Lade Fort 121m SSE of The Ship.
Reasons for Designation
The term battery refers to any place where artillery is positioned to allow guns to cover a particular area such as a line of communication or the approaches to a defended location. Although often contained within artillery forts designed to withstand sieges, typically including resident garrisons, many batteries were lightly defended and only manned at fighting strength in times of emergency. Batteries not contained within forts or castles were either open, with some approaches left undefended, or enclosed, often with a loopholed wall, ditch and/or fence designed to repel small scale attacks. Battery design evolved over time with developments in artillery. Those of the 16th and 17th centuries were normally simple raised earthwork platforms faced with turf, facines (bundles of sticks), or wicker baskets filled with earth and known as gabions. More permanent batteries, normally those on the coast, were faced in stone. The guns and gunners were typically protected by a raised parapet with guns firing through embrasures, or breaks in the wall, or over the parapet. Gun positions protected by casemates (roofed gun chambers) were generally restricted to batteries within artillery forts and castles. The gun carriages were supported on timber or stone platforms known as barbettes, often ramped to limit gun recoil. In the 18th century, traversing guns using carriages mounted on pivots were increasingly employed. By the late 19th century, barbette positions became the usual practice and, as the century progressed, guns were mounted in increasingly sophisticated emplacements, normally built in concrete with integrated magazines. All batteries where enough survives to interpret the original form and function will be considered of national importance. Other examples, of early date or where rare components are preserved, may be considered nationally important even where overall survival is comparatively poor.
Despite some damage and alterations in the past, Lade Fort is a good example of a late 18th century coastal battery, which survives well. It is the only one known to survive of a series of eleven such coastal batteries built between Deal and Eastbourne. The walls are largely intact and the layout is well preserved, demonstrating well its purpose as an autonomous self-contained battery. The site will also contain archaeological evidence relating to the construction, use and history of the coastal battery.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 17 March 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.
The monument includes a late 18th century coastal battery, known as Lade Fort or Dungeness No.1 Battery, surviving as upstanding and below-ground remains. It is situated near the seafront at Lydd-on-Sea, north of Dungeness.
The battery has a brick revetted earthen bastion, facing the sea, formed of a semi-circle and two flanking quadrants. There is a terreplein, slightly raised to give command of the sea, with four gun platforms. To the rear, facing Denge Marsh, is a V-shaped perimeter wall forming an enclosure. It is built of brick to 3m high with loop holes but has been buttressed and rebuilt in two places.
Lade Fort was built in 1798 and is the only one of a series of eleven such coastal batteries built between Deal and Eastbourne known to survive. The battery was a self-contained fort on a small scale. There were four batteries and a redoubt built on the Dungeness peninsula in the late 18th century. These were part of the measures taken during the French Revolutionary Wars to defend the adjacent landing beaches and a major offshore anchorage. As built, Lade Fort consisted of an arc of four or five open emplacements for traversing guns to fire on the beach and anchorage.
There was originally also a projection at the south-east corner of the battery. The enclosure to the rear included accommodation for the small garrison, a guardhouse and artillery store. At either extremity of the gun emplacements was a small magazine. The battery lost some of its command of field of fire after accumulation of shingle in front of the bastions. In 1860 it was remodelled with slightly raised positions to mount one 7-inch breech-loader gun and four 68-pounder smooth-bore guns on traversing platforms. In the late 19th century Lade Fort was converted to use as a coastguard station. The battery was again occupied during the Second World War and several reinforced concrete pill boxes were built within the close vicinity.