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HER Number:MDV51600
Name:Bovisand Practice Battery, Wembury


Practice battery probably established in early 1870s. Area now part of carpark. Visible as structures and flat bases on aerial photographs taken from 1946. Some buildings survive.


Grid Reference:SX 491 506
Map Sheet:SX45SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishWembury
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishPLYMSTOCK

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: 1396441
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX45SE/448

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • COASTAL BATTERY (XIX - 1870 AD to 1900 AD (Between))

Full description

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV137566.

Des=plymouth fortress survey/ pye,a. / (1993)/ copy and plans in smr.

Ordnance Survey, 1880-1899, First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map (Cartographic). SDV336179.

Royal Air Force, 1946, RAF/CPE/UK/1890, DCC RAF/CPE/UK/1890 FS 2127-2128 10-DEC-1946 (Aerial Photograph). SDV169268.

Several structures and rectilinear level areas are visible.

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

Several structures and rectilinear level areas are visible.

Ordnance Survey, 1969, OS/69292, OS/69292 V 021-022 28-JUN-1969 (Aerial Photograph). SDV351291.

Several structures are visible.

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

Vis=-/02/1992(pye) bovisand practice battery. Located in a car park on the present road about 350m east of bovisand battery overlooking bovisand bay. Probably established in the early 1870s to provide training on current coastal artillery pieces and perhaps to test-fire new pieces. An 1872 map depicts it extending from sx49025003 in the west to sx49225069 in the east. It originally possessed a field expense magazine (demolished, now under no.1 bovisand court, an artillery store, an expense magazine, a shell-filling room and a gunshed). One gunpit is marked at its eastern extremity. This is probably the emplacement for the mk i 7" moncrieff disappearing gun listed in 1873 (hogg). An 1876 map shows four platforms for guns on garrison carriages between the expense magazine and shell-filling room, and four more (together with two emplacements for guns on traversing carriages) between the gun shed and the moncrieff pit. In 1885 the battery was split. The upper part was armed with a variety of rml guns and was probably sited in the present car park. The lower part contained 32-pounder guns and mortars and may have been sited further down the road, perhaps in front of the expense magazines and the artillery store. By 1896 two other buildings had been added: the present ice-cream parlour and a timber shed. In c.1899 four 5" bl guns were emplaced replacing several 64-pounder rml guns. The final recorded armament was six hotchkiss 6-pounder qf guns in 1903 which were probably sited in the present car park. The 1872 field expense magazine, artillery store and gunshed have all been demolished but the remainder of the magazines survive together with the two later buildings. Two concrete gun emplacements are visible in the surface of the car park just north of the road. These approximately correspond to two of the 5" bl guns marked in 1899. An earlier granite platform for a gun on a wheeled garrison carriage lies outside the shell-filling room. The 1872 moncrieff gunpit remains and was later adapted for an observation post or perhaps a direction/range-finder. Another concrete observation post containing a central pillar is sited on the hillside behind the battery and may have acted as the battery observation post (with direction range finder) in the late 1890s or early 1900s. There is also a square brick building, probably a guard-house built during world war ii. All the remains, including the gunpit and the battery observation post are in good condition except for the timber building. The area is used as a car park and any further landscaping or improvement of this may unearth further gun positions. The buildings are empty, derelict except for the 1896 building which is used as an ice-cream parlour and the contemporary timber structure which is used as a store (plymouth fortress survey).

Pye, A. + Woodward, F., 1996, The Historic Defences of Plymouth, Fig. 112 (Monograph). SDV167752.

Bovisand Practce Battery is mapped as earthworks, structures, walls and gun positions.

Ordnance Survey, 2019, MasterMap 2019 (Cartographic). SDV362729.

One complete and some partial structures are depicted.

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.

Several structures and flat bases are visible on aerial photographs taken from 1946, and most match the location of structures depicted in Pye and Woodward (1996) as part of the 19th century Bovisand Practice Battery. Some partial and one extant structure appear to survive.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV137566Migrated Record:
SDV167752Monograph: Pye, A. + Woodward, F.. 1996. The Historic Defences of Plymouth. The Historic Defences of Plymouth. A4 Paperback. Fig. 112. [Mapped feature: #121861 ]
SDV169268Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. RAF/CPE/UK/1890. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). DCC RAF/CPE/UK/1890 FS 2127-2128 10-DEC-1946.
SDV27236Migrated Record: PLYMOUTH FORTRESS SURVEY. 1992.
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
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.
SDV351291Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1969. OS/69292. Ordnance Survey Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). OS/69292 V 021-022 28-JUN-1969.
SDV362729Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2019. MasterMap 2019. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. 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.

Associated Monuments

MDV121014Related to: Buildings to east of Bovisand Court, 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 11:25AM