Page 30 - Plymouth Defences
P. 30

Victorian Forts                                                 Plymouth                     14

                                        Egg Buckland Keep

          Commenced            1863 (contractor failed 1866)        Armament
          Completed            by engineers 1871
          Cost                  £ 14,642                            1875 proposed 5 x 7-inch RBL
          Map Reference        SX500581                             1885 unarmed
          Position             North East Defences, Right Flank     1893 3 x 0.45MG R.C.

          Type                 Land front,  defensible barrack
          Ditch                Dry
          Guns                 None intended
          Barrack Accom. 230
          Present use          Contractor’s DIY store. Owner's
                               house and garden on the roof.        Caponiers           4
          History              Barracks
                                                                    Counterscarp        None
          Disposal             1947                                 galleries
          Condition            Reasonable and maintained.
          Access               Owner's permission required          Haxo casemates None
                               1868 report : Precis of Correspondence relating to
                               the Defences of Plymouth 1893. Historic Defences
          Sources              of Plymouth by A. Pye and F. Woodward  Moncrieff Pits    None

          History and Description

           Egg Buckland Keep stands 357 feet above the sea, 400 yards to the east of Bowden and 800 yards from Austin
           on the right. It occupies the most commanding point of the position and was designed as a barrack keep (one
           of four proposed) to provide accommodation for the garrisons of the adjoining works and well as to increase
           their defensive power. It has revetments 30ft. High flanked by musketry and completely protected by its
           glacis. The two-storied, five sided, casemated barracks contain accommodation for 230 men with ample stores
           for powder and shell.  Single storey musketry caponiers with pitched roofs project from each corner to flank
           the ditches. The rooms on both floors of the barracks are arranged along either side of a central corridor, those
           on the outside being barrack accommodation, whilst those on the inside served as stores. The magazines were
           situated underneath earthworks at each end of the gorge. Two spiral staircases led to the roof. An earthen
           rampart ran along all sides of the roof except the gorge, which has a loopholed parapet wall. A loopholed
           parapet wall along the gorge protected the approach to the entrance in the centre of the rear casemates. A
           doorway and drawbridge to the front (NE) leads to the tunnel to Forder Battery. The drawbridge is is no
           longer there but the lifting apparatus is still in place. The keep is now used as a building materials store with
           some rooms converted for storage and as a fitness centre. The owner is actively maintaining the structure.

           The military road leading to the keep was built into a cutting to provide cover for troops entering and leaving
           the keep

           A  400 yard tunnel connects this keep with a caponier flanking the ditch to the front of Forder Battery, which
           it overlooks. At the E end the tunnel forks. a spiral stair leading in one direction from this tunnel to the parade
           of Forder Battery allowing its garrison to reach their actions stations under cover. This is now blocked, as is
           the other branch that leads down some stairs to the reverse caponier in the Bowden Austin ditch, which now
           forms the basement of a house and is inaccessible.

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