The Maritime Defences of Kent from the Loss of Normandy to the Hundred Years War

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Abstract

This essay traces the evolution of Kent’s coastal and maritime defences from the Loss of Normandy until the beginning of the Hundred Years’ War. For almost 140 years after the Battle of Hastings, the English Channel had formed the backbone of a great transmarine empire that eventually stretched from the Cheviots to the Pyrénées. But the strategic situation in the Channel was transformed, however, with the Capetian Conquest of Normandy in 1204. Kent itself was no longer secure as cross-Channel raiding and invasion attempts both emerged as real threats whilst commerce and communications were now rendered highly susceptible to interdiction. This article begins by analysing how the transformative events of 1204 impacted upon the strategic importance of Kent and its maritime defences. Exploring the crown’s subsequent efforts to maintain and enhance the county’s physical security and logistical resources, it demonstrates how the levels of interest and investment devoted to them by individual monarchs fluctuated according to the prevailing state of Anglo-French relations. Finally, this essay emphasises the important role played by Kent’s coastal defences during the civil wars of the thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries and how the need both to secure and retain control over them directly influenced the conduct of land-based military operations elsewhere in England
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMaritime Kent Through the Ages
Subtitle of host publicationGateway to the Sea
EditorsStuart Bligh, Sheila Sweetinburgh, Elizabeth Edwards
Place of PublicationWoodbridge
PublisherBoydell & Brewer
Pages111-131
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9781783276257
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

Keywords

  • Maritime
  • Defence
  • Medieval
  • Warfare
  • Kent
  • Thirteenth
  • Century

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