Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Exploded Napoleonic practice redoubt on Butter Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Crowthorne, Bracknell Forest

We don't have any photos of this monument yet. Why don't you be the first to send us one?

Upload Photo »

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »

If Google Street View is available, the image is from the best available vantage point looking, if possible, towards the location of the monument. Where it is not available, the satellite view is shown instead.


Latitude: 51.3705 / 51°22'13"N

Longitude: -0.7676 / 0°46'3"W

OS Eastings: 485881.184402

OS Northings: 164208.619602

OS Grid: SU858642

Mapcode National: GBR D8D.4Q1

Mapcode Global: VHDX9.NT18

Entry Name: Exploded Napoleonic practice redoubt on Butter Hill

Scheduled Date: 8 December 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017785

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28175

County: Bracknell Forest

Civil Parish: Crowthorne

Built-Up Area: Crowthorne

Traditional County: Berkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Berkshire

Church of England Parish: Crowthorne

Church of England Diocese: Oxford


The monument includes the remains of one of a series of practice redoubts
built in 1792 in a 2km long line running north west-east along the edge of a
plateau formerly known as Easthamstead Plain. This redoubt lies on the summit
of Butter Hill and is unusual in that it was deliberately mined and exploded
by engineers as a climax to exercises watched by the Royal party, in order to
demonstrate assault and engineering skills. The redoubt originally took the
form of a small fieldwork.
The monument measures approximately 42m across and, although originally
square, is now roughly circular. It is enclosed by an upcast bank about 2m
wide and 1m high surrounding a crater 3m deep and 30m wide.
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 exploded redoubt on Butter Hill is a unique example, within the British
Isles, of the mining engineering techniques of the British army in the
Napoleonic period. In association with the other monuments which comprise the
visible remains of the 1792 exercises, it provides evidence of the intended
method of warfare at a critical time in the defensive history of Britain.

Source: Historic England


PRN 00378.10.000, Berkshire County Council SMR, Enclosure, Redoubt, (1991)
Title: Ordnance Survey
Source Date: 1980
1:10000 Series

Source: Historic England

Other nearby scheduled monuments is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact for any queries related to any individual ancient or schedued monument, planning permission related to scheduled monuments or the scheduling process itself. is a Good Stuff website.