Ancient Monuments

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Charles Hill, Monks' Cave storehouse, military camp and battery

A Scheduled Monument in Inverkeithing and Dalgety Bay, Fife

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Latitude: 56.0399 / 56°2'23"N

Longitude: -3.3088 / 3°18'31"W

OS Eastings: 318552

OS Northings: 683772

OS Grid: NT185837

Mapcode National: GBR 24.RDL0

Mapcode Global: WH6S5.4GM3

Entry Name: Charles Hill, Monks' Cave storehouse, military camp and battery

Scheduled Date: 12 March 1993

Last Amended: 9 October 1998

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM5660

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: 20th Century Military and Related: Battery; Ecclesiastical: cave

Location: Dalgety

County: Fife

Electoral Ward: Inverkeithing and Dalgety Bay

Traditional County: Fife


The monument comprises the physical remains of three distinct phases of human use of the Charles Hill area, and land around these remains.

1. The remains of a medieval ferry house and storehouse known to have been associated with Inchcolm Abbey, called the Monks' Cave. The ruins consist of a lower vaulted basement of rubble construction partly cut out of the rock of the cliff face and an upper storey which is now only visible as turf-covered stony footings. The upper floor appears to have been divided into 2 rooms. The lower incorporates a doorway of dressed stone believed to date from the 15th century. Concrete steps were added to the west of the structure during WWII when the vault functioned as a magazine and store.

2. The site of a militia camp, constructed during the late 1930s and completed in 1939, which consisted of the following: a) Officers Mess and Quarters, b) Miniature Range and Training Hut, c) Canteen, d) Engine Room, e) Living Accommodation, f) Office, Guardhouse and Stores (one building). The camp functioned as the base for the Coastal Defence Unit and as a training centre for personnel based on the Forth islands.

3. The remains of a coastal battery which superseded the militia camp and which formed part of a network of defences protecting the Forth Bridge, Rosyth Naval Dockyard and the anchorage for naval vessels between the Bridge and Inchcolm. The surviving concrete structures comprise: a) twin 6-pounder emplacements, b) 3 Concentric Arc Search Lights, c) the main Engine Room, d) the emplacement for a Lyon Light, e) the concrete pedestal for a Spigot Mortar, f) pedestals presumed to be for Unrotated Projectors, g) the northern portion of an anti-boat boom, the largest surviving concrete pillar of which formed the anchor point for anti-torpedo nets which were strung across Mortimer's Deep from Charles Hill to Inchcolm.

The monument was first scheduled in 1993, but the area then scheduled comprised only the Monks' Cave. The present rescheduling greatly extends the scheduled area to include the site of the militia camp and the remains of the battery.

The area to be scheduled is irregular in shape with maximum dimensions of 225m E-W by 300m N-S to include the Monks' Cave, the remains of the camp and the battery and an area around them within which associated remains may be expected to survive.

This area is circumscribed by a line which runs in a clockwise direction from a point on the shore of Barnhill Bay along the line of the coast following the high water mark of ordinary spring tides to a point 20m SW of the SW corner of the Monks' Cave. From here it runs due S for 40m, parallel to and 10m out from the remains of the anti-boat boom and then turns SE for 50m, still running parallel to the anti-boat boom.

It then turns SW for 20m before turning NW to run parallel to the anti-boat boom for 60m before running 40m due N, parallel to the anti-boat boom to reach the coastline once again. From here it follows the coastline along the line of the high water mark of ordinary spring tides for 170m before cutting across the headland in a N direction for 170m to meet the starting point.

The area is marked in red on the accompanying map extract.

Excluded from the scheduling are the safety railings which fence off certain areas of the battery and the top 30cm of all pathways to allow for maintenance.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance because it is a late 15th-century building of uncommon type which has a significant terminal for the support of people and goods to the Abbey of Inchcolm, providing shelter and storage facilities for the monks and their lay brothers. As a vital node in the monastic community's communication with the mainland it provides information and has the potential to provide further information, through historical research and archaeological excavation, which may increase our understanding of ecclesiastical domestic architecture, monasticism, transportation and material culture in medieval Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NT 18 SE 1.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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