The Roman Lighthouse, Dover, Kent

The Journal Of Antiquities

Roman Lighthouse, Dover, Kent Roman Lighthouse, Dover, Kent (photo credit: Garry Hogg)

Os grid reference TR3260 4181. At the south-eastern side of Dover, Kent, along Mortimer Road on the promontory called Eastern Heights and in the grounds of Dover Castle, a 12th century Norman strong-hold, stands a ‘reasonably’ well-preserved Roman Lighthouse or Pharos, dating from around 46-50 AD (during the reign of the Emperor Claudius 41-54 AD) and, just after the invasion of Britain in 43 AD; the Roman army possibly first coming ashore here or further along the Kent coast at Walmer. There was a second Roman lighthouse at Breden-stone on the Western Heights but nothing much of that remains. The parish church of St Mary-in-Castro, a late Saxon foundation from 1000 AD, stands right beside the Pharos but is not attached.

The Romans built a large fort here in c130 AD in order to guard the harbour and sea-route for the fleet sailing from Gaul and through the English Channel. It seems likely they rebuilt the fort in the mid 3rd century. They called the…

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