Ancient Monuments

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Five Napoleonic practice redoubts in both Crowthorne Woods and Bramshill Forest

A Scheduled Monument in Crowthorne, Bracknell Forest

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Latitude: 51.3747 / 51°22'28"N

Longitude: -0.7644 / 0°45'51"W

OS Eastings: 486096.329

OS Northings: 164681.8154

OS Grid: SU860646

Mapcode National: GBR D86.RKF

Mapcode Global: VHDX9.PQR1

Entry Name: Five Napoleonic practice redoubts in both Crowthorne Woods and Bramshill Forest

Scheduled Date: 18 January 1977

Last Amended: 24 October 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016331

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28178

County: Bracknell Forest

Civil Parish: Crowthorne

Built-Up Area: Crowthorne

Traditional County: Berkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Berkshire

Church of England Parish: Easthampstead

Church of England Diocese: Oxford


The monument includes five of a series of practice redoubts constructed in
1792 in a 2km long line running north west-east along the edge of a plateau
formerly known as Easthamstead Plain.
The redoubts include earthen banks and ditches which individually measure
between 45m and 53m across and are all roughly square. The redoubts are
enclosed by open ditches measuring up to 3m wide and are all roughly 1m deep,
although many are now partly infilled with leaf litter. Immediately inside the
ditches stand low earthen banks 1m high externally and between 0.5m and 1m
high internally. Where entrances exist, they are formed by causeways situated
in the north east corners of the ditches and the rampart is normally slightly
lower at this point. These gaps and the tops of the ramparts would have been
further protected by earth-filled powder barrels and stockades where
Easthamstead Plain, which lies north of Sandhurst Military College, contains
many other examples of military training dating from the past 200 years, some
of which are the subject of separate schedulings.

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.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Easthamstead Plain, the heathland plateau between Bracknell and Crowthorne, in
1792 was the scene of large scale military manoeuvres which have left an
unusual combination of physical traces, and which appear to be unique in
England. The exercises were designed to allow the Army to test its new
Handbook of Military Manoeuvres, whilst sending signals of strength to
continental Europe in the aftermath of the French Revolution. They boosted
morale in an Army still shocked by its defeat at the hands of revolutionaries
in the American War of Independence, and demonstrated the Crown's ability to
maintain order in the event of any Republican unrest in Britain.
The manoeuvres lasted from 23 July to 8 August 1792. They adopted the strategy
of building infantry or artillery redoubts as part of defensive lines behind
which infantry squares and cavalry could be deployed. In essence, this was the
strategy later used successfully by Wellington, notably at Waterloo. At
Easthamstead Plain, the Army practised attacking a defensive line including
eight specially constructed earthwork redoubts. The surviving redoubts are the
only documented examples in England of a full battlefield defensive system of
the Napoleonic period, equivalent in significance to the slightly later Royal
Military Canal in Kent which was built to oppose the anticipated French
invasion. They are therefore all considered to be of national importance and
worthy of protection.

The five redoubts included in this monument all survive well and are extremely
good examples of their class. In addition, they are an important element of
the modern landscape and provide reference points and educational amenities
for visitors within the extensive open woodland of Crowthorne Woods and
Bramshill Forest.

Source: Historic England

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