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HER Number:MDV42841
Name:Prison wall and inner gateway, Princetown

Summary

An enclosed inner gateway with former guards' rooms built in 1878 by the Prison Commission, set against the prison perimeter wall first built in 1809 to designs by Daniel Asher Alexander, raised in 1812, and with later repairs and alterations.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 586 741
Map Sheet:SX57SE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishDartmoor Forest
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishLYDFORD

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX57SE/177/2
  • Old Listed Building Ref (II)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • WALL (XIX - 1809 AD to 1878 AD (Between))

Full description

Department of Environment, 1987, Lydford, 31 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV266265.

Prison inner gateway and circular wall enclosing prison buildings. Circa mid to late 19th century. Granite ashlar blocks, some rusticated to gateway, rubble wall. Round arch with dropped keystone. Flat-topped bell-cote above supported on pilasters. Tall rubble wall to either side extending around prison compound.


Brodie, A., 2015, Devon, Lydford, Princetown, HMP Dartmoor (Report - Assessment). SDV359840.


Historic England, 2015, Inner gateway and circular wall to Dartmoor Prison. HMP Dartmoor, Yelverton, Devon PL20 6RR (Correspondence). SDV359243.

Historic England is considering amending the listing of this structure.


Historic England, 2016, National Heritage List for England (National Heritage List for England). SDV359353.

An enclosed inner gateway with former guards' rooms built in 1878 by the Prison Commission, set against the prison perimeter wall first built in 1809 to designs by Daniel Asher Alexander, raised in 1812, and with later repairs and alterations.
The inner gateway was built in 1878 by the Prison Commission to increase security. As suggested by a plan of 1878, the early-C19 inner gate, formerly set between the lookout buildings, was removed and relocated to become the front gate to the new gateway, with another new gate built behind it. A late C19 photograph of the early C19 gate shows indeed strong similarities with the current outer gate to the 1878 gateway. The latter was enclosed by a wall with the two gates giving access to a central courtyard flanked to either side by a verandah with guards' rooms behind. Another, pedimented gateway was built against the prison's inner wall, linked to the outer perimeter wall. The latter originates from the earliest phase of the prison designed by Daniel Asher Alexander. It measured 8ft in height after completion in 1809, and was raised to 12ft in 1812, when guard houses were also built against the outside of the wall to the north, east and south side (now no longer there). In 1900 the wall was strengthened with 18 buttresses, in addition to the 25 that had been added earlier in 1897. The wall has been repaired and rebuilt in parts throughout the C20.
Details
An enclosed gateway with former guards' rooms built in 1878 to designs by the Prison Commission, set against the prison perimeter wall first built in 1809 to designs by Daniel Asher Alexander, raised in 1812, and with later repairs and alterations.
MATERIALS: granite ashlar blocks with rustication to the two gates. The guards' buildings have hipped slate covered roofs. The courtyard was originally open but since the c1990s has been covered in curved corrugated plastic sheets resting on steel beams*. The perimeter prison wall is built in granite stone rubble, with curved copings.
PLAN: the gateway, enclosed by a wall, has a rectangular plan. The two gates, aligned with the outer prison gate situated to the south-west (Grade II), give access to a central rectangular-shaped courtyard with the guard's accommodation (rectangular in plan) to either side, and with a small gate keeper's lodge to the left-hand side of the inner gate. The courtyard also contains three small, freestanding flat-roofed buildings, added in the late C20, two flanking the outer gate and a larger one flanking the inner gate.
The gateway is built against the prison's early C19 inner wall, which links up with the prison's perimeter wall, thus forming a horse-shoe shaped enclosure accommodating the radial lay-out of the prison buildings within it.
EXTERIORS: the outer gate to the inner gateway is constructed in rusticated granite ashlar blocks forming a round arch with a dropped keystone. The plain entablature above it is topped with a later added flat-topped bellcote. The gate, which has full height timber doors, is flanked to either side by rusticated pilasters set against the wall which encloses the inner gateway complex. This is constructed in granite stone rubble with granite stone rounded coping. Some sections of the returns have been raised.
The courtyard is laid with tarmac but contains a granite cobbled carriageway lined with granite flagstones starting from the main gate to the prison, covering a total length of c35m. Steps to either side of the courtyard each lead to a colonnade of three centred arches resting on square columns and the guards' rooms behind. The inside of both the gates is now no longer visible due to the late C20 roof covering (excluded from the listing) over the courtyard, except for the pediment of the inner gate, which can just be seen from a distance, outside the prison, and shows the inscription 'VR AD 1878'. The other side of this gate, facing the inside of the prison, has rusticated jambs and voussoirs and is topped with a plain pediment. Its late C20 metal gates replacing earlier cast iron gates.
The granite stone rubble perimeter wall to the prison extends from either side of this gate and rises up to a height of approximately 6m. Parts of the outside of the wall are supported by later added full height buttresses set at regular intervals. Circa 50 m southeast of the inner gateway the perimeter wall has another gate, inserted in the late C20, allowing access a contractor's compound outside the prison wall. In the south part of the wall, adjacent to the current B wing, is a blocked gateway formerly leading to the soldiers barracks outside the prison, allowing them more direct access to the former market place where they could trade with the prisoners of war. The lintel to the blocked gateway bears an inscription reading 'HENRI PRISONNIER 1813 JOURNE FRANCAIS'. At the north end, opposite the French Prisoners of War Cemetery outside the prison, is another large blocked opening in the wall. This gate, formerly allowing prisoners access to the prison farm and quarry, was closed off in 1963 following prisoners attempting an escape by ramming an oil tanker through it.
INTERIORS: the interiors of the former guards' rooms could not be inspected (2015).


National Monument Record, 2016, Pastscape (Website). SDV359354.

Originally 8 foot high. Raised to 12 foot in 1812 and guard houses added. Inner wall and gateway also built with firing positions for soldiers. This wall does not survive.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV266265List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1987. Lydford. Historic Houses Register. A4 Bound. 31.
SDV359243Correspondence: Historic England. 2015. Inner gateway and circular wall to Dartmoor Prison. HMP Dartmoor, Yelverton, Devon PL20 6RR. Amendment to List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interes.
SDV359353National Heritage List for England: Historic England. 2016. National Heritage List for England. Historic Houses Register. Digital.
SDV359354Website: National Monument Record. 2016. Pastscape. http://www.pastscape.org.uk. Website.
SDV359840Report - Assessment: Brodie, A.. 2015. Devon, Lydford, Princetown, HMP Dartmoor. Historic England. A4 Comb Bound + Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV15309Part of: Dartmoor Prison, Princetown (Building)
MDV42842Related to: Prison gateway, Princetown (Monument)
MDV51414Related to: Stables near prison, Princetown (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV7115 - Assessment of the buildings at Princetown Prison, Dartmoor

Date Last Edited:Nov 8 2016 11:52AM