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Shotley Battery and subterranean air raid shelters

A Scheduled Monument in Shotley, Suffolk

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Latitude: 51.9586 / 51°57'31"N

Longitude: 1.2741 / 1°16'26"E

OS Eastings: 625046.070574

OS Northings: 233967.059487

OS Grid: TM250339

Mapcode National: GBR VQJ.4YG

Mapcode Global: VHLCG.11DC

Entry Name: Shotley Battery and subterranean air raid shelters

Scheduled Date: 22 June 2004

Last Amended: 8 April 2022

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021290

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30638

County: Suffolk

Civil Parish: Shotley

Traditional County: Suffolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Suffolk

Church of England Parish: Shotley St Mary

Church of England Diocese: St.Edmundsbury and Ipswich


The monument includes the remains of a mid-19th century battery on Shotley
Point, sited on a bluff above Harwich Harbour. The battery was constructed
between 1862 and 1863 following recommendations by a Royal Commission set up
to report on the defences of the United Kingdom. These recommendations
included a small fort at Shotley to supplement the existing defensive
structures which consisted of two martello towers, one of which had a small
earthwork battery attached. The martello towers, which still stand
approximately 110m NNE and 250m south west of the battery, are the subject
of separate schedulings.

Initial proposals for an elaborate fort were quickly abandoned in favour of a
simpler defensive battery which, when completed, was armed with fourteen 68
pounder smooth bore guns. Ten years later these were replaced with 7 inch
muzzle loading guns, and in 1891 two 10 inch guns on long range carriages
were installed in new emplacements, and a new subterranean magazine
constructed adjacent to the original main magazine. In 1904 the site was
transferred to HMS Ganges, a naval training establishment, and the guns were
dismounted in 1911.

In plan, the battery was seven sided, with an earthen rampart on the four
sides which overlook the harbour to the south, east and north east. It was
surrounded by a detached, brick built scarp of the type known as a Carnot wall
after the military engineer of that name, with five bastions, two of them at
the gorge (rear), and four demi-bastions. The wall was about 5.8m high on the
outer face, with loopholes, and enclosed an area with maximum dimensions of
about 215m NNE-SSW by 106m. The whole was surrounded by an outer ditch up to
13m wide. The fourteen original gun emplacements were of two types; three at
the salients were semicircular, with a parapet but no embrasures, giving a
wide field of fire, and the remainder had a narrower field through embrasures
in the rampart. The magazines were in a subterranean block to the rear of the
central emplacement. The 10 inch emplacements constructed in 1891 were to the
south of the original magazine block. The guns were mounted about 20m apart
in semicircular concrete pits with central pivots, and between them was a
small battery commander's post. Beneath them were the new shell rooms and
magazines. The ditch in front was filled in and the parapet widened, burying
the Carnot wall at this point, and at the same time earth was piled in front
of the first magazine block, burying two more of the original emplacements.

After the site was taken over by HMS Ganges, the southern end of the
battery, including one of the bastions and a demi-bastion, was levelled
for the construction of accommodation blocks. The rest of the structure
remained intact, though partly obscured by later buildings. The Carnot wall on
the north east side and at the gorge has since been demolished to ground
level, together with two adjoining structures which are thought to have been
the original guard room alongside the entrance, and a block containing
quarters and stores to the north east of it. The base of the wall and the
infilled ditch around it will, however, survive as buried features and are
included in the scheduling.

The Carnot wall south of the north eastern bastion, up to and including the
central eastern bastion, remains intact, exposed on the inner face to a height
of about 1.3m. The outer face has been buried by the infilling of the ditch,
leaving only the top of the wall exposed. The rampart behind the wall survives
along much of the eastern face and around the north eastern salient, together
with the earthworks above the 1863 magazine. The two original gun emplacements
buried beneath the magazine earthworks will survive as buried features, and to
the north of them are the upstanding remains of three angular emplacements
with their retaining brickwork and the semicircular emplacement at the north
eastern salient. Inset into the vertical retaining wall between the angled
embrasures are expense lockers and hauling rings. The emplacement at the
salient, which is also constructed of brick, is semicircular, with steps up
to a parapet, and immediately to the left of it is a short flight of concrete
steps, probably of later date, giving access to the top of the rampart. About
4m to the north west of the emplacement is an expense magazine, visible as a
rectangular structure projecting from the end of the surviving section of the
rampart. The exterior, where exposed, is faced with rough concrete showing
impressions of the shuttering used in its construction, and it is probable
that the whole structure was originally covered with earth. The entrance is on
the west side and is constructed of brick, with steps down to a doorway which
opens into a brick vaulted chamber to the left. In the top of the vault is a
rectangular opening for a hoist.

The main magazine block contains three magazine chambers and a lamp lobby.
Access is by way of a narrow sunken area with a flight of steps at either end.
Three doors open off the area. The central door gives access to the lamp
lobby and the two at either end open into the northern and southern magazines.
The third magazine is to the rear of the lamp lobby and is reached by means
of a doorway off the northern magazine. In the walls of the lamp lobby are
hatches, originally glazed, in which lamps could be placed to illuminate the
magazines beyond without risk of igniting explosives. To the rear of the
magazine block is a vaulted subterranean passage with an entrance at either

The remains of the two 1891 emplacements and the magazines beneath occupy the
southern end of the surviving part of the rampart. Most of the southern
emplacement has been removed during early 20th century landscaping, but the
pivot for the gun survives. The northern emplacement is visible as a semi-
circular pit with a concrete apron and retaining wall, recesses around the
sides and hauling rings inset below the parapet. In the centre of the pit is
the circular raised drum on which the gun was mounted. A flight of steps to
the rear gives access to the emplacement, and another flight to the left of it
leads up to the top of the rampart. Between the emplacements is a vertical
wall with doorways and other openings, now blocked, to shelters set into the
rear of the rampart. The battery commander's post is a semicircular recess
in the top of the wall, reached by a vertical fixed metal ladder.

The 1891 magazine is beneath the shelters and is reached by two short flights
of stairs opening into a central lobby with doors to the shell stores and
magazines and the lamp lobbies. The structure retains several original
features, including wall pegs, doors and cupboards.

On the east side of the battery, in the area of the ditch, there are blocked
entrances with steps down to another underground tunnel or bunker, possibly
associated with the 1891 modifications.

A number of features are excluded from the scheduling. These are: modern
concrete fence posts and railings bordering the visible section of the
Carnot wall, a modern building alongside the expense magazine at the northern
end of the surviving rampart, the remains of a modern wall which blocked the
entrance to the expense magazine, service poles and surviving floors and
asphalt surfaces relating to the demolished buildings of HMS Ganges. The
ground beneath all these features is, however, included.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The battery at Shotley Point is the only surviving example of a mid-19th
century defensive battery in East Anglia and retains many original features,
including a large part of the rampart with gun emplacements and magazines
dating from 1863 and 1892. Although the greater part of the perimeter has been
levelled, a length of the Carnot wall remains standing to full height, and the
base of much of the rest is believed to survive as a buried feature, together
with the outer ditch. As a whole, the monument is a good example of a second
class fort of the period and has additional importance as one of a series of
surviving forts and other military installations which were constructed
between the 17th and 20th centuries for the defence of Harwich Harbour.

Source: Historic England


Kent, P, Report on the Fortifications on Shotley Point, 2002, Typescript. Copy in Suffolk SMR
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:2500
Source Date: 1925

Source: Historic England

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