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Historic England Research Records

Fort James

Hob Uid: 238752
Location :
City Of Portsmouth
City Of Portsmouth
City Of Portsmouth
Grid Ref : SU6204000800
Summary : Site of 17th century redoubt on Burrow Island as part of the Gosport defences. It was built circa 1678, was in a poor state in 1707 and became obsolete after 1742.
More information : 'Fort James' or 'Barrough Castle' on Rat Island in part
of the Clarence Victualling yards. (1)

(SU 6204 0080) 'Burrough Fort'. (2)

(SU 6204 0080) 'Redoubt on Little Island'.

(Burrow Island is published on OS maps at SU 620 008 which is opposite the area of the Victualling Yards. From the above it is clear that the fort was on Burrow Island and that 'Rat Island' and 'Little Island' are alternative names.) (3)

There is a legend that the fort was preceded by a Norman Castle. An
old letter of 1847 which I have seen mentions 'the ruins of Borough
Castle, traditionally ascribed to King Stephen and now used as a
burial place for convicts.' An earlier letter of 1828 says 'the
walls of the Castle have lately been taken down.' (4)

Miscellaneous building material - Brick, tile, Binstead stone - is
visible in the cliffs and on the shore of the island, but no
foundations can be traced. Pieces of iron slag, and a whole crucible
of clay (weight about 1 cwt, probably medieval or later) were
found, and left, on the shore. (5)

Fort James; a strong late 17th c Redoubt on Rat Island in Portsmouth
Harbour. (6)

Fort James and Fort Charles (SZ 69 NW 10) were planned by Sir Bernard de Gomme as part of the Gosport defences, and were built at the same time as the Gosport lines, the construction beginning c 1678. Built as a smaller version of Fort Charles, Fort James had a square tower 46ft across and 19ft high, guns on the roof and sentry boxes at each corner. This was set on a platform 110ft square with another parapet. Beyond this, the ground fell away on the east and west sides, but on the north and south sides there were dry ditches.
It was in a poor state by 1707. In 1742, an order was made to recover its 2 guns which were weed-covered. The decision to extend the Gosport defences to Priddy's Hard made it obsolete. (7)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Early Portsmouth Defences 1923 39 (H T Lilley)
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Source Number : 2
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Map of Portsmouth 1716 Anon. In Portsmouth Ref Library
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Source Number : 3
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Gomme's Map of Portsmouth 1668 BM
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Source Number : 4
Source : Annotated Record Map
Source details : Corr 6" (Capt G Civil 1953)
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Source Number : 5
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 DS 09-AUG-55
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Source Number : 6
Source : The Archaeological Journal
Source details : (A D Saunders)
Page(s) : 145
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Vol(s) : 123 - 1966
Source Number : 7
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : The Western Defences of Portsmouth Harbour 1400-1800 1979 19-22 (G H Williams) Portsmouth Papers No 30
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Medieval
Monument End Date : 1540
Monument Start Date : 1066
Monument Type : Castle, Redoubt
Evidence :
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date :
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date : 1678
Monument Type : Bastion Outwork
Evidence :

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SU 60 SW 15
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 238782
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 462005
Relationship type : Is referred to by
Associated Monuments : 462035
Relationship type : Is referred to by

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : FIELD OBSERVATION ON SU 60 SW 15
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1955-08-09
End Date : 1955-08-09