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Gravesend Blockhouse

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Cranes Bulwark; Le Grene

In the civil parish of Gravesham.
In the historic county of Kent.
Modern Authority of Kent.
1974 county of Kent.
Medieval County of Kent.

OS Map Grid Reference: TQ64997442
Latitude 51.44463° Longitude 0.37277°

Gravesend Blockhouse has been described as a certain Artillery Fort, and also as a Chain Tower although is doubtful that it was such.

There are masonry footings remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Gravesend Blockhouse, built in 1539, was situated on a "piece of land called Le Grene," to the north of the Terrace, at the west side of the Terrace Garden and Pier. It survived until 1834. Some brick walls of the blockhouse found during excavation 1973-4 are to be consolidated and made visible to the public in the riverside garden of the Berni Inn. A plan by John Romer, made in 1715, shows the full extent of the building; it had a curved front facing the river, with two angled faces on the landward side and a curved bastion on the W side. Gravesend Blockhouse was one of five built by Henry VIII on the Thames Estuary in 1539. In the 18th century, the blockhouse was converted into a magazine, and the building was demolished in the mid-19th century. The western two-thirds of the semi-circular front wall with its gunports is consolidated and displayed. The remainder of the site was under the car park to the E and road to the S. (PastScape)

Depicted on the 1588 Thamesis Descriptio map as a feature with 4 arrow shaped bastions and with a pier or boom into the river. No artillery pieces are portrayed for the fort itself although the 'pier' seems to be portrayed with several pieces. It may be the map is a plan of proposed rather than actual structures, the 'pier' features in particular seems a difficult and unlikely construction.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:19:31

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