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HER Number:MDV14047
Name:Gun Tower at East Walk, Seaton


An artillery tower once stood on a raised mound known as 'The Burrow'. Documents of 1627 refer to Henry VIII bulwarks at Seaton and Stukeley refers to a modern ruined pharos of brick in 1724, which was apparently 16 feet high and had two guns. An earthwork mound was visible on aerial photographs in 1928, and the site has since been redeveloped, although some buried remains may survive.


Grid Reference:SY 246 899
Map Sheet:SY28NW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishSeaton
DistrictEast Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishSEATON

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: 449514
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SY28NW/8
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SY28NW7

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • BATTERY (XVI to Post Medieval - 1501 AD to 1750 AD (Between))

Full description

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, SY28NW7 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV348490.

Stukeley, W., 1776, Itinerarium Curiosum, 159 (Monograph). SDV120084.

Stukeley describes the pharos as 'a modern ruined square Pharos built of brick' upon a 'little eminence'. Locals apparently remembered it being 16 feet high. Two guns lay there. His drawing of 'Moridunum' dated August 20 1723 shows a Watch Tower.

Ordnance Survey, 1806-1807, No. 45, Part 4 (Cartographic). SDV348474.

Ordnance Survey drawing of 1806-1807 shows a battery at this location.

Unknown, 1840, Seaton (Cartographic). SDV348475.

A small structure named as Burrow House is recorded at this location on the Tithe Map and Apportionment.

Hutchinson, P. O., 1848-1894, Diaries (Un-published). SDV339321.

Diary Entry 14th June 1872. Mound of red earth about 30 metres diameter and 8 metres high. Built over in 1870/1875. Sketch in manuscript.

Pulman, G. P. R., 1865, The Book of the Axe, 839-842 (Monograph). SDV124122.

Stukeley's Itinerarium Curiosum of 1724 refers to a modern ruined pharos of brick which people remembered as being 16 feet high and having two guns. A calendar of state papers of 1627 refers to Henry VIII bulwarks at Seaton. The site has been almost levelled of late years.

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

'The Barrow Site of Pharos' marked on 1880s-1890s 25 inch Ordnance Survey map.

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

'Site of Pharos' marked.

Unknown, 1918, Untitled Source (Article in Serial). SDV348491.

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

An earthwork mound is visible. A dark oval cropmark is visible on its north-east side.

Gosney, E., 1968, Seaton, 1785-1842, 352-354 (Article in Serial). SDV348469.

There was an artifical mound at East Walk known as The Barrow on which stood a ruined Martello tower. At the outbreak of the Napoleonic war the martello tower in the old fort was refurbished and provided with two 32-ponder guns.

Timms, S., 1983, Untitled Source (Personal Comment). SDV348476.

An early edition of the Ordnance Survey 25 inch map depicts slight earthworks of 'The Barrow Site of Phasos' at this location. The site is now occupied partly by a house and yard but mostly by a residential development site currently under construction. No evidence of earthworks visible from road.

Parkinson, M., 1985, The Axe Estuary and its Marshes, 44 (Article in Serial). SDV122290.

Dixon, T. + Turton, S. D., 1995, Archaeological and Historical Appraisal of the Town of Seaton, East Devon, 7 (Report - non-specific). SDV120095.

Gosling, T. & Marshall, G., 2010, Seaton, Axmouth & Colyford Through Time., 15 (Monograph). SDV356634.

The authors state that the earth mound of the Burrow, formerly known as the Barrow, was created in June 1627 for the purpose of erecting a fort on the summit. In the introduction by Roy Chapple the tower is described as square. No citation is given.

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

An earthwork mound is visible on aerial photographs taken in 1928, and at approximately 80 metres across is larger than the earthwork depicted and marked ‘The Barrow’ on late nineteenth century mapping. A dark oval cropmark, circa 15 metres in maximum diameter, is visible on the north-east side of the mound and may have formed over a pit, although it is possible that it is simply a natural difference in vegetation. Other features are visible in the area around the mound, and are described in MDV106009.
There are no remains of a tower visible, and this may have been sited slightly to the south at the summit of the mound. The southern part seems to have been eroded away or levelled between Stukeley's eighteenth century sketch which depicts a circular mound, the Tithe map which depicts a curving southern boundary with a rectangular structure on it, and the first edition OS mapping with its straight linear boundary parallel to the shoreline.
The date of 1627 for the earthwork mound given by Gosling & Marshall (2010: 15) suggests that the mound was part of a fortification created to defend the coast at the start of the Anglo-French war. However no citation is given so the source of the date cannot be checked, and it is possible that there was a pre-existing bulwark of Henrician origin here (Pulman 1865) that was refortified in the early seventeenth century. The site has been extensively redeveloped during the twentieth century, although the ground level rises here and some buried remains may survive.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV120084Monograph: Stukeley, W.. 1776. Itinerarium Curiosum. Itinerarium Curiosum. Photocopy + Digital. 159.
SDV120095Report - non-specific: Dixon, T. + Turton, S. D.. 1995. Archaeological and Historical Appraisal of the Town of Seaton, East Devon. Exeter Archaeology Report. 95.69. A4 Grip Bound. 7.
SDV122290Article in Serial: Parkinson, M.. 1985. The Axe Estuary and its Marshes. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 117. A5 Paperback. 44.
SDV124122Monograph: Pulman, G. P. R.. 1865. The Book of the Axe. The Book of the Axe. Unknown. 839-842.
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #5553 ]
SDV339321Un-published: Hutchinson, P. O.. 1848-1894. Diaries. Devon Record Office Collection. Manuscript.
SDV348469Article in Serial: Gosney, E.. 1968. Seaton, 1785-1842. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 100. Hardback Volume. 352-354.
SDV348474Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1806-1807. No. 45, Part 4. Ordnance Survey 3 inch Surveyors Draft. Unknown.
SDV348475Cartographic: Unknown. 1840. Seaton. Tithe Map. Map (Paper).
SDV348476Personal Comment: Timms, S.. 1983. Worksheet.
SDV348490Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. SY28NW7. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV348491Article in Serial: Unknown. 1918. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 9. Unknown.
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.
SDV356634Monograph: Gosling, T. & Marshall, G.. 2010. Seaton, Axmouth & Colyford Through Time.. Seaton, Axmouth & Colyford Through Time.. A5 Paperback. 15.

Associated Monuments

MDV109524Related to: Pharos at Seaton (Monument)
MDV106009Related to: Possible Remains of Post-medieval Coastal Fort at Seaton (Monument)

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:Feb 23 2017 8:38AM