Exploring Kent's Past

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Monument details

HER Number:TQ 97 NW 1084
Type of record:Listed Building
Name:GARRISON POINT FORT

Summary

Grade II listed building. Main construction periods 1669 to 1978. A battery existed from the Tudor period at the tip of the Sheerness promontory at the entrance to the Medway. Its site was included within Sheerness Fort, built in the 1660's and 70's and the Half Moon and Cavalier Battery continued in existence into the mid-19th century. The Royal Commission Report of 1860 recommended a powerful casemated work in their place to protect the narrow entrance of the Medway and the Isle of Grain and for the defence of the dockyard against a coup de main. The result was a casemated granite-fronted fort for 36 heavy guns protected by iron shields. Preparations were made for two turrets on top but these were not built. The fort was completed by 1872 and was armed with 9inch and 10inch Rifled Muzzle Loading (RML) guns. In 1880, there were 9inch, 10inch, 11inch and 12.5inch RML's behind iron shields. Garrison Point was the location of a Brennan Torpedo Station constructed in 1884 and in use until c.1906. By 1909, there were two 6inch breach loaded guns on top of the fort and four 12 pounder QFs in a lower tier. During World War II, two twin 6 pounders were mounted one on top and the other outside the granite front. They remained operational until 1956. The fort is now within the limits of Medway Ports.


Grid Reference:TQ 90784 75544
Map Sheet:TQ97NW
Parish:SHEERNESS, SWALE, KENT

Monument Types

  • SITE (Post Medieval to Modern - 1669 AD to 1978 AD)
  • FORT (Abandoned 1956, Post Medieval to Modern - 1860 AD to 2050 AD (between))
  • SIGNAL STATION (Possible site of, Modern - 1914 AD? to 1918 AD?)
Protected Status:Scheduled Monument 1005145: Sheerness Defences; Listed Building (II) 1259029: GARRISON POINT FORT

Full description

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The following text is from the original listed building designation:
SHEERNESS DOCKS 1. 5282 Sheerness Garrison Point Fort TQ 9075 NE 4/114 15.3.77. TQ 9075 SE 5/114
II GV 2. Built in the 1860s replacing Sir Bernard de Gomme's fortifications of 1669. A semi-circular fort of granite blocks to the seaward side with blank cambered arches and of ashlar blocks to the landward side with 2 tiers of gun emplacements. Granite parapet and end quoins. Modern look-outs in roof.
Listing NGR: TQ9078475544

Description from record TQ 97 NW 118:
Situated covering the Medway entrance (see plan), Garrison Point Fort is on the site of three earlier forts. A square Tudor blockhouse was followed in 1667 by a new fort, construction of which was interrupted by the Dutch, who in a raid of that year destroyed it. Rebuilt by Sir Bernard de Gomme, all that survives are two stone lions and a series of bastions and moats, though they have been mutilated by 19th century gun positions. Following the Royal Commission of 1860 the red brick fort was demolished and the present structure built. A casemated fort in two tiers protected by iron shields. The outer face is of granite and the walls and piers are 14.5 ft thick. Completed in 1872, a Brennan torpedo station was added in 1887, of which no trace exists, and new batteries in 1900. During World War II guns were installed on the roof and remained in use until 1956. The condition of the fort in 1959 was fair and almost complete. Owned by M.O.D.

Garrison Point Fort, a casemated fort for 36 heavy guns, built following a Royal Commission report of 1860. b. TQ 915753: A surviving portion of late 17th c fortifications designed by Sir Bernard de Gomme. Largely faced in Portland ashlar to cordon. The brick parapet is later and together with the rampart has been remodelled and mutilated by 19th c gun positions. At three angles are moulded corbels which carried sentry boxes. c. Sheerness Lines. (1-4).

By 1925 most of the casemates had been convereted to stores and accommodation with the guns of the fort concentrated on the roof 4x12 pdr QF's 2x6" BL's and 2 machine guns in the disused Brennan Torpedo Stations (TQ 97 NW 119). During WW2 two fo the 6" emplacments were reused with two additional twin 6pdrs in gun towers. Much of the fort remains intact and display some of their original fittings. (6)

"A battery existed from the Tudor period at the tip of the Sheerness promontory at the entrance to the Medway. Its site was included within Sheerness Fort, built in the 1660's and 70's and the Half Moon and Cavalier Battery continued in existence into the mid-19th century. The Royal Commission Report of 1860 recommended a powerful casemated work in their place to protect the narrow entrance of the Medway and the Isle of Grain and for the defence of the dockyard against a coup de main. The result was a casemated granite-fronted fort for 36 heavy guns protected by iron shields. Preparations were made for two turrets on top but these were not built. The fort was completed by 1872 and was armed with 9inch and 10inch Rifled Muzzle Loading (RML) guns. In 1880, there were 9inch, 10inch, 11inch and 12.5inch RML's behind iron shields. Garrison Point was the location of a Brennan Torpedo Station constructed in 1884 and in use until c.1906. By 1909, there were two 6inch breach loaded guns on top of the fort and four 12 pounder QFs in a lower tier. During World War II, two twin 6 pounders were mounted one on top and the other outside the granite front. They remained operational until 1956.The fort is now within the limits of Medway Ports." (7)

From the National Heritage List for England:
Garrison Point Fort: on extreme NW tip of land covering entrance to Medway. Built following 1860 Royal Commission report. Casemated fort for 36 heavy guns in two tiers protected by iron shields. Outer face is of granite and the walls and piers are 14.5 ft thick. Internally fort is more or less complete except for hoists. Modern gun emplacements on roof and later structures in Parade. Radar tower built in 1962 on south side. The defences of the gorge and of the approaches from the north are entrusted to the NE Sheerness Lines. The gorge is taken up by extensive barracks etc. with little flank defence.

A signal tower/semaphore is shown on the southwestern most part of the fort on a plan of 1858. (8)

A First World War Admiralty wireless station existed on this site and survives as a signal station on modern mapping. It is possible that the wireless and signal stations are the same structure. The wireless/signal station is a white cylindrical structure on top of the main fort and forming part of a later (possibly Second World War) structure. An Admiralty Order from 1917 (OA72) confirms use of wireless equipped aircraft in a spotting capacity for coastal gun batteries and identifies F.C. Post Sheerness as one of the ground receiving stations.(9)

The development of the fort is described in detail in a report on the chracterisation of Sheerness produced in 2016. (10)


English Heritage, List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest (Map). SKE16160.


<1> Sheerness Defences, Garrison Point Fort and the Indented Lines/ink survey (Graphic material). SKE6431.


<2> Sheerness Defences, Garrison Point Fort and the Indented Lines/overlay (Graphic material). SKE6432.


<3> Sheerness Defences, Garrison Point Fort (Bibliographic reference). SKE6437.


<4> RCHME: Sheerness Defences, Kent (Collection). SKE6533.


<5> Kent County Council, 1999, Survey of Kent post-1500 defence sites, KD79 (Index). SWX11828.


<6> Royal Commission on Historic Monuments in England, 1995, Sheerness: The Dockyard, Defences and Blue Town (Unpublished document). SWX6974.


<7> Victor Smith and Andrew Saunders, 2001, Kent's Defence Heritage (Unpublished document). SKE6956.


<8> 1858, Sheerness Dockyard 1858 labelled plan (Map). SKE18272.


<9> Oxford Archaeological South, 2016, First World War Wireless Stations in England. (Bibliographic reference). SKE31551.


<10> Ramboll Environ, 2016, A characterisation of Sheerness, Kent, Project Report (Unpublished document). SKE31609.

Sources and further reading

Cross-ref. Source description
---Map: English Heritage. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest.
<1>Graphic material: Sheerness Defences, Garrison Point Fort and the Indented Lines/ink survey. PER. PEN.
<2>Graphic material: Sheerness Defences, Garrison Point Fort and the Indented Lines/overlay. PER. PEN.
<3>Bibliographic reference: Sheerness Defences, Garrison Point Fort. PAP. TYP.
<4>Collection: RCHME: Sheerness Defences, Kent.
<5>Index: Kent County Council. 1999. Survey of Kent post-1500 defence sites. KD79.
<6>Unpublished document: Royal Commission on Historic Monuments in England. 1995. Sheerness: The Dockyard, Defences and Blue Town.
<7>Unpublished document: Victor Smith and Andrew Saunders. 2001. Kent's Defence Heritage.
<8>Map: 1858. Sheerness Dockyard 1858 labelled plan.
<9>Bibliographic reference: Oxford Archaeological South. 2016. First World War Wireless Stations in England..
<10>Unpublished document: Ramboll Environ. 2016. A characterisation of Sheerness, Kent, Project Report.

Related records

TQ 97 NW 119Parent of: Brennan Torpedo Station (Site of), Garrison Point Fort, Sheerness (Monument)
TQ 97 NW 14Parent of: The Ravelin Battery, Sheerness (Monument)
TQ 97 NW 3Part of: Sheerness defences (Monument)
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