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Berwick Town Walls

Northumberland

Engineering / Construction, Military

In the Middle Ages Berwick changed hands between England and Scotland 14 times and only finally became English in 1489. Such a place desperately needed protection and the Berwick defences provide the most complete view of the development of fortification in Britain.

There are substantial remains of the medieval castle and town walls, begun in 1296 by Edward I. There’s even a fort designed by Henry VIII himself. But it is the Elizabethan ramparts, begun in 1558, that are the most exciting. They follow a system which had been invented in Italy a few years earlier and are by far the most impressive and complete example in Northern Europe. The designer, Sir Richard Lee, made a unique innovation. Behind his walls he created vast mounds of earth – strong as a rampart but soft enough to absorb the shock of cannon fire without collapse...

So...unique, but beautiful too.

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