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Target Stone, Fort Warden Farm
Komgha district, Eastern Cape

Type:Target Stone

The target stone comprises a large flat disc of hardened shale, roughly circular and about 150 mm thick. Seven annular rings are deeply inscribed on the stone surface to form a bulls-eye target . The target stone is sited on a west facing slope with the target facing north towards the site of Fort Warden, on the adjoining farm.

The target stone probably dates from the latter part of the 1834-35 war, when Fort Warden was built in May 1835 and briefly occupied until the Province of Queen Adelaide was abandoned. Although British and colonial troops operated in the area in subsequent wars, it is unlikely that the target stone would have been used in the War of the Axe and the 1877-78 war (as suggested by Burton - see caption of adjacent black and white photograph)

The troops would not have shot at the target stone from a very long range. Muskets in 1835 had an effective accurate range of 80-100 metres. Hitting the target beyond this distance would be unlikely. The target stones would apparently have been painted with whitewash prior to shooting at them. The chipped off whitewash would mark the point where the musket ball had hit.

There is no evidence on site that a butt or backstop was ever created behind the target stone. There is likewise no evidence visible on site of the exact position of the firing point.

It is not unlikely that the target stone originally stood more upright and has over the passage of time shifted to its present inclined position.

Edited and extended from notes compiled by Denver Webb, East London, April 2015.

The site of the target stone was pointed out by Carl Vernon of East London.

(Submitted by William MARTINSON)

Permission to visit and photograph the target stone was kindly provided by the Hart family, present owners of Fort Warden Farm, March 2015.