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Historic England Research Records

Gosport Lines

Hob Uid: 238782
Location :
Hampshire
Gosport
Gosport
Grid Ref : SU6160000750
Summary : Western defences of Portsmouth harbour, constructed 1678, rebuilt 1748
More information : (SU 61600000 - SU 61600075). Moat [NR]. (1)

Part of the 'Gosport Lines', defending Portsmouth from land attack from the west. Begun as earthworks in 1678 and modernised in the C 18. (2)

Still extant. (3)

Map of De Gomme's defences for Gosport showing the Gosport Lines, Fort James [SU 60 SW 15], Fort Charles [SZ 69 NW 10], the Gosport Point Battery and the projected outline of Fort Blockhouse [SZ 69 NW 20]. See Illustration Card 1. (4)

Work began on the Gosport Lines in 1678 and when the circuit was completed consisted of a rampart 10-11 ft high without a parapet and a moat, partly wet and partly dry, 30 ft wide and 11 ft deep. It was unfinished at the time of Charles II's visit in September 1683 and despite adverse comments in official reports deteriorated further during the early C 18.
In 1748 the rebuilding of the Lines began and was to continue for half a century. Between 1751 and 1752 all but the southernmost curtain had been rebuilt and enlarged and the construction of a covered way and glacis beyond was envisaged.
The next phase began in 1757 with a covered way and glacis outside the moat on the southwestern side, and a new rampart and moat was constructed from the north angle of the main central bastion roughly parallel to the line of Weevil Lane down to Forton Lake. The Lines were extended beyond Forton Lake to enclose Priddy's Hard, presumbably to prevent an enemy occupying the area and bombarding the dock. The RNAD built the Great Magazine [See SU 60 SW 30] there c 1770.
The Weevil Lane part of the defences was given a moat, covered way and glacis following the French invasion threat of 1779. The Priddy Hard Lines were also enmoated at this time.
The final major construction work involved upgrading the section from the Canoe Lake to the mouth of Haslar Lake, between 1797 and 1802. The land here was owned by the Bishopric of Winchester and for some 20 years a legal wrangle had ensued, preventing the upgrading of the Lines. The new section ended in a corner bastion mounting 14 gun positions.
The lines were completed with the addition of Ravelins between the bastions, during the C 19.
With the defeat of Napoleon and the stated policy of using the Navy as Britain's "Wooden Wall", the fortification became redundant. At the express wish of Queen Victoria, the railway was extended from Gosport station to the pier at Royal Clarence Yard in 1845, thus breaching the Lines. Walpole Road had been driven through the lines by 1890, and spasmodic demolition has continued ever since. (5)

Location map for the outer defensive works (See Illustration Card 4). (6)

Additional historical and military bibliography. (7)


Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1969
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Source Number : 2
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Inf: G H Williams Local Historian Alverstoke
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Source Number : 3
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 ASP 22-JAN-69
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Source Number : 4
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : "De Gomme's Map of Portsmouth 1688" Early Portsmouth Maps Portsmouth Rec Ser Portfolio 1 No 40 1978
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Source Number : 5
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : The Western Defences of Portsmouth Harbour 1400-1800 1979 (G H Williams) Portsmouth Papers No 30
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Source Number : 6
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Coast Defences of Eng & Wales 1856-1956 2974 142 map 3 (I V Hogg)
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Source Number : 7
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Fortress Britain 1989 (A D Saunders)
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Construction began 1678
Monument End Date : 1678
Monument Start Date : 1678
Monument Type : Bastion Outwork, Town Defences
Evidence : Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Mopdified from 1748
Monument End Date : 1748
Monument Start Date : 1748
Monument Type : Bastion Outwork, Town Defences
Evidence : Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : HA 461
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SU 60 SW 25
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 462005
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 462026
Relationship type : Is referred to by
Associated Monuments : 462029
Relationship type : Is referred to by
Associated Monuments : 462038
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 462044
Relationship type : Is referred to by
Associated Monuments : 462047
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 238758
Relationship type : Is referred to by
Associated Monuments : 462035
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 462041
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 238698
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 238797
Relationship type : Is referred to by
Associated Monuments : 238752
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 234459
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 461601
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 462005
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 462026
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 462029
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 462038
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 462044
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 238758
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 462035
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 462041
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 238752
Relationship type :

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : FIELD OBSERVATION ON SU 60 SW 25
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1969-01-22
End Date : 1969-01-22
Associated Activities : BASTION NO 1, GOSPORT
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 2000-01-01
End Date : 2000-12-31