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Long Curtain, King's Bastion and Spur Redoubt

A Scheduled Monument in St Thomas, Portsmouth

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.788 / 50°47'16"N

Longitude: -1.1032 / 1°6'11"W

OS Eastings: 463311.608983

OS Northings: 99102.596573

OS Grid: SZ633991

Mapcode National: GBR VP3.CQ

Mapcode Global: FRA 87L0.61X

Entry Name: Long Curtain, King's Bastion and Spur Redoubt

Scheduled Date: 10 September 1959

Last Amended: 24 July 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008754

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20208

County: Portsmouth

Electoral Ward/Division: St Thomas

Built-Up Area: Portsmouth

Traditional County: Hampshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Hampshire

Church of England Parish: St Thomas of Canterbury, Portsmouth

Church of England Diocese: Portsmouth

Details

This monument includes a stretch of curtain wall known as the Long Curtain, a
length of contemporary moat, a substantial bastion called King's Bastion (or
Wimbledon's Bastion as it was known in the 17th century) and the associated
Spur Redoubt. The curtain wall is part of the 16th century Portsmouth town
defences, later reconstructed by de Gomme. It survives as an earthen rampart
with inclined inner face, flat top and stone outward face rising almost
vertically from the moat. Above this is a brick parapet bordering a walk-way
along the outward side of the rampart. The King's Bastion is four-sided, with
two short flanks and two longer diagonal sides coming to an apex. The sides
are stone-walled, with a low brick parapet wall and the top is banked and
grassed. The curtain wall and bastion were re-utilised during the Second
World War and traces of the artillery concrete bases survive.
The Spur Redoubt was built in 1680 by de Gomme. Essentially the Spur Redoubt
is a small fort of triangular plan, detached from the main fortifications, and
was designed to strengthen the line at what was then considered a possibly
vulnerable point. Access to the Spur Redoubt was through a brick lined sally
port under the curtain wall and a light wooden bridge across the moat. Lord
Nelson passed through this sally port in 1805 on his last departure from
England. Following periods of dereliction and rebuilding the upper parts of
the Spur were removed and the lower levels covered in 1934 when the public
promenade was created. In 1988 an excavation and restoration programme
revealed standing masonry up to 2m high on average and this has now been
consolidated.
Excluded from the scheduling are the path surfaces, lamp posts, two timber
bridges, park benches, iron railings and a 24 pound cannon, although the
ground beneath these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The strategic importance of Portsmouth grew rapidly after the middle of the
seventeenth century and, in response to this, the earlier Elizabethan defences
were updated and improved by the Dutch military engineer Sir Bernard de Gomme.
His design included remodelling the existing ramparts, reconstructing the
bastions, widening the moats, building the first ravelin and outworks designed
to withstand prolonged sieges. Although defences of this type are common in
mainland Europe, Portsmouth was the only British town of this date where they
were adopted. This monument is of outstanding interest as the only surviving
extant length of the ramparts and moat which enclosed Portsmouth. The Spur
Redoubt forms an integral part of this defensive arrangement.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Lloyd, D W , Buildings of Portsmouth and its Environs, (1974), 57-59
Other
Spur Redoubt, 1988, Unpublished paper

Source: Historic England

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