This circular fort was built between 1808-10 to defend Harwich harbour against Napoleonic invasion. It was constructed on a hill, by French prisoners of war, to allow views in all directions.
The fort measures 180ft wide with a central parade ground. Originally, it was armed with ten 24 pounder cannons. In 1861, a 68 pounder cannon was added to the fort’s weapon range and later, in 1903, three 12 pounder QF guns were added. Despite the ongoing modernisation, not a single shot was fired in force.
Today, eleven guns remain on the battlements.
In the 1920s the redoubt was falling into disrepair. The fort was briefly used during the Second World War to house British troops awaiting trial. Restoration started in 1969 and still continues today.
Witnesses have reportedly seen apparitions through the windows and heard unexplained footsteps. Many visitors to the fort have also reported being touched by unseen hands in the lower casements. There have also been many other mysterious noises, apparitions and hot and cold spots. The fort is well known to the apparition of a headless soldier. It is reported that in 1972 a soldier was decapitated by a cable attached to a 12 ton cannon which broke under the strain. The soldier has been reported to be walking within the grounds of the fort headless and sometimes with his head tucked under his arms.
Today, you can visit the small museum in the casement, and see the eleven guns that operated on the battlements,
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