Wednesday 21 September 2011

Portchester (Porchester) Castle

For me one of the most interesting things about this card is the way they spelled the name of the castle.  You'd normally spell it Portchester but it's not a casual mistake - it's the same on the reverse too.  It's not far from Portsmouth, on the northern shore of the harbour, so you'd think that it would be similar.  In fact the spelling has varied over the years from Portus Adurni by the Romans, through Portcestre after a Saxon warrior, Port.  It wasn't until the late 19th century that the modern spelling was officially adopted.  There is still a sign inside with the Porchester spelling.

It's a Roman fortification, probably dating from the 3rd century BC.  Of course it was added to and extended at various times.  The Saxons used it and the Normans added the castle to the fort.  Then it was used as a prison after 1665, and the again during the Napoleonic Wars when over 7000 French prisoners were kept there.

These days it is run by English Heritage.  It is rumoured to be haunted....
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  1. Portcestre was a Saxon warrior? JACK Portcestre? I had no idea. I REALLY like this robust castle though. No huffing and puffing would bring THIS house down! Thank you for the nice picture.

    7000 French prisoners were kept here? 7000? There must be something on the other side of the wall that isn't in this picture.

  2. Ooooh, I must keep that in mind next time I am travelling through Portsmouth. It looks quite ancient!

  3. Wow, Roman you say. I'm reading that Portus Adurni is the best preserved Roman fort north of the Alps, fascinating!

  4. @Max, there's a whole new world behind the wall.

    @Emm, it's nearer Fareham, if I remember rightly. Not far though.

    @Rob, so I believe. The only other one I know is Richborough Castle and there's very little of that left. Still quite impressive though.


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