A 19th century artillery fort known as Littlehampton Fort, 317m south west of the Windmill Theatre


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Location Description:
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Location Description:
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.
West Sussex
Arun (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:

Reasons for Designation

Littlehampton Fort belongs to the class of military installation termed 'batteries' - self contained positions where guns were mounted for purposes of offensive or defensive action; the objective being primarily to bring guns to bear on a specific area, to provide the appropriate range and to protect the guns (and crew) during action. Ammunition would be usually stored behind the rampart (the area known as the 'gorge') and by the later 19th century, in purpose built magazines. As a source of information for developments in military technology and as indications of the ebb and flow of international politics, all examples exhibiting a significant degree of preservation are considered worthy of protection. Littlehampton Fort is a good example of a 19th century artillery fort, which survives well. The covering of sand will have aided the preservation of the fort and associated archaeological deposits, providing some protection from weathering and erosion. The fort represents a significant phase of experimental fortification, following 19th century developments in heavy guns with increased range.


The monument includes a 19th century artillery fort, known as Littlehampton Fort, surviving as upstanding structures and below-ground archaeological remains covered by shifting sand dunes. It is situated on the west bank of the River Arun at the entrance to Littlehampton Harbour. The fort is built of red brick and pebble and includes a lunette battery for three 68 pounder guns and two 32 pounder guns, which is surrounded by a detached Carnot wall with three open bastions defended by musket loops. Although the fort is largely covered by sand the Carnot wall is thought to survive to full height with original coping. The exterior moat is completely filled with sand but survives as a buried feature. The barrack block and offices to the rear of the fort were partially demolished in about 1965 but the foundations are still visible. The fort is similar in design to Shoreham Fort, which is also a scheduled monument, but the Carnot wall has open bastions instead of caponiers. Littlehampton Fort was built to replace a gun battery, which had been built in 1764 on the east side of the harbour as a deterrent to French privateers after the new river outlet was cut but was dismantled in about 1834 and became a coastguard station. The new fort was constructed by a London building firm, Messrs Lock and Wesham, under the supervision of Captain Fenwick of the Royal Engineers between February and September 1854. It was planned to accommodate two infantry officers, one master gunner and 42 Non Commissioned Officers and privates in the internal barracks. A further 30 Non Commissioned Officers and privates could be accommodated in a small enclosure or hut outside the fort, on the north side. The five guns were probably installed after the Crimean War (1853-1856). However the fort was taken out of action in 1873. It was almost certainly re-fortified during the Second World War and an observation post was built nearby between 1940 and 1941. Further archaeological remains survive in the vicinity of this monument, such as a Second World War observation post, but are not included because they have not been formally assessed.

Sources: West Sussex HER 2215 - MWS3361, 2216 - MWS3114. NMR TQ00SW124, TQ00SW58, TQ00SW122. PastScape 1427813, 392894, 1427481.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
WS 446
Legacy System:


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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