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HER Number:MDV123750
Name:Battery Gardens, Fishcombe Road/Northfields Lane, Brixham


1940 Emrgency Coastal Defence Battery with many well preserved elements on the site of the 18th century/Napoleonic Furzedon or Fishcombe battery, and 19C practice Battery.


Grid Reference:SX 920 569
Map Sheet:SX95NW
Admin AreaTorbay
Civil ParishBrixham
Ecclesiastical ParishBRIXHAM

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Torbay HER: MTO39550

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • BATTERY (XVIII to World War II - 1779 AD to 1945 AD (Between))
  • PUBLIC PARK (World War II to Unknown - 1945 AD)

Full description

Torbay HER record (SMR record). SDV361984.

The Board of Ordnance, following the declarations of war by France in 1778 and Spain in 1779 in support of the American War of Independence, issued orders for the construction of four batteries of 24-pounder cannon for the defence of Torbay ito counter the threat of invasion by France. As part of the larger Berry Head fortifications (qv. SX95NW/3) an embrasured 5-gun emplacement "Furzedon Battery" was constructed 1779-80 at Fishcombe Point; the 50th Regiment of Foot was encamped on Furzeham Common behind. [1][2][3] A contemporary plan and is reproduced in Pye [2] and Pye and Slater [3]. The battery armament was 20- or 24-pounder cannon. In 1783 the guns from all the Berry Head batteries were withdrawn to Plymouth with the exception of those at Fishcombe.

In 1794 the fortifications along the southern edge of Torbay were re-activated and the Berry Head Forts designed. The Fischcombe Battery armament from 1795-1817 was either 24- or 32-pounder cannon. An inspection of 1811 revealed only 4 guns were actually in place. [3]. The site of the 18/19C battery is probably the same as that of the mid-19C battery shown on the First edition OS 1:2500, only a low bank remains extant. Neither limestone parapet or gun platform is visible. A remnant of the former may be concealed within the bank, and the latter may lie below the racer of the mid-19C gun.

The batteries at the Berry Head Forts were dismantled in 1817; it is unclear whether Fishcombe was similarly dismantled or what use it was put to over the next 30-35 years. An Admiralty chart surveyed in 1852 and published in 1857 marks a 'Practice Battery' at Fishcombe Cove; gun drill is reported there in 1860. [4] The 1861 OS shows a 'Gun Shed' and an area of perimeter (?); it also shows the position of 3 boundary stones marked 'Stone W. D.'. The War Department formed in 1855 subsumed the functions of the board of Ordnance; the stones imply the battery position remained in military control unlike the rest of the Berry Head Fortifications (with the exception of the Shaolstone point battery, qv. SX95NW/110) which were leased then sold off. The surrounding land however is unenclosed and shown as part of 'Furzdon Common'. Local artillery volunteers were drilling with a 32 lb SB and a 64 lb gun in 1892. [The survey Ports and Harbours in Western Districts. Revision of coast Defence Armaments prior to August 1892 recounts of Torbay “No works have been constructed for the defence of this anchorage. The Volunteers carry out drill and practice with a 64pr RML and a 32pr SB gun, from platforms at Brixham, Fishcombe Point and with a similar armament from platforms at Paignton on the beach ¾mile from the town.” (PRO WO 196/29, quoted in David Evans The History of the Berry Head Fortifications, unpublished ms, 1986, pp.91-2)

The First Revision of the OS County Series 1:2500 in 1904 shows the 'Battery Ground' enclosed by a wall and 8 numbered WD stones; the building marked as 'Gun Shed' in 1862 is still present; the artillery siting/range-finding stone is present as 'stone'. By the Second Revision of the OS County Series in 1933 the 'Battery Ground' and the path system are well established; though the gun shed building has disappeared the emplacement is still marked and the shelter which later became known as 'The Altmark' (SX95NW/93/14).

In the summer of 1940 the Battery Ground was urilised as a site of one of the emergency Coastal Defence Batteries based on 2 de-mounted naval 4.7" guns with their ancillary buildings: coastal artillery searchlight stations (CASL); a Battery Observation Post; generator houses and other defensive armament positions. That layout has determined the charcater of the gardens to this day. The surviving buildings and structures of the Battery were thoroughly surveyed by Phil Newman of the NMRC for English Heritage in May 2001.[4] Ron Coleman who served in the Home Guard supporting the Battery during the war has published a historical memoir detailing operational life. [8]

<1> Evans, D., 1986, The History of the Berry Head Fortifications, 12-13 (* Torbay Report - Interim/Research/Specialist). SDV362495.


<2> Pye, A.R., 1989, Berry Head Fort, Brixham. an Archaeological Assessment, p. 4; figs 2,3,5, 6.3, 7,8 (* Torbay Report - Interim/Research/Specialist). SDV362497.


<3> Pye, A.R. & Slater, W.D., 1990, Berry Head Fort, Brixham. An Archaeological Survey, pp. 3, 26; figs 1, 2, 5; plate 32 (* Torbay Report - Interim/Research/Specialist). SDV362493.


<4> Phil Newman, 2001, Battery Gardens, Brixham, Devon: An Archaeological Survey, 1-15 (Report - Survey). SDV362290.


<5> Fiorato, V.J. & Coleman, R., 1999, Battery Gardens (Article in Serial). SDV362256.


<6> Hellis, J., 1990, Defensive Sites (Un-published). SDV362165.


<7> Horner, W, 1994, Site visit observations (Personal Comment). SDV362291.


<8> Coleman, R., 1989, The Purpose and History of the Battery at Battery Gardens, Brixham (Monograph). SDV362008.


Sources / Further Reading

SDV361984SMR record: Torbay HER record.
SDV362495* Torbay Report - Interim/Research/Specialist: Evans, D.. 1986. The History of the Berry Head Fortifications. . 12-13.
SDV362497* Torbay Report - Interim/Research/Specialist: Pye, A.R.. 1989. Berry Head Fort, Brixham. an Archaeological Assessment. . EMAFU 89.04. p. 4; figs 2,3,5, 6.3, 7,8.
Linked documents:1
SDV362493* Torbay Report - Interim/Research/Specialist: Pye, A.R. & Slater, W.D.. 1990. Berry Head Fort, Brixham. An Archaeological Survey. . EMAFU 90.10. pp. 3, 26; figs 1, 2, 5; plate 32.
Linked documents:1
SDV362290Report - Survey: Phil Newman. 2001. Battery Gardens, Brixham, Devon: An Archaeological Survey. 1-15.
SDV362256Article in Serial: Fiorato, V.J. & Coleman, R.. 1999. Battery Gardens.
SDV362165Un-published: Hellis, J.. 1990. Defensive Sites.
SDV362291Personal Comment: Horner, W. 1994. Site visit observations.
SDV362008Monograph: Coleman, R.. 1989. The Purpose and History of the Battery at Battery Gardens, Brixham.

Associated Monuments

MDV123880Parent of: Battery Gardens, Brixham: "The Altmark" (Building)
MDV123977Parent of: Battery Gardens, Brixham: 37mm AA Gun Emplacement (Building)
MDV123893Parent of: Battery Gardens, Brixham: ATS Hut for Battery. (Building)
MDV123879Parent of: Battery Gardens, Brixham: Battery Observation Post (Building)
MDV123885Parent of: Battery Gardens, Brixham: Battery Searchlight emplacement (Building)
MDV123886Parent of: Battery Gardens, Brixham: Battery Searchlight emplacement (Building)
MDV123881Parent of: Battery Gardens, Brixham: Cookhouse (Building)
MDV123887Parent of: Battery Gardens, Brixham: Dummy Loader Position (Monument)
MDV123787Parent of: Battery Gardens, Brixham: Furzdon/Fishcombe Battery (Monument)
MDV123884Parent of: Battery Gardens, Brixham: Generator House inside perimeter (Building)
MDV123882Parent of: Battery Gardens, Brixham: Generator House outside perimeter (Building)
MDV123878Parent of: Battery Gardens, Brixham: Gun Emplacements (Building)
MDV123978Parent of: Battery Gardens, Brixham: Observation Post (Building)
MDV123891Parent of: Battery Gardens, Brixham: Pill Box/6lb gun emplacement (Building)
MDV123889Parent of: Battery Gardens, Brixham: Site of 40mm bofors anti-aircraft gun. (Monument)
MDV123892Parent of: Battery Gardens, Brixham: Site of Battery Reservoir (Building)
MDV123888Parent of: Battery Gardens, Brixham: Site of Magazine for No. 1 gun (Building)
MDV123883Parent of: Battery Gardens, Brixham: Site of Magazine for No. 2 gun (Building)
MDV123890Parent of: Battery Gardens, Brixham: Site of rocket projector (Monument)
MDV39550Related to: BATTERY in the Parish of (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV7690 - Site Visit by J Hellis - 1990
  • EDV7691 - Site Visit by Bill Horner - 14 April 1994
  • EDV7832 - Documentary research on the Berry Head Fort
  • EDV7835 - Archaeological Survey of the Berry Head Forts
  • EDV7848 - Archaeological Survey by Phil Newman - May 2001

Date Last Edited:Feb 26 2019 6:38PM