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PORTLAND CASTLE

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Portland artillery castle was built by Henry VIII on the northern shore of the Isle of Portland as part of his network of coastal defences to protect against French and Spanish attacks. It was one of a pair of coastal fortifications, together with Sandsfoot Castle, which provided protection for the anchorage between Weymouth and Portland Bay. The two castles are positioned on opposite sides of the bay and are visible from each other. The construction of the fortification followed the advice of a Commission set up by Henry VIII in 1539, in response to a possible French invasion. It was probably completed by late 1540 and in service by early 1541. During the English Civil War the castle was the scene of fighting and was seized by both Parliamentarian and Royalist forces. Afterwards the castle became an ordnance store and then a prison. Between 1816-70 the castle became a private residence, however in the Second World War it was again used for military purposes. It was an ordnance depot and may have had other coastal defences added to it. Portland Castle has a central citadel which is fan-shaped in plan. The castle is constructed of ashlar dressed Portland Stone producing a 'rounded' external appearance. The citadel includes a single storey gun room facing across the harbour. The gun room was originally roofed and has embrasures for a further battery of five guns protected by an embattled parapet. This also shielded a second battery situated on the roof of the accommodation block. To the south and south east of the citadel was an outer yard which contained two gun platforms. Portland Castle is in the care of English Heritage.

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Further information about monuments may be obtained by contacting Archive Services, through the English Heritage website.