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Historic England Research Records

Sandsfoot Castle

Hob Uid: 451558
Location :
Dorset
Weymouth And Portland
Weymouth
Grid Ref : SY6746107740
Summary : The remains of a Henrician artillery castle, built around 1541, by Henry VIII as part of his network of coastal defences to protect against French and Spanish attacks. It was erected together with Portland castle to defend the anchorage between Weymouth and Portland. The castle was repaired in 1548 and again in 1610/11and bastion earthworks were probably added then. They were noted on the 1623 survey. The castle was in Royalist hands during the English Civil War before it was abandoned in 1644-5 as it was of no military importance. It was then used as a storehouse until at least 1691. During the Second World War an anti-aircraft battery was probably positioned at the castle.The castle comprised of a two-storey rectangular main block with a taller gate-tower on the landward side and a single-storey octagonal gun platform facing the sea. Later bastion earthworks were added in the early 17th century before the castle was abandoned in 1644-5.The castle is a ruin and, although in places the walls stand to nearly the original height, much of the facing has been robbed. The seaward gun platform has disappeared as a result of coastal erosion in recent years. The site has been landscaped and is now a public garden.
More information : (SY 67487739) Sandsfoot Castle (NR) (remains of) (NAT) (1)

Sandsfoot Castle (674773), a roofless ruin, is of Portland stone rubble with a facing of ashlar. It was built probably in 1541 as one in a series of coastal forts and, with Portland Castle, served to defend the anchorage between Weymouth and Portland. (2-3)

The castle comprised a tall rectangular main block of two storeys over a basement, with a taller gate-tower integral with the landward end and a single-storey octagonal gunroom adjoining the other end facing the sea. The walls remain in places to nearly the original height, but much of the facing has been robbed, while the gun-room has finally disappeared as a result of coastal erosion in recent years.

The castle was held for the King in the Civil War but abandoned as being of no further military importance in January 1644-5. It continued in use as a storehouse, however, at least as late as 1691. There are remains of a defensive earthwork consisting of a bank with an outer ditch at approx. 100ft from the north west, north east, and south west walls. From the north corner projects an elongated five-sided earth bastion; the west corner is destroyed. The defences probably formed bastion-fortifications, which, on comparative dating, may be assigned to c.1623 when orders were given for repairing the castle. The survey made in that year confirms that a bank and ditch already existed; the statement that there were then only two corners ("points") leaves in question whether the earth-work defences ever completed the rectangular enclosure on the seaward side before erosion. Nothing of the stone superstructure specified in the report survives. (4)

As described (5)

Sandsfoot Castle (name confirmed). The defensive earthworks now form part of landscaped public gardens. Resurveyed at 1/1250. on MSD. See ground photographs. (6)

For a detailed description of the history of the castle please refer to this source. (7)

Notes on the state of the castle in 1623. (8)

A two storey rectangular structure with an octagonal gun platform looking seawards. (9)

Some of the stone used to build Sandsfoot Castle came from Blindon Abbey in Dorset. The castle was surrendered to Parliamentary forces by Colonel Ashburnham in 1644. (note this is a different version of the castle's abandonment to the other sources). The castle was run by Humphrey Weld for a long time for the government until its abandonment and the castle then began to fall into the sea. The site contains a number of photographs of the castle. (10)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1963
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Source Number : 2
Source : An inventory of historical monuments in the County of Dorset. Volume two : south-east [in three parts]
Source details :
Page(s) : 336-338
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Plates :
Vol(s) : 2
Source Number : 3
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : Department of Environment: Borough of Weymouth & Portland Dorset, 14-JUN-1974
Page(s) : 108
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Source Number : 4
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Department of Environment (IAM) Ancient Monuments England 3 12 77 82
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Source Number : 5
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 GCS 13-AUG-54
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Source Number : 6
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F2 JGB 01-AUG-80
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Source Number : 7
Source : The history of the King's Works, volume 4 : 1485-1660 (Part 2)
Source details :
Page(s) : 465-70
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Source Number : 8
Source : Fort : the international journal of fortification and military architecture
Source details :
Page(s) : 45-6
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Vol(s) : 16, 1988
Source Number : 9
Source : The Castles of Henry VIII
Source details :
Page(s) : 22
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Source Number : 10
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : Weymouth Local and Family History. 2009. Sandsfoot Castle, [Accessed 26-MAR-2009]
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Change in function post 1645
Monument End Date : 1645
Monument Start Date : 1645
Monument Type : Storehouse
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Abandoned 1691
Monument End Date : 1691
Monument Start Date : 1691
Monument Type : Storehouse
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Tudor
Display Date : Completed after 1540
Monument End Date : 1541
Monument Start Date : 1541
Monument Type : Artillery Castle, Gun Emplacement, Magazine, Blockhouse, Artillery Fort
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Tudor
Display Date : Repaired after 1548
Monument End Date : 1548
Monument Start Date : 1548
Monument Type : Artillery Castle, Artillery Fort
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Stuart
Display Date : Repaired 1610-23
Monument End Date : 1623
Monument Start Date : 1610
Monument Type : Artillery Fort, Bank (Earthwork), Bastion, Artillery Castle
Evidence : Ruined Building, Earthwork
Monument Period Name : 20th Century
Display Date : World War II
Monument End Date : 1945
Monument Start Date : 1939
Monument Type : Anti Aircraft Battery
Evidence : Ruined Building, Conjectural Evidence
Monument Period Name : Late 20th Century
Display Date : Change in function
Monument End Date : 2000
Monument Start Date : 1967
Monument Type : Ornamental Garden
Evidence : Botanical Feature

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 33198
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 467774
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SY 67 NE 4
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 451663
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : FIELD OBSERVATION ON SY 67 NE 4
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1954-08-13
End Date : 1954-08-13
Associated Activities : FIELD OBSERVATION ON SY 67 NE 4
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1980-08-01
End Date : 1980-08-01
Associated Activities : SANDSFOOT CASTLE GARDENS
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2007-01-01
End Date : 2007-12-31
Associated Activities : SANDSFOOT CASTLE, OLD CASTLE ROAD
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2010-01-01
End Date : 2010-12-31
Associated Activities : LAND AT SANDSFOOT CASTLE
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 2010-01-01
End Date : 2010-12-31