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Sharpenrode Bulwark

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Sconce Point; Careys Sconce

In the civil parish of Freshwater.
In the historic county of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
Modern Authority of Isle of Wight.
1974 county of Isle of Wight.
Medieval County of Hampshire, Isle of Wight.

OS Map Grid Reference: SZ339898
Latitude 50.70669° Longitude -1.52145°

Sharpenrode Bulwark has been described as a certain Artillery Fort.

There are no visible remains.

This is a Grade 2 listed building protected by law*.


Fort Victoria was originally built as a Henrician coastal fort, known as Sharpenode Bulwark. Constructed in 1545-7, Sharpenode was built as part of Henry VIII's network of coastal fortifications to defend against French and Spanish invasion. From its position on Sconce Point it could control the whole of the Needles Passage and approaches to Yarmouth. The early Tudor fort fell into disrepair and was repaired or even replaced in 1587 by Sir George Carey, Captain of the Island. By 1623 the defences were once again in a state of disrepair and in the 1850s the blockhouse was completely rebuilt as Fort Victoria. Fort Victoria was rearmed in the 1880s and was used as a barracks and military storehouse. At the outbreak of the Second World War the fort was used as a training battery for coastal gunners and was equipped with torpedo tubes. It is now a museum and part of Fort Victoria Country Park. Sharpenode Bulwark was a square timber and earth structure with two angle bastions or flankers. The square front was on the seaward side to mount the heavy guns and the angle bastions were on the landward side to provide flanking fire. It replaced the nearby Worsley's Tower and was one of the first fortification to be built in the new Italianate Style of angle bastions. The original Henrician designed fortification was replaced in the 1850s by a redan-shaped transitional fort, known as Fort Victoria. It was constructed in the 1850s, and is brick-built with concrete gun-floors and several casemates to protect the guns. It was in active service until the 1860s and was rearmed with more modern armament in the 1880s. (PastScape)

The original fortification here was in the form of an earthen bulwark with flankers, called Sharpenode Bulwark. It was one of the first works to be built in the new Italianate Style with angle bastions. It was a great improvement on Worsley's Tower, which it replaced, and it was itself improved over the years until its final incarnation as Fort Victoria. (PastScape ref. HKW)

On the west point of the entrance to the Yarmouth haven a watch and ward was kept day and night in the 14th century, and here in the reign of Elizabeth Sir George Carey built a 'sconce' called after his name, while half a mile to the west of it on the high ground of Norton Common Richard Worsley raised an outlook tower afterwards taken down by Lord Conway. (VCH)

Sharpnode fort ... was a square platform, 37 feet by 37 feet and 8 feet high on the seaward side. It was described as "a massy platforme only walled wyth planke and that begynneth to fayle wyth out anny dytche aboute yt" (Rob Martin 2006 ref. 1559 Survey of the Isle of WIght)
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:08

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