Exploded Napoleonic practice redoubt on Butter Hill


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017785

Date first listed: 08-Dec-1997


Ordnance survey map of Exploded Napoleonic practice redoubt on Butter Hill
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This copy shows the entry on 23-Jan-2019 at 13:29:31.


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

District: Bracknell Forest (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Crowthorne

National Grid Reference: SU 85881 64209


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Easthamstead Plain, the heathland plateau between Bracknell and Crowthorne, in 1792 was the scene of large scale military manoeuvres which have left an unusual combination of physical traces, and which appear to be unique in England. The exercises were designed to allow the Army to test its new Handbook of Military Manoeuvres, whilst sending signals of strength to continental Europe in the aftermath of the French Revolution. They boosted morale in an Army still shocked by its defeat at the hands of revolutionaries in the American War of Independence, and demonstrated the Crown's ability to maintain order in the event of any Republican unrest in Britain. The manoeuvres lasted from 23 July to 8 August 1792. They adopted the strategy of building infantry or artillery redoubts as part of defensive lines behind which infantry squares and cavalry could be deployed. In essence, this was the strategy later used successfully by Wellington, notably at Waterloo. At Easthamstead Plain, the Army practised attacking a defensive line including eight specially constructed earthwork redoubts. The surviving redoubts are the only documented examples in England of a full battlefield defensive system of the Napoleonic period, equivalent in significance to the slightly later Royal Military Canal in Kent which was built to oppose the anticipated French invasion. They are therefore all considered to be of national importance and worthy of protection.

The exploded redoubt on Butter Hill is a unique example, within the British Isles, of the mining engineering techniques of the British army in the Napoleonic period. In association with the other monuments which comprise the visible remains of the 1792 exercises, it provides evidence of the intended method of warfare at a critical time in the defensive history of Britain.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes the remains of one of a series of practice redoubts built in 1792 in a 2km long line running north west-east along the edge of a plateau formerly known as Easthamstead Plain. This redoubt lies on the summit of Butter Hill and is unusual in that it was deliberately mined and exploded by engineers as a climax to exercises watched by the Royal party, in order to demonstrate assault and engineering skills. The redoubt originally took the form of a small fieldwork. The monument measures approximately 42m across and, although originally square, is now roughly circular. It is enclosed by an upcast bank about 2m wide and 1m high surrounding a crater 3m deep and 30m wide. Easthamstead Plain, which lies north of Sandhurst Military College, contains many other examples of military training dating from the past 200 years, some of which are the subject of separate schedulings.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


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

Legacy System number: 28175

Legacy System: RSM


PRN 00378.10.000, Berkshire County Council SMR, Enclosure, Redoubt, (1991)
Title: Ordnance Survey Source Date: 1980 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: 1:10000 Series

End of official listing