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EAST TILBURY BLOCKHOUSE

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The site of a Henrician blockhouse built between 1539 and 1541 at East Tilbury, Essex by Henry VIII as part of his chain of coastal defences. East Tilbury Blockhouse 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, Higham, Milton and Gravesend. East Tilbury and Higham were located at a narrow point in the river to allow for cross-fire. The blockhouse was disarmed in 1553 and was in ruins on the foreshore by 1735. It is possible that the remains of the blockhouse lie beneath the mud.

East Tilbury Blockhouse was constructed from stone and timber robbed from St Margaret's Chantry nearby. It comprised of a simple gun tower with splayed embrasures for cannon, with guns in bombproof casemates and in open emplacements on the roof. It may have had a small defended enceinte or earthen rampart with guns in front.

This location continued to be of strategic importance and the Victorian Coalhouse Fort was built just inshore from the Henrician blockhouse.

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