Dover Castle is situated in Dover, Kent and has been described as the "Key to England" due to its defensive significance throughout history.
The site was probably originally fortified with earthworks in the Iron Age or earlier, before the Romans invaded in AD43 - this is suggested on the basis of the unusual pattern of the earthworks, which do not seem to be a perfect fit for the medieval castle, although archaeological excavation at the Castle has found no evidence of prehistoric activity.
It was during the reign of Henry II that the castle began to take recognisable shape. The inner and outer baileys and the great Keep belong to this time.
Massive rebuilding took place at the end of the eighteenth century, during the Napoleonic Wars, with barracks added and the defences improved (including the eastern redan) as Dover became a garrison town. All this required large numbers of additional soldiers to be housed and conditions in the castle itself had become too crowded. The solution adopted by the Royal Engineers was to create a complex of barracks tunnels about 15 metres below the cliff top and the first troops were accommodated in 1803. At the height of the Napoleonic Wars, the tunnels housed more than 2000 men and to date are the only underground barracks ever built in Britain.
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