Landguard Fort

Landguard Fort is situated at Landguard point at the foot of the river Orwell in Felixstowe, Suffolk and was designed to guard the entrance to Harwich.

The first recorded fortification is dated at 1540 with a blockhouse and earthworks. During 1667 Landguard was decaying and work was ordered to strengthen the fort, restoring the earthwork rampant, a false bray at the foot of the rampant and around the fort, enlarging the bastions.

The last opposed invasion of England was during 1667, 1500 Dutchmen forced a landing on Felixstowe but were driven back by 54 cannons, 100 Artillerymen and a garrison of 400 musketeers, the 1st English marines (Duke of York & Albany’s maritime regiment).

During 1701 the fort was no longer defensible. A new fort was constructed to the south of the old fort to a triangular battery defence during 1717 and 1720, the fort was upgraded in 1730 and 1733 when the barracks were enlarged and heavier guns were installed in the main battery. During 1744 work started to enlarge the fort into a pentagonal fort, along with 5 bastions. During 1780’s the whole of Landguard point was made into a camp and construction of north redoubt and south redoubt adjacent to the fort. On the original site, Rainbow redoubt was built. Work was stopped in 1782/

During 1870 the fort was modified to match artillery advancement and a curved battery replaced the southwest and west curtains and bastions. The barracks were re-built to resemble a keep. A new casemated battery at the riverfront was rebuilt with a bombproof nose. Several bastions were enclosed and other modifications were made to make the fort defensible.

During 1870 mining was set up to control and lay minefields to protect Harwich. During 1888 the left battery and the right battery were constructed and armed with BL guns, improvements continued into the 20th century.

During the second world war the site was used for ‘operation outward’ for the launch of balloons that could attack Germany by damaging power lines, the balloons were free flying hydrogen and carried trailing steel wires or incendiary devices, thousands of balloons were released during 1942 and 1944. During 1950 the left battery was converted into an Anti-aircraft operations room. The artillery was disbanded in 1956 but remained in military hands until 1960 and became redundant, restoration began in the 1990’s and during 1997/8 the fort was put into English Heritages hands.

Paranormal history of the Fort is very interesting; the image of a sailor is seen looking out of a top window, which is seen from the road. Lights are seen and people feel like they are being pushed on the top floor. A ghostly horse and carriage is seen entering the fort, which then just disappears, but using a drawbridge that is not there. During the Second World War a Musketeer was seen marching along a rampart by soldiers. A Victorian Artilleryman is seen by the shop and poltergeist activity has been reported in the shop.

The cries and whispering in a foreign language of a woman is heard and are thought to be of a Portuguese lady called Maria. Maria was accused of stealing a silk handkerchief, her husband left the fort to try to help her and protested her innocent, but on his return 4 days later he was accused of desertion and was executed in the dry moat and shortly after Maria flung herself from the ramparts and died.

A solider is seen in the bathroom but there are conflicting stories to whom the solider is and why he is there. A solider in the magazine room, unconfirmed information suggests he hung himself. The darkened room, just back from the courtyard is thought to be haunted by a solider, which was put in the room from his tour of duty as he had arrived back with a tropical disease, which manifested at the fort. He was confined to the room and his confinement was kept secret, his cries are heard and it is thought he only wants his mother to know he had not deserted her. Other reported activity includes blurred lights, like lightning bolts, scraping noises at the doors, sounds, unknown footsteps and voices.

I have personally attended the fort and found it to be an interesting place, it is massive and you cannot investigate the whole fort in one night. I attended with Npeg who were kindly asked by United Paranormal Investigations and also attending were Aspire and WTFWT, it was a great night with 4 groups working together. The following experiences of the night are condensed down.

On the top floor, the KII (EMF meter) was having unexplainable readings of more than 20mg, a woman and male were sensed in one area. Unexplainable voices, footsteps and noises were heard and a feeling of sick and a door being opened and closed was heard. On the ground floor/Tunnels white lights and black shadows were seen by eyesight, touching on the head were felt and at the same time a white flickering light was seen in the same area of the head and smoky shapes were seen. In one area, residual energy of someone being bullied, a coldness in the bones was felt, lots of moving energy was seen by eyesight and it felt like there was 3-4 spirits in that one area and noises were heard. On the outside of the fort an aggressive male was sensed, unexplainable footsteps and a groan was heard, a male child was sensed, footsteps in a different area were heard. All in all this was an interesting night and I wonder what the rest of the fort holds that we never got to investigate, I will make a return visit next year and find out.

Copyrighted by Tracy Monger 2012

Landguard fort seen from Harwich

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