Page 2 - Medway Forts
P. 2

Victorian Forts                                             Medway                           1

                                                  Grain Fort

          Commenced            1860                                 Armament
          Completed            1867 (may have been partially armed prior to
          Cost                  £  this) 114,714                    1864 16 heavy guns seaward 12 lighter gun landward mixture
                                                                    of 64 pr RML & 32pr SB 1876 to
          Map Reference        TQ 890767                            1888 4 x 9-inch RML east face, 1 x 11-inch RML SE salient, 1
          Position             Medway Channel, Isle of Grain        x 11-inch RML NE salient, 3 x 11-inch RML east face, 1 x
                                                                    11-inch RML NE face, 3 x 64pr NE face
                                                                    1890 -1905 2 x 9-inch RML SE face 2 x 11-inch RML East
                                                                    face, 2 x 10-inch B.L.H.P.  NE Salient (replaced with 2 x
          Type                 Artillery fort with keep             6-inch BL circa 1900) 1 x 11-inch RML north face, 11 x
          Ditch                1 inner dry, 1 outer dry             parapet machine guns (+ general defence Isle of Grain 3 x 9pr
          Guns                 16 x 68pr SB sea - 12 x 68pr SB land   RML & machine guns) 1906  2 x 9.2-inch BL barbette
                                                                    1914-1918 (No heavy guns but 2 x 6-inch BL possibly in
          Barrack Accom. 250 men                                    position)
          Present use          Waste land                           1939-45 2 x 6-inch naval H.A.

          History              Continuously garrisoned from 1865 to  Caponiers          4 outer ditch 2 inner ditch
                                                                                        (2 demi)
                               Sold to local council, Demolished 1962   Counterscarp
          Disposal             Mostly demolished                                        3 inner ditch
          Condition                                                 galleries
          Access               open access to site                  Haxo casemates
                               ‘The Isle of Grain Defences’ MacDougall K.D.R.G.
                               J.D. Wilson ‘Later Nineteenth century defences of        None
          Sources              the Thames, including Grain Fort’ Army Historical
                               Research Coalhouse Fort Archives     Moncrieff Pits      None

          History and Description

           Grain Fort, originally known as Fort Grain, was situated at the eastern extremity of the Hoo peninsula. It occupied the
           highest point of the island and together with Garrison Point Fort on the opposite shore of the ‘island’ dominated the
           entrance to the Medway. The earthen ramparts, heptagonal in form, had a continuous, dry, unrevetted ditch flanked by
           musketry caponiers. A ‘D’ shaped keep at its gorge contained a defensible barracks and provided flanking fire along the
           inner ditch from three caponiers, with a demi caponier at either end to enfilade the gorge and inner ditch. This ditch was
           also protected by a series of counterscarp galleries accessed from the inner caponiers. The fort was  designed to prevent
           landings on the Hoo Peninsula, which would threaten Sheerness and Chatham, and to protect Grain Battery, which was
           subsequently to be known as Grain Dummy Battery. It was to mount sixteen heavy guns to bear on the entrance of the
           Medway, at a range of 1,500 yards to the nearest point of the channel, with 12 lighter guns on the land faces. During
           construction slippage happened in the construction the ramparts but when sand and shingle was substituted for the clay
           originally used, and the angle of the slope reduced, no further trouble was experienced after 1869. A magazine was built
           in the upper part of the keep to supply the guns on the roof. However, this was considered to be too exposed to shot
           passing over the rampart and the Main Magazine situated under the rampart was utilised instead After construction the
           embrasures were considered to be inherently weak and proposals were made to adapt the fort for armament on the
           Moncrieff System. This was not carried out but the ramparts were remodelled with bonnets, although it appears that the
           proposed iron shutters were never fitted. A date of 1887 is suggested for this rearrangement. With its demolition in 1962
           there was lost the most complex single work in the Thames/Medway area, which, in its many alterations and
           modifications, illustrated in a most graphic and complex way the developments in Coastal Artillery over 100 years.
           The above ground portions of the fort have now been completely destroyed. The site is now largely unrecognisable, all
           that remains are the ramparts and ditch, although the caponiers and some underground tunnels and magazines are intact
           but inaccessible.

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