Defending Gloucestershire and Bristol: The Military Landscape from Pre-history to the Present

Author(s): Mike Osborne 

ISBN: 9781781558898
$24.00 $34.00
The first fully comprehensive account of the military structures of Gloucester and Bristol.
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  • A survey of the military landscape of Gloucestershire and Bristol based on fieldwork and documentary evidence

  • The text provides the social, political, historical and military contexts for the military landscape of Gloucestershire and Bristol

  • Appendices supplementing the text with comprehensive details of the specific classes of sites and monuments

  • Illustrations demonstrate the wide range of structures that make up the military landscape of Gloucestershire and Bristol

Gloucestershire’s strategic location straddling the Severn is reinforced by Bristol’s importance as a port. The Forest of Dean and the Cotswolds are densely populated by prehistoric hillforts and Gloucester, Cirencester and Winchcombe were important throughout the Roman and Anglo-Saxon periods.

The Normans built substantial castles at Bristol, Gloucester and Berkeley, scene of Edward II’s murder, with many more of earth and timber. Many figured in the conflicts between rival factions culminating in the Battle of Tewkesbury.

In the Civil War, Bristol underwent two sieges and Gloucester another and one of the last battles, at Stow, followed continuous skirmishing.

The next centuries saw volunteer forces established, formalised by the state by the end of Victoria’s reign, to counter threats external and internal. A nascent aircraft industry would develop into aircraft factories and airfields in the First World War with further development of training and aircraft storage facilities for the newly formed RAF during the inter-war period.

Anti-invasion defences were constructed in the Second World War, but the primary effort was in logistics: bases for US troops; RAF and USAAF training airfields and depots; and communications facilities. This last aspect, along with intelligence gathering, continued into the Cold War and beyond.

BOOK ISBN 9781781558898
FORMAT 234 x 156 mm
BINDING Paperback
PAGES 280 pages
ILLUSTRATIONS 121 black-and-white illustrations and photographs



Mike Osborne’s interest in fortification began with childhood visits to castles. It has developed over the years to include all aspects of the topic from iron-age forts to Cold War bunkers. He was a volunteer-co-ordinator for the Defence of Britain Project recording the military structures of the twentieth century. After a thirty-year career in education, he took early retirement and since then has produced nearly twenty books. Topics include Civil War sieges and fortifications, drill halls, twentieth-century military structures and the best-selling Defending Britain.