Since this nagging notion that I lived a previous life in the heyday of the Plantagenet kings won’t go away, I decided to check up on something.
A bit of background: back in 2004, I traveled to Dover Castle (which I know I’ve mentioned before on this blog). However, one detail has never added up.
I went in through the visitor entrance like everyone else, though I also decided to take a walk around the far side of the castle where there were no roads or people. I was looking for remnants of medieval construction hidden in the woods around the castle… and for another way in that I felt sure had to have been there.
It turns out, there was another way in and I completely missed it. It’s called the Fitzwilliam gate, and it looks very much like what I was looking for at the time. It is said to have been built by Hubert de Burgh while he was castellan, though the one source there gave a date long after he was castellan there (1227) and gave his name as “Hugh de Burgh” so I’m trying to find some clarification there. From the inference that it was begun a year after the Siege of 1216 and not eleven years later, I’m going to guess that it was built in 1217… at a time William Longespee would have finally turned on King John.
I grant you, though I missed my target of the massive external stoneworks and discreet gateway, I did find a wooded area that eventually led me to a long-disused WW2 pillbox with a scenic view overlooking the English Channel which was not on any tours. Sometimes, the best parts of the experience are the ones you didn’t pay for.
Regardless, this has rekindled my questions of whether or not I lived in that era. I think my ID as Longespee may have been premature and is based on rather shaky grounds, but I haven’t given up the possibility yet that I was involved somewhere in the courtly intrigue of the early 13th century because this is a world I strongly feel that I knew.