Long Curtain, King's Bastion and Spur Redoubt


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
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Ordnance survey map of Long Curtain, King's Bastion and Spur Redoubt
© Crown Copyright and database right 2020. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2020. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

City of Portsmouth (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SZ 63302 99096

Reasons for Designation

The strategic importance of Portsmouth grew rapidly after the middle of the seventeenth century and, in response to this, the earlier Elizabethan defences were updated and improved by the Dutch military engineer Sir Bernard de Gomme. His design included remodelling the existing ramparts, reconstructing the bastions, widening the moats, building the first ravelin and outworks designed to withstand prolonged sieges. Although defences of this type are common in mainland Europe, Portsmouth was the only British town of this date where they were adopted. This monument is of outstanding interest as the only surviving extant length of the ramparts and moat which enclosed Portsmouth. The Spur Redoubt forms an integral part of this defensive arrangement.


This monument includes a stretch of curtain wall known as the Long Curtain, a length of contemporary moat, a substantial bastion called King's Bastion (or Wimbledon's Bastion as it was known in the 17th century) and the associated Spur Redoubt. The curtain wall is part of the 16th century Portsmouth town defences, later reconstructed by de Gomme. It survives as an earthen rampart with inclined inner face, flat top and stone outward face rising almost vertically from the moat. Above this is a brick parapet bordering a walk-way along the outward side of the rampart. The King's Bastion is four-sided, with two short flanks and two longer diagonal sides coming to an apex. The sides are stone-walled, with a low brick parapet wall and the top is banked and grassed. The curtain wall and bastion were re-utilised during the Second World War and traces of the artillery concrete bases survive. The Spur Redoubt was built in 1680 by de Gomme. Essentially the Spur Redoubt is a small fort of triangular plan, detached from the main fortifications, and was designed to strengthen the line at what was then considered a possibly vulnerable point. Access to the Spur Redoubt was through a brick lined sally port under the curtain wall and a light wooden bridge across the moat. Lord Nelson passed through this sally port in 1805 on his last departure from England. Following periods of dereliction and rebuilding the upper parts of the Spur were removed and the lower levels covered in 1934 when the public promenade was created. In 1988 an excavation and restoration programme revealed standing masonry up to 2m high on average and this has now been consolidated. Excluded from the scheduling are the path surfaces, lamp posts, two timber bridges, park benches, iron railings and a 24 pound cannon, although the ground beneath these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


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

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Books and journals
Lloyd, D W , Buildings of Portsmouth and its Environs, (1974), 57-59
Spur Redoubt, 1988, Unpublished paper


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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