When was the first fortification built on the site, and why was it chosen by the Romans?

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When was the first fortification built on the site, and why was it chosen by the Romans? 

The Romans decided to build a series of ‘Saxon shore forts’ to defend the south coast from the Saxons. Evidence shows (mainly from coins) that Portchester castle was built at the end of 3rd Century AD. Portchester was a perfect place for the Romans to build a fort for many reasons. Portchester Castle was built on a promontory. This was perfect for the Romans because it would dramatically slim the chances of the Saxons invading. The Castle sticks out into the sea with a good view. The only way and invaders could invade would either be to cross the marsh that was Portsmouth or from in-land. Another reason Portchester was built where it was because of the extremely deep harbour. The deep harbour was perfect for the Royal Navy’s fleet to dock. At present time, the harbour is not deep at all because of silt. Over many hundreds of years Portchester harbour has silted up and become un-useable.

The Saxon shore forts were dotted along the south-east coast of England. A table follows of the Roman names of the ‘Saxon shore forts’

*I could not find any information on the Roman name of Walton Castle.

Portchester Castle

The materials used by the Romans to build the fort were very typical of the Roman castle building technique. The Roman wall was built with Flint cement and tiles. Another typical thing is that the gate has 4 posterns.

Despite the fact that Portchester Castle was built to defend Britain against the Saxons, the Saxons took over the castle. The Saxons took over the castle as a result of the collapse of the Roman Empire. Things were looking bad in the heart of the Roman Empire so Rome drew all its troops to Rome to defend them. Unfortunately, the Roman Empire completely collapsed so the Saxon shore forts were left for anyone.

How and why did the site develop after the Romans left?

After the Romans left, the walls and buildings inside were ready made for the local population but because the Romans had left Britain, the Saxons used this opportunity and came into Britain. During the seventh to ninth centuries, timber houses started to be constructed along with things such as rubbish pits and wells. These were still protected by the walls and towers although at the end of the ninth century, there appears to have been a break in occupation (according to archeological evidence). By 904AD, Portchester belonged to King and it became one of the burghs, a protected stronghold looked after by the local population along very organized rules. The burghs now protected against Viking raids. Around 1000AD, the Roman Watergate was rebuilt, with a stone gatehouse attached and there was also by this time another stone building inside the complex. The main reason Portchester was developed in this era was to protect the south coast from Viking raiders. I believe another reason Portchester castle was developed (Watergate rebuilt) was to make the local population look strong and powerful because they withheld their own castle from anyone else and could defend their area between them.

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How and why did the site develop in early Medieval times (1066 to 1200)?

When William the first was in control of Portchester castle, he used the site regularly. The English did not accept foreign rule without a struggle. William met the opposition, which was particularly violent in the north and west, with strong measures; he was responsible for the devastation of great areas of the country, particularly in Yorkshire, where Danish forces had arrived to aid the Saxon rebels. As a result of that, William used Portchester castle to defend England against the Saxon rebels for a ...

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