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P. 2

Freshwater Redoubt
Cost                  £
Map Reference
Barrack Accom.
Present use
SZ 345856  
Isle of Wight / Freshwater Bay      
Coast Battery & beach defence    
Dry / Two land sides only 
3 Officers  39 men (in caponier)  
Now private residence.
Practice battery for Golden Hill  
Sold 1928
Poor - Caponier derelict
Tea rooms only - Q.F. battery by
Solent Papers No 2, Precis of
correspondence prior to 1898               
4 x 68pr. SB 3 x 8-inch SB How.
1861 -1889
 2 x 7-inch R.B.L. 2 x 64pr. R.M.L.            
 3 x 8-inch S.B. How.
 2 x 6pr. Q.F. (dismounted in RA charge)
2 x 7-inch R.B.L. 2 x 64pr. R.M.L. 1 x 0.45MG
  2 x 6pr. Q.F. 2 x 64pr R.M.L. 1 x MG
2 x 4.7-inch Q.F. (dismounted in RA charge)
2 x 6pr. Q.F. 2 x 64pr R.M.L
Mounted 1901
 2 x 12pr.QF 2 x 6pr.QF 1 x MG
Mounted 1902 
2 x 6pr. QF Hochkiss 1 x MG
 2 x 5-inch BL mobile    1916 - Nil   
2 x 15pr BLC on field carriages
2 x 12pr.QF 12cwt
Haxo casemates
Moncrieff Pits
Freshwater Redoubt was constructed to defend Freshwater Bay, which was an good place to land troops in reasonable
weather.  A deep, brick lined ditch protects the landward approaches whilst to the seaward steep cliffs make a frontal
assault impossible. The redoubt is entered over a drawbridge, to the left of which a large two-storey caponier projects into
the rampart to provide flanking fire along it. On a small parade in the centre of the fort  was constructed a barrack for
Officers and NCOs. Twenty four men  were accommodated in the caponier which is entered via a long staircase down
from the parade. This caponier is now an empty shell, the floors having collapsed. Beneath the western rampart are the
shell and cartridge stores. 
The redoubt consists of a QF battery overlooking the bay and a four gun battery facing south.  The south battery was
originally armed with smooth bore guns but was remodelled in 1871 for two 7-inch RBLs and two 64pr. RMLs. The
64prs were originally firing through embrasures but were ‘blocked up’ to fire over the parapet in 1888. In 1889 the
General Officer Commanding advised that an ironclad could easily silence Freshwater  Fort in its present state and then a
landing could be effected to take the defences of the western entrance in rear. He proposed to mount new guns in extra
emplacements on the Down but the Defence Committee did not agree. They stated that the only danger  to be
apprehended at Freshwater was a landing and this could  be met by mounting two 6pr. QFs and 1 Machine gun in the
lower battery. In consequence the lower east facing beach battery originally mounting 8-inch SB Howitzers was
remodelled in 1891 for two 6pr. QF guns and a maxim machine gun. In 1893 the 7-inch RBLs were removed and the
upper battery emplacements  1 and 4 were to be remodelled for 4.7-inch QFs, the present 64prs. being withdrawn, but the
idea was abandoned in 1898. The upper battery became an instruction battery for the nearby Golden Hill Fort school of
gunnery in 1900 using two 12 pr. and three 6pdr. QFs. An accident occurred with one in 1901 when a breech block blew
out. In 1903 two 5-inch BL mobile howitzers were stored at the redoubt to defend the coastline. Only the lower battery
was armed in the 1914-18 war. Two 12prs. were replaced with two 15 pdr. Ehrhardt field guns 1916-18. The fort was sold
by the military in 1928. The barrack block was converted into a private residence in 1936. A new building used as a tea
room was  added overlooking the southern rampart. The redoubt has been converted  for use as a residence with facilities
for holiday flats and camping. It was put on the market for £3 Million in November 2016.
History and Description
Victorian Forts

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