The Square Tower

by Jem Croucher

Where once King Henry the Eighth resided
overlooking the Solent right there
In Portsmouth old city on the sea wall
still stands the Tower of Square

Smoke Fairies played here into the night
for our pleasure at the end of their tour
with rhythm and music and flair and aplomb
to our echoing shouts of ‘encore’

And in twelfth century walls built thick for defence
like Henry we danced with the power
to different purpose eight centuries past
but still in Old Portsmouth’s Square Tower

©Jemverse

Photo – The Square Tower, Old Portsmouth – on 9 February –  the last leg of the ‘Smoke Fairies’ 2020 UK tour

The Square Tower was built in 1494 as part of the fortifications and served as a home to the Governor of Portsmouth. In 1584, it was converted to a gunpowder store, the governor having moved to a residence next to the Garrison Church. At the time of the royalist surrender of Portsmouth at the end of the Siege of Portsmouth during the English Civil War 1200 barrels of gunpowder were stored in the tower; the royalists were able to use the threat of detonating the store as a bargaining chip during the negotiations leading up to the surrender. It’s unlikely that Henry VIII ever lived there – but he would almost certainly have visited.

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