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HER Number:MSH36
Type of Record:Monument
Name:Town Defences - Polymond Tower
Grid Reference:SU 4214 1162
Map:Show location on Streetmap

Summary

Polymond Tower is a round tower at the northeast corner of the medieval town walls. It was probably originally built in the late 13th century (between 1260 and 1291), contemporary with the northern town wall. It was remodelled in the late 14th century (in/after 1377); the tower is named after John Polymond, a leading burgess and merchant who was responsible for much of the work on the town defences at this time. In 1454 however, the tower was called St Denys Tower, after St Denys Priory, which was assigned the maintenance of the tower’s six loops. A south door into the tower is first mentioned in about 1600. An illustration of c1794 shows a tall, 3-storey tower with windows and early-16th century, Tudor-style embrasures and parapet. An 1828 drawing shows the upper storeys of the tower being demolished; the demolition line can be seen inside the tower and no original features survive in the curved walls. By 1846 the remains had been rebuilt as 2 storeys. Some early photographs show it with a conical roof (now removed). Fireplaces, a north doorway and new window openings were installed and the tower was used as a house or kitchen attached to the adjacent property on Hanover Buildings.

Archaeological excavations were carried out around the tower in 1956 (SOU 141 Trench 7) and between 1986 and 1992 (SOU 175 Trenches 12 and 14). The curved, exterior wall was drawn in 1984/5 (ESH1886) and a building record was made of the 19th/early 20th century features inside of the tower in 1991 (SOU 175 Trench 22). The SOU 175 excavations showed that Polymond Tower was originally built contemporary with the northern town wall, although the curved tower walls appeared to have been largely rebuilt sometime in the medieval period (perhaps the late 14th century rebuild). The south/back wall of the tower was uncovered during the SOU 175 work, by the removal of an 18th century raised garden to the south of the tower. The back wall is quite thin and was found to be badly cracked. The previously unknown south doorway was found in this wall; inside the tower this is blocked by a large fireplace. The relationship between the footings of the back wall of the tower and the north and east town walls was investigated. The footings of the back wall butted those of the north town wall. It is not clear from the provisional site reports whether the footings of the back wall butted the footings of the eastern town wall or vice versa. At a higher level, the tower’s back wall is butted by a north/south half-arch of stonework built against the inner face of the eastern town wall. The upper part of the back wall is probably a rebuild; it contains a small window. The SOU 141 work also showed that the east town wall was built after the tower; the excavator suggested a mid 14th century date for the east wall. On SOU 175, no certain dating evidence was found for the construction of the tower or the other walls; a high medieval date (1200-1350) was thought most likely for the bases of all walls in the area, although a later date to 1450 was possible.

Protected Status

  • Scheduled Monument 1001926
  • Listed Building (I) 1340006: TOWN WALLS: SECTION OF WALL RUNNING WEST FROM POLYMOND TOWER TO REMAINS OF SEMI-CIRCULAR TOWER TO EAST OF BARGATE AND SMALL PART SOUTH OF POLYMOND TOWER

Other Statuses/Codes: None Recorded

Monument Types

  • ANGLE TOWER (Built, Medieval - 1260 AD to 1291 AD (between))
  • ANGLE TOWER (extant, Medieval to Modern - 1260 AD? to 2050 AD (throughout))
  • ANGLE TOWER (remodelled, Medieval - 1325 AD? to 1375 AD? (between))
  • ANGLE TOWER (remodelled, Medieval - 1377 AD to 1399 AD (between))
  • ARTILLERY TOWER (remodelled, Medieval - 1377 AD to 1399 AD (between))
  • ANGLE TOWER (remodelled, Medieval to Post Medieval - 1500 AD? to 1550 AD? (between))
  • ARTILLERY TOWER (remodelled, Medieval to Post Medieval - 1500 AD? to 1550 AD? (between))
  • ANGLE TOWER (partly demolished, Post Medieval - 1828 AD to 1828 AD (in that year))
  • HOUSE (rebuilt/in use, Post Medieval - 1828 AD? to 1899 AD? (throughout))

Full description

Records for the town defences are currently being enhanced and it is intended that further details will be added to this description at a later date. (SCC HER 4/12/09)

Sources / Further Reading

---SSH3069 - Unpublished document: Ancient Monument File AM18 - Polymond Tower.
---SSH3136 - Unpublished document: Ancient Monument File AM81 - North Walls: Bargate to Polymond Tower.
[1]SSH865 - Excavation archive: Excavation Archive for SOU 175. SOU 175.
[2]SSH519 - Serial: M Hughes (ed), Hampshire County Council. 1987. Archaeology in Hampshire Annual Report for 1986. p28
[3]SSH520 - Serial: The Society for Medieval Archaeology. 1987. Medieval Archaeology, Vol 31, 1987 (for 1986). p139
[4]SSH626 - Serial: M Hughes (ed), Hampshire County Council. 1988. Archaeology in Hampshire Annual Report for 1987. pp11-12, 23-24
[5]SSH680 - Serial: The Society for Medieval Archaeology. 1988. Medieval Archaeology, Vol 32, 1988 (for 1987). p254
[6]SSH792 - Serial: M Hughes (ed), Hampshire County Council. 1990. Archaeology in Hampshire Annual Report for 1989. p36
[7]SSH828 - Serial: The Society for Medieval Archaeology. 1990. Medieval Archaeology, Vol 34, 1990 (for 1989). p186
[8]SSH712 - Serial: Morton, AD (ed), SCC. 1990. Annual Report of the Southampton Archaeological & Heritage Management Section 1990. pp37-39
[9]SSH521 - Serial: Morton, AD (ed), SCC. 1991. Annual Report of the Southampton Archaeological & Heritage Management Section for 1990-1991. pp27-29, 39-41
[10]SSH678 - Serial: M Hughes (ed), Hampshire County Council. 1991. Archaeology in Hampshire Annual Report for 1990. p46
[11]SSH713 - Serial: The Society for Medieval Archaeology. 1991. Medieval Archaeology, Vol 35, 1991 (for 1990). p160
[12]SSH1 - Archaeological Report: I Peckham. 1992. Report on the recording of a wall face exposed by the partial collapse of a wall south of Polymond Tower.. SOU 175. All
[13]SSH508 - Monograph: C Platt and R Coleman-Smith et al. 1975. Excavations in Medieval Southampton 1953 - 1969, Vol 1: The Excavation Reports. pp140-149, figs 39 & 40
[14]SSH2510 - Archaeological Report: H Kavanagh. 1994. York Buildings - SOU 175 Interim Report. SOU 175.
[15]SSH683 - Serial: The Society for Medieval Archaeology. 1958. Medieval Archaeology, Vol 2, 1958 (for 1957). p198
[16]SSH2888 - Digital archive: English Heritage. 2005. Listed Buildings System dataset for Southampton.

Associated Finds: None recorded

Associated Events

  • ESH141 - Excavations on the North-East Defences and Polymond Tower in 1957 (Ref: SOU 141)
  • ESH175 - Excavations at York Buildings (the Bargate Centre) and North Walls between 1983 and 1992 (Ref: SOU 175)
  • ESH2043 - Excavations at North Walls - Trench 22 (Ref: SOU 175)

Related records

MSH14Child of: Town Defences - town wall, towers and gates

Associated Links: None recorded

Images

Polymond Tower, 31/8/09,  © I Peckham

Polymond Tower, 31/8/09, © I Peckham

Polymond Tower, 6/9/09,  © I Peckham

Polymond Tower, 6/9/09, © I Peckham

Polymond Tower, 6/9/09,  © I Peckham

Polymond Tower, 6/9/09, © I Peckham

Polymond Tower, 6/9/09,  © I Peckham

Polymond Tower, 6/9/09, © I Peckham

Polymond Tower, 6/9/09,  © I Peckham

Polymond Tower, 6/9/09, © I Peckham

Polymond Tower, 6/9/09,  © I Peckham

Polymond Tower, 6/9/09, © I Peckham

Polymond Tower, 6/9/09,  © I Peckham

Polymond Tower, 6/9/09, © I Peckham

Polymond Tower, 31/8/09,  © I Peckham

Polymond Tower, 31/8/09, © I Peckham

Polymond Tower, 31/8/09,  © I Peckham

Polymond Tower, 31/8/09, © I Peckham

Polymond Tower, 31/8/09,  © I Peckham

Polymond Tower, 31/8/09, © I Peckham

Polymond Tower, 31/8/09,  © I Peckham

Polymond Tower, 31/8/09, © I Peckham

Polymond Tower, 31/8/09,  © I Peckham

Polymond Tower, 31/8/09, © I Peckham

Polymond Tower, 31/8/09,  © I Peckham

Polymond Tower, 31/8/09, © I Peckham

Polymond Tower, 31/8/09,  © I Peckham

Polymond Tower, 31/8/09, © I Peckham

Polymond Tower, 31/8/09,  © I Peckham

Polymond Tower, 31/8/09, © I Peckham

Polymond Tower, 31/8/09,  © I Peckham

Polymond Tower, 31/8/09, © I Peckham

Polymond Tower, 31/8/09,  © I Peckham

Polymond Tower, 31/8/09, © I Peckham

Polymond Tower, 31/8/09,  © I Peckham

Polymond Tower, 31/8/09, © I Peckham

Polymond Tower, 31/8/09,  © I Peckham

Polymond Tower, 31/8/09, © I Peckham

Polymond Tower, 31/8/09,  © I Peckham

Polymond Tower, 31/8/09, © I Peckham

Town wall west of Polymond Tower, York Walk, 31/8/09,  © I Peckham

Town wall west of Polymond Tower, York Walk, 31/8/09, © I Peckham

Town wall west of Polymond Tower, York Walk, 31/8/09,  © I Peckham

Town wall west of Polymond Tower, York Walk, 31/8/09, © I Peckham

Town wall west of Polymond Tower, 6/9/09,  © I Peckham

Town wall west of Polymond Tower, 6/9/09, © I Peckham

Town wall west of Polymond Tower, 6/9/09,  © I Peckham

Town wall west of Polymond Tower, 6/9/09, © I Peckham

North town wall and Polymond Tower, 6/9/09,  © I Peckham

North town wall and Polymond Tower, 6/9/09, © I Peckham

Town wall and Polymond Tower, 6/9/09,  © I Peckham

Town wall and Polymond Tower, 6/9/09, © I Peckham

Rampier ground inside town wall next to Polymond Tower, 31/8/09,  © I Peckham

Rampier ground inside town wall next to Polymond Tower, 31/8/09, © I Peckham

Rampier ground inside town wall next to Polymond Tower, 31/8/09,  © I Peckham

Rampier ground inside town wall next to Polymond Tower, 31/8/09, © I Peckham

Rampier ground inside town wall next to Polymond Tower, 31/8/09,  © I Peckham

Rampier ground inside town wall next to Polymond Tower, 31/8/09, © I Peckham

Rampier ground inside town wall next to Polymond Tower, 31/8/09,  © I Peckham

Rampier ground inside town wall next to Polymond Tower, 31/8/09, © I Peckham

Rampier ground inside town wall next to Polymond Tower, 31/8/09,  © I Peckham

Rampier ground inside town wall next to Polymond Tower, 31/8/09, © I Peckham

If you have any feedback or new information about this record, please email the Southampton HER (her@southampton.gov.uk).