Fortress Builder

Bernard de Gomme, Charles II's Military Engineer

Andrew Saunders

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ISBN: 9780859897518

Publication: August 4, 2004

In the USA? Buy the Hardback US edition
This is the first study dedicated to the military engineer Bernard de Gomme, builder of many English citadels and forts. Very heavily illustrated, and produced in a large format, it includes reproductions of many of de Gomme's original plans and drawings. Bernard de Gomme started his English career when Prince Rupert recruited him as a fortifications expert at the beginning of the English Civil War; after the Restoration he became Surveyor-General of the Ordnance Office. Though Dutch in origin, he was the contemporary equivalent of Louis XIV's great engineer Vauban. De Gomme personifies the development of English military engineering during the late 17th century, at a time when bastioned fortification in Europe was at its most sophisticated. De Gomme's life and work are the central elements of the book. But the book also provides an education in 17th century military fortification theory and practice.

Andrew Saunders is an authority with an international reputation in the field of military architecture, both of early medieval castles and later artillery fortifications. He was formerly Chief Inspector of Ancient Monuments and Historic Buildings (Department of the Environment/English Heritage).

List of plates and figures Acknowledgements Abbreviations Introduction: The Background to Seventeenth-Century Fortress Building The European background Military organisation Predominance of siege warfare The role of the engineer Bernard de Gomme (1620-1685) The Anglo-Dutch relationship and the Civil Wars 1. The Old Dutch School of Fortification 2. The Civil War, 50 3. Dunkirk and Tangier 4. Plymouth Citadel 5. Portsmouth 6. The Medway 7. Tilbury Fort 8. The Tower of London and Other Commissions 9. .De Gomme and the Ordnance Office 10. De Gomme as Draughtsman 11. De Gomme as Military Engineer Conclusion: De Gomme, the Man in Context Appendix: List of de Gomme's Plans and Drawings Notes Glossary Bibliography Index

On all counts this volume is warmly recommended.
  Antiquaries Journal. Volume 86

This rounded analysis sets the work and achievement of de Gomme in its wider historical, political and technical context and skilfully traces his growing influence on design through his fortification commissions and his state appointments.
  Antiquaries Journal. Volume 86

... places de Gomme in the larger context of military engineering and describes in detail his specific works in England. While truly scholarly, the book is well and clearly written, and does not demand prior expertise in the field. Many historian-authors will envy Saunders for the investment that the University of Exeter Press, supported by a grant from English Heritage, has made in this quality book. It is an unusually attractive work, with numerous plans vital to understanding de Gomme’s work. It is good to see such an important book so well produced. This book, then, is the happy combination of an authoritative author and a committed publisher. The resulting work does justice to a major figure in the history of English fortifications, and is highly recommended to anyone with an interest in either 17th-Century fortifications or English fortifications. While not inexpensive, it is clearly an excellent investment.
  The Coast Defence Journal

Format: Hardback

Size: 265 x 205 mm

400 Pages

ISBN: 9780859897518

Publication: August 4, 2004

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