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Why did Tilbury Fort develop into an important fortified site during the Renaissance period?

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Introduction

Why did Tilbury Fort develop into an important fortified site during the Renaissance period? The Renaissance period was basically a time of rebirth. It was a cultural movement that spanned from the 14th century to the 17th century; it began in Italy around this time spreading through Europe. It was a time of great advances in science as well as development in the perspective of paintings. Fortified sites have been built throughout time for a number of different reasons, like watching enemies to storing artillery at home. These sites often included earth walls, ditches, wooden stakes and maze like entrances to confuse their enemies and keep them out. Roman Forts were walls built out of earth and strengthened by stones and tiles. These were made were local tribes were unfriendly and were troops were stationed. The Romans built most of their forts along the south and east coast as these were the most vulnerable places. The Normans however built mote and bailey castles from earth and wood, these were later replaced by stone. These castles were built to control the local people. The main reason for building Tilbury Fort was that it was on the River Thames which leads to London the economical and political capital of the country. ...read more.

Middle

He assembled his fleet at Portsmouth, and appointed Commissioners to 'search and defend' the coastline. He intended to have a chain of forts and batteries around the island to protect major access ports and to prevent an enemy landing. Henry realised the South and South East coasts would be especially vulnerable from attack. He also realised new artillery was an important factor to consider and that enemy ships would be armed with guns. Henry realised that land gun platforms remained more effective and stable, and the range and mobility of the newest canons made pairing blockhouses a possible way to stop enemy landings on the Thames. To guard the Thames and London there were two blockhouses built on the North bank at East and West Tilbury and three on the South at Gravesend. These blockhouses were built in 1539/40 and were designed by Christopher Morice and James Nedeman. They were sited where the river first begins to narrow after the estuary. The Tilbury and Gravesend forts guarded the important Gravesend/Tilbury ferry crossing. The plans of Gravesend and Tilbury blockhouses, the only ones known, show them to have been D-shaped structures of brick, two storeys high, with guns mounted in casements in the semi-circular front in the open roof. ...read more.

Conclusion

Tilbury Fort was built in 1670 to protect the heavy guns positioned on the river bank. The fort had typical Renaissance design features of classical Roman influence. The Romans were a symbol of power, to share similarities with them warned England's enemies that it too was a force to be reckoned with. The Roman and Greek influence can most clearly be seen in the pillars and pediments. Tilbury Fort was very similar to others built at the time including Gravesend, Milton and other fortifications in France. Charles' fort in Ireland was almost identical to Tilbury, having been built during the same period. Their were many factors affecting Tilbury these were: Government War Individuals Geography Religion Communications Technology Economy War and Government were the most import and the most dominating factors affecting Tilbury Fort. Tilbury developed into such an important fortified site during the Renaissance mainly because of Henry VIII and Charles II who were both aiming to defend the country due to being worried about an invading foreign threat. They perceived this threat and both built up Tilbury with blockhouses, coastal forts (e.g. Deal castle) etc. Both designs for their Tilbury Fort were new at the time and were atypical. The differences between their reasons for defending England was Charles' was more tangible (you could see it and touch it) as the Dutch had already invaded whereas with Henry the Holy Roman Empire had not shown any signs of a prepared invasion. By Charlotte Strong ...read more.

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