Defending Norfolk: The Military Landscape from Prehistory to the Present

Author(s): Mike Osborne 

ISBN: 9781781554999
£11.89 £16.99
The first comprehensive account of Norfolk’s fortifications, defensible structures and military heritage.
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Since mediaeval times, Norfolk has been one of England’s wealthiest and most populous counties; as such, it has always sought to defend its coastline, which has been extremely vulnerable to invasion across the North Sea. This is reflected in the variety of defensible structures that have dotted the county’s varied landscape – from the Roman and Viking era to the time of the Spanish Armada and Napoleon, through to more recent years.

Over the course of two world wars, Norfolk witnessed the evolution of military flight, the efforts of the Royal Navy to safeguard shipping, the development of air defence measures, opportunities for training troops and airmen, and the provision of a platform for retaliatory bombing – in addition to renewed anti-invasion defences. The Cold War placed Norfolk on the front line, hosting a defensive screen of radar, anti-aircraft missiles and elements of Britain’s nuclear deterrent. Norfolk’s landscape is littered with evidence of all this varied military activity: Iron Age hill forts and Roman forts; mediaeval castles, fortified manors and abbeys; moats and town halls; pillboxes, anti-tank obstacles, coast artillery batteries and trench systems; airfields and radar-sites; and Cold War bunkers and missile sites.

Defending Norfolk describes the whole range of these monuments, placing them within their historical, social, political and military contexts. Lavishly illustrated with over 100 previously unpublished photographs and intricate line drawings, this meticulous study sheds new light on the silent sentries that have guarded this vital area.

BOOK ISBN 9781781554999
FORMAT 234 x 156 mm
BINDING Paperback
PAGES 208 pages
PUBLICATION DATE 15 December 2015
ILLUSTRATIONS 114 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.