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Calshot Castle

Hob Uid: 229790
Location :
Hampshire
New Forest
Fawley
Grid Ref : SU4887602486
Summary : A Henrician artillery castle built in 1539-40 by Henry VIII as part of his network of coastal defences defending against the threat of French and Spanish attacks. The castle was built to defend the entrance to Southampton Water and was part of the Solent defences along with East and West Cowes and Hurst Castle. The castle was altered various times in circa 1770, 1868-71 and in the 20th century. Three searchlights (Defence Electric Lights) were constructed circa 1896 and a coastal battery was built in 1902. The castle became part of RAF Calshot in the First and Second World Wars and continued to be used as a seaplane base until it closed in 1961. The coastal battery was re-equipped in the Second World War as part of the Southampton Water coastal defence system. Calshot Castle was restored by the Department of Environment in 1985.The stone built castle consists of a three-storey central tower surrounded by a lower concentric curtain wall and a moat. There were no outer bastions. It was equipped with eight embrasures and 18 gun-ports on three tiers of the tower and on the curtain wall. The gatehouse had a further three guns to defend the castle from being attacked along the spit it was built on. Entrance to the fort was across a drawbridge on the south-east side and through the two storey gatehouse.In 1902 a coastal battery was constructed at the castle and armed with two 4.7 inch Quick-firing (QF) and four 12 pounder QF guns. These were changed in the Second World War to two 12 pounder QF guns.
More information : (Centred SU 48800240) CALSHOT CASTLE (OE) (1)

CALSHOT CASTLE. A small fort built by Henry VIII with stones from the ruins of Beaulieu Abbey. The arms of Queen Elizabeth (I) and the letters ER, on a waterspout witness late work on the castle. (2-4)

An account of subsequent repairs carried out to this Castle in 1612. (Contains contemporary map/plan of Castle and its environments) (5)

"I know nothing of CALSHOT CASTLE other than what is recorded in the VCH. There is no plan or written description of it at RAF station Calshot." (6)

(SU 48880249) Calshot Castle, an almost intact sixteenth century coastal fort now part of RAF station Calshot, is a single tower surrounded by curtain wall and moat.

The Central Tower, 15.5m in diam & 10.5m high, consists of an octagonal ground floor and basement with two circular upper storeys.

Two shot-lockers (mostly now blocked) are set in each of the eight sides of the ground floor except the western side which is perforated by a large central entrance leading to the basement. This is flanked on one side by a small doorway (giving access to a side staircase to the upper floor), on the other by a shot locker and surmounted by a carved Royal coat-of-arms (fleurs-de-lis quartered first and fourth with the leopards of England) encircled by the Garter. Its large entrance suggests that the basement chamber was the arms store: there is no evidence of any original partitions within the basement.

There are eight gun embrasures on the second floor one above each angle of the ground floor - and various windows, apparently not original, opening from the first. The flat roof has a parapet wall, modern gun platforms and a modern brick built superstructure. On the NNE side of the tower is a complete lead drainpipe, the drain-head bearing the cypher 'ER', a crown and a Tudor rose. Two similar pipes are not decorated.

The 16 sided curtain wall, concentric with the tower, has an external battery. The western part - with a four-centred arched gateway, with portcullis grooves, drawbridge slits and chain holes - is almost as high as the tower, whilst the rest is simply a breastwork with gun embrasures. In the space between curtain wall and tower much modern building has taken place.

Only the northern half of the 8-9m wide, flat-bottomed moat survives. It is now dry and was retained by an internally battered revetment wall, 2.2m high.

The castle, at the end of a pebble spit, is protected on the East by groining, probably contemporary. (7-8)

Additional references (9-11)

Calshot Castle located at SZ 488 025. In 1897 the castle gained a new battery, together with a boom defence on whose dolphins (called A and B) were mounted 12-pounder quick-firing (QF) guns. The battery was armed with two 4.7-inch QF guns and four 12-pounder QF guns. The guns were removed in 1906. In 1940 12-pounder guns were mounted on the roof of the castle and a supplementary battery was built opposite these guns (Bungalow Battery- HOB UID 831976). In 1943 Calshot Castle was reduced to care and maintenance. During the Second World War Calshot Castle Battery was manned by 165 Battery of 539 Coast Regiment. (12-13)

Detailed information on Calshot Castle can be attained from the Hampshire HER.
Artillery fort built 1539-40 by Henry VIII to defend the entrance to Southampton Water. Before the stone fort was constructed, a temporary earth and wood structure was probably built on the site. The stone castle was a fairly simple design and consisted of a 3 storey central gun tower, a lower concentric curtain wall and a walled moat. The basement floor of the tower is octagonal and the upper 2 storeys round. Guns were mounted in the curtain, upper storey and roof of the tower. The fort was accessed by a drawbridge in the SE and through a 2 storey gatehouse.

A coastal battery was built on the site of the castle in 1902 1902 It was first armed with 2 x 4.7 inch Quick-firing (QF) and 4 x 12 pounder QF guns. In the Second World War it was re-equipped with 2 x 12 pounder QF guns. (14)

Similar in design to Pendennis castle it was built 1539-40. A three-storey keep (15.5m wide by 10.5m high), low concentric curtain wall with a stone-lined moat. 8 embrasures and 18 gun-ports on the keep (roof, first and second floors) and curtain wall. Three additional guns were located on the gatehouse. The gun platforms were clad with lead which had been removed from Beaulieu Abbey. (15)

An article describing how Calshot Castle was adapted in the Second World War, with quick-firing guns, searchlights, a boom across Southampton Water, a flying-boat station and a battery disguised as a seaside bungalow. (16)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 1" 1940/42
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Source Number : 2
Source : The Victoria history of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, volume three
Source details :
Page(s) : 292
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Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 11
Source : The history of the King's Works, volume 4 : 1485-1660 (Part 2)
Source details :
Page(s) : 527-30
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 12
Source : Twentieth century fortifications in England. Volume 6.1. Coast Artillery, 1900-1956
Source details :
Page(s) : 167-176
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 6.1
Source Number : 13
Source : Twentieth century fortifications in England. Volume 6.2. Coast Artillery, 1900-1956
Source details :
Page(s) : 258
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 6.2
Source Number : 14
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : Heritage Gateway. 2009. Hampshire Archaeology and Historic Building Record Calshot Castle, [Accessed 07-APR-2009]
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Source Number : 15
Source : The Castles of Henry VIII
Source details :
Page(s) : 24-25
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Source Number : 16
Source : English Heritage Historical Review
Source details : 'Calshot Castle: the later history of a Tudor fortress, 1793-1945', article by J Coad
Page(s) : 102-113
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Vol(s) : 1, 2006
Source Number : 3
Source : Hampshire Field Club and Archaeological Society newsletter
Source details : 1932-24, Williams-Freeman
Page(s) : 214
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Vol(s) : 12
Source Number : 4
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : The New Forest 1895, 52 Plate (J R Wise)
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Source Number : 5
Source : Hampshire Field Club and Archaeological Society newsletter
Source details :
Page(s) : 247-251
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Vol(s) : 17
Source Number : 6
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details : Oral (Mr Redpath Clerk of Works RAF Station Calshot (25.11.54)
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Source Number : 7
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 VJB 25-NOV-54
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Source Number : 8
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F2 VJB 30-NOV-54
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Source Number : 9
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : 01-Jul-96
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Source Number : 10
Source : The English Heritage visitors' handbook 1998-99
Source details :
Page(s) : 33
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Altered c.1770
Monument End Date : 1780
Monument Start Date : 1760
Monument Type : Artillery Castle, Gatehouse
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Altered 1868-71
Monument End Date : 1871
Monument Start Date : 1868
Monument Type : Artillery Castle
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Tudor
Display Date : Built 1539-1540
Monument End Date : 1540
Monument Start Date : 1539
Monument Type : Artillery Castle, Moat, Gatehouse, Curtain Wall
Evidence : Extant Building, Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Victorian
Display Date : Built 1896
Monument End Date : 1896
Monument Start Date : 1896
Monument Type : Searchlight Battery
Evidence : Extant Structure
Monument Period Name : Early 20th Century
Display Date : Built 1902
Monument End Date : 1902
Monument Start Date : 1902
Monument Type : Coastal Battery
Evidence : Structure
Monument Period Name : First World War
Display Date : First World War
Monument End Date : 1918
Monument Start Date : 1914
Monument Type : Coastal Battery, Seaplane Base
Evidence : Extant Structure, Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Second World War
Display Date : World War II
Monument End Date : 1943
Monument Start Date : 1940
Monument Type : Coastal Battery, Seaplane Base
Evidence : Extant Structure, Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Late 20th Century
Display Date : Restored 1985
Monument End Date : 1985
Monument Start Date : 1985
Monument Type : Artillery Castle
Evidence : Extant Building

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : HA 464
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 26717
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 143419
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : EH Property Number
External Cross Reference Number : 177
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : K950203
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Hampshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 21990
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : CC39/00471
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : K950209
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : K950212
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : K950211
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : K950200
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : K950201
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : K950208
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : HT04134
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : HT04135
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : K950210
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SU 40 SE 4
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 831976
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SU 40 SE 4
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1954-11-25
End Date : 1954-11-25
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SU 40 SE 4
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1954-11-30
End Date : 1954-11-30
Associated Activities : Primary, CALSHOT CASTLE
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1988-01-01
End Date : 1988-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, LANDSCAPES OF WAR RECORDING PROJECT
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 2008-01-01
End Date : 2009-12-31