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HER Number:MSH14
Type of Record:Monument
Name:Town Defences - town wall, towers and gates
Grid Reference:None recorded

Summary

Parent record for all sections of the town wall, towers and gates (see elsewhere for ditches and ramparts), whether surviving above ground or demolished. See child records for individual elements.

Protected Status: None recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record (ex OS Antiquity Record): SU 41 SW 4  

Monument Types

Full description

Records for the town walls are currently being enhanced and it is intended that further details will be added to this description at a later date. (SCC HER 16/12/09)
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The above-ground remains of the town wall, towers and gates are all listed (mainly Grade I, and some Grade II) and scheduled. The listing and scheduling do not correspond. The list descriptions incorrectly refer in places to the "city walls"; in the medieval period Southampton was a town.

[1]: Listed Building Descriptions for the town walls. Circuit anti-clockwise from Bargate:

BARGATE STREET - Bar Gate and Guildhall (formerly listed under High Street) Grade I.
- Dates from circa 1180 with addition and alterations of circa 1290, C18 and restored in 1864- 5. It was built as a town gateway with Guildhall at first floor level. Breaches were cut in the adjoining Town Walls in the 1930s. Two storeys built of stone and flint. Ground floor has a central round-headed archway of circa 1180-1200 the arch and responds round-chamfered with small square abaci. Two other arches added in 1764 and 1774. Large drum towers were added on the north side circa 1280-90. These retain arrow slit windows. Embattled north front added circa 1400. South side 2 storey portion added probably in late C13 with 4 windows lighting the upper storey room (restored 1864-5). Between the centre 2 windows is a trefoiled niche containing a statue of George III in Roman costume. This replaced a wooden statue of Queen Anne, now in the Bargate Museum. Bell of 1605 attached on the left hand side. This was the curfew and alarm bell. Sundial of 1705. Five panels containing painted shields of C18 date. The interior of the Guildhall contains late C13 stone fireplaces with cinquefoil arch. This is one of the finest town gateways in England. Scheduled as an Ancient Monument.

TOWN WALLS - Section of wall running west from Bargate to Arundel Tower and then south to point just south of Castle Water Gate. It includes Arundel Tower, Catchcold Tower, Garderobe Tower, The 40 Steps, Castle Water Gate and Castle Vault (formerly listed as Section of Town Wall running from the point of junction with the Castle Wall just north of Simnel Street to its eastern termination just west of Bargate). Grade I.
- Mediaeval City Walls. It includes the Arundel Tower, a round tower built early to Mid C13 with another stage added probably 1377-9 when Sir John Arundel was governor of the Castle Catchcold tower, an early C15 tower with 3 gunports, amongst the earliest in Europe. South of Catchcold Tower are the 40 Steps, a series of stone steps built on to the wall in 1850. The Castle stood to the south of this in mediaeval times. Between 2 buttresses is the entrance to Castle Vault a C12 rectangular tunnel-vaulted undercroft, with some corbels, which was built to
store the King's wines. The barrels were unloaded directly from the quay into the vault. Single round-headed window to south of entrance. Immediately to the south is the Castle Water Gate with a blocked segmental-headed C14 doorway. Scheduled as an ancient monument.

TOWN WALLS - Sections of wall running south along Esplanade from south-west corner of Simnel Street to University Air Squadron Headquarters at south end of Bugle Street. Includes The Arcades, The West Gate, Blue Anchor Postern and Biddles Gate. (Also listed as: WESTGATE STREET - The West Gate including portions of Town Walls and arcades adjoining.) Grade I.
- Mediaeval City Wall built of stone rubble about 20 feet in height. It incorporates the Arcade, and arcaded screen wall built against existing Norman merchants houses forming a series of deep arched recesses to give a rampart wall at the top, 19 arches in all, and the West Gate. This Mid C14 gateway has simple chamfered outer arches and a pointed tunnel-vault. It has 2 portcullis grooves. The 2 upper storeys have C16 gunports. Embattled parapets. Through this gate the army of Henry V marched to the ships for Agincourt in 1415 and the Pilgrim Fathers embarked from West Quay on "the Mayflower" on August 15th, 1620. Scheduled as an ancient monument.

TOWN QUAY - Geddes Warehouse including mediaeval wall forming front of warehouse (formerly listed as “section of Town Wall forming front of warehouse occupied by Jones Warehouse Co") Grade II.
- Dated 1866 in the end gable. Six storeys. Red brick with paler red brick window dressings and yellow brick long and short quoins. Roof now covered with corrugated iron sheeting. Two gables, originally having hoists but now blocked up. Ten windows in all, fixed metal casements mainly with cambered architraves. The end elevation has 2 windows and inscription in the gable end reading "1866, D. Geddes, Surveyor - H.W. Bull, Builder". This is one of the few remaining old warehouses in Southampton. Part of the mediaeval city wall of Southampton ran through the south wall.

TOWN QUAY - Water Gate Tower (formerly listed as Watergate) (Grade I).
- C14 and C15. The remains of the Watergate, the south gate of the town. Built of stone rubble. Drum tower of 3 storeys and part of fourth storey with 3 arched windows. Three storey rectangular tower added to west in early C15. South facade has a central part recessed between buttresses and a parapet with machicolations resting on 3 stepped corbels. Remains of garderobes on each floor. Four centred doorway. Late C15 extension to the north, the west wall retaining a 2 light square-headed window. Scheduled as an ancient monument.

TOWN QUAY - Eastgate Printing Works (Grade II).
- Mid C19 cement rendered industrial building with slate roof. Four storeys. Ground floor grooved in imitation of masonry. Six windows, casements some with cambered heads. Coach entrance. It incorporates a section of the Southampton City Wall.

TOWN QUAY - God's House Gate (formerly listed as South Gate or God's House Gate and adjoining portion of City Wall) Grade I.
- A circa 1300 gateway defended by a double portcullis. It was known as the Saltmarsh Gate and God's House Gate after the nearby hospital for poor travellers. The tower above the gate was called Lambcote Tower and was used as a prison. Built of stone rubble. Three storey tower with arched gateway with double portcullis and 3 storey building adjoining. The windows are trefoil or cinquefoil headed lights. Scheduled as an ancient monument.

TOWN WALLS - Section of wall running north from God's House along back of the Walls to Round Tower adjacent to No 15 (formerly listed as section of Town Wall in back of the Walls running south from Raleigh House until it joins the South Gate or God's House). Grade I.
- Remains of mediaeval city walls. Wall of stone rubble incorporating a C13 half drum tower. Scheduled as an ancient monument.

TOWN WALLS - Section of wall running along back of the Walls from just north of No 39 to Briton Street (formerly listed as section of Town Wall in back of the Walls running south from Raleigh House until it joins the south Gate or God's House) Grade II.
- Remains of mediaeval city walls. Rubble walls from 5 to 8 feet in height. Scheduled as an ancient monument.

TOWN WALLS - Section of wall running north from a point opposite the entrance to East Gate Street to rear of No 107 East Street (formerly listed as section of Town Wall running south from East Street to a point facing the entrance to East Gate Street) Grade II.
- Remains of mediaeval city walls. Built of stone rubble. About 8 feet in height. Scheduled as an ancient monument.

TOWN WALLS - Section of wall running west from Polymond Tower to remains of semi-circular tower to East of Bargate and small part south of Polymond Tower (formerly listed under York Gate and adjoining parts of City Wall) Grade I.
- Remains of mediaeval city walls. Built of stone rising to 15 feet in height. There is a gap where the wall was breached in 1769 and York Gate (demolished in 1961) was erected. The wall is scheduled as an ancient monument.

[Derived from English Heritage LBS download dated 19/08/2005. Crown Copyright. Reproduced under the terms of the Open Government Licence.]

Sources / Further Reading

---SSH2624 - Unpublished document: NMR/OS. 1969-1982. NMR/OS Antiquity Record SU 41 SW 4.
---SSH4105 - Bibliographic reference: ?. ?. Fortress Britain - Gazetteer (includes section on Southampton Town Walls).
---SSH4213 - Article in serial: 1872. Annual Meeting at Southampton, 1872.. Archaeological Journal, Vol 29, 1872, pp368-378 etc.
---SSH4214 - Article in serial: Builder (magazine). 1872. (Description of Southampton's town walls and castle wall.). Builder (magazine), Dec 28th, 1872.
[1]SSH2888 - Digital archive: English Heritage. 2005. Listed Buildings System dataset for Southampton.

Associated Finds: None recorded

Associated Events

  • ESH2002 - Condition survey of Arundel Tower and the town wall on Bargate Street and part of Western Esplanade

Related records

MSH60Child of: Town Defences
MSH230Parent of: Forty Steps on the western town wall by Western Esplanade
MSH715Parent of: Southampton Castle – west curtain wall by Cement Terrace
MSH3135Parent of: Town Defences - "Tower next the Long House" (demolished)
MSH1113Parent of: Town Defences - arcaded town wall north of the Bugle Tower
MSH819Parent of: Town Defences - archway north of Blue Anchor Lane
MSH12Parent of: Town Defences - Arundel Tower
MSH52Parent of: Town Defences - Catchcold Tower
MSH22Parent of: Town Defences - First Tower East of Bargate
MSH17Parent of: Town Defences - former Notebeme's Tower/Notebeme Tower/Notebeem Tower (Watchbell Tower)
MSH722Parent of: Town Defences - former tower along the demolished town wall north of Simnel Street
MSH1025Parent of: Town Defences - Friary Gate/Friars’ Gate (Square Tower)
MSH758Parent of: Town Defences - Garderobe Tower (small tower north of the castle site)
MSH2248Parent of: Town Defences - God's House Gate and God's House Tower
MSH3157Parent of: Town Defences - north-south wall, possibly part of town wall
MSH36Parent of: Town Defences - Polymond Tower
MSH3423Parent of: Town Defences - possible tower east of Arundel Tower
MSH3121Parent of: Town Defences - postern gate in northern town wall west of Polymond Tower
MSH3156Parent of: Town Defences - postern gate in town walls at end of Blue Anchor Lane
MSH1026Parent of: Town Defences - Reredorter Tower (Friar’s Garret)
MSH21Parent of: Town Defences - Second Tower East of Bargate
MSH1112Parent of: Town Defences - section of town wall on Western Esplanade
MSH1111Parent of: Town Defences - section of town wall south of Westgate
MSH50Parent of: Town Defences - site of demolished tower west of Biddle's Gate
MSH219Parent of: Town Defences - site of fifth tower south of East Gate
MSH157Parent of: Town Defences - site of first tower south of East Gate (“First Tower”)
MSH3120Parent of: Town Defences - site of former tower south of Polymond Tower
MSH216Parent of: Town Defences - site of fourth tower south of East Gate
MSH3124Parent of: Town Defences - site of second tower south of East Gate
MSH209Parent of: Town Defences - site of third tower south of East Gate
MSH1866Parent of: Town Defences - site of tower along the Arcades
MSH1865Parent of: Town Defences - site of tower along the Arcades (Fish Tower)
MSH1867Parent of: Town Defences - site of tower at south end of the Arcades
MSH2010Parent of: Town Defences - Small Corner Tower/Corner tower next to Beaulieu Cellar/Square Tower
MSH19Parent of: Town Defences - spur work west of Arundel Tower
MSH919Parent of: Town Defences - The Arcades, Western Esplanade
MSH2240Parent of: Town Defences - The Bargate (Bar Gate) and Guildhall
MSH2285Parent of: Town Defences - the former Biddles Gate
MSH39Parent of: Town Defences - the former East Gate
MSH1024Parent of: Town Defences - tower (former dovecote) on Back of the Walls
MSH3139Parent of: Town Defences - Tower near the Latrine / Tower behind the Bull Hall / Bugle Tower
MSH642Parent of: Town Defences - tower west of Bargate ("Another Tower")
MSH27Parent of: Town Defences - town wall (demolished) between Bargate and "Another Tower"
MSH33Parent of: Town Defences - town wall (demolished) between God's House Tower and Notebeem Tower/Notebeme Tower
MSH503Parent of: Town Defences - town wall (demolished) between Southampton Castle and Biddles Gate
MSH43Parent of: Town Defences - town wall (demolished) between Water Gate and Notebeem Tower/Notebeme Tower
MSH20Parent of: Town Defences - town wall between Arundel Tower and "Another Tower" to the east
MSH51Parent of: Town Defences - town wall between Arundel Tower and Catchcold Tower
MSH31Parent of: Town Defences - town wall between Bargate and first tower east of Bargate
MSH2192Parent of: Town Defences - town wall between East Gate and next tower to south
MSH38Parent of: Town Defences - town wall between first tower south of Polymond and East Gate
MSH1014Parent of: Town Defences - town wall between Friary Gate and the Dovecote Tower
MSH1027Parent of: Town Defences - town wall between Friary Gate and the Reredorter Tower
MSH1022Parent of: Town Defences - town wall between God's House Tower and the dovecote/half-round tower
MSH37Parent of: Town Defences - town wall between Polymond Tower and first tower on the east town wall
MSH34Parent of: Town Defences - town wall between Polymond Tower and the tower to west
MSH3422Parent of: Town Defences - town wall between Southampton Castle and the Garderobe Tower
MSH3136Parent of: Town Defences - town wall between the "Tower next the Long House" and the Wool Bridge Tower (all demolished)
MSH49Parent of: Town Defences - town wall between the Corner Tower and the Tower near the Latrine/Bugle Tower
MSH1013Parent of: Town Defences - town wall between the fifth tower south of Eastgate and the Reredorter Tower
MSH3126Parent of: Town Defences - town wall between the first and second tower south of Eastgate
MSH217Parent of: Town Defences - town wall between the fourth and fifth tower south of Eastgate
MSH759Parent of: Town Defences - town wall between the Garderobe Tower and Forty Steps
MSH3125Parent of: Town Defences - town wall between the second and third tower south of Eastgate
MSH208Parent of: Town Defences - town wall between the third and fourth tower south of Eastgate
MSH35Parent of: Town Defences - town wall between the two towers on the north town wall east of Bargate
MSH3138Parent of: Town Defences - town wall between the Wool Bridge Tower and Small Corner Tower
MSH3134Parent of: Town Defences - town wall between Watergate and the “Tower next the Long House”
MSH2204Parent of: Town Defences - town wall between Westgate and William Nycoll Tower
MSH1114Parent of: Town Defences - town wall between William Nycoll Tower and the Arcades
MSH57Parent of: Town Defences - town wall immediately south of Catchcold Tower
MSH2247Parent of: Town Defences - Watergate and Watergate Tower
MSH2259Parent of: Town Defences - West Gate / Westgate
MSH24Parent of: Town Defences - William Nicholl Tower
MSH3137Parent of: Town Defences - Wool Bridge Tower/ St Barbara’s Tower (demolished)

Associated Links: None recorded

If you have any feedback or new information about this record, please email the Southampton HER (her@southampton.gov.uk).