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Heugh coastal artillery battery immediately north west of Heugh Lighthouse

A Scheduled Monument in Headland, Hartlepool

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Latitude: 54.6972 / 54°41'50"N

Longitude: -1.1765 / 1°10'35"W

OS Eastings: 453170.145214

OS Northings: 533888.056111

OS Grid: NZ531338

Mapcode National: GBR NG73.2Y

Mapcode Global: WHD6F.W6XC

Entry Name: Heugh coastal artillery battery immediately north west of Heugh Lighthouse

Scheduled Date: 3 September 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020801

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34717

County: Hartlepool

Civil Parish: Headland

Built-Up Area: Hartlepool

Traditional County: Durham

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): County Durham

Church of England Parish: Hartlepool St Hilda

Church of England Diocese: Durham


The monument includes the standing, earthwork and associated buried
remains of one of the coastal artillery batteries that defended Hartlepool
harbour until after World War II. It lies between Heugh Lighthouse and the
Town Moor. It does not include the closely associated Lighthouse Battery
that, before it was levelled, stood immediately to the south of the
lighthouse. These two batteries were the only coastal batteries in Britain
to engage enemy ships in World War I.

A map of 1740 shows the outline of a fortification labelled Southys Point
Battery roughly in the area later occupied by Heugh Battery. An 1841 town
plan shows that this fortification had ceased to exist, but does show one
of simpler outline called East Battery just to the south. In August 1855,
this approximate area was leased as Lighthouse Battery which initially had
six guns, but was rebuilt in 1857 for two 68 pounder guns. Heugh Battery
was first leased in December 1859 and by 1864 had four 68 pounders. In
1890 it was rebuilt for three guns with Lighthouse Battery being rebuilt
the following year for a single 6 inch gun. Between 1899 and 1900, Heugh
was modified again, at a cost of just over 4000 pounds, to take two quick
firing guns. In December 1902, Heugh was armed with two 6 inch mark VII
breach loading guns, with a single mark VI gun at Lighthouse which was
upgraded to a mark VII by 1914. It was with these three guns that three
German ships were engaged on the morning of 16th December 1914.
Battlecruisers Seydlitz and Moltke and the Heavy Armoured Cruiser Blucher
shelled the batteries and other targets in Hartlepool from 8:15 am for
nearly 40 minutes, killing over 100 civilians and injuring a further 400.
Two shells exploded between the batteries, killing seven soldiers, but the
German ships failed to disable the British guns. Contemporary reports
suggested that the ships fired shells with delayed action fuses that
merely bounced off the concrete aprons of the batteries, and then exploded
amongst the houses to the rear. The gun at Lighthouse Battery developed a
fault and only fired 15 rounds whilst Heugh dispatched 108 rounds in
response to the 500-1000 rounds fired by the ships. About eight British
rounds hit their targets causing minor damage to all three ships, but this
is thought to have been enough to cause the bombardment to have been cut
short. This was the first and last time that the batteries engaged an
enemy, but they continued to function as a deterrent. The batteries were
maintained between the World Wars and re-entered active service, manned by
Territorial Army units of the Durham Heavy Regiment Royal Artillery. By
1942 at the latest the gun layout on the headland had been rearranged.
Heugh Battery fire control had charge of the gun at the old Lighthouse
Battery and a second gun some 200m to the north west, whilst Heugh's
southern gun emplacement had been decommissioned. In November 1943 Heugh's
role was defined as being that of a part-time examination battery along
with the South Gare Battery at the mouth of the Tees. Examination
batteries were designed to guard against surprise attacks using merchant
ships. In September 1944 even this potential threat was deemed unlikely
and Heugh Battery was taken out of active service and reduced to care and
maintenance. In August 1947 the two guns of the original Heugh Battery
were selected for retention as part of the nation's post-war layout of
coastal defences. The site was finally decommissioned no later than the
end of 1956 when coastal artillery was finally abandoned as part of
Britain's defences.

The monument includes the full extent of Heugh Battery as defined by
contemporary plans. The site of Lighthouse Battery has been cleared and is
thus not included, although buried remains of its magazines and other
features probably still survive. Heugh battery retains two gun pits of
slightly differing designs. Close to the centre of the monument is the
southern emplacement for No.2 Gun. This appears to be the same as that
shown on a plan dated 1906. The second emplacement lies 30m NNE. This has
a larger central pit and surrounding apron. This emplacement appears to
follow the design shown on an undated plan of a proposed modification to
the battery. This plan depicts alterations to both emplacements to allow
the guns to fire at an elevation of 45 degrees, thus extending their
range. However, presumably only No.1 Gun was so modified. To the rear of
No.1 Gun there is a high concrete wall which is also not shown on the 1906
plan and is thus a later addition. This wall may have been designed to
provide protection to the gun and crew from infantry attack from the rear.
Buried between the two emplacements is the battery's magazine that also
saw some modifications sometime after 1906. Rare surviving features at
Heugh include in situ shell hoists linking the magazine to the
emplacements above. The concrete structure 20m to the south of No.2 Gun is
the Battery Observation Post. This overlies the remains of an earlier
observation post that is shown on the 1906 plan. Just to the south was a
machine-gun emplacement with its own underground magazine, and partly
exposed just inside the Battery's fence, is a concrete block with an iron
loop which is interpreted as an anchor point for a barrage balloon. The
front of the battery, facing the sea to the east, is protected by a
glacis, a gentle slope of sand and earth designed to deflect shot or
absorb its impact. This is also included in the monument. To the rear of
the guns this glacis is supported by a retaining wall that is partly stone
built and partly concrete, showing several phases of modifications. To the
west of this wall was the parade ground surrounded by a number of
auxiliary buildings. Only one of these still survives, at the south end of
the monument, and is shown on the 1906 plan to be a barrack room for 13
men. Remains of the other buildings are thought to be represented by
scaring in the western boundary wall and as foundations beneath modern
tarmac. Adjacent to the standing building is a surviving section of the
battery's boundary wall topped with curved iron spikes. This is also
included in the monument.

A number of features are excluded from the scheduling: these are the
modern grillwork designed to prevent unauthorised access to the
underground magazine, as well as the boarding covering doors, windows and
other openings, the observation post concrete stairway, all fencing and
boundary walling that dates to after the abandonment of the battery, as
well as modern tarmac surfacing and interpretation panels. However, the
ground beneath all these features is included.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The use of fixed artillery to protect the coast from hostile ships is one
of the oldest practices in the history of England's defences. From the
15th century until the second half of the 20th century, coastal artillery
provided home security as well as protecting communications and trade
networks across Britain's empire. During this time batteries of fixed guns
formed the first line of defence for the navy's anchorages and the larger
commercial ports. Apart from a brief period early in World War II, when
improvised batteries formed a continuous cordon around the coast,
England's modern stock of coast artillery sites was dominated by positions
originating before 1900. Coast artillery was finally stood down in 1956.
Four classes of 20th century coastal batteries can be identified:
anti-motor torpedo boat batteries; defended ports, within which were
counter-bombardment, close defence and quick-firing batteries; emergency
batteries of World War II; and temporary and mobile artillery. Unlike
other classes of World War II monuments, these coastal batteries display
considerable variation according to and the use of earlier fortifications;
the types of gun housed on these sites; and their precise function.
Primary sources examined as part of a national study of 20th century
fortifications indicate that in the period 1900-56, 286 locations in
England were occupied by 301 separate batteries, of which there is now no
trace of at least 115.
Close defence batteries of the period 1900 to 1956 typically required a
good field of view over the water by day and night and therefore high
sites, well forward of the defended area, were preferred. The sites
generally included three emplacements for 6 inch guns, a gun store,
magazine and battery observation post. All examples where enough survives
to illustrate the site's original form and function will be considered of
national importance.

Heugh Battery's primary importance is historical. In the 20th century
there were only two engagements between British coastal artillery and
enemy ships. Heugh Battery was involved in the first, the only action in
World War I (the second being in 1942 involving South Foreland Battery at
Dover). Heugh Battery also retains a range of well-preserved features
including two designs of gun emplacements which adds to the monument's

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Ward, J M , Dawn Raid: The Bombardment of the Hartlepools, (1989)
Dobinson, CS , Twentieth Century Fortifications in England Coast Artillery, 2000, CBA typescript report

Source: Historic England

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