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Monument Name Tilbury Fort
SMR Number 1678
Summary 16th century fort rebuilt 1672.
Media
Tilbury Fort, Tilbury, Thurrock
Tilbury Fort, Tilbury, Thurrock
Tilbury Fort, Tilbury, Thurrock
Tilbury Fort, Tilbury, Thurrock
Tilbury Fort, Tilbury, Thurrock
Tilbury Fort, Tilbury, Thurrock
Tilbury Fort, Tilbury, Thurrock
Tilbury Fort, Tilbury, Thurrock
West Tilbury - Tilbury Fort
West Tilbury - Tilbury Fort
Tilbury Fort, West Tilbury, Thurrock,
Tilbury Fort, West Tilbury, Thurrock,
Coalhouse Fort, East Tilbury, Thurrock
Coalhouse Fort, East Tilbury, Thurrock
Coalhouse Fort, East Tilbury, Thurrock
Coalhouse Fort, East Tilbury, Thurrock
Tilbury Fort, Tilbury, Thurrock
Tilbury Fort, Tilbury, Thurrock
Tilbury Fort, Tilbury, Thurrock
Tilbury Fort, Tilbury, Thurrock
Tilbury Fort, West Tilbury, Thurrock,
Tilbury Fort, West Tilbury, Thurrock,
Tilbury Fort, West Tilbury, Thurrock,
Tilbury Fort, West Tilbury, Thurrock,
Tilbury Fort, West Tilbury, Thurrock,
Tilbury Fort, West Tilbury, Thurrock,
Virtual model reconstruction of Tilbury Fort
Virtual model reconstruction of Tilbury Fort
Virtual model reconstruction of Tilbury Fort mid 19th C
Virtual model reconstruction of Tilbury Fort mid 19th C

Associated Media
Still from virtual model reconstruction of Mistley maltings
Virtual model reconstruction of Tilbury Fort mid 19th C
Description 16th C, rebuilt 1672 <1> Apparantly built in the 17th C, in quadrangular form with salient angle bastions and a double moat. Much of the rampart walls are of 17th C brick but the only, more or less, unaltered buildings are the south gatehouse and a small chapel. The former is 2-storied and has an inscription. The chapel on the N side of the fort is small, 17th C, brick. <2> Built in 1682 against the Dutch and French, primarily utilitarian, but also for display. The S gateway is similar to one at Plymouth Citadel, "has a ground floor of the triumphal arch type", the type derives from 17th C France, "the style is more robust and a little fussier than that of Sir Christopher Wren" <3> Site of a blockhouse of Henry VIII, c1540, was the scene of the review of troops by Elizabeth I in 1588. Under Charles II it became a regular fort, armed and bastioned, in 1667. Its armament was reduced in 1716, by 1859 it had been reduced to 32 guns. It was extended in 1861, the 17th C powder tower was demolished to be replaced by a new magazine and a new battery was installed. By 1867 it was being re-armed with heavy, rifled guns - a process that was not finished until 1888. Under the urging of General Gordon (Commander, Royal Engineers from 1866), new earthworks were built to take brick embrasures though not all were occupied, it seems. By 1905 the fort had been provided with 2 6" converted breech-loaders and 4 12-pounder quick- firing guns, which remained until after World War II. <4> In the 1890s the fort was one of the mobilisation centres for the London Defence Postions, existing ordnance stores being used. <6> <17> 2 large-scale maps of the fort are in the SMR. <7> Detailed description in Scheduling Record. <16> A detailed report of excavations at the fort between 1988 and 1995 can be found in <18>. A watching brief during the excavation of footings though the eastern bastion observed a series of layers of possible 18th-or 19th century date as well as 20th century that were part of the foundations for the redevelopment of the fort. <20> The roof of the east powder magazine was recorded during renovation works, the roof is believed to date to the late 1860's. <21> A small excavation in the form of an irregular shaped trench measuring c. 2.4m by 0.9m had been opened over the problem area of the brick culvert. It had been excavated to a depth of 1.2m and revealed the full width of the 0.8m wide culvert (external dimension) running at a c. 45 angle across its base. The two brick walls being virtually identical are likely to be associated. They presumably form part of one structure or possible two similar adjacent structures that ran along theform part of one structure or possible two similar adjacent structures that ran along the southeast side of the parade ground. The bricks and the nature of the foundation suggest a late Victorian date for the construction. The fact that the culvert passes beneath the walls is a clear indication that the structure or structures with which they are associated are later than the culvert. As the corner noted on the southwest wall stands over the approximate centre of the culvert it is likely the presence or at least the precise location of the culvert was not known at the time of their construction. No indication of any floor surfaces were noted in the excavation suggesting that it was located higher up or, more likely, that the excavation was situated in an open space between two separate structures. It was noted in the recorded section that a large amount of brick rubble was present in the layer immediately beneath the topsoil which is undoubtedly associated with the demolition of the structures with which the walls were associated. This suggests that prior to their demolition the ground surface in this area was significantly lower (the nearby parade ground is notably lower). The dark silty loam present beneath the rubble layer contains occasional fragments of brick indicating that this layer has been previously disturbed and could in fact be imported material brought in to raise this area of what was formerly marshland prior to the construction of the fort. The final pale brown silt/clay layer noted at the base of the excavation is probably a natural deposit associated with the former marsh.<25> Archaeological monitoring of the excavation of trenches for the installation of a surface water drain at Tilbury Fort, Tilbury, was undertaken on the 16th, 17th and 18th April 2007. No significant archaeological deposits appear to have been damaged or destroyed by these works. The made ground deposits, including the chalk lens probably represent a deliberate attempt to raise levels and create stable ground and is presumably associated with the 17th century construction of the fort with the chalk layers being used to create a solid base and to prevent water rising. The dense dark grey silt is most likely a natural marsh deposit. A plan of fortifications before the 17th century fort was constructed shows a blockhouse (built 1539) within an area enclosed by a rampart and a ditch which runs close to the site of the monitored trench. It is therefore possible that the dense grey silt is actually the upper fill of this earlier defence although nothing was noted in the monitored excavation to confirm this. <25> Site Assessment: Today Tilbury Fort...is in excellent repair. Many of the SB, RML and later emplacements can be seen, some with racers and pivots still in place. It is open to the public and is one of the oldest coast defences to be maintained in substantially its original form.<4> 1975, scheme to improve riverside defences proposed because of planned Thames barrier. Would not damage the fort. <5> Maps show proposed changes, 1974 - same as in source 5? <7> The best preserved example of late 17th C military engineering in England. <8>
Monument Type(s) BATTERY (Dated 1540AD to 1900AD)
BLOCKHOUSE (Dated 1540AD to 1900AD)
FORT (Dated 1540AD to 1900AD)
CHAPEL (Dated 1540AD to 1900AD)
ROAD (Dated 1540AD to 1900AD)
DITCH (Dated 1540AD to 1900AD)
GATEHOUSE (Dated 1540AD to 1900AD)
BASTION OUTWORK (Dated 1540AD to 1900AD)
BASTION OUTWORK (Dated 1540AD to 1900AD)
BASTION OUTWORK (Dated 1684AD to 1685AD)
Monument Class(es) BRICK
DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE
EARTHWORK
EXTANT BUILDING
STRUCTURE
SUB SURFACE DEPOSIT
Period 1540AD to 1900AD Post Medieval
Status Scheduled Monument
Administration Area THURROCK, ESSEX
National Grid Reference Square: TQ67NE
Ref: 651754
Finds None listed
Events SALV EXCAV by Pratt,J, 1973

SALV EXCAV by Wilkinson,PM, 1980

Tilbury Fort

West Powder Magazine Roof, Tibury Fort

Bastion Staircase, Tilbury Fort

Tilbury Fort - Monitoring (culvert works)

Tilbury Fort - Monitoring (surface water drain)

Sources Desc Text : Essex Archaeology and History Vol.40 (Essex Society for Archaeology and History) Dated : 2010

Desc Text : West Powder Magazine Roof, Tibury Fort (Peachey, Mark) Dated : 2003

<1> Desc Text : SMR form unknown Dated : 1960 0nwards

<10> Aerial Photo : TQ6575-12-182 (unknown) Date 1975:9 Dated : 1975

<11> Aerial Photo : TQ6575-13-185 (unknown) Date 1975:9 Dated : 1975

<12> Aerial Photo : TQ6575-15-191 (unknown) Date 1975:9 Dated : 1975

<13> Aerial Photo : TQ6575-16-194 (NMR) Date 1975:9 Dated : 1975

<14> Aerial Photo : SwBW5-5 (Rogers, P) Dated : 1992

<15> Aerial Photo : 5-4,5,6,8,10 (unknown) Dated : 1985

<16> Scheduling record : Tilbury Fort - SM 26309 (English Heritage) Dated : 1997

<17> Desc Text : The London Mobilisation Centres (Beanse, Alec and Gill, Roger) p. 62-63 Dated : 2000

<18> Desc Text : Post-Medieval Archaeology - Tilbury Fort: a post-medieval fort and its inhabitants (Moore, Peter) No 34, p. 3-104 Dated : 2000

<19> Aerial Photo : CP/00/9/7 (Tyler, Sue) Dated : 2000

<2> Desc Text : An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex - Volume 4 (RCHME) Vol 4, p170 Dated : 1923

<20> Desc Text : Bastion Staircase, Tilbury Fort, Essex (Robertson, A) Dated : 2005

<21> Desc Text : West Powder Magazine roof, Tilbury Fort (Peachey, M) Dated : 2003

<22> Desc Text : Handbook of Kent's Defences 1540-1945 (Bennett, D) Dated : 1977

<23> Desc Text : Tilbury Fort - Interim Report on 1988 and 1989 Excavations (Moore, Peter) No 32, pp24-31 Dated : 1993 ?

<24> Aerial Photo : Tilbury Fort from air (unknown) Dated : unknown

<25> Desc Text : Two reports on the Monitoring of Works at Tilbury Fort, Essex (Suffolk County Council - Archaeological Service) Dated : 2007

<3> Desc Text : The Buildings of England, Essex (Pevsner, N) p357-358 Dated : 1954

<4> Desc Text : Coast Defences of England and Wales, 1856-1956 (Hogg, IV) Dated : unknown

<5> Desc Text : Solution to Fort Worries (unknown) 17th October Dated : 1975

<6> Desc Text : The London Mobilisation Centres (Smith, V) p245 Dated : unknown

<7> Map : 2 maps (unknown) Dated : 1974

<8> Excavation report : Excavations at Tilbury Fort, Essex (Wilkinson, PM) Vol 17, p 111-162 Dated : 1983

<9> Photograph : TQ67-002 (unknown) 16 frames Dated : unknown