Cited by Canon Livett,
Arch. Cant., xxi (1895), 52.

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