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HER Number:MDV19561
Name:Dartmouth Castle or Hawley's Fortalice

Summary

Dartmouth Castle was a medieval enclosure castle considered to date from the 14th century in the form of a ring of towers connected by a curtain wall. Two sections of curtain wall still stand along with the base of a circular tower and a rock cut moat. It was built by John Hawley, a local merchant and became known as Hawley's Fortalice.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 886 502
Map Sheet:SX85SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishDartmouth
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishST.PETROX

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: 446022
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX85SE/37
  • Old Listed Building Ref (I): 387137
  • Old SAM County Ref: 191(PART)
  • Old SAM Ref: 24234
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SX85SE15
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SX85SE16

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • CASTLE (XIV - 1301 AD to 1400 AD (Between))

Full description

Swete, R. J. (Revd), DRO 564M/2/151,2/165 (Record Office Collection). SDV177416.

Illustration by Swete.


Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, SX85SE15 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV172285.

A house was built inside the enclosure of the 14th century castle.


Griffith, F. M., 10/07/1990, DAP/SS, 7,8 (Aerial Photograph). SDV177423.


Windeatt, E., 1914, The Borough of Clifton-Dartmouth-Hardness, 421-2 (Article in Serial). SDV173192.

Castle on site since Saxon times. Earliest date mentioned, 1470 when Earl of Warwick landed here.


O'Neil, B. H. St J., 1935, Dartmouth Castle and other defences in Dartmouth Haven, 129-58 (Article in Serial). SDV177411.

Dartmouth Castle.14th century castle with possible interior dwelling, later partially incorporated into an artillery fort. The first defences at Dartmouth date from 1336, when the Crown commissioned local gentry: to take measures to protect the town and district from the French. Similar commissions were also issued in 1374, 1377 and 1381. The 14th century castle consisted of a courtyard enclosed by a ditch and curtain wall with small round towers and a rectangular stone gate tower, within this was a dwelling. Little still stands of this castle, although there are illustrations of circa 1540 and the 18th century. The curtain in places stands about 7 metres high, and 2 metres wide at base. This article describes in detail the surviving portions. Other details: Plan & photos.


Russell, P., 1947 - 1949, Dartmouth: Pre-reformation the Castle and St Petrox, 199-200 (Article in Serial). SDV172956.

A ring of towers and a curtain wall appear to have been built prior to the time of the castle, according to a document of 1388.


Russell, P. M. G., 1950, Untitled Source, 59 (Plan - measured). SDV177414.

A plan of 1740 is reproduced. Photocopy in parish file.


Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1950 - 1980, SX85SE16 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV177410.


Loomie, A. J., 1963, An Armada Pilot's Survey of the English Coastline, October 1597, 288-300 (Article in Serial). SDV23874.

1597 survey mentions a chain stretched across the harbour between Kingswear and Dartmouth Castles, and artillery trenches adjoining each.


Saunders, A. D., 1965, Dartmouth Castle (Pamphlet). SDV173182.


Devon County Council, 1975, Dartmouth - Walk about in the Conservation Area & Exploring Dartmouth and Kingswear, 35 (Article in Monograph). SDV352452.


Higham, R. A., 1979, The Castles of Medieval Devon, 172-321+ fig 62 + pl 63-4 (Post-Graduate Thesis). SDV336189.

Other details: PhD thesis, Exeter University.


Higham, R. A., 1988, Devon Castles: An Annotated List (Article in Serial). SDV341278.

Description and foundation date (1336) as O'Neil. Walled enclosure defending a manor house.


Saunders, A. D., 1993, Dartmouth Castle, 17-22 (Monograph). SDV174434.


Department of National Heritage, 1994, Dartmouth, 1-7 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV157498.


Gerrard, S., 1995, Dartmouth Castle, No 140335 (Report - Survey). SDV177421.

Medieval enclosure castle considered to date from the 14th century when a series of documents indicate that various local gentry were commissioned to construct a fort to defend Dartmouth Harbour. The castle is believed to have taken the form of a ring of towers connected by a curtain wall, which was entered through a rectangular stone gate tower. Two lengths of curtain wall standing about 12 metres high and 2 metres wide, a circular tower and a substantial rock cut moat are visible, although the other towers and lengths of the curtain wall may survive as buried features. The character of the seaward defences and the buildings erected within the enclosure is not known, though the possibility of the round tower within the chain tower being part of the castle should not be discounted. A chasm immediately west of the north gun platform associated with the chain tower is considered to represent the rock cut ditch at the point where it meets the sea.


Horner, B., 1996, DAP/AAY, 30 (Aerial Photograph). SDV177425.


Department of National Heritage, 1996, Dartmouth Castle, No 24234 (Schedule Document). SDV320377.

Dartmouth Castle includes a medieval enclosure castle, mansion, chain towe and post-medieval coastal battery situated on a rocky peninsula protruding into the entrance to the Dart estuary. The enclosure castle is Listed Grade I and believed to have been a ring of towers connected by a curtain wall entered through a rectangular stone gate tower.Two lengths of curtain wall, a circular tower and a rock cut moat are still visible with the rest possibly surviving as buried features. The chain tower is a Grade I Listed Building and includes a circular stone tower onto which a square tower was added during the building work. Part of the round tower may have formed a section of the original enclosure castle.


Higham, R. A. + Freeman, J. P., 1996, Devon Castles (Draft Text), 6, 14, gazetteer (Monograph). SDV354350.

A mid 14th century castle, located on the western bank of the narrow entrance to the Dart estuary about a mile south of the medieval port and borough of Dartmouth. It was rebuilt as an irregularly shaped fortification designed for the deployment of artillery in 1481-6. In 1481 the king ordered that a 'strong tower and bulwark of stone' should be completed next to the castle and equipped with guns and cannon, and a chain be stretched across the river to control shipping. Kingswear Castle on the other side of the river was built in the late 15th century.
The curtain wall of the early castle still survives on the northern and south-western side but nothing is known of the form of its domestic arrangements. The artillery defences seem to have been built over one corner of the earlier defences and comprise a rectangular and a semicircular tower joined to form a single unit and furnished with gun loops and gun ports. The latter are the earliest English examples of their type.


Dyer, M. J., 1998, Archaeological Monitoring and Recording at Dartmouth Castle, 4 (Report - Watching Brief). SDV172292.

Archaeological monitoring and recording during the excavation of trenches for water works at Dartmouth Castle in 1998 established the nature and arrangement of the curtain wall footings of the 14th century enclosure castle and associated ditch. Cartographic evidence shows that a length of curtain wall along the west side of the enclosure was present in 1745 but demolished between 1841 and 1885 when the present road was constructed.


Edwards, T., 1998, Hawley's Fortalice: Dartmouth's first castle (Pamphlet). SDV177422.

Dartmouth Castle built in the 15th century was the first in England to be constructed specifically for artillery. The site incorporates the remains of an earlier fortification built about 100 years previously. The fortification became known as 'Hawley's Fortalice' after John Hawley who was Mayor of the town at the time. It is the earliest known example of a fort built by a municipal authority as opposed to the private castle of an individual. Other details: Plans and photographs.


Gaimster, M. + Haith, C. + Bradley, J., 1999, Medieval Britain and Ireland in 1998, 238 (Article in Serial). SDV361737.

Summary of watching brief results (see SDV172292).


Goodwin, N., 2002, Archaeological recording at Dartmouth Castle (Report - Watching Brief). SDV177426.

Two trenches were excavated in 2002 in the pathway to the north and northwest of the church. Trench 1 revealed a modern path over levelling layers producing 18th and 19th century pottery. Trench 2 revealed a clay bonded cobbled surface sloping down to the west over a layer of levelling. Below this was a brick arch 0.36 metres thick with the lowest voussoirs of late 17th - early 18th century brick. A late 17th - early 18th century doorway and door were recorded in the west wall of the northern gun platform to the north of the church. The doorway was constructed of lime mortar bonded slate blocks with a brick lintel. The 19th century door and frame showed modern repairs and an old iron knocker.


Dyer, M. J., 2003, Archaeological Watching Brief During Bridge Removal and Installation of New Fencing at Dartmouth Castle, Devon (Report - Watching Brief). SDV152598.

Archaeological watching brief undertaken during installation of new safety fencing located at northern side of castle. Stratigraphy consisted of building rubble; 1 sherd of 18th century pottery was recovered.


Batty, M., 2003, South Devon Coast Path Project: a study of the archaeology along the coast path in the South Hams from Staddon Heights to Sharkham Point, 83 (Un-published). SDV336214.


Young, G. M., 2004, Dartmouth Castle: Phase 2 Condition Survey Works. Archaeological Watching Brief and Recording (Report - Survey). SDV320380.

Repairs and alterations were undertaken at Dartmouth Castle between May 2003 and March 2004. The work involved building recording of the Square and Round Towers. The base of the Round Tower was found to be constructed almost entirely of purple-brown and grey limestone unlike the rest of the tower which contributed to the belief that the Round Tower is built on existing foundations of the former medieval Fortalice. From the pattern of stone usage it appears that the remains of the former Fortalice tower were levelled off before construction of the later Round Tower but some of the limestone was reused. The curtain wall of the 'Fortalice' overlooking the present car park was cleared of undergrowth with some consolidation of the top surface. The 7 metre high wall of mainly grey and reddish-brown slate with some layered limestone appears to have originally been mud-bonded.


2004, Tree ring date lists 2004 (Article in Serial). SDV361593.

The following tree ring date recorded for DARTMOUTH, Old Castle (SX 887 503) Felling date range: 1472-1508.


Bell, J. S., 2005, Archaeological recording on excavations at Dartmouth Castle, Dartmouth (Report - Excavation). SDV321527.

No undisturbed natural material nor any archaeological features were recorded during excavations as part of project to improve drainage system to the warden's facilities.


Ordnance Survey, 2009, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV341569.


Pink, F., 2014-2015, South Devon Coast Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey Desk-Based Assessment (Interpretation). SDV357736.


Waterhouse, R., Unknown, Dartmouth Conservation Area: Archaeology, 6 (Un-published). SDV355585.

A quadrangular castle was built around a small manor house by St. Petrox Church by John Hawley, a merchant, in 1388 and became known as Hawley's Fortalice. A floating chain was stretched across the harbour mouth at night to repel attacks by foreign ships.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV152598Report - Watching Brief: Dyer, M. J.. 2003. Archaeological Watching Brief During Bridge Removal and Installation of New Fencing at Dartmouth Castle, Devon. Exeter Archaeology Report. Project No 4687. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV157498List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of National Heritage. 1994. Dartmouth. Historic Houses Register. A4 Comb Bound. 1-7.
SDV172285Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. SX85SE15. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV172292Report - Watching Brief: Dyer, M. J.. 1998. Archaeological Monitoring and Recording at Dartmouth Castle. Exeter Archaeology Report. 98.64. A4 Stapled + Digital. 4.
SDV172956Article in Serial: Russell, P.. 1947 - 1949. Dartmouth: Pre-reformation the Castle and St Petrox. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 23. Unknown. 199-200.
SDV173182Pamphlet: Saunders, A. D.. 1965. Dartmouth Castle. Department of Environment Guide. Unknown.
SDV173192Article in Serial: Windeatt, E.. 1914. The Borough of Clifton-Dartmouth-Hardness. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 46. A5 Hardback. 421-2.
SDV174434Monograph: Saunders, A. D.. 1993. Dartmouth Castle. Dartmouth Castle. Unknown. 17-22.
SDV177410Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1950 - 1980. SX85SE16. Card Index.
SDV177411Article in Serial: O'Neil, B. H. St J.. 1935. Dartmouth Castle and other defences in Dartmouth Haven. Archaeologia. 85. Unknown. 129-58.
SDV177414Plan - measured: Russell, P. M. G.. 1950. Dartmouth. Plan. 59.
SDV177416Record Office Collection: Swete, R. J. (Revd). DRO 564M/2/151,2/165. Illustration. Unknown.
SDV177421Report - Survey: Gerrard, S.. 1995. Dartmouth Castle. Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset.. Unknown. No 140335.
SDV177422Pamphlet: Edwards, T.. 1998. Hawley's Fortalice: Dartmouth's first castle. Dartmouth History Research Group Papers. 24. A5 Unbound.
SDV177423Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 10/07/1990. DAP/SS. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 7,8.
SDV177425Aerial Photograph: Horner, B.. 1996. DAP/AAY. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 30.
SDV177426Report - Watching Brief: Goodwin, N.. 2002. Archaeological recording at Dartmouth Castle. Exeter Archaeology Report. 02.41. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV23874Article in Serial: Loomie, A. J.. 1963. An Armada Pilot's Survey of the English Coastline, October 1597. The Mariner's Mirror. 49. Unknown. 288-300.
SDV320377Schedule Document: Department of National Heritage. 1996. Dartmouth Castle. The Schedule of Monuments. A4 Stapled. No 24234.
SDV320380Report - Survey: Young, G. M.. 2004. Dartmouth Castle: Phase 2 Condition Survey Works. Archaeological Watching Brief and Recording. Exeter Archaeology Report. 04.38. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV321527Report - Excavation: Bell, J. S.. 2005. Archaeological recording on excavations at Dartmouth Castle, Dartmouth. Exeter Archaeology Report. 5334. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV336189Post-Graduate Thesis: Higham, R. A.. 1979. The Castles of Medieval Devon. University of Exeter Thesis. Unknown. 172-321+ fig 62 + pl 63-4.
SDV336214Un-published: Batty, M.. 2003. South Devon Coast Path Project: a study of the archaeology along the coast path in the South Hams from Staddon Heights to Sharkham Point. Mixed Archive Material. 83.
SDV341278Article in Serial: Higham, R. A.. 1988. Devon Castles: An Annotated List. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 46. Paperback Volume.
SDV341569Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2009. MasterMap. MasterMap. Digital. [Mapped feature: #82536 ]
SDV352452Article in Monograph: Devon County Council. 1975. Dartmouth - Walk about in the Conservation Area & Exploring Dartmouth and Kingswear. Devon Town Trails: European Architectural Heritage Year. Paperback Volume. 35.
SDV354350Monograph: Higham, R. A. + Freeman, J. P.. 1996. Devon Castles (Draft Text). Devon Castles. A4 Unbound + Digital. 6, 14, gazetteer.
SDV355585Un-published: Waterhouse, R.. Unknown. Dartmouth Conservation Area: Archaeology. Digital. 6.
SDV357736Interpretation: Pink, F.. 2014-2015. South Devon Coast Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey Desk-Based Assessment. AC Archaeology Report. Digital.
Linked documents:1
SDV361593Article in Serial: 2004. Tree ring date lists 2004. Vernacular Architecture. 35. Unknown.
SDV361737Article in Serial: Gaimster, M. + Haith, C. + Bradley, J.. 1999. Medieval Britain and Ireland in 1998. Medieval Archaeology. 43. Unknown. 238.

Associated Monuments

MDV8565Related to: Clifton Mansion, Dartmouth Castle (Building)
MDV108505Related to: Dartmouth (Monument)
MDV8519Related to: Dartmouth Castle (Building)
MDV23649Related to: Dartmouth Castle Tearooms (Building)
MDV8540Related to: Kingswear Castle (Building)
MDV17431Related to: Medieval Chapel of St Patrick in Dartmouth Castle (Monument)
MDV55300Related to: Old Battery, Dartmouth Castle (Building)
MDV36306Related to: Sounding Lead found offshore at Dartmouth Castle (Find Spot)
MDV8531Related to: St Petrox Parish Church, Dartmouth (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV1355 - Archaeological recording on excavations at Dartmouth Castle, Dartmouth
  • EDV690 - Archaeological watching brief during bridge removal and installation of new fencing at Dartmouth Castle
  • EDV691 - Archaeological monitoring & recording at Dartmouth Castle
  • EDV692 - Archaeological recording at Dartmouth Castle
  • EDV693 - Dartmouth Castle: Phase 2 condition survey works, archaeological watching brief & recording

Date Last Edited:Sep 6 2018 10:43AM