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Higham Blockhouse

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Heigham; Hiegham

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

OS Map Grid Reference: TQ70117544
Latitude 51.45243° Longitude 0.44695°

Higham Blockhouse has been described as a probable Artillery Fort.

There are no visible remains.


The possible site of Higham Blockhouse, a small artillery blockhouse built by Henry VIII in 1539 as part of his chain of coastal defences in response to the threat of foreign invasion. It was one of five blockhouses built along this stretch of the river Thames to defend the approach to London and the dockyards at Woolwich and Deptford; the others being at Tilbury, East Tilbury, Milton and Gravesend. It was decommissioned in 1553 and demolished in 1557-8. It was probably a D-shaped blockhouse similar to Gravesend and East Tilbury blockhouses. Nothing remains of the blockhouse and its precise location is not known although it may have stood on the west bank of Shorne Creek where it meets the River Thames. The remains of the blockhouse are shown on Robert Adam's 1588 map of the Thames Defences. (PastScape)

There is no architectural record of Higham Blockhouse and the position is not accurately known. It was probably on the west bank of Shorne Creek where it joins the river Thames. The blockhouse was one of five built in 1549. It was disarmed in 1553 as part of a general rundown of defences ordered by Northumberland and it was demolished in 1557-8. (PastScape ref. HKW)

Despite stating the location is uncertain the PastScape record gives a very precise map reference of TQ7011875445. In fact nothing is shown at this location on the 1588 map. Gatehouse considers this may actually be the Erith fort at about TQ515782. Cliffe Fort at TQ70667665 is a C19 fort just outside the Higham parish boundary but would seem the most appropriate location for a fort but one would still expect this to be on the 1588 map. It seems to have been assumed that the Hiegham mentioned in the Tudor papers is a reference to Higham parish but Higham is a common placename, although there does not seem to be a Higham placename in Erith parish.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:19:31

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