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HER Number:MDV52934
Name:Pillbox S.41a, Cloakham Lawn, Axminster

Summary

A small structure visible on aerial photographs taken in the 1940s is interpreted as Second World War pillbox S41, part of the Taunton Stop Line. It is not visible on later available aerial imagery and was probably removed by 1965. It appears on the 1940s photos to be set within the middle of an enclosure which may have been a barbed wire obstacle.

Location

Grid Reference:SY 303 992
Map Sheet:SY39NW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishAxminster
DistrictEast Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishAXMINSTER

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SY39NW/79

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • BARBED WIRE OBSTRUCTION? (World War II - 1939 AD to 1945 AD (Between))
  • PILLBOX (Built, World War II - 1940 AD to 1940 AD)

Full description

Royal Engineers, 1940, Plans of Taunton Stop Line (Cartographic). SDV325259.

Pillbox S.41.a recorded on Royal Engineers survey plan.


Royal Air Force, 1946 - 1949, Royal Air Force Aerial Photographs (Aerial Photograph). SDV342938.

Pillbox visible on Royal Air Force aerial photographs at Cloakham Lawn in centre of a circular 'enclosure'. Map object previously based on this Source.


Royal Air Force, 1947, RAF/CPE/UK/1974, RAF/CPE/UK/1974 FP 1423-1424 11-APR-1947 (Aerial Photograph). SDV356127.

A small probably polygonal structure is visble, in the centre of a pale oval grassmark.


Royal Air Force, 1948, RAF/CPE/UK/2431, 3200 (Aerial Photograph). SDV356746.


Royal Air Force, 1965, RAF/58/7109, RAF/58/7109 F41 0006-0007 22-NOV-1965 (Aerial Photograph). SDV351186.

The pillbox is not visible.


Wills, H., 1985, Wills, H. 1985 Pillboxes, 74 (Monograph). SDV336210.

Wills lists a polygonal pillbox of mixed construction facing west at SY303992.


Horner, B., 1994, Taunton Stop Line Survey (Personal Comment). SDV360458.

Site visit 4th October 1994. Location map in HER.


Dobinson, C. S., 1998, The Taunton Stop Line. Component Listing, 4 (Report - non-specific). SDV109230.

Pillbox of type FW3/22 with 3 feet 6 inch thick walls.


Blackwell, R., 2009, Cloakham Lawns, Axminster, Devon: Archaeological Desk-Based Assessment, 12, 13, 21, Fig, 2, 8, (Report - Assessment). SDV347557.

During the early part of the Second World War linear defensive lines, Stop Lines, were implemented to resist invasion. Stop lines enhanced existing topographic features with added defensive elements such as pillboxes, anti-tank blocks, and road and rail blocks and were essentially prepared battlefields. The Taunton Stop Line, constructed in 1940, ran circa 71 kilometres from Bridgewater in Somerset to Amouth, Devon. It principally followed the natural barriers of the River Axe and River Parrett, as well as the artificial linear barrier of principal railway lines. The defense was never fully implemented, as defensive strategy changed from linear defence to the defence of key areas.
Within the site, anti-tank cubes at the western edge of the site formed part of a group defending the bridge crossing the Yeovil Junction and Exeter Railway. An anti-tank ditch also defended the route from Chard Road to the railway crossing. Most of the anti-tank cubes within the site have been removed but one remains in the hedgerow at the site boundary. The anti-tank ditch has been filled in and the pillbox has been removed. One additional WWII site is recorded in the study area, Millway Rise US military hospital, located to the east of the site.


Hart, J., 2010, Cloakham Lawns, Axminster, Devon: Archaeological Evaluation, 4, 12, Figs 1-2 (Report - Evaluation). SDV347538.

A pillbox associated with the Taunton Stop Line, and visible on 1940s aerial photographs, lay within the site, however no below ground remains were exposed during trench evaluation.


Bunn, D., 2010, Geophysical Survey on Land at Cloakham Lawns, Axminster, Devon., 3-4, Figs 2-3, 7 (Report - Geophysical Survey). SDV347537.

The site lies to the south of the Weycroft defence area of the Taunton Stop Line, and a former pillbox lies within the survey area. A discrete zone of strong readings was recorded on the site of the pillbox, indicative of in-situ sub-surface remains.


Hegarty, C. + Knight, S. + Sims, R., 2016-2018, The Blackdown Hills AONB and East Devon River Catchments National Mapping Programme Project (Interpretation). SDV359463.

A small, possibly polygonal structure, circa 4 metres across, is visible on aerial photographs taken in the 1940s, on land overlooking the Axe valley to the west. It is in the centre of an oval parchmark up to nearly 100 metres across. The structure’s location corresponds to the record of a pillbox on a Royal Engineers survey plan, part of the Second World War Taunton Stop Line. The enclosure may have been a barbed wire obstacle to protect the central pillbox, of which only a compacted area or differential vegetation was visible. The structure and enclosure were not visible on later available aerial photographs, and appears to have been removed by 1965.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV109230Report - non-specific: Dobinson, C. S.. 1998. The Taunton Stop Line. Component Listing. Twentieth Century Fortifications in England. AI/S/3. Photocopy. 4.
SDV325259Cartographic: Royal Engineers. 1940. Plans of Taunton Stop Line. Royal Engineers Survey Plan circa July 1940. Unknown.
SDV336210Monograph: Wills, H.. 1985. Wills, H. 1985 Pillboxes. Pillboxes. Unknown. 74.
SDV342938Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 - 1949. Royal Air Force Aerial Photographs. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Digital).
SDV347537Report - Geophysical Survey: Bunn, D.. 2010. Geophysical Survey on Land at Cloakham Lawns, Axminster, Devon.. Pre-Construct Geophysics Report. A4 Bound + Digital. 3-4, Figs 2-3, 7.
SDV347538Report - Evaluation: Hart, J.. 2010. Cloakham Lawns, Axminster, Devon: Archaeological Evaluation. Cotswold Archaeology Report. 10109. A4 stapled + Digital. 4, 12, Figs 1-2.
SDV347557Report - Assessment: Blackwell, R.. 2009. Cloakham Lawns, Axminster, Devon: Archaeological Desk-Based Assessment. Cotswold Archaeology Report. 08205. A4 Stapled + Digital. 12, 13, 21, Fig, 2, 8,.
SDV351186Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1965. RAF/58/7109. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). RAF/58/7109 F41 0006-0007 22-NOV-1965.
SDV356127Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1947. RAF/CPE/UK/1974. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). RAF/CPE/UK/1974 FP 1423-1424 11-APR-1947. [Mapped feature: #111637 ]
SDV356746Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1948. RAF/CPE/UK/2431. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 3200.
SDV359463Interpretation: Hegarty, C. + Knight, S. + Sims, R.. 2016-2018. The Blackdown Hills AONB and East Devon River Catchments National Mapping Programme Project. Historic England Research Report. Digital.
Linked documents:2
SDV360458Personal Comment: Horner, B.. 1994. Taunton Stop Line Survey. Not Applicable.

Associated Monuments

MDV45243Part of: Axminster Strong Point on the Taunton Stop Line (Monument)
MDV119535Part of: Taunton Stop Line (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV5152 - Geophysical Survey on Land at Cloakham Lawns, Axminster
  • EDV5153 - Archaeological Evaluation on Land at Cloakham Lawns, Axminster
  • EDV7508 - The Blackdown Hills AONB and East Devon River Catchments National Mapping Programme (NMP) project (Ref: ACD1228)

Date Last Edited:May 11 2018 3:34PM