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Monument details

HER Number:TQ 67 SE 63
Type of record:Monument
Name:Shornemead Fort, Gravesend

Summary

Shornemead Fort was built in the 1860s as part of a scheme to remodel the forward defences of the Thames to protect the river route to London. It crossed the fire of its guns with those of Coalhouse Fort on the north bank and with Cliffe Fort further downstream on the south bank. Now in a poor condition having been used by for demolition practise during army training operations.

Images

Shornemead Fort, Shorne Marshes   © kent county councilShornemead Fort, Shorne Marshes   © kent county councilShornemead Fort, Shorne Marshes   © kent county councilShornemead Fort, Shorne Marshes   © kent county councilShornemead Fort, Shorne Marshes   © kent county councilShornemead Fort, Shorne Marshes   © kent county council
Grid Reference:TQ 6924 7476
Map Sheet:TQ67SE
Parish:SHORNE, GRAVESHAM, KENT

Monument Types

  • FORT (Post Medieval to Modern - 1860 AD? to 1950 AD)
  • GRAFFITI (Post Medieval to Modern - 1890 AD to 1959 AD)
Protected Status:Selected Heritage Inventory for Natural England: Shornemead Fort was built in the 1860s as part of a scheme to remodel the forward defences of the Thames to protect the river route to London.

Full description

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TQ69307478 Shornmead Fort (NAT) (1). Additional bibliography (2-5). Additional bibliography not consulted (6). Mentioned in context with other Thames defences (7-9). Chart (10) and site photographs (11-55). Fort is now mostly in ruins. Only the front of the fort facing the river seems intact, most of the the internal structure is gone. Roofless. (56)

"Shornemead Fort was built in the 1860s as part of a scheme to remodel the forward defences of the Thames to protect the river route to London. It crossed the fire of its guns with those of Coalhouse Fort on the north bank and with Cliffe Fort further downstream on the south bank.

A small semi-circular 4-gun battery first occupied the site in 1796. This was obliterated by the construction of an early form of polygonal fort from 1847. This in turn was replaced by the present fort. The earlier works may have left archaeological traces.

As built in the 1860s the fort consisted of an arc of granite-faced gun casemates with iron shields and an open battery at the up-river end. It was fronted by a deep ditch and caponiers. A defensible barracks built of Kentish Rag closed the rear. The fort was armed with 11 x 11-in. and 3 x 9-in. rifled muzzle-loaders. Magazines were in the basement below the casemates and the open battery, with which they connected via ammunition lifts.

Contingency plans were made for the establishment of a minefield in the river off the fort in wartime. By 1895, 2 x 6-pr. quick-firing guns were emplaced in positions outside the fort to the east to defend this. A pair of electric searchlights was also installed in separate emplacements outside the fort to the west where there was a substantial submarine mining depot.

The rifled muzzle-loading guns were withdrawn before the First World War. Between the wars, the fort was used as accommodation for troops using the nearby Milton rifle range. There was a permanent staff and staff accommodation, lecture halls, additional barracks and a swimming pool were built outside the fort to its east.

In 1940, the emplacements for the QF guns were overbuilt by 2 emplacements with overhead protection for a pair of 5.5-in. breech-loading guns. This was one of many ‘emergency’ batteries built on the coasts and near the entrances to rivers in anticipation of German invasion. Pillboxes were let into the river wall near the front of the battery.

A concrete hard in front of the fort was built in 1944 as one of many embarkation points for Operation Overlord.

The barracks and rear of the fort were blown up for training by Army demolition squads in the 1960s. The outlying 5.5-in. battery, range staff accommodation and the surface vestiges of the mining establishment were cleared in the 1970s."(57)

A full archaeological survey was conducted 2007/2008 that supports the above comments and suggests that buried remains of fortifications may also survive on the site: a small semi-circular 4-gun battery from 1795 and an early polygonal fort from 1847 (58).

A watching brief in 2007 on earthmoving to create a ramp behind the casemates allowed recording of the coal yard building and the magazines. The magazines contained graffiti of visiting soldiers covering the period 1890-1959. A First World War rubbish dump was also located. (59)


<1> OS 1:10000 1982 (OS Card Reference). SKE48168.

<2> Coast Defences of Eng and Wales 1856-1956 1974 106-8 (IV Hogg) (OS Card Reference). SKE39030.

<3> Ant J 40 1960 153 Map (AD Saunders) (OS Card Reference). SKE33187.

<4> A Handbook of Kent's Defences 1540-1945 1977 9 (D Bennett) (OS Card Reference). SKE32808.

<5> Kents Arch Rev 25 1971 139-41 (CV Smith) (OS Card Reference). SKE45977.

<6> The Medway Forts 1976 19 20 (KR Gulvin) (OS Card Reference). SKE50420.

<7> Saunders, Andrew, 1995, Thames fortifications during the 16th to 19th centuries (Article in monograph). SWX9358.

<8> Kent County Council, 1999, Survey of Kent post-1500 defence sites, KD124 (Index). SWX11828.

<9> Untitled Source (Bibliographic reference). SWX9361.

<10> Bullock, 1852, Gravesend Reach (Chart). SWX8140.

<11> 1946, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX9420.

<12> 1946, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX9467.

<13> 1947, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX9859.

<14> 1942, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX10003.

<15> 1944, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX10014.

<16> 1944, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX10067.

<17> 1941, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX10113.

<18> 2000, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX10271.

<19> 2000, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX10280.

<20> 1978, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX10918.

<21> 1979, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX10919.

<22> 1979, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX10920.

<23> 1979, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX10921.

<24> 1979, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX10922.

<25> 1979, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX10923.

<26> 1979, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX10924.

<27> 1979, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX10925.

<28> 1979, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX10926.

<29> 1979, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX10927.

<30> 1979, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX10928.

<31> 1978, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX10929.

<32> 1979, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX10930.

<33> 1979, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX10931.

<34> 1979, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX10932.

<35> 1979, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX10933.

<36> 1979, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX10934.

<37> 1979, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX10935.

<38> 1979, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX10936.

<39> 1979, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX10937.

<40> 1979, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX10938.

<41> 1979, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX10939.

<42> 1979, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX10940.

<43> 1979, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX10941.

<44> 1979, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX10942.

<45> 1979, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX10943.

<46> 1979, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX10944.

<47> 1979, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX10945.

<48> 1979, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX10946.

<49> 1979, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX10947.

<50> 1979, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX10948.

<51> 1979, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX10949.

<52> 1979, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX10950.

<53> 1979, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX10951.

<54> 1979, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX10952.

<55> 1946, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX9404.

<56> Wessex Archaeology, 2005, North Kent Coast Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey: Phase ll: Field Assessment Year Two Report (Unpublished document). SWX12323.

<57> Victor Smith and Andrew Saunders, 2001, Kent's Defence Heritage (Unpublished document). SKE6956.

<58> Nathalie Barrett, 2007, Shornemead Fort, Shorne Marshes, Kent, NGR 569249 174770, An Archaeological Survey (Unpublished document). SKE13551.

<59> Victor Smith, 2008, Shornmead Fort, Shorne Marshes, near Gravesend, Kent: Report of an archaeological watching brief undertaken in November-December 2007 (Unpublished document). SKE17773.

<60> Kent Defence Research Group, c. 1993, Kent Defence Research Group 'Fort Logs' (Unpublished document). SKE52251.

<61> Victor Smith, 2007, Shornemead Fort Shorne Marshes, near Gravesend, Kent an archaeological desk study (Unpublished document). SKE13101.

<62> Victor Smith, 2007, Shornemead Fort Shorne Marshes, near Gravesend, Kent an archaeological desk study (Unpublished document). Ske13101.

Sources and further reading

Cross-ref. Source description
<1>OS Card Reference: OS 1:10000 1982.
<2>OS Card Reference: Coast Defences of Eng and Wales 1856-1956 1974 106-8 (IV Hogg).
<3>OS Card Reference: Ant J 40 1960 153 Map (AD Saunders).
<4>OS Card Reference: A Handbook of Kent's Defences 1540-1945 1977 9 (D Bennett).
<5>OS Card Reference: Kents Arch Rev 25 1971 139-41 (CV Smith).
<6>OS Card Reference: The Medway Forts 1976 19 20 (KR Gulvin).
<7>Article in monograph: Saunders, Andrew. 1995. Thames fortifications during the 16th to 19th centuries. 124-134.
<8>Index: Kent County Council. 1999. Survey of Kent post-1500 defence sites. KD124.
<9>Bibliographic reference:
<10>Chart: Bullock. 1852. Gravesend Reach. chart.
<11>Photograph (Print): 1946. Photograph. 3106. print.
<12>Photograph (Print): 1946. Photograph. 4026. print.
<13>Photograph (Print): 1947. Photograph. 4045. print.
<14>Photograph (Print): 1942. Photograph. 36. print.
<15>Photograph (Print): 1944. Photograph. 3016. print.
<16>Photograph (Print): 1944. Photograph. 4029. print.
<17>Photograph (Print): 1941. Photograph. 2025. print.
<18>Photograph (Print): 2000. Photograph. 161. print.
<19>Photograph (Print): 2000. Photograph. 180. print.
<20>Photograph (Print): 1978. Photograph. TQ6974/1. print.
<21>Photograph (Print): 1979. Photograph. TQ6974/10. print.
<22>Photograph (Print): 1979. Photograph. TQ6974/11. print.
<23>Photograph (Print): 1979. Photograph. TQ6974/12. print.
<24>Photograph (Print): 1979. Photograph. TQ6974/13. print.
<25>Photograph (Print): 1979. Photograph. TQ6974/14. print.
<26>Photograph (Print): 1979. Photograph. TQ6974/15. print.
<27>Photograph (Print): 1979. Photograph. TQ6974/16. print.
<28>Photograph (Print): 1979. Photograph. TQ6974/17. print.
<29>Photograph (Print): 1979. Photograph. TQ6974/18. print.
<30>Photograph (Print): 1979. Photograph. TQ6974/19. print.
<31>Photograph (Print): 1978. Photograph. TQ6974/2. print.
<32>Photograph (Print): 1979. Photograph. TQ6974/20. print.
<33>Photograph (Print): 1979. Photograph. TQ6974/21. print.
<34>Photograph (Print): 1979. Photograph. TQ6974/22. print.
<35>Photograph (Print): 1979. Photograph. TQ6974/23. print.
<36>Photograph (Print): 1979. Photograph. TQ6974/24. print.
<37>Photograph (Print): 1979. Photograph. TQ6974/25. print.
<38>Photograph (Print): 1979. Photograph. TQ6974/26. print.
<39>Photograph (Print): 1979. Photograph. TQ6974/27. print.
<40>Photograph (Print): 1979. Photograph. TQ6974/28. print.
<41>Photograph (Print): 1979. Photograph. TQ6974/29. print.
<42>Photograph (Print): 1979. Photograph. TQ6974/3. print.
<43>Photograph (Print): 1979. Photograph. TQ6974/30. print.
<44>Photograph (Print): 1979. Photograph. TQ6974/31. print.
<45>Photograph (Print): 1979. Photograph. TQ6974/32. print.
<46>Photograph (Print): 1979. Photograph. TQ6974/33. print.
<47>Photograph (Print): 1979. Photograph. TQ6974/34. print.
<48>Photograph (Print): 1979. Photograph. TQ6974/35. print.
<49>Photograph (Print): 1979. Photograph. TQ6974/4. print.
<50>Photograph (Print): 1979. Photograph. TQ6974/5. print.
<51>Photograph (Print): 1979. Photograph. TQ6974/6. print.
<52>Photograph (Print): 1979. Photograph. TQ6974/7. print.
<53>Photograph (Print): 1979. Photograph. TQ6974/8. print.
<54>Photograph (Print): 1979. Photograph. TQ6974/9. print.
<55>Photograph (Print): 1946. Photograph. 3041. print.
<56>Unpublished document: Wessex Archaeology. 2005. North Kent Coast Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey: Phase ll: Field Assessment Year Two Report.
<57>Unpublished document: Victor Smith and Andrew Saunders. 2001. Kent's Defence Heritage.
<58>Unpublished document: Nathalie Barrett. 2007. Shornemead Fort, Shorne Marshes, Kent, NGR 569249 174770, An Archaeological Survey.
<59>Unpublished document: Victor Smith. 2008. Shornmead Fort, Shorne Marshes, near Gravesend, Kent: Report of an archaeological watching brief undertaken in November-December 2007.
<60>Unpublished document: Kent Defence Research Group. c. 1993. Kent Defence Research Group 'Fort Logs'.
<61>XYUnpublished document: Victor Smith. 2007. Shornemead Fort Shorne Marshes, near Gravesend, Kent an archaeological desk study. [Mapped feature: #112 Fort, ]
<62>XYUnpublished document: Victor Smith. 2007. Shornemead Fort Shorne Marshes, near Gravesend, Kent an archaeological desk study. [Mapped feature: #112 Fort, ]

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