Title: Hurst Castle An Illustrated History
Author: Jude James
Few places on the south coast are as visible a landmark as Hurst Castle, and few have had so rich a history. Yet despite the castle's importance, and its prominence looking out over the Solent, this is the first book on it to have been written. The oversight is remarkable, not least because of the unusual and isolated way of life of the small community of men and women who, over three centuries lived and died in the castle's shadow.
The castle began its career as a defensive fort in the 1540s; and many of its stones came from Beaulieu Abbey - an act of plunder which makes Lord Montagu's willingness to provide the Foreword seem all the more generous! During the Civil War it provided an uncomfortable temporary prison for Charles 1, who exercised on the rough shingle shore. In the 19th century it was extensively rebuilt, its ancient cannon being replaced by massive muzzle- loading guns. A succession of lighthouses gave a new look to the castle's silhouette, and men like Peter Hawker, the celebrated wildfowler, practised their sport in the surrounding marshes. By then the long shingle spit had become the home of others as well as the garrison: fishermen, coastguards, lighthouse keepers - even smugglers. Here Jude James's gifts as a local historian have yielded a rich harvest, for through characteristically meticulous research into wills and parish registers he has revealed much about the lives of the spit's residents.
With coming of peace in 1918 the castle lost its strategic importance and became a 'national monument'. The outbreak of the Second World War saw a return of the garrison, but in recent years many of the buildings have been demolished, leaving the familiar outline we know today.
Jude James serious study of Hurst Castle started in 1962 and he has been collecting material towards the history of the castle and the community that inhabited the spit for well over twenty years.
The book has green boards with gilt lettering to the spine.
The dust jacket is in good condition but has staining on the upper and lower edges of the inside cover.
The dust jacket has minor wear on the edges.