HeritageGateway - Home
Site Map
Text size: A A A
You are here: Home > > > > Devon & Dartmoor HER Result
Devon & Dartmoor HERPrintable version | About Devon & Dartmoor HER | Visit Devon & Dartmoor HER online...

See important guidance on the use of this record.

If you have any comments or new information about this record, please email us.

HER Number:MDV11210
Name:Shute Hill Beacon


Beacon house built in the 16th century on a flint and earth mound.


Grid Reference:SY 258 974
Map Sheet:SY29NE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishShute
DistrictEast Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishSHUTE

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SY29NE/6
  • Old SAM Ref: 33021
  • Tide Project: 23/07/20

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • BEACON (Constructed, XVI - 1501 AD to 1600 AD (Between))

Full description

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, SY29NE14 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV131362.

On the summit of shute hill is an ancient fire beacon in good preservation (citing Polwhele).
Site visit 17th November 1975. Dilapidated. Remains consist of roofless and tumbling walls of a "beehive" type building, with internal diameter of 3 metres. Overgrown mortar and rubble walling 0.6 metres thick, remains to maximum height of 2.2 metres on the east side. There was an entrance on the south side. The sructure occupies the centre of a flint and earth mound 10 metres in diameter, 1.7 metres high. Very dense woodland now occupies site.

Polwhele, R., 1793-1806, The History of Devonshire, 315 (Monograph). SDV21030.

Russell, P., 1955, Fire Beacons in Devon, 290, Appendix A (Article in Serial). SDV336138.

Shute Hill Beacon. The Kilmington wardens' accounts for 1562-1563 state: 'pd. To the tithingman of Shute for making of the bekyn 2/0'. This was a beacon of the 'beehive' or culmstock type, now (1954) ruinous. There were no firebar rests. It is built on a circular platform of flint, the height of which varies with the slope of the hill (Quoting Gibbens).

Unknown, 1968, Shute Hill Beacon (Ground Photograph). SDV131364.

Five photos dated 1968 (supplied by Shute Parish Council in 1985), show the beacon building overgrown and in disrepair but still partially roofed.

Timms, S., 1986, Shute Hill Beacon (Personal Comment). SDV131365.

Building repaired in 1985 by Shute and Kilmington Parish Councils with grant aid from Devon County Council. Commended in the 1986 Devon Archaeological Society awards.

Youings, J., 1987, The Elizabethan Militia in the South-West, 65 (Article in Serial). SDV131368.

Windsor, M., 1988-1989, Parish of Shute and Whitford (Cartographic). SDV358746.

Originally an Armada beacon was sited here. The beacon house has been partially restored.

Salvatore, J. P., 1999, Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset, MPP AI 144484 (Un-published). SDV131366.

An Elizabethan stone built beacon house and a flat-topped beacon mound lie at the southern end of the long spur of shute hill which lies some 8.5 kilometres inland from the coast and about 4 kilometres west of Axminster. The beacon commands extensive views of the surrounding countryside and of the Axe valley down to the coast at Seaton.
The circular beacon house of 'beehive' type is about 4 metres in diameter and has walls of mortared flint 1.9 metres high with 2 stone buttresses and a conical roof which has been repaired in 1985. It has an arched entrance 1.2 metres wide on its south side, a window facing north-west, three small loop apertures, and a fireplace with internal chimney. The beacon house sits atop a raised mound of flint and earth set against the end of the spur of the hill. This beacon mound is a maximum of 2 metres in height and 16 metres in diameter; its flat top would have been suitable for the setting of the beacon fire, perhaps within a purpose built fire-basket erected on a pole. The order for the placing of a beacon at Shute Hill is recorded in the Kilmington parish wardens' accounts of 1562-63 where a sum of 2 shillings was paid for "the making of a beacon". This may refer solely to the erection of the beacon mound for in 1567-68 a further 2 shillings is recorded for the construction of a beacon house at the same site. A number of provisos are also recorded in the later account, namely 'that the beacon man should watch tenaciously from March to October and should be sheltered by a hut without place of ease (a bed?) nor seats least he should fall asleep'. It is uncertain whether the beacon was ever fired.

Exeter Archaeology, 2003-2004, East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Archaeological Survey, Site No. 1010 (Archive - Survey). SDV351568.

Shute Hill Fire Beacon. 'Beehive' type circular beacon house of mortared flint circa 4 metres diameter by 1.9 metres high. Built on a flint and earth mound. Documented as constructed in 1562-63. Scheduled Monument.

English Heritage, 2011, Heritage at Risk Register 2011: South West, 93 (Report - non-specific). SDV355280.

Generally satisfactory but with significant localised problems. Declining. Principal vulnerability deterioration; in need of management.

Ordnance Survey, 2020, MasterMap 2020 (Cartographic). SDV363413.

The Beacon marked.

Historic England, 2020, National Heritage List for England, 1020312 (National Heritage List for England). SDV363414.

The Beacon on Shute Hill, 200m north east of Rowlands.
Shute Hill beacon house and beacon mound survive well, the beacon house retaining its original walls and with only its roof subject to any signficant restoration.
See listing description for full details.
Date first scheduled: 9th March 2001

Sources / Further Reading

SDV131362Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. SY29NE14. OSAD Card. Card Index.
SDV131364Ground Photograph: Unknown. 1968. Shute Hill Beacon. Photograph (Paper).
SDV131365Personal Comment: Timms, S.. 1986. Shute Hill Beacon. Not Applicable.
SDV131366Un-published: Salvatore, J. P.. 1999. Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset. Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset. MPP AI 144484.
SDV131368Article in Serial: Youings, J.. 1987. The Elizabethan Militia in the South-West. Security and Defence in South-West England before 1800. Unknown. 65.
SDV21030Monograph: Polwhele, R.. 1793-1806. The History of Devonshire. The History of Devonshire. Unknown. 315.
SDV336138Article in Serial: Russell, P.. 1955. Fire Beacons in Devon. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 87. A5 Hardback. 290, Appendix A.
SDV351568Archive - Survey: Exeter Archaeology. 2003-2004. East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Archaeological Survey. East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Archaeological Survey. Digital + Mixed Archive Material. Site No. 1010.
SDV355280Report - non-specific: English Heritage. 2011. Heritage at Risk Register 2011: South West. english Heritage. Digital. 93.
SDV358746Cartographic: Windsor, M.. 1988-1989. Parish of Shute and Whitford. Illustrated Map. A3 Folded + Digital.
SDV363413Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2020. MasterMap 2020. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #126604 ]
SDV363414National Heritage List for England: Historic England. 2020. National Heritage List for England. Digital. 1020312.

Associated Monuments: none recorded

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Jul 24 2020 8:54AM