Freshwater Redoubt

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Freshwater Redoubt
Freshwater, Isle of Wight, England
Fort Redoubt at Freshwater Bay.JPG
Fort Redoubt on the cliff of Freshwater Bay.
Freshwater Redoubt is located in Isle of Wight
Freshwater Redoubt
Freshwater Redoubt
Coordinates 50°40′10″N 1°30′45″W / 50.669497°N 1.512466°W / 50.669497; -1.512466
Site information
Owner Private residence
Open to
the public
Site history
Built 1856
In use 1856 onwards
Materials Brick

Freshwater Redoubt, also known as Fort Redoubt (map reference SZ345856) is an old Palmerston fort built in Freshwater Bay on the western end of the Isle of Wight. Construction work for the fort began in 1855 and was completed in 1856.[1] It was finally sold in 1928 and has now been converted into a private residence.

Army Use[edit]

Freshwater Redoubt is a Palmerston fort, completed in 1856 to defend Freshwater Bay, which was a possible landing beach for enemy troops. The deep, dry ditch protects the landward approaches.

The Caponier building in the ditch served as barrack accommodation for 24 men. With its iron window shutters and rifle slots the Caponier also provided a means of ditch defence. The original bridge had a section, which could be withdrawn, near the entrance gate, for defence purposes. The main building visible through the gate, was originally a single storey, flat roofed barrack comprising: three Officers’ Rooms, an Officers’ Kitchen, a Staff Sergeant's Quarters, and two rooms for 5 and 11 men.

The fort was designed with two batteries for a total of 7 guns. The Upper Battery, facing the sea, had four gun emplacements and a separate Lower Battery with three gun emplacements covered Freshwater Bay. Early muzzle loaded guns using gunpowder and firing cannonballs, were replaced over the years as military technology advanced.


The fort is on the Western headland of Freshwater Bay at the foot of Tennyson Down. It enjoys outstanding views of Freshwater Bay to the East and the English Channel to the South and West, with the Solent visible to the North across Freshwater and Yarmouth. The view from the top of the drive is of the Isle of Wight coast running along Compton Bay, with Brighstone Down beyond and continues past Atherfield Point, Chale and Blackgang, towards St. Catherine’s Point, with St. Boniface Down in the distance. The small tower visible on the rocks off Hanover Point is an artillery range marker built by the Army. The guns would always fire to seaward of this point

Recent History[edit]

The fort is known locally as Fort Redoubt. It was sold by the Army in 1928 and is privately owned. The main building was converted into a two storey private residence in 1936, and further extended in 1976 but not finished. During the 1980s and 1990s it operated as a tea room. The current owners have completed their own accommodation in the main building and carried out landscaping improvements in the grounds to recover the original setting of the property. The bridge over the moat was replaced in 2011 and, like the original bridge, affords a view of the Caponier along the moat. Moonfleet cottage in the grounds was originally married quarters accommodation for the master gunner and is now a holiday cottage called Moonfleet [2] Since 1994, it has been a Grade II Listed Building.[3]

In 2005, Peter White wrote Moonfleet the opera, based on the story of Moonfleet by J. Meade Falkner, while staying at Fort Redoubt.[4]


  1. ^ "Freshwater Bay Local History". Freshwater Bay Resident's Association. Retrieved 2009-07-17. 
  2. ^ Moonfleet cottage Holiday Let, Moonfleet cottage Holiday Let.
  3. ^ Historic England. "Freshwater Redoubt (1292676)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 4 April 2015. 
  4. ^ Peter White, LinkedIn - Peter White, Composer and conductor.

External links[edit]