Fourteenth-century Southampton developed its defensive measures against French invasion but the walls with their great arcade blocked parts of the existing quayside buildings, as can be seen in the large image above and the small image below. However, the remains give us some idea of the spaces and architecture that were familiar to residents and visitors to Southampton and could have served as models for the buildings mentioned in Bevis of Hampton.
Sadly, most of Southampton’s castle, further to the north of the Norman house (now known colloquially as King John’s Palace), has been destroyed, althought its cellars can be seen, and the location of its gate can still be seen.
Part of the charm of visiting the remains of the Norman house in the twentieth century used to be the ‘romantic’ entrance to the tunnel leading from the garden of Tudor House. This was underneath a venerable mulberry tree. The current entrance is still through the tunnel, but modern health and safety has made access easier.