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HER Number:MDV106009
Name:Possible Remains of Post-medieval Coastal Fort at Seaton


Earthwork banks and low probable structures visible on aerial photographs taken in 1928 may be the remains of coastal defences added to the pre-existing post-medieval fort. Several phases are likely, and some remains may be of later date, possibly even First World War. The area has been extensively redeveloped in the twentieth century although it is possible that buried remains survive.


Grid Reference:SY 245 899
Map Sheet:SY28NW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishSeaton
DistrictEast Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishSEATON

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: 449514

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • COASTAL FORT (Post Medieval to World War I - 1540 AD to 1918 AD (Between))

Full description

Devon County Council, 1838-1848, Tithe Mosaic, approximately 1838-1848 (Cartographic). SDV349431.

A rectangular structure is depicted to the south of the mound depicted on the first edition OS mapping. The limit of the land parcel on which the structure was sited curves to the south, and a path or trackway seems to follow the line of the mound around its north-east segment.

Ordnance Survey, 1880-1899, First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map (Cartographic). SDV336179.

The site is marked 'The Barrow Site of Pharos' and an earthwork is depicted with hachures along the northern side of the Esplanade wall, widening to a mound in the centre.

Aerofilms, 1928, Aerofilms LTD Oblique Aerial Photography (AFL 60516), AFL 60516 EPW023884 SEP-1928 (Aerial Photograph). SDV351161.

Two circular features, possibly structures, two earthwork banks, an earthwork mound and two double linear features, possibly structural, are visible.

Aerofilms, 1932, AFL 60816, AFL 60816 EPW039700 AUG-1932 (Aerial Photograph). SDV356204.

One of the circular features is visible with a pale area in the centre, the remainder of the site is not in shot.

Royal Air Force, 1940, RAF/225A/UK854/3, RAF/225A/UK854/3 1-2 29-JUL-1940 (Aerial Photograph). SDV356136.

The site appears to have been developed, with new buildings and cleared ground, and the features are no longer visible.

Hegarty, C. + Knight, S. + Sims, R., 2013-2014, South Devon Coast Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey National Mapping Programme Project (Interpretation). SDV351146.

The area named as ‘The Barrow’ on late nineteenth century maps appears to have been cleared and partially developed by 1940. However several earthwork and possible structural features are visible on aerial photographs taken in 1928.
These include two ring-shaped features at circa SY2465689921 and SY2455589904, apparently raised slightly above the surface and possibly structures covered with vegetation, between 10 and 12 metres in diameter. Although only a small part of the area is visible on aerial photographs taken in 1932, the westernmost of these is clearly visible as a pale ring-shaped feature with a small central pale mark. The easternmost appears to overlie a double linear pale feature aligned north to south, possibly the footings of an earlier structure 3 metres in width.
Sloping earthwork banks up to 8 metres in width behind the wall on the northern side of the Esplanade are depicted on nineteenth century mapping and appear to abut the central mound, which is thought to be a component of a pre-Napoleonic fort and is recorded separately in MDV14047. Two low linear features, probably structural, built into one of the banks at approximately SY2453789884 resemble the sides of a gun emplacement. It is possible that this feature, the banks and the double linear feature described above were Napoleonic in date, added to the pre-existing fort MDV14047, although some could have been created during relandscaping of the area in the nineteenth century. The circular features could potentially date to a later period, perhaps even gun emplacements established during the First World War, although as they are set back from the embankment on lower ground they may have had a different function.
The area has been extensively redeveloped in the twentieth century but the ground rises here and it is possible that some buried remains survive.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV349431Cartographic: Devon County Council. 1838-1848. Tithe Mosaic, approximately 1838-1848. Digitised Tithe Map. Digital.
SDV351146Interpretation: Hegarty, C. + Knight, S. + Sims, R.. 2013-2014. South Devon Coast Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey National Mapping Programme Project. AC Archaeology Report. Digital.
Linked documents:1
SDV351161Aerial Photograph: Aerofilms. 1928. Aerofilms LTD Oblique Aerial Photography (AFL 60516). NMR Aerial Photograph. Digital. AFL 60516 EPW023884 SEP-1928. [Mapped feature: #65438 ]
SDV356136Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1940. RAF/225A/UK854/3. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). RAF/225A/UK854/3 1-2 29-JUL-1940.
SDV356204Aerial Photograph: Aerofilms. 1932. AFL 60816. NMR Aerial Photograph. Digital. AFL 60816 EPW039700 AUG-1932.

Associated Monuments

MDV14047Related to: Gun Tower at East Walk, Seaton (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6127 - Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey National Mapping Programme (NMP) for South-West England - South Coast Devon (Ref: ACD618)

Date Last Edited:Jul 22 2014 12:42PM