Shotley Battery


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1021290

Date first listed: 22-Jun-2004


Ordnance survey map of Shotley Battery
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Suffolk

District: Babergh (District Authority)

Parish: Shotley

National Grid Reference: TM 25034 33960


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

Reasons for Designation

The battery at Shotley Point is the only surviving example of a mid-19th century defensive battery in East Anglia and retains many original features, including a large part of the rampart with gun emplacements and magazines dating from 1863 and 1892. Although the greater part of the perimeter has been levelled, a length of the Carnot wall remains standing to full height, and the base of much of the rest is believed to survive as a buried feature, together with the outer ditch. As a whole, the monument is a good example of a second class fort of the period and has additional importance as one of a series of surviving forts and other military installations which were constructed between the 17th and 20th centuries for the defence of Harwich Harbour.


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


The monument includes the remains of a mid-19th century battery on Shotley Point, sited on a bluff above Harwich Harbour. The battery was constructed between 1862 and 1863 following recommendations by a Royal Commission set up to report on the defences of the United Kingdom. These recommendations included a small fort at Shotley to supplement the existing defensive structures which consisted of two martello towers, one of which had a small earthwork battery attached. The martello towers, which still stand approximately 110m NNE and 250m south west of the battery, are the subject of separate schedulings.

Initial proposals for an elaborate fort were quickly abandoned in favour of a simpler defensive battery which, when completed, was armed with fourteen 68 pounder smooth bore guns. Ten years later these were replaced with 7 inch muzzle loading guns, and in 1891 two 10 inch guns on long range carriages were installed in new emplacements, and a new subterranean magazine constructed adjacent to the original main magazine. In 1904 the site was transferred to HMS Ganges, a naval training establishment, and the guns were dismounted in 1911.

In plan, the battery was seven sided, with an earthen rampart on the four sides which overlook the harbour to the south, east and north east. It was surrounded by a detached, brick built scarp of the type known as a Carnot wall after the military engineer of that name, with five bastions, two of them at the gorge (rear), and four demi-bastions. The wall was about 5.8m high on the outer face, with loopholes, and enclosed an area with maximum dimensions of about 215m NNE-SSW by 106m. The whole was surrounded by an outer ditch up to 13m wide. The fourteen original gun emplacements were of two types; three at the salients were semicircular, with a parapet but no embrasures, giving a wide field of fire, and the remainder had a narrower field through embrasures in the rampart. The magazines were in a subterranean block to the rear of the central emplacement. The 10 inch emplacements constructed in 1891 were to the south of the original magazine block. The guns were mounted about 20m apart in semicircular concrete pits with central pivots, and between them was a small battery commander's post. Beneath them were the new shell rooms and magazines. The ditch in front was filled in and the parapet widened, burying the Carnot wall at this point, and at the same time earth was piled in front of the first magazine block, burying two more of the original emplacements.

After the site was taken over by HMS Ganges, the southern end of the battery, including one of the bastions and a demi-bastion, was levelled for the construction of accommodation blocks. The rest of the structure remained intact, though partly obscured by later buildings. The Carnot wall on the north east side and at the gorge has since been demolished to ground level, together with two adjoining structures which are thought to have been the original guard room alongside the entrance, and a block containing quarters and stores to the north east of it. The base of the wall and the infilled ditch around it will, however, survive as buried features and are included in the scheduling.

The Carnot wall south of the north eastern bastion, up to and including the central eastern bastion, remains intact, exposed on the inner face to a height of about 1.3m. The outer face has been buried by the infilling of the ditch, leaving only the top of the wall exposed. The rampart behind the wall survives along much of the eastern face and around the north eastern salient, together with the earthworks above the 1863 magazine. The two original gun emplacements buried beneath the magazine earthworks will survive as buried features, and to the north of them are the upstanding remains of three angular emplacements with their retaining brickwork and the semicircular emplacement at the north eastern salient. Inset into the vertical retaining wall between the angled embrasures are expense lockers and hauling rings. The emplacement at the salient, which is also constructed of brick, is semicircular, with steps up to a parapet, and immediately to the left of it is a short flight of concrete steps, probably of later date, giving access to the top of the rampart. About 4m to the north west of the emplacement is an expense magazine, visible as a rectangular structure projecting from the end of the surviving section of the rampart. The exterior, where exposed, is faced with rough concrete showing impressions of the shuttering used in its construction, and it is probable that the whole structure was originally covered with earth. The entrance is on the west side and is constructed of brick, with steps down to a doorway which opens into a brick vaulted chamber to the left. In the top of the vault is a rectangular opening for a hoist.

The main magazine block contains three magazine chambers and a lamp lobby. Access is by way of a narrow sunken area with a flight of steps at either end. Three doors open off the area. The central door gives access to the lamp lobby and the two at either end open into the northern and southern magazines. The third magazine is to the rear of the lamp lobby and is reached by means of a doorway off the northern magazine. In the walls of the lamp lobby are hatches, originally glazed, in which lamps could be placed to illuminate the magazines beyond without risk of igniting explosives. To the rear of the magazine block is a vaulted subterranean passage with an entrance at either end.

The remains of the two 1891 emplacements and the magazines beneath occupy the southern end of the surviving part of the rampart. Most of the southern emplacement has been removed during early 20th century landscaping, but the pivot for the gun survives. The northern emplacement is visible as a semi- circular pit with a concrete apron and retaining wall, recesses around the sides and hauling rings inset below the parapet. In the centre of the pit is the circular raised drum on which the gun was mounted. A flight of steps to the rear gives access to the emplacement, and another flight to the left of it leads up to the top of the rampart. Between the emplacements is a vertical wall with doorways and other openings, now blocked, to shelters set into the rear of the rampart. The battery commander's post is a semicircular recess in the top of the wall, reached by a vertical fixed metal ladder.

The 1891 magazine is beneath the shelters and is reached by two short flights of stairs opening into a central lobby with doors to the shell stores and magazines and the lamp lobbies. The structure retains several original features, including wall pegs, doors and cupboards.

On the east side of the battery, in the area of the ditch, there are blocked entrances with steps down to another underground tunnel or bunker, possibly associated with the 1891 modifications.

A number of features are excluded from the scheduling. These are: modern concrete fence posts and railings bordering the visible section of the Carnot wall, a modern building alongside the expense magazine at the northern end of the surviving rampart, the remains of a modern wall which blocked the entrance to the expense magazine, service poles and surviving floors and asphalt surfaces relating to the demolished buildings of HMS Ganges. The ground beneath all these features is, however, 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.

Legacy System number: 30638

Legacy System: RSM


Kent, P, Report on the Fortifications on Shotley Point, 2002, Typescript. Copy in Suffolk SMR
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:2500 Source Date: 1925 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing