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HER Number:MDV58658
Name:Bakery at Gommerock


'Building B' the site of a possible 17th century bakery to the southeast of Gommerock tower


Grid Reference:SX 888 505
Map Sheet:SX85SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishKingswear
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishKINGSWEAR

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Gomerock Tower south of Kingswear

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX85SE/8/1

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • BAKERY (XVI to XVII - 1600 AD to 1699 AD (Between))

Full description

Everett, A. W., 1968, Gomerock (Correspondence). SDV342800.

The large oven at the 'bakery' has an almost flat stonework roof and the circular wall is composed of flat stones set on edge. The floor seems to have been a lime composition Other details: Letters and Plan.

Rigold, S. E., 1969, Gomerock Castle (Correspondence). SDV342805.

Narrow building lying obliquely to Gomerock Tower with a large deep subteranean oven at one end.

Wilson-North, R., 1996, Gommerock, Kingswear: An Archaeological Survey by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, 3 (Report - Survey). SDV342799.

Gommerock Building 2 to the south of the tower terraced into the hillside and constucted of roughly coursed stone with a substantial oven at the northern end. Other details: Figure 2.

Watts, M. A., 1997, Archaeological and Historical Survey at Gomerock, Kingswear, 13-4 (Report - Survey). SDV173198.

Gomerock 'Building B'. To the southeast of the tower-house is a small building aligned roughly north to south, which contains a large subterranean oven opening into the rear of a fireplace at its northern end. Parts of the building have clearly been rebuilt in recent times, but this has not affected the overall plan. Internally, Building B measures approximately 7 metres by 3.65 metres. The lower floor level occupies a semi-basement at the northern end, where it has been exposed in recent digging which has removed most of the rubble infill in front of the fireplace. The present exterior ground level is higher than the surviving walls on north and east sides; hence only the south wall and the southern half of the west wall have visible exterior faces. Both the east and west walls largely comprise recent dry-stone rebuilding. The northwest corner contains the square build of the jamb for a large fireplace and chimney stack that originally spanned the northern elevation. Narrowing for the flue is visible at the surviving top edge of the jamb, and is also apparent on the east side of the fireplace. The main east wall today abuts the inner edge of the eastern fireplace jamb, making it appear to be the north end of the main wall. A small section of older, clay-bonded masonry, set back in the east wall, is more likely to reflect its original line and implies the existence of a small projecting jamb on the east side of the fireplace. The most striking feature of this building is the large oven that has been inserted into the back wall of the fireplace. The oven interior is roughly circular, approximately 3 metres diameter and 0.9 metres high. The oven is lined with volcanic stone slabs set on edge, all masonry being bonded with yellow sandy mortar. A second, very small oven is inserted into the side of the east jamb of the fireplace; this too has lost its original entrance surround. This oven is approximately 0.5 metres diameter, also built in yellow sandy mortar, but is lined with small, yellowish 'Dutch' bricks. No other parts of the east wall appear to be of any antiquity, except for a few stones keyed into the corner of the south wall. The south wall contains several primary features. A row of 7 small joist sockets occurs at 0.85 metres above present ground level, or an estimated 1.8 metres above original lower-floor level - assuming the latter is consistent across the building. Three of them have been infilled. Immediately above the level of the sockets at east end of the wall are the remains of a small fireplace. At the top of the surviving section of the wall is the west side of a splayed window opening. The west wall contains a little original fabric at either end, but mostly comprises recent rebuilding. The sides of the current entrance appear to be entirely recent. The northern part of the interior, adjacent to the large oven, was recently subject to an excavation from which a number of finds were recovered. Most of these are potsherds of local Totnes-type fabric, with a broad Post-Medieval date range. A short length of revetment wall abuts the southeast corner of the building just above the edge of the steep scarp (which shows signs of recent weathering and advancement into the site). Both this small section of wall and the south wall of the building are in serious danger of collapse. Close inspection of both the revetment wall and the exterior elevation of the south wall was impossible; however the alignment of the revetment wall appears to reflect the alignment of the terrace above it; it survives (as far as can be seen) to a height of circa 1 metre for a length of circa 2 metres. The wall evidently originally continued further to the southeast. The building was probably built in the mid or late 17th century. The presence of a very large oven implies a requirement to provision a considerable number of people. This suggests either commercial use as a bakery (for victualling ships?) or special circumstances such as those prevailing in the Civil War. The finds from the bakehouse include part of the rim of an 18th century vessel. The 1734 Buck view clearly shows GomerockCcastle in a ruinous state. Other details: Figures 10-11,17-18 and Plates 15-20.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV173198Report - Survey: Watts, M. A.. 1997. Archaeological and Historical Survey at Gomerock, Kingswear. Exeter Archaeology Report. 97.61. A4 Stapled + Digital. 13-4.
SDV342799Report - Survey: Wilson-North, R.. 1996. Gommerock, Kingswear: An Archaeological Survey by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England Report. A4 Stapled + Digital. 3.
SDV342800Correspondence: Everett, A. W.. 1968. Gomerock. Letter. A4 Stapled.
SDV342805Correspondence: Rigold, S. E.. 1969. Gomerock Castle. Letter + Plan. A4 Stapled.

Associated Monuments

MDV8520Related to: Gomerock Tower, West of Castle Road (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV4542 - Survey of Features at Gommerock, Kingswear
  • EDV4543 - Survey of Features at Gomerock

Date Last Edited:Aug 18 2009 12:02PM