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HER Number:MDV49960
Name:Hermitage Castle, Old Mill Creek

Summary

The Fort, now known as Hermitage Castle, was built by John Seale in 1789, and used a bathing house. Although it was never intended for defensive purposes, there were originally nine cannons on a wall beside it to add to the effect.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 865 521
Map Sheet:SX85SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishDartmouth
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishTOWNSTAL

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX85SE/308
  • Old Listed Building Ref (II): 387317
  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • BATH HOUSE (Built, XVIII - 1789 AD to 1790 AD (Between))
  • FOLLY (Built, XVIII - 1789 AD to 1790 AD (Between))

Full description

Department of Environment, 1988, Dartmouth (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV341468.

Hermitage Castle and attached retaining wall adjoining to the south on the south side of Old Mill Creek. Folly tower, possibly a rebuild of an earlier building of uncertain purpose. 1790 or 1890, according to fragmentary inscription, but lowest level probably earlier. Mainly local limestone rubble although lowest level of coursed stone with ashlar lining internally; no floors, roof or chimneyshafts remaining. Plan: Circular tower approximately 4.5 metres in diameter and 13 metres high with stone stair tower on south-east side giving an overall ovoid plan. Exterior: 4 storeys when floored, with middle 2 floors heated. Northern doorway has segmental head, an external splay with rusty iron spigots. Directly above large window embrasures, also with segmental heads, to the main rooms. To left are smaller windows with pointed arch heads and remains of simple hoodmoulds. Lower one is blind (backing onto the fireplace) and surviving right label stop inscribed "90", presumably from a date. At the top level, on the south-west side, the remains of a doorway onto an artificial terrace on top of the cliff - a Tudor arch, but large hole of collapsed masonry on left side. Stair on south-east side has tiny windows. Top of the walls have collapsed. Interior: Recessed alcove with roughly parabolic-arch head and very low segmental arch to the stone stairs. First-floor level has 4 segment-headed arches, one to stairs and others to alcoves, and remains of a fireplace. Second floor similar with one alcove and fireplace under a brick segmental arch. Stone newel stair runs clear from top to bottom, and remains show it rising to the roof or wall walk.


Weddell, P. J. + Turton, S. D., 1992, Preliminary Archaeological Assessment of Dartmouth Sewage Treatment Works, 3 (Report - Assessment). SDV176861.

Shown on 1841 Tithe Map as rocky eminence on the south bank of the creek, describing it as 'Castle Cottage and Fortress'. A map of 1812 shows site as a 'Fort', and it may have originated as part of a defensive system around the port during the Napoleonic Wars. However, it could be of Civil War date.


Freeman, R., 1996, Old Building at Mill Bay, Kingswear (Correspondence). SDV341488.

The Seale family of Mount Boone built a round tower at Old Mill Creek in the 19th century.


Unknown, 2001, 'Sandquay Woods'. An Opportunity for the Community (Article in Serial). SDV347514.

Other details: Photo.


Brown, J., 2013, Mr Seale's Woods: The Eighteenth Century Landscape of Mount Boone, Dartmouth, 13-17 (Article in Serial). SDV357310.

The Fort, now known as Hermitage Castle, was built in 1789. Although it was never intended for defensive purposes, there were originally nine cannons on a wall beside it to add to the effect. The building was used a bathing house, and contains the remains of fireplaces.


Ordnance Survey, 2014, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV355681.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV176861Report - Assessment: Weddell, P. J. + Turton, S. D.. 1992. Preliminary Archaeological Assessment of Dartmouth Sewage Treatment Works. Exeter Museums Archaeological Field Unit Report. 92.56. A4 Stapled + Digital. 3.
SDV341468List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1988. Dartmouth. Amendment to List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interes. A4 Stapled.
SDV341488Correspondence: Freeman, R.. 1996. Old Building at Mill Bay, Kingswear. Letter. Letter.
SDV347514Article in Serial: Unknown. 2001. 'Sandquay Woods'. An Opportunity for the Community. Tidelines. Autumn 2001. A4 Unbound + Digital.
SDV355681Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2014. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #93636 ]
SDV357310Article in Serial: Brown, J.. 2013. Mr Seale's Woods: The Eighteenth Century Landscape of Mount Boone, Dartmouth. The Devon Gardens Trust Journal. 3. A4 Paperback + Digital. 13-17.

Associated Monuments

MDV108273Part of: Mount Boone Landscaped Park and Gardens (Park/Garden)
MDV53954Related to: Mount Boone House (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded


Date Last Edited:Apr 13 2018 11:24AM