Saturday, 6 March 2010


The meaning of the word foreign can mean so many different things, especially depending on your point of view.  Britain has been invaded by foreigners so often that in time the invaders have become amalgamated into the population, and been invaded in their turn.

The first foreign invasion came from the Romans who crossed the English Channel and landed just to the north of Dover, here -

They probably thought the shingle (pebbled) beach was less of an obstacle that the white cliffs.

This stretch of coast was a target for all sorts of foreign invasions from the Vikings to William the Conqueror.  In 1539 Henry VIII started a defence programme of castle building along the south coast, and again in 1544.  Two of these were Deal Castle...

Deal Castle at sunset

and Walmer Castle.

Entrance to Walmer Castle

Cannon at Walmer Castle pointing out to sea

But the castle at Dover had been in existence well before either of these.  Its site, high on the cliffs overlooking the Channel, means that it has been a place of defensive significance throughout history.

Entrance to Dover Castle

It's spectacular enough when approaching from the landward side, the north-west.

Dover Castle from the sea

But it's when you are going out to sea and see it stretched along the top of the white cliffs that you realise just how significant the position is.  There are tunnels underneath which at one time housed 2000 men.  It remained important even until World War II, when the tunnels were used as air raid shelters and then a military command centre.  Many of the tunnels are now open to the public. If you enlarge the picture, you can see some of the windows and openings into the cliff face.

This has become rather long, sorry.  We've had a lot of foreign invasions!

If you'd like to join in the PhotoHunt, and find other other players, pay a visit to TNchick's site where you can find out more.
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  1. SPECTACULAR! I am a British history student. I've dabbled in the ancient history, of Brutus and the Saxons.... I wish I knew more.

    I'm a direct descendant of William the Conq. all the way down to King John. So the history has a personal interest, as well.

    Excellent photos.

    My Photo Hunters is up. I hope you have some time to take a peek. Happy weekend!

  2. The sight of those white cliffs is awesome... I imagine especially for the invaders!

  3. Great pictures but the last one is stunning. Very interesting post.

  4. I like all of these but the last one which shows the fine hotels the Romans must have stayed in, and the wonderful-looking restaurants in which they ate once they'd conquered the shingle beaches. No wonder you were invaded with such regularity - such hospitality!

    I will spare you my vision of the Romans trudging heavily up the hill after a monster meal of fresh seafood, to launch a twilight attack. I was thinking a direct descendent must be very old now.

    These were just gorgeous. Love the cannon.

  5. This is a great submission . . and makes me want to visit, with your comments in hand.

    mine's up, too.

  6. Looks like they built the castles out of beach rock.

  7. Great photos; thanks for pointing out the points I may have missed, and I had never heard the term >shingle beach<. _m

  8. great post and beatiful photos. love castles!

  9. I didn't think this was long at all. It was a very interesting and thoughtful take on the theme with some great shots to illustrate it.

    Thanks for visiting mine. I can relate to your being around multi-lingual family. I studied French but never mastered it. My daughter literally speaks and has studied more languages than I can remember. I can't even name all of the languages she knows, you'd think I could keep that straight but after the sixth or so, I stopped being able to remember all of them.

  10. @Mrs Mecomber, it always amazes me that people can trace their family history back so far. It must be a huge undertaking.

    @Sandi, the cliffs are even more impressive that that shot shows. I had to crop a fair amount out.

    @Susanne, Thank you. :)

    @Max, "Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head." But I don't think they noticed the burning coals, or it failed. In truth, the hotels are not so wonderful, and the restaurants are so-so, but the views are fantastic.

  11. @Lisa, you'd be very welcome. :)

    @Alice Audrey, I suppose it must have come from nearby.

    @Magyar, I've learnt that much of what I say isn't always understood, and I came a cropper with "shingle" not so very long ago.

    @Ipanema, I love castles too, thanks. :)

    @Carver, thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

  12. Really like your take on the theme -- and the photos you've put up in this entry. Incidentally, I have visited my fair share of castles -- including in the UK as well as Japan, etc. Haven't visited the ones in this entry though... Maybe some day...

  13. Again this is one of those themes that can easily take so many directions. Really enjoyed the castle photos and the history lesson too. Great shots and perfect for the theme.

  14. The views are fantastic? If you were in the castle and the view was a hoard of Roman soldiers climbing up the hill, you might not think it was so fantastic. :) Perhaps the word I'm looking for is "drove" rather than "hoard". Romans probably came in droves.

  15. What made this post so interesting is because it comes with amazing photos. It's like I'm reading a history book full of illustrations. I wish you could have made this post longer. It's a fun read.


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