Ancient Monuments

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Sandown Barrack Battery

A Scheduled Monument in Sandown, Isle of Wight

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Latitude: 50.6502 / 50°39'0"N

Longitude: -1.1608 / 1°9'38"W

OS Eastings: 459426.842822

OS Northings: 83724.920934

OS Grid: SZ594837

Mapcode National: GBR 9DM.1CT

Mapcode Global: FRA 87GC.1MJ

Entry Name: Sandown Barrack Battery

Scheduled Date: 7 September 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019195

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33955

County: Isle of Wight

Civil Parish: Sandown

Built-Up Area: Sandown

Traditional County: Hampshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Isle of Wight

Church of England Parish: Sandown Christ Church

Church of England Diocese: Portsmouth


The monument includes Sandown Barrack Battery, a 19th century Royal
Commission coastal battery situated on the cliff top approximately 2km south
west of Sandown Fort. Sandown Barrack Battery was one of three batteries
recommended by the 1860 Royal Commission on the Defence of the United Kingdom
to be built around Sandown Bay in order to prevent seaborne landings and offer
additional support to Sandown Fort. Construction started in 1861 and was
completed in 1863 at a cost of 6,233 pounds.

The battery was rectilinear in plan, with the cliff edge open and the sides
and rear enclosed by a dry moat containing a loopholed brick carnot wall which
was flanked at both corners by open musketry caponiers. Entry to the battery
was via a drawbridge and gate on the landward side, protected by loopholed
demi bastions projecting from the carnot wall. The northern demi-bastion was
also used as the cookhouse and guardroom, whilst the southern demi-bastion
functioned as an artillery store. Other brick buildings constructed against
the inner face of the landward carnot wall included a smith's shop, machine
gun store, artillery general store, coal bunker, ablutions room, a war shelter
for 12 men and a cartridge and shell store. The battery initially mounted five
7 inch rifled breech loader (RBL) guns in concrete emplacements, superceded in
1872 by 64 pounder rifled muzzle loaders (RML). In 1882 the Royal Artillery
and Royal Engineers Works Committee recommended the removal of two 10 inch RML
guns from Sandown Fort to Barrack Battery. Two machine guns were added for
close defence in 1892 but in 1893 the 10 inch RML guns were dismounted in
favour of the two remaining 64 pounder RMLs, which in turn were replaced by
two 12 pounder quick firing (QF) guns in 1898. Major rebuilding work began in
1900 with the construction of underground magazines and concrete emplacements
within the centre of the battery to mount two 6 inch breech loaders (BL). The
original magazines reverted to use as a battery command post and three
emplacements were apparently demolished. Work was completed in 1903, but in
1905 the 12 pounder QF guns were relegated to training and finally in 1910 the
6 inch BL guns were put into reserve.

Following its abandonment by the military the battery was converted for use as
a public park. Work involved the demolition to ground level of the 6 inch BL
emplacements, mounding over of emplacements for the 12 pounder QF guns to form
an ornamental rockery, the adaptation of the war shelter as public
conveniences and the reuse of other buildings as storage areas and a

All services, structures, fixtures and fittings associated with the conversion
of the battery for recreational and retail purposes and the public lavatories
are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features
is included.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The Royal Commission fortifications are a group of related sites established
in response to the 1859 Royal Commission report on the defence of the United
Kingdom. This had been set up following an invasion scare caused by the
strengthening of the French Navy.
These fortifications represented the largest maritime defence programme since
the initiative of Henry VIII in 1539-40. The programme built upon the
defensive works already begun at Plymouth and elsewhere and recommended the
improvement of existing fortifications as well as the construction of new
There were eventually some 70 forts and batteries in England which were due
wholly or in part to the Royal Commission. These constitute a well defined
group with common design characteristics, armament and defensive provisions.
Whether reused or not during the 20th century, they are the most visible core
of Britain's coastal defence systems and are known colloquially as
`Palmerston's follies'. All examples are considered of national importance.

Sandown Barrack Battery survives well as a series of standing structures,
earthworks and buried deposits. The battery retains many of its original
fixtures and fittings. Together with contemporary documentary sources relating
to the battery, the remains will offer an insight into late 19th century
military architecture, engineering practices and strategy.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Saunders, A D, Fortifications of Portsmouth and the Solent, (1998), 134-135
Isle of Wight Council, 814,

Source: Historic England

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