Ancient Monuments

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Royal Naval Propellant Factory Guided Weapons Scheme Static Firing Bay

A Scheduled Monument in Caerwent (Caer-went), Monmouthshire (Sir Fynwy)

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Latitude: 51.6254 / 51°37'31"N

Longitude: -2.7555 / 2°45'19"W

OS Eastings: 347799

OS Northings: 192107

OS Grid: ST477921

Mapcode National: GBR JH.8ZHQ

Mapcode Global: VH87S.6D4V

Entry Name: Royal Naval Propellant Factory Guided Weapons Scheme Static Firing Bay

Scheduled Date: 13 February 2008

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 1244

Cadw Legacy ID: MM341

Schedule Class: Defence

Category: Royal Naval Depot

Period: Post Medieval/Modern

County: Monmouthshire (Sir Fynwy)

Community: Caerwent (Caer-went)

Built-Up Area: Caerwent

Traditional County: Monmouthshire


The monument comprises the remains of a static firing bay facility at the former Royal Naval Propellant Factory's Guided Weapons Scheme Unit, (now MoD) Caerwent. It was built and commissioned in 1959 for proof of concept, investigation and manufacturing control purposes relating to the Gosling rocket booster engines used to power the Royal Navy's Sea Slug surface-to-air missiles. It was located at the N edge of the factory, on a gentle SW-facing slope. The installation consists of the static firing bay, cubicle building, access road and concrete apron, together with the surrounding earthen bunds. The closure of the entire establishment was announced in 1965 and the production and testing of the Gosling rocket motors ceased in 1966, being transferred to the Royal Ordnance Factory at Bishopton by 1967.

The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge of British Cold War weapon systems, where there is a very limited survival of evidence overall. The successful development of the Sea Slug missile represents one of the chief British technological achievements during the Cold War period and marked a point of significant escalation in the arms race. It signifies the important transition between the Royal Navy's use of gun ships and the use of missile warships in the modern era. The remains of the individual structures are well preserved and retain significant archaeological potential, with a strong probability of the presence of associated archaeological features and deposits. The importance of the monument is further enhanced by the group value it shares with Aberporth Range Simulated Ship Firing Platform scheduled as CD213.

The area to be scheduled comprises the remains described and an area around within which related evidence may be expected to survive. The scheduled area is roughly triangular in shape and measures 58m N-S by 46m transversely.

Source: Cadw

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