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HER Number:MDV120662
Name:Seawall between Clerk Tunnel and Parsons Tunnel, Dawlish, Devon

Summary

Seawall constructed by the Great Western Railway in 1902-5 between Clerk and Parsons Tunnels

Location

Grid Reference:SX 960 752
Map Sheet:SX97NE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishDawlish
DistrictTeignbridge

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • SEA DEFENCES (Built, XX - 1902 AD to 1905 AD (Between))

Full description

Ordnance Survey, 2018, MasterMap 2018 (Cartographic). SDV360652.


Historic England, 2018, Seawall between Clerk and Parsons Tunnel and Parsons East Tunnel Portal, Dawlish, Devon (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV361093.

Notification that following a recommendation from Historic England, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has decided not to list the sea wall but is minded to issue a Certificate of Immunity from Listing (COI).
Parsons and Clerk Tunnel are among five tunnels on the line between Teignmouth and Dawlish, part of the West Devon Railway, designed by IK Brunel and opened in 1846, but altered between 1884 and 1905 due to the failure of his Atmospheric Railway. The Sea Wall was constructed towards the end of the later works.
The Sea Wall between Clerk and Parsons Tunnels is a railway structure with an additional sea protection function.
The original Parsons Tunnel East Portal and an attached sea wall are shown on a watercolour of 1846 by William Dawson. The illustration clearly demonstrates that the current structures are of later date. While the sea wall was rebuilt in a similar style further to the seaward side when the line was widened in the early C20, as a later rebuild it does not fall into the era during which such structures are usually considered significant as early examples of their type. Listed examples of sea walls and other sea defences are mostly of earlier C19 date or even earlier, and often have strong group value with other listed structures. Regional examples include the sea walls at Exmouth, Devon (1841-2, Grade II) and St Mawes, Cornwall (1859, Grade II).
The Sea Wall between Clerk and Parsons Tunnel has a distinctive projecting stringcourse, a feature carried over from the mid-C19 sea wall it replaced, and some neatly-constructed stone and brick arches and vaulting to culverts. However, on the whole it does not display a high level of architectural flair or other design interest. No particular features single this out as a representative example of this type of structure for the Great Western Railway in general, or the South Devon branch in particular. In addition, there have been some unsympathetic replacements to the structure using a variety of materials, including to the stringcourse. The Parsons Tunnel East Portal is a much later structure (1921) and built of standard materials and of a very plain design. Both of the structures under this assessment have no strong claims to architectural special interest.
The Sea Wall between Clerk and Parsons Tunnel and Parsons Tunnel East Portal are much later additions to Brunel’s 1846 Atmospheric Railway and have only tangential claims to its historic interest. Therefore, with little architectural or historic interest and no group value with other listed buildings, the structures fall short of the criteria and cannot be recommended for listing.
CONCLUSION
After examining all the records and other relevant information and having carefully considered the architectural and historic interest of this case, the criteria for listing are not fulfilled. A COI should therefore be issued.
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION DECISION
Both the Sea Wall between Clerk and Parsons Tunnel and Parsons Tunnel East Portal are not
recommended for listing for the following principal reasons:
Architectural interest
* the structures are of little design interest;
* the sea wall has had unsympathetic rebuilding work using a variety of materials.
Historic interest
* as C20 railway/sea defence structures dating to C20 phases of the railway they do not have strong claims to
historic interest.
Group value
* they do not form a group with any listed structures.
See report for full details.


Historic England, 2018, Seawall between Clerk and Parsons Tunnel and Parsons East Tunnel Portal, Dawlish, Devon (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV361219.

Confirmation that the seawall has been issued with a Certificate of Immunity from listing for five years.


Historic England, 2018, Seawall between Parsons and Clerk Tunnel, Dawlish, Devon (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV360673.

Historic England is currently considering whether a Certificate of Immunity should be issued for the seawall between Parsons and Clerk Tunnel, Dawlish, Devon and have completed an assessment.
Sea wall constructed in 1902-05 by the Great Western Railway between Clerk Tunnel in the
north and Parsons Tunnel in the south.
MATERIALS: constructed of granite and rubble stone. There is some brick and concrete infill
and replacement to the wall apron, parapets and copings.
DESCRIPTION: the sea wall is approximately 9.2m in height. It abuts and is bonded to the cliff edges at each end. To the north it adjoins the cliff 15m to the east of Clerk Tunnel west portal and is aligned towards the railway tracks and then alongside them. Further south towards Parsons Tunnel the wall deviates away from the edge of the line at intervals. 83m to the north of Parsons Tunnel East Portal is a sandstone pinnacle at the point at which the seawall has extended furthest from the course of the railway track. The seawall is battered and rises to a projecting stringcourse of three granite courses above which is a coped parapet with repairs in a variety of materials. The wall has a stone apron extending onto the shore, some sections of which are no longer in place due to erosion, and some parts have been covered in poured concrete. Some sections of wall at the north end have a stepped stone base. The sea wall to the south was strengthened in 1921 at the time of its incorporation into the extension to Parsons Tunnel, and there is a stone and brick vaulted culvert with an outflow pipe. Features along the sea wall include an additional rubble stone protection base to one section, an upper-level culvert with stone voussoirs and outflow pipe towards Clerk Tunnel, and a late-C20 ladder. There are local repairs to some areas and modern safety railings and stairs at the Parson Tunnel end.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV360652Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2018. MasterMap 2018. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #79904 ]
SDV360673List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Historic England. 2018. Seawall between Parsons and Clerk Tunnel, Dawlish, Devon. Certificate of Immunity. Digital.
SDV361093List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Historic England. 2018. Seawall between Clerk and Parsons Tunnel and Parsons East Tunnel Portal, Dawlish, Devon. Notification of Intention to Grant a Certificate of Immunity. Digital.
SDV361219List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Historic England. 2018. Seawall between Clerk and Parsons Tunnel and Parsons East Tunnel Portal, Dawlish, Devon. Notification of Certificate of Immunity. Digital.

Associated Monuments: none recorded

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded


Date Last Edited:May 3 2018 3:44PM