Lee Ness

Has been described as a Possible Artillery Fort, and also as a Possible Chain Tower

There are no visible remains

NameLee Ness
Alternative Names
Historic CountryKent
Modern AuthorityLondon Borough of Greenwich
1974 AuthorityGreater London
Civil ParishGreenwich

A boom was put across the Thames at Blackwall with fortlets on both banks as part of London's defences against the Spanish armada. Known from a 16th century map by Adams although not reported in official records of the defences of the Thames. There were also gun emplacements at Woolwich and Erith and the fort at Tilbury. (Greater London HER)

The Thamesis Descriptio Anno 1588 is a map showing the defence along the River Thames from London to Tilbury in case of attack from the Spanish Armada. The plate was produced in the 18th Century from an original survey made by Robert Adams at the end of the 16th Century. The map features title in cartouche with royal arms above the plan, compass rose at top right and scale bar in cartouche below the plan. It shows the fortifications and points of observation along the river, the pontoon between Gravesend and Tilbury, the main defence against the advancing Armada, and the military encampment at Tilbury chosen by the Earl of Leicester, commander in chief of the land forces. (British Library Online Gallery)

Gatehouse Comments

Appears to be portrayed as a star shaped work, presumably earthwork, with a boom or pier into the Thames with possibly 6 artillery pieces on the end of the pier. As with some of the maps associated with Henry VIII coastal fortifications it may be these were proposed rather than actual defenses although London would have had the resources to build, arm and man such defences.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceTQ387804
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  • Adams, R., 1990, 'Thamesis Descriptio' in Barker, F. and Jackson, P., 1990, The History of London in Maps (Barrie and Jenkins)p. 16-17

Primary Sources