Redoubt Fort, Essex
The Redoubt was built between 1808 and 1810 to protect the port of Harwich against the threat of Napoleonic invasion. It was part of the scheme that included the construction of 29 Martello Towers on the East Anglian coast. The Redoubt is of circular shape, approximately 200 ft in diameter, with a central parade ground of 85 ft diameter. Hoists lifted shells from the lower level to the gun emplacements. It is similar in design to earlier redoubts at Dymchurch and Eastbourne.
Though difficult to imagine as it is now surrounded by houses, when the Redoubt was built it was on a hill top with free views in all directions. A house was demolished to make way for the Redoubt, and a large elm tree – used by ships as a navigational mark – was also removed. It is said that French prisoners of war were made to help in the construction.
One of the most haunted locations in Essex, the fort is home to a number of spirits.. Apparitions have been seen through the windows and unexplained footsteps have been heard. Some people have even reported being touched by unseen hands.
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.
Other apparitions and been seen and mysterious noises, hot and cold spots have all been documented.