Sandsfoot Castle

Sandfoot Castle, Dorset

Sandfoot Castle, Dorset
Photo © Bob Ford, August 1998

Sandfoot Castle is one of Henry VIII's Device Forts, also known as Henrician Castles, built in the 1530s to the west of Weymouth, Dorset, England, opposite its contemporary Portland Castle. Together these two forts put the whole of Portland harbour and the roads, within range of their artillery, thus protecting shipping from foreign raiders, and to prevent an invading landing force from forming up offshore. Some of the stone used in the construction possibly came from Bindon Abbey, near Wool, following the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

The castle was rectangular with two storeys and dungeons. It was orientated on a north-west/south-east axis and provided a heavy gun emplacement, quarters for its garrison and underground magazines and was surrounded by a ditch and a series of ramparts.

Designed specifically as a coastal defence, Sandsfoot Castle was always vulnerable to attack from a landward direction, and often changed hands during the English Civil War. The castle dungeons were used as a mint during the Civil War, giving it a greater importance to both defenders and attackers.

Most of the castle has fallen into the sea, but the site is easily accessible as a local park. The site also includes a small sandy beach named Sandsfoot Cove.

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