Fort Gilkicker

 

 

 

The sea marks Gilkicker and Kickergill

 

 

Robert Rich, 5th Earl of Warwick,

As Parliamentary Admiral to Charles the First (1625-1649), The Earl of Warwick set up two sea marks in 1669 to help assist sailors entering Portsmouth Harbour.

 

By lining up both sea marks sailors could find the safe water channel and avoid the shallow Warner and Norman Sands. One was on the site of Hasilworth Castle and was known as the Gill-Kicker, the other was at the end of Clayhall Road at Alverstoke and was known as the Kicker-Gill. (there are variations of spelling for both which include 'kickergill' 'gilkicker')

 

...sea mark stood on the side of Hasleworth Castle until the building of Fort Monckton in the late C18 when it was demolished. - Anon

 

map of 1711

Section of map circa 1711 with sea marks at Q.

 

In 'Chronicle History of Portsmouth' by Henry Slight written in 1835 the inscription that was displayed on the Gilkicker sea mark reported is as follows:

This sea mark was erected by Robert, Earl of Warwick, Admiral of the seas - Captain Richard Blith Sen. his captain in the Prince Royal and W. Cooke, master of attendant his master. A coat of arms was placed below the inscription. There is no record of an inscription on the Kickergill.

 

The origins of the names are obscure but the point at 'Hasilworth' seems to have changed to Gilkicker Point after the erection of these marks. Daniel Defoe, writing in 1724 mentions "...the point of land on the side of Gosport which they call Gilkicker and where also they have two batteries". Did Gilkicker Point gain its name from the sea mark or was it the other way round? Slight refers to 'Near the point of land called the Kicker..'

Map of 1716

A map of 1716 showing the two sea marks

 

 

A chart of the Sea Coasts from Arundel to St Albans, by Joseph Avery, 1721

explains how the two sea marks were used to sail into Spithead and into Portsmouth Harbour.

Keep Sandown [Fort] touching with Culver [Cliffe] to clear you of Bembridge Ledge, until the Kickers are in one, and, Ashedown mark touching, you have 3 Fathom Water, then keeping those marks on until Bembridge Point and Dun Nose is in one you'll have 7 Fathom. then the mark kept on you'll have from Do. to 9, 12, 15, 18 Fathom a Mile to the Eastward of the Warner Buoy, the which will near continue until the Chalkhole upon Post-down be on South Sea Castle. which kept on until the Castle near Gosport be on Blockhouse Point the mark to run into the Harbour. You may Anchor at Spit Head in about 12 or 14 Fathom the Kicker being about 1/4 Mile distant bearing N.W.

 

 

Taylor's map of 1759

Taylor's map of 1759 showing the two sea marks.

 

 

map of 1766

A map of 1766 which refers to the sea marks as Upper and Lower 'Gilkiker'.

Stokes Bay: A Chart of 1783: To sail into or out of Spithead between the Horsesand and the Warner and No Mans, keep Kickergill Tower on with the Magazine at Fort Monckton

A chart of 1783 showing the function of the sea marks

 

Both marks were triangular in plan and were constructed as columns of stone. They were heightened in the 1800s with the addition of a brick topping.

 

...Gilkicker tower built in 1669 and heightened in the C18, the original part in stone, the later additions in brick ending in an oddly placed pediment brought out in several delicate orders of moulding. The intermediate part was a most attractive medley of dark red brick and silver stone. The tower was wantonly destroyed in 1965.

(Taken from Hampshire and the Isle of Wight by Pevsner and Lloyd 1967)

 

The site of the Kickergill tower in 2009, with the Brodrick Memorial Hall
The site of the Kickergill tower in 2009 with the Brodrick Memorial Hall.

 

 

An Admiralty chart of 1890 indicates that the Kickergill was constructed with bands of red and white. The Gilkicker was removed when Fort Monckton was constructed under the recommendations of an engineer, John Archer, who was tasked with reporting on the strength of the Gosport defences as part of the overall defence of Portsmouth Harbour. Archer reported that the mark at Gilkicker should be removed when an attack was imminent and a replacement in wood added so as to lure the enemy ships, using it as a guide, onto the shallows. The tower was removed in 1779 because it stood on the site for the new fort, but not replaced. Luckily Fort Monckton was visible enough from the Solent to be used in conjunction with the remaining sea mark to provide the required safe passage. Admiralty charts of 1895 show the Kickergill in use with a line bisecting Fort Monckton using the Measured Mile Marker erected on the Glacis in 1866 in place of the Gilkicker.

 

In 1791 John Hamilton Moore explains:

..if I am obliged to into Spithead, I may turn the kickergill on each side of Fort Monckton, and come no nearer the Warner than 12 fathoms, nor to the Dean than 9 or 10 fathoms, nor to Nomans' Land than 16 or 18 fathoms...

 

This is substantiated in a chart surveyed by Captain Sheringham, published by the Admiralty Hydrographic Office in 1848 where notes state that :-

Kickergill in one with the Centre of Fort Monckton N.N.W. leads up to Spithead..

 

 

 

Map of 1890 showing the Kickergill as 'Landmark' in Clayhall Road, Gosport Map of 1880 showing the Kickergill as 'Landmark' in Clayhall Road, Gosport
Map of 1890 showing the Kickergill as 'Landmark' in Clayhall Road, Gosport Map of 1880 showing the Kickergill as 'Landmark' in Clayhall Road, Gosport

 

 

 

 

 

map of 1932

Map of 1932 showing the 'Landmark': By this time the Brodrick Memorial Hall and the Alverstoke National Children's home had been constructed.

 

Kickergill landmark wrongly labelled Gilkicker. A view of the Kickergill with the Brodrick Hall from across the lake.
The Kicker-gill landmark on a postcard, wrongly labelled Gilkicker. A view of the Kickergill with the Brodrick Hall from across the lake.

 

 

 

 

Kickergill seamark in Clayhall Road Kickergill seamark preparation for demolition Kickergill seamark Demolition day Kickergill seamark falling
Kickergill seamark in Clayhall Road Kickergill seamark preparation for demolition Kickergill seamark Demolition day Kickergill seamark falling

 

 

Kickergill from Anglesey Lake 1915 Kickergill with Brodrick Hall Postcard of Kickergill with Brodrick Hall Postcard of Kickergill with Brodrick Hall
Kickergill from Anglesey Lake 1915 Kickergill with Brodrick Hall Postcard of Kickergill with Brodrick Hall Postcard of Kickergill with Brodrick Hall

 

 

The site of Kickergill Beacon Tower transferred from Admiralty to GBC for demolition. The Kicker-gill was demolished by Gosport Council on June 26 1965 'to make way for road widening'.

No trace of it remains.

 

Recorded in the Gosport Council minutes:

1937/01/27 Roads and Works Committee: Site of Kickergill Beacon Tower transferred from Admiralty to GBC for demolition.
1965/03 Roads and Works Committee: p227 Demolition of Gilkicker Tower, Clayhall Road to allow road realignment due 1966-67; must be demolished before surveying etc can be done. Next year a pumping station to be built to restore Children's Home land to a playing field. Tower will be felled onto this land; Ministry of Public Buildings and Works say the tower is not worth scheduling. It was bought by GBC in 1938 and reprieved from demolition due to war. Ask specialists or Army to demolish.
1965/06 P&B p27 Minister of Housing & Local Government proposed additions to provisional list of Buildings of Architectural or Historic Merit: including Gilkicker (Kickergill) Tower. Tell them to remove from list as it to be demolished.
1965/09 GBC p127 contract with Bailey Bros to demolish Gilkicker Tower
.

 

Kickergill from Anglesey Lake 1915
An overlay of the site of the Kickergill on a modern aerial view. The pavement on the north side of the road now covers the site of the tower. Did this need to be done? The road with pavements at this point is now 13.86 metres wide. Could the pavement have been diverted around the tower leaving it in place?

 

 

 

 

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This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Licence
 
 

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