God's House Tower

SO14 2 Southampton

☎: +44 (0) 23 8063 5904



God's House Tower is a late 13th century gatehouse into the old town of Southampton, England. It stands at the south-east corner of the town walls and permitted access to the town from the Platform and Town Quay. It has served as the town gaol and housed the Museum of Archaeology. The building is Grade II listed and a scheduled ancient monument.HistoryThe original gatehouse was a simple affair, built in the late 13th century and known as the Saltmarsh Gate, as it led to marshlands outside the town. Being close to God's House Hospital, which had been founded in 1168 by Gervase le Riche as a refuge for travellers, the gateway became known as the God's House gateway. Following the French raid on the town in 1338, the town's defences were strengthened and the gateway was reinforced.The tower was further extended in 1417 by the addition of a two-storey gallery and a three-storey tower, to the east of the gateway; this was one of the earliest forts built specifically to carry cannon and had eight gunports and rooftop firing points. This spur enabled the town gunner to protect the sluices that controlled the flow of seawater into a tidal moat used to power the water mill under the tower. The town gunner was also responsible for making the gunpowder and gunshot which he stored, together with the guns, in the gallery of the tower.By the start of the 17th century, the building had fallen into disrepair as the town no longer needed strong defences and in 1707 part of the building was being used as a house of correction. From 1786, it became the town gaol; at this time, the tower was known as the "Lambcote Tower". In 1855, a new prison was opened in Ascupart Street and the prison in the tower was closed.

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