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HER Number:MDV42602
Name:Willoughby Embankment at Seaton Marshes


Site of Willoughby Embankment or Eastern Bank built in the 17th century to reclaim Seaton Marshes


Grid Reference:SY 251 906
Map Sheet:SY29SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishSeaton
DistrictEast Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishBEER AND SEATON

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Saltworking on reclaimed land of the former (medieval) harbour of the Axe Estuary at Seaton

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SY29SE/181
  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • SEA DEFENCES (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1750 AD (Between))

Full description

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV133972.

Parkinson, m. /tda/117(1985)31-38, 49/the axe estuary and its marshes.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV133973.

Griffith, f. M. /devon's past: an aerial view/(1988)52-3.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV133974.

Turton, s. D. + weddell, p. J. /archaeological appraisal of the salt industry on seaton marshes, east devon/(1993)5/(emafu report 93.93).

Parkinson, M., Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV59968.

'willoughby embankment' or 'eastern bank', 4 feet wide at the top, built circa 1660-61 by john willoughby, lord of the manor of seaton, in order to reclaim seaton marshes. Formed of a clay core from a landward ditch, faced on seaward side by vertical piles, 200 alder piles being brought from branscombe coppice. The back of the bank was also marked out with stakes. Clay core covered with chalk and limestone from widworthy and beer, and boatloads of beer beachstone and freestone were brought to face the bank along with saltmarsh turf from the new drainage cuts. Sluices (sy29se/183-185) flowed through bank carrying new drainage cuts into the estuary. Enclosed 200 acres of saltmarsh for reclamation. Bank raised 1669-72 to counteract increased tidal height. Raised using imported sand and clay from new ditches on the seaward side. Beach stone and freestone was also used and the new bank was driven into the shingle bar. New sluice (sy29se/186) also added, to facilitate drainage of se corner of the marshes. Stretch of bank added to cut off creek at fleet mill (sy29sw/250). Repairs needed until railway (sy29se/74) built in 1868 obscuring the bank (parkinson).

Exeter Archaeology, 2003-2004, East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Archaeological Survey, Site No. 1480 (Archive - Survey). SDV351568.

'Willoughby Embankment' or 'Eastern Bank' built by John Willoughby Lord of Manor of Seaton in c. 1660-1661 in order to reclaim Seaton Marshes. Clay core faced with stone and piles. Bank extends north from c. SY 2533 9140 following parish boundary and then south bank of Stafford Brook westward. Sluicegates constructed at SY 253 918, SY 252 906, SY 252 903 and SY 252 900. Much of bank since obscured by railway.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV133972Migrated Record:
SDV133973Migrated Record:
SDV133974Migrated Record:
SDV351568Archive - Survey: Exeter Archaeology. 2003-2004. East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Archaeological Survey. East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Archaeological Survey. Digital + Mixed Archive Material. Site No. 1480.
SDV59968Migrated Record: Parkinson, M..

Associated Monuments

MDV42606Related to: Broad Sluice, Seaton Marshes (Monument)
MDV42593Related to: Drains and Sluices on Seaton Marshes (Monument)
MDV42607Related to: Great Sluice, Seaton Marshes (Monument)
MDV14040Related to: Saltworks on Seaton Marshes (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Apr 8 2020 11:30PM