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HER Number:MDV39385
Name:Blockhouse southwest of Staddon Point Battery, Wembury


Two conjoined military structures of probable First World War date, thought to be a pillbox or less likely a searchlight pillbox, to the southwest of Staddon Point Battery. Both appear to have been in sound condition in 2014.


Grid Reference:SX 486 507
Map Sheet:SX45SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishWembury
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishPLYMSTOCK

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: 1320160
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX45SE/468

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • BLOCKHOUSE (World War I - 1914 AD to 1918 AD (Between))

Full description

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV138941.

Des=hellis, j. /ms list of defensive sites(1990)/in smr.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV138942.

Des=plymouth fortress survey/pye, a.(1992)/bovisand/copy and plan in smr.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV138943.

Mcdonald, k. /fort bovisand; the book/(1981)78.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV138944.

Des=lease plans for staddon battery property/(1920s)/mr. Forster, staddon cottage.

Royal Air Force, 1947, RAF/CPE/UK/2105, RAF/CPE/UK/2105 RP 3138-3139 28-MAY-1947 (Aerial Photograph). SDV351151.

Two flat roofed structures are visible.

PLYMOUTH FORTRESS SURVEY, 1992, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV27236.

Vis=estimated -/-/1988 (hellis). Pillbox of local design, unusual blockhouse or defensible guard room (hellis). Vis=-/1/1993 (pye) blockhouse. Hexagonal concrete flat-roofed structure with firing-slits protected by armour-plating in all sides. It has a rectangular extension to the nw which appears to be contemporary and also contains firing-slits. There are 2 windows facing seawards. Probably a wwi blockhouse protecting the access to the pier although mcdonald describes this as a double searchlight emplacement, presumably on the basis of the windows. At least one of these windows however may be secondary. It is presently used as a small generator-house; condition good. Access not gained to interior (plymouth fortress survey).

Historic England, 2014, NMR 29059, NMR 29059_026 13-JUN-2014 (Aerial Photograph). SDV363262.

Two flat roofed structures ar visible, with openings on the seaward side.

English Heritage, 2014, Staddon Heights, Blockhouse by Bovisand Pier (Correspondence). SDV356510.

Prompted by the consideration of Fort Staddon for designation as a scheduled monument, the integrated set of C19 defences on the coastline at Staddon Heights outside Plymouth, Devon have been given a comprehensive assessment. This includes the consolidation and amendment of some designations, and the consideration of some assets that are not currently designated. The blockhouse by Bovisand Pier falls into the latter category.
This hexagonal structure is probably of First World War date and is shown on a 1920s lease plan for
Staddon Battery. One source claims that the building was used for searchlight emplacements. It is
single-storey, flat-roofed and has an attached rectangular structure that is probably contemporary. Some of the openings have been altered and had uPVC glazing inserted. The 1991-2 Plymouth Fortress Survey noted that the building was at that time used as a generator room.
Based on the information provided and with reference to the Principles of Selection for Listed Buildings (2010) and English Heritage's Selection Guides, The Blockhouse is not recommended for listing for the following principal reasons:
Date: the blockhouse dates from a later phase than the C19 fortifications in the area and, therefore, the criteria for designation are more strict;
Legibility: it is not clear whether this building was a blockhouse, a searchlight emplacement or
a combination of both, due to conflicting sources of information and the level alteration that has taken place to the structure;
Intactness: some openings have been altered, which is highly significant for a building of this type, and documentation indicates that the interior fittings have not survived;
Group Value: the building does not form a group with other buildings of its date, type or function.

Hegarty, C., Knight, S. and Sims, R., 2019-2020, The South Devon Coast to Dartmoor Aerial Investigation and Mapping Survey. Area 2, Avon Valley to Plymouth (AI&M, formerly NMP) (Interpretation). SDV362982.

Two flat roofed conjoined structures are visible on aerial photographs taken from the 1940s onwards. The larger at circa 7.5 by 5.5 metres is hexagonal, and the smaller on its western side is lower in height and rectangular in plan, measuring approximately 5 by 3.5 metres. They have been interpreted as First Word War in date, probably to defend the entrance to the pier, although their exact function has been debated. Both appear to survive.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV138941Migrated Record:
SDV138942Migrated Record:
SDV138943Migrated Record:
SDV138944Migrated Record:
SDV27236Migrated Record: PLYMOUTH FORTRESS SURVEY. 1992.
SDV351151Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1947. RAF/CPE/UK/2105. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). RAF/CPE/UK/2105 RP 3138-3139 28-MAY-1947. [Mapped feature: #122307 ]
SDV356510Correspondence: English Heritage. 2014. Staddon Heights, Blockhouse by Bovisand Pier. Notification of Designation Decision. Digital.
SDV362982Interpretation: Hegarty, C., Knight, S. and Sims, R.. 2019-2020. The South Devon Coast to Dartmoor Aerial Investigation and Mapping Survey. Area 2, Avon Valley to Plymouth (AI&M, formerly NMP). Historic England Research Report. Digital.
SDV363262Aerial Photograph: Historic England. 2014. NMR 29059. Historic England Aerial Photograph. Digital. NMR 29059_026 13-JUN-2014.

Associated Monuments

MDV17323Related to: Fort Bovisand, Wembury (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV8098 - The South Devon Coast to Dartmoor Aerial Investigation and Mapping (formerly NMP) Survey, Area 2, Avon Valley to Plymouth (Ref: ACD2040)

Date Last Edited:Sep 15 2020 4:49PM