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HER Number:MDV48759
Name:Staddon Point Battery, Wembury


Staddon Point Battery built in the 1840s to cover the eastern approach to Plymouth Sound. Visible as a complex of structures on vertical and oblique aerial photographs taken from the 1940s onwards.


Grid Reference:SX 487 507
Map Sheet:SX45SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishWembury
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishPLYMSTOCK

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: 1396425
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX45SE/447
  • Old SAM County Ref: 719

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • ARTILLERY FORT (XIX - 1840 AD to 1847 AD (Between))

Full description

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV161649.

Des=Plymouth Fortress Survey/Pye, A.(1992)/copy and plan in SMR.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV161650.

Pro=WO192/295/(1844)/Report of committee on the harbour defences of Plymouth.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV161651.

Pro=zhc1/2577/(1860)/royal commission report.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV161652.

Pro=WO78/2314 +5041 pt 1/(1896)/OS 1:2500 War Office plans.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV161653.

Woodward, F. W. /Plymouth's Defences/(1990) 15, 44 plate 11.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV161654.

Mcdonald, K. /Fort Bovisand:the book/(1981).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV161655.

Des=RCHME PLM/535/(1869)/plan of Bovisand battery and "Fort Staddon".

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

The structures of the fort are clearly visible.

Royal Air Force, 1958, RAF 58/2546, RAF/58/2546/PSFO-P1-0376 26-AUG-1958 (Aerial Photograph). SDV351257.

The structures are visible on this oblique aerial photograph.

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

Staddon Point battery. Consists of a keep, dated 1847, approached by a drawbridge from the N strengthened by addition of Fort Bovisand to the S (SX45SE-18) (AM)vis=-/2/1993 (Pye) one of three batteries (with Picklecombe and Eastern Kings) recommended by parliamentary committee on the harbour defences of Plymouth in 1844; completed in 1847. Covered the eastern approach to the sound across the end of the recently completed breakwater. Originally designed to accommodate three officers and 90 men and to be armed with 12 18-pounder guns, mounted seven 68-pounder guns and three 10" shell-guns in 1850 and nine guns of unspecified type in 1858. In 1862 an anderson's cupola for heating shot was installed (Hogg). Eight gun embrasures are depicted on maps of 1872 and 1896; any extra guns were presumably mounted on the flanking towers. After the completion and arming of Bovisand Fort in 1870 Staddon Point was used as accommodation for the officers and garrison and did not mount guns. A covered way protected by a loop-holed wall was provided between the two batteries and they were also connected by a road. A covered way (probably 1860s) linked it with Staddon (1780) and Watchhouse Brake batteries to the north, and later with Staddon Heights battery (1893) (see SX45SE-19-05). In 1898-9 emplacements for four QF 12-pounder guns and accompanying magazines were built just forward of the parapet wall of the 1840s battery. The two flanking towers were levelled and two further 12-pounder guns were installed on them. By 1908 the latter had been removed and the remaining four were retained in service until their replacement by the twin 6-pounder QF guns installed in 1942 on the casemates of bovisand battery. Emplacement no 2 was then adapted to accommodate first a projector (rocket launcher) and then a Bofors 40mm AA gun in 1943. Early in the Second World War two brick loop-holed walls were built on the remains of the flanking towers to protect the battery from strafing. The battery building continued to be used as offices and accommodation until its abandonment in 1956-7. The structure of the 1840s battery remains intact apart from the partial demolition of the towers and the remodelling of the terreplein in 1898-9. The battery is built on three levels, the lowest being occupied by the terreplein with a range of stores at its rear (according to a 1901 plan). The middle level held the officers' mess, the kitchens and servants' quarters, and on its terrace a square, concrete observation post (World War II). The upper level was the officers' quarters; the higher status of the upper two levels are reflected in the superior quality of the masonry. The whole structure is built in limestone and is defended at its rear (north) by a dry moat. This was enfiladed by musketry fire from loop-holes in the side walls of the projecting gatehouse, whilst the approaches were protected by a loop-holed parapet on the roof of the officers' quarters. The approaches to the flanks were similarly protected by loop-holed walls and the flanks themselves were enfiladed by the parapet wall on the officers' quarters and by others at the rear of the towers (shown on late 19th-century photograph reproduced in Woodward (1990). The eastern flank was later also enfiladed by a loop-holed wall protecting the 1860s covered way to Bovisand battery. Few original fittings survive except for three iron water-pumps, one complete with its handle, and the drawbridge mechanism in the gatehouse. Access was originally via the northern gatehouse and drawbridge and also via a gateway (now blocked) in the east wall of the terreplein. The present monumental gateway through the west wall probably dates to the construction of Bovisand in the 1860s and the provision of the road linking the two. The 1898-9 battery survives intact although the gun positions on the levelled towers are not visible. The later adaptation of emplacement no 2 is also evident and one of the anti-strafing walls still survives. The original mounting plates for all four QF guns remains together with their magazines (a cartridge-store and shell-store provided for each gun). The latter still retain several of their fittings such as hatch door, doorjambs, and serving tables and some labelling. The dry moat runs parallel with the curved rear wall of the battery. The counterscarp wall is constructed of local rubble and retains the hillslope. It has largely been demolished at the eastern end although its line is still visible in part. Also a low wall runs eastwards for a short distance from the north-east corner of the main fort. It is of similar construction to the counterscarp of the moat and is probably similar in date. Approached by a trackway which represents the main original access to the battery, and is presently a terrace running from the gatehouse towards the present footbridge over the 1860s ditch. The entrance through the boundary wall (built post-1872) has been blocked. Originally the trackway would have passed to the rear of the coastguard cottages (SX45SE-464) and neither the ditch nor the boundary wall would have been present.(Plymouth Fortress Survey).

Bluesky International Ltd/Getmapping PLC, 1999-2017, Pan Government Agreement Aerial Photographs, Next Perspectives APGB Imagery SX4850 15-MAY-2016 (Aerial Photograph). SDV363087.

The structural remains are clearly visible as extant buildings.

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

The structures are visible on this oblique aerial photograph.

English Heritage, 2014, Staddon Heights Defences, including Fort Staddon, Brownhill Battery, Watch House Battery, Staddon Heights Battery, Staddon Battery and associated features and structures. (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV356311.

Staddon Point Battery is not being reviewed within the Schedule at this time.

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.

The complex of structures at the mid-19th century artillery fort of Staddon Point Battery are visible on aerial photographs taken from the 1940s onwards. Good oblique views have been captured in 1958 and 2014. Despite being depicted on modern mapping, the buildings have been transcribed to provide context for the other features in the vicinity. This includes a possible battery observation post visible as a rectangular structure at circa SX4878950727.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV161649Migrated Record:
SDV161650Migrated Record:
SDV161651Migrated Record:
SDV161652Migrated Record:
SDV161653Migrated Record:
SDV161654Migrated Record:
SDV161655Migrated 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: #122310 ]
SDV351257Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1958. RAF 58/2546. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). RAF/58/2546/PSFO-P1-0376 26-AUG-1958.
SDV356311List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: English Heritage. 2014. Staddon Heights Defences, including Fort Staddon, Brownhill Battery, Watch House Battery, Staddon Heights Battery, Staddon Battery and associated features and structures.. Amendment to Schedule. 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.
SDV363087Aerial Photograph: Bluesky International Ltd/Getmapping PLC. 1999-2017. Pan Government Agreement Aerial Photographs. Aerial Photography for Great Britain Aerial Photographs. Digital. Next Perspectives APGB Imagery SX4850 15-MAY-2016.
SDV363262Aerial Photograph: Historic England. 2014. NMR 29059. Historic England Aerial Photograph. Digital. NMR 29059_026 13-JUN-2014.

Associated Monuments

MDV48761Related to: Coastguard lookout station north of Staddon Point Battery (Monument)
MDV17323Related to: Fort Bovisand, Wembury (Monument)
MDV126665Related to: Military structures within Staddon Point Battery, 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:Oct 22 2019 11:27AM