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Yaverland Battery, 660m south of Yaverland Church

List Entry Summary

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 Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Yaverland Battery, 660m south of Yaverland Church

List entry Number: 1021443

Location

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County:

District: Isle of Wight

District Type: Unitary Authority

Parish: Sandown

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 01-Feb-2010

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 28894

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

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

Reasons for Designation

The Royal Commission fortifications are a group of related sites established in response to the 1859 Royal Commission report on the defence of the United Kingdom. This had been set up following an invasion scare caused by the strengthening of the French Navy. These fortifications represented the largest maritime defence programme since the initiative of Henry VIII in 1539-40. The programme built upon the defensive works already begun at Plymouth and elsewhere and recommended the improvement of existing fortifications as well as the construction of new ones. There were eventually some 70 forts and batteries in England which were due wholly or in part to the Royal Commission. These constitute a well defined group with common design characteristics, armament and defensive provisions. Whether reused or not during the 20th century, they are the most visible core of Britain's coastal defence systems and are known colloquially as `Palmerston's follies'. All examples are considered of national importance.

The essential elements of Yaverland Battery survive extremely well and it remains a good example of a Royal Commission open battery. The front ditch, gorge, Carnot walls and southern caponiers survive in good condition. Although the original gun positions were, with one exception, removed during the remodelling of the battery in the late 1890s (as were, at that time or subsequently, the original magazines, barrack block and northern caponiers), the remodelled 1890s gun positions and magazines survive particularly well. They retain the remains of shell hoists, lamp recesses, ammunition hatches and signage. Together with contemporary documentary sources relating to the battery, the remains will offer an insight into late C19 military architecture, engineering practices and strategy. A number of other Palmerston forts and batteries have been scheduled on the Isle of Wight; Bembridge Fort; Golden Hill Fort; Sandown Barrack Battery; Lower Needles Point Battery; Puckpool Mortar Battery. Yaverland Battery expands our understanding of this period in the defence of England, and of the Isle of Wight in particular.

History

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

Details

The monument includes a mid C19 Royal Commission coastal battery situated on the cliff top approximately 1km south-west of Bembridge Fort on the east coast of the Isle of Wight. DESCRIPTION The battery is broadly triangular, or wedge-shaped, in plan, aligned with the gun batteries facing south-west and protected in front by a ditch. The ditch was continued along the other two sides of the triangle to form a gorge, across which was built a now demolished flat-roofed single-storey barrack block with accommodation for two officers and 57 men. The two return sides of the triangle were also protected by a loop-holed brick gorge wall, which survives only on the north-west side, and a single-storey caponier at each of the northernmost ends of the ditch. These caponiers and the side ditches no longer survive. The flat-roofed, Flemish bond, red-brick crab house on the interior of the north-east end of the surviving gorge wall, where the original entrance to the battery was positioned, retains the machinery for raising the drawbridge. The room adjoining this to the south-west is marked on the original plans as a bread and meat store. Both have stone sills to the windows and segmental arches to windows and doors. Adjoining this is another brick lean-to building of a later date containing pumping equipment and part of the history of the monument. The south side of the battery was protected by a ditch with an unrevetted counterscarp which still remains. At the foot of the ditch was a free standing, loop-holed brick Carnot wall (an additional defence against infantry attack) with two single-storey caponiers at the ends, also built of brick with stone surrounds to the musket embrasures, providing enfilade musket fire along the front ditch and the angled returns. These features survive well; although a central section of the Carnot wall has been lost and the remaining sections have been filled-in on their interior side, so that they now appear as retaining rather than free-standing walls as originally. The original gun positions for eight 7-inch Rifled Breech Loading (RBL) guns, replaced by 1879 with 64pr Rifled Muzzle Loading (RML) guns, were sited in embrasured emplacements on the terreplein with two bomb-proof expense magazines. These were demolished when the battery was remodelled, except for the penultimate westernmost emplacement, where there are now the remains of the brick facing wall of the embrasure parapet and the granite traversing platform with metal racer tracks. Other foundations may remain under the topsoil although the profile of the battery was altered during the remodelling. These gun positions were served by two bomb-proof magazines to either side and to the rear of the emplacements which have also now gone; although buried remains may survive. There were also two bomb-proof expense magazines in the gun positions which have also gone. North of the site of the original gun position, and adjoining the surviving 1860s emplacement at the western end, are the concrete emplacements for three 6-inch breech-loading Mark VII guns which replaced the original gun positions from 1898. These were oriented at a slightly different angle to fire more to the east and survive in good condition including the steel bolts in the floor for the gun mountings. Below the emplacements are the two magazines which served them. The brick vaulted structures, possibly containing reused material from the original magazines, include the machinery for three hoists, one vertical and two oblique, which supplied ammunition to the emplacements above, as well as lamp recesses, ammunition hatches and traces of original stencilled signage. HISTORY Yaverland battery was constructed between April 1861 and March 1864 under the direction of Captain William Crossman, Royal Engineers and was one of three batteries recommended by the 1859 Royal Commission on the Defences of the United Kingdom, along with Sandown Barrack and Redcliffe, to protect against landings in Sandown Bay. These batteries formed a defense system together with Sandown and Bembridge Forts. Designed as an open (rather than casemated) battery, due to the elevated position on the cliff top, its armament went through several changes. The original eight 7-inch RBL guns were replaced by eight 64pr RML guns before 1879 and these were reduced to seven mounted on 6ft parapet slides by 1892. In 1888 an earthen traverse was constructed directly to the east of the battery to protect against enfilade fire from gunboats from the lea of Culver Cliff. This has now gone. Between 1898 and 1900 the battery was remodelled at a cost of £6,131. This involved the demolition of the 1860s emplacements with the land in front of the guns rescarped to a lower profile. The new concrete barbette emplacements for three 6-inch BL Mark VII guns were re-angled, again to prevent enfilade fire from the vicinity of Culver Cliff. During World War I, in 1915, the battery was reduced to two guns and defended by two machine-guns and barbed wire. During the 1920s two searchlights were installed in concrete shelters near water level for night practice. In the 1930s it became the Coastal Artillery Experimental Establishment and was the first test site nationally for the Quick-Fire (QF) twin 6-pdr in 1936. During World War II the battery was mainly used as a searchlight position although the battery was reactivated in April 1943 when two 6-inch BL Mark VII guns were reinstalled and manned by the Home Guard. The site was decommissioned in 1956 and the land sold and developed as a holiday centre. To the east of the battery on the cliff top is a metal foundation plate, probably for a World War II searchlight battery and the entrance to an underground Cold War Royal Observation Corps (ROC) post opened in 1962. These are not included in the scheduling. It should be noted that The monument includes a mid C19 Royal Commission coastal battery situated on the cliff top approximately 1km south-west of Bembridge Fort on the east coast of the Isle of Wight. DESCRIPTION The battery is broadly triangular, or wedge-shaped, in plan, aligned with the gun batteries facing south-west and protected in front by a ditch. The ditch was continued along the other two sides of the triangle to form a gorge, across which was built a now demolished flat-roofed single-storey barrack block with accommodation for two officers and 57 men. The two return sides of the triangle were also protected by a loop-holed brick gorge wall, which survives only on the north-west side, and a single-storey caponier at each of the northernmost ends of the ditch. These caponiers and the side ditches no longer survive. The flat-roofed, Flemish bond, red-brick crab house on the interior of the north-east end of the surviving gorge wall, where the original entrance to the battery was positioned, retains the machinery for raising the drawbridge. The room adjoining this to the south-west is marked on the original plans as a bread and meat store. Both have stone sills to the windows and segmental arches to windows and doors. Adjoining this is another brick lean-to building of a later date containing pumping equipment and part of the history of the monument. The south side of the battery was protected by a ditch with an unrevetted counterscarp which still remains. At the foot of the ditch was a free standing, loop-holed brick Carnot wall (an additional defence against infantry attack) with two single-storey caponiers at the ends, also built of brick with stone surrounds to the musket embrasures, providing enfilade musket fire along the front ditch and the angled returns. These features survive well; although a central section of the Carnot wall has been lost and the remaining sections have been filled-in on their interior side, so that they now appear as retaining rather than free-standing walls as originally. The original gun positions for eight 7-inch Rifled Breech Loading (RBL) guns, replaced by 1879 with 64pr Rifled Muzzle Loading (RML) guns, were sited in embrasured emplacements on the terreplein with two bomb-proof expense magazines. These were demolished when the battery was remodelled, except for the penultimate westernmost emplacement, where there are now the remains of the brick facing wall of the embrasure parapet and the granite traversing platform with metal racer tracks. Other foundations may remain under the topsoil although the profile of the battery was altered during the remodelling. These gun positions were served by two bomb-proof magazines to either side and to the rear of the emplacements which have also now gone; although buried remains may survive. There were also two bomb-proof expense magazines in the gun positions which have also gone. North of the site of the original gun position, and adjoining the surviving 1860s emplacement at the western end, are the concrete emplacements for three 6-inch breech-loading Mark VII guns which replaced the original gun positions from 1898. These were oriented at a slightly different angle to fire more to the east and survive in good condition including the steel bolts in the floor for the gun mountings. Below the emplacements are the two magazines which served them. The brick vaulted structures, possibly containing reused material from the original magazines, include the machinery for three hoists, one vertical and two oblique, which supplied ammunition to the emplacements above, as well as lamp recesses, ammunition hatches and traces of original stencilled signage. HISTORY Yaverland battery was constructed between April 1861 and March 1864 under the direction of Captain William Crossman, Royal Engineers and was one of three batteries recommended by the 1859 Royal Commission on the Defences of the United Kingdom, along with Sandown Barrack and Redcliffe, to protect against landings in Sandown Bay. These batteries formed a defense system together with Sandown and Bembridge Forts. Designed as an open (rather than casemated) battery, due to the elevated position on the cliff top, its armament went through several changes. The original eight 7-inch RBL guns were replaced by eight 64pr RML guns before 1879 and these were reduced to seven mounted on 6ft parapet slides by 1892. In 1888 an earthen traverse was constructed directly to the east of the battery to protect against enfilade fire from gunboats from the lea of Culver Cliff. This has now gone. Between 1898 and 1900 the battery was remodelled at a cost of £6,131. This involved the demolition of the 1860s emplacements with the land in front of the guns rescarped to a lower profile. The new concrete barbette emplacements for three 6-inch BL Mark VII guns were re-angled, again to prevent enfilade fire from the vicinity of Culver Cliff. During World War I, in 1915, the battery was reduced to two guns and defended by two machine-guns and barbed wire. During the 1920s two searchlights were installed in concrete shelters near water level for night practice. In the 1930s it became the Coastal Artillery Experimental Establishment and was the first test site nationally for the Quick-Fire (QF) twin 6-pdr in 1936. During World War II the battery was mainly used as a searchlight position although the battery was reactivated in April 1943 when two 6-inch BL Mark VII guns were reinstalled and manned by the Home Guard. The site was decommissioned in 1956 and the land sold and developed as a holiday centre. To the east of the battery on the cliff top is a metal foundation plate, probably for a World War II searchlight battery and the entrance to an underground Cold War Royal Observation Corps (ROC) post opened in 1962. These are not included in the scheduling. It should be noted that the battery gun emplacements and ditch were machine stripped and excavated in 2008. EXCLUSIONS The brick planter adjoining the north-east wall of the guardroom, wooden post and rail fencing along the top of the inner face of the ditch and all telegraph poles are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath all these features is included. SOURCES Hogg, Ian V - Coast Defences of England & Wales 1856-1956 (1974) Saunders, Andrew - Channel Defences (1997) Cantwell, Anthony & Sprack, Peter - 'The Sandown Bay Defences' Fortress 7 pp 51-59 (1990) Web site of the Palmerston Forts Society: www.palmerstonforts.org.uk - (Accessed May 2009) Plans PRO MR 1/1850/20 and 22 PRO WO 78/2625 and 5029 PRO WO 192/282 PRO WORK 43/346 and 352

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.

Selected Sources

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National Grid Reference: SZ 61531 85262

Map

Map
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This copy shows the entry on 21-Nov-2017 at 04:24:13.

End of official listing