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Nansemond Pallizado And Virginia Palisade Fortifications

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Chapter Summary

The occurrence in early seventeenth-century Virginia of two trapezoidal fortifications little more than 40 km apart seems to be more than mere happenstance; rather the builders of Wolstenholme Towne and Nansemond Pallizado employed the same model for establishing a frontier settlement. A number of other choices could have been made; English forces in Ireland and the Low Countries used triangular and square fortifications, and of course, James Fort was triangular. But the template for at least these Virginia vernacular fortifications is thought to derive from the fortified compounds or bawns of English colonial settlement in the Ulster Plantations in Ireland. The English experience with fortified settlements in Ireland was not transported unchanged to Virginia because bawns were not long trapezoids like Wolstenholme Towne and Nansemond Pallizado. In fact, the author is not familiar with any record where the word 'bawn' was used in seventeenth-century Virginia.

Keywords: Nansemond Pallizado site; seventeenth-century; Virginia palisade fortifications



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