Ancient Monuments

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A 19th century artillery fort known as Littlehampton Fort, 317m south west of the Windmill Theatre

A Scheduled Monument in Littlehampton, West Sussex

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Latitude: 50.8012 / 50°48'4"N

Longitude: -0.544 / 0°32'38"W

OS Eastings: 502701.889835

OS Northings: 101189.04385

OS Grid: TQ027011

Mapcode National: GBR GL4.M9C

Mapcode Global: FRA 96RZ.7X2

Entry Name: A 19th century artillery fort known as Littlehampton Fort, 317m south west of the Windmill Theatre

Scheduled Date: 31 August 1977

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1005809

English Heritage Legacy ID: WS 446

County: West Sussex

Civil Parish: Littlehampton

Built-Up Area: Littlehampton

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Sussex

Church of England Parish: Clymping St Mary the Virgin

Church of England Diocese: Chichester


The monument includes a 19th century artillery fort, known as Littlehampton Fort, surviving as upstanding structures and below-ground archaeological remains covered by shifting sand dunes. It is situated on the west bank of the River Arun at the entrance to Littlehampton Harbour.
The fort is built of red brick and pebble and includes a lunette battery for three 68 pounder guns and two 32 pounder guns, which is surrounded by a detached Carnot wall with three open bastions defended by musket loops. Although the fort is largely covered by sand the Carnot wall is thought to survive to full height with original coping. The exterior moat is completely filled with sand but survives as a buried feature. The barrack block and offices to the rear of the fort were partially demolished in about 1965 but the foundations are still visible. The fort is similar in design to Shoreham Fort, which is also a scheduled monument, but the Carnot wall has open bastions instead of caponiers.
Littlehampton Fort was built to replace a gun battery, which had been built in 1764 on the east side of the harbour as a deterrent to French privateers after the new river outlet was cut but was dismantled in about 1834 and became a coastguard station. The new fort was constructed by a London building firm, Messrs Lock and Wesham, under the supervision of Captain Fenwick of the Royal Engineers between February and September 1854. It was planned to accommodate two infantry officers, one master gunner and 42 Non Commissioned Officers and privates in the internal barracks. A further 30 Non Commissioned Officers and privates could be accommodated in a small enclosure or hut outside the fort, on the north side. The five guns were probably installed after the Crimean War (1853-1856). However the fort was taken out of action in 1873. It was almost certainly re-fortified during the Second World War and an observation post was built nearby between 1940 and 1941.
Further archaeological remains survive in the vicinity of this monument, such as a Second World War observation post, but are not included because they have not been formally assessed.

Sources: West Sussex HER 2215 - MWS3361, 2216 - MWS3114. NMR TQ00SW124, TQ00SW58, TQ00SW122. PastScape 1427813, 392894, 1427481.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Littlehampton Fort belongs to the class of military installation termed 'batteries' - self contained positions where guns were mounted for purposes of offensive or defensive action; the objective being primarily to bring guns to bear on a specific area, to provide the appropriate range and to protect the guns (and crew) during action. Ammunition would be usually stored behind the rampart (the area known as the 'gorge') and by the later 19th century, in purpose built magazines. As a source of information for developments in military technology and as indications of the ebb and flow of international politics, all examples exhibiting a significant degree of preservation are considered worthy of protection.
Littlehampton Fort is a good example of a 19th century artillery fort, which survives well. The covering of sand will have aided the preservation of the fort and associated archaeological deposits, providing some protection from weathering and erosion. The fort represents a significant phase of experimental fortification, following 19th century developments in heavy guns with increased range.

Source: Historic England

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