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HER Number:MDV61691
Name:Great Quay, Barnstaple

Summary

Great Quay was created in the early 17th century and is shown on a map of 1772. It was filled in in the mid 19th century and a sea wall built.

Location

Grid Reference:SS 557 331
Map Sheet:SS53SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishBarnstaple
DistrictNorth Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishBARNSTAPLE

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS53SE/146

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • QUAY (XVII to XIX - 1601 AD to 1900 AD (Between))

Full description

Devon County Council, 1838-1848, Tithe Mosaic, approximately 1838-1848 (Cartographic). SDV349431.

Row of quays depicted on Tithe Map


Timms, S. C., 1976, The Devon Urban Survey, 1976. First Draft, 72-3 (Report - Survey). SDV341346.

The derivation of the place name 'Bardanstapol' suggests that the town was an important mooring point in the 10th century. It is suggested that the earliest moorings may have been located in the sheltered waters of the Yeo, outside the north gate. The main medieval quay, however, lay along the east bank of the Taw with access to the town through the west gate. Traces of the early quay structure have been observed along Castle Street. The quayside was progressively improved and widened. Its width in the early 18th century can be ascertained from the position of the Exchange which was built in 1708. On the quay were the fish market, the tomestone (on which bargains were struck) and Quay Hall, adjacent to the west gate. All these structures are documented in the 16th century and the present quay probably dates from that time.


Timms, S. C., 1982, Citing GPO Day Book Section 61 for 17-20 November 1936 (Worksheet). SDV90540.

Post Office underground works in November 1936 in North Carriageway, of the strand between Cross Street and the Norfolk Hotel encountered quay wall remains.


Exeter Archaeology, 1997, North Devon District Council Barnstaple Quay Project: Archaeological Assessment, 3-8 (Report - Assessment). SDV73005.

The Barnstaple Bridge Trust Map of 1772 shows 4 quays in Barnstaple. Millend Quay on the River Yeo and three on the River Taw - Prideaux Quay (later Castle Quay), Great Quay and Little Quay which were separated by blocks of buildings.


Exeter Archaeology, 1998, Archaeological Evaluation at The Strand, Barnstaple, 6 (Report - Evaluation). SDV344553.

Trench 1 was positioned to locate the side wall of a slipway at the north-west end of the quay and Trench 2 to locate the north-west side of the early 19th century slipway which extended from the centre of the quay. Both the slip walls were found thereby established that the early 19th century dock was 19 metres wide. The walls are generally in a good state of preservation and appear to be structurally sound. The top of the dock walls would have been level with the surface of the quay, about 1.25-1.40 metres below present ground level. However, when the dock was filled in the walls were partially robbed and now occur at a depth of about 2.0 metres below current ground level. The dock contains about 2.05 metres of mid 19th century infilling over at leat 0.9 metres of silt. The latter did not yield any pottery earlier than the 19th century, although only a small area was sampled.


Exeter Archaeology, 1998, North Devon District Council Barnstaple Quay Project: Archaeological Assessment and Evaluation (Report - Evaluation). SDV85921.

Great Quay. Circa 1600 the existing straight length of quay was divided into 2 separate quays by reclamation work known as the 'new work'. During 1609-10, payments are recorded for repairing the quay hall and for a 'walking place at the quay' (Queen Anne's Walk). In 1677 a commission of inquiry described the larger as containing 2 slips, and as being located between the Merchants Walk and the New Work. It measured overall 207feet by 93feet. This is shown on Barnstaple Bridge Trust Map of 1772. The quay seems to have undergone little change during the 18th century, but during the 19th century there were significant developments, beginning with the construction of an additional slip extending from the centre of the quay. This was done before 1830, as it appears on a map in Gribble's 'Memorials of Barnstaple' published that year. It appears to have been widened, although there is a disparity in the widths shown on the Tithe Map of 1841 and John Wood's map of 2 years later, varying between approx 5 metres to 15metres. Around this period prints become available providing an indication of what the quay looked like at this time. All show the surface to be cobbled, many show additional features. However, in 1852 the council resolved to demolish the Quay Hall and fill in the Great Quay. This appears to have been completed in 1858-9, and a sea wall built. In March 1998 a field evaluation was undertaken to locate, examine and record certain features associated with Great and Little Quays. 2 trenches were positioned (1) to locate the side wall of a slipway at the north-west end, and (2) the north-west side of the early 19th century slip which extended from the centre, of the Great Quay. Both slip walls were located, establishing that the early 19th century dock was 19 metres wide.
The walls are generally in a very good state of preservation and appear to be structurally sound. The top of the dock walls would have been level with the surface of the quay, approximately 1.25-1.4 metres below present ground level. When the dock was filled in the walls were partially robbed and they now occur at a depth of some 2 metres below ground level. The early 19th century slip wall would have stood to a height of at least 3.25 metres, and the base of the dock at least 4.5 metres below present ground level. The slip and side wall at the north-west end had been raised by approximately 0.65 metres, which would accord with the disparity in the inclination of the slips depicted on drawings of Barnstaple Quay in 1828 and 1852. The silts contained in the dock did not yeild any pottery dated earlier than the 19th century, though this may not be representative given the small area sampled. After being filled in the dock was cobbled to the level of the surrounding quay. This surface appears to be better preserved to the west, as the cobbles were perfectly preserved in trench 1 but entirely absent in trench 2.


ASI Heritage Consultants, 2000, Leaderflush and Shapland Site, Barnstaple: Archaeological Assessment (Report - Assessment). SDV70999.


Exeter Archaeology, 2001, Archaeological Assessment and Building Recording at Commercial Road, Barnstaple, 2, 3, 10 (Report - Assessment). SDV73888.


Unknown, Unknown, Archaeological Investigations at Barnstaple Quay (Correspondence). SDV90555.

Archaeological investigations being carried out on the site of Barnstaple Quay by Exeter Archaeology in order to determine the location of the Great and Little Quays. It is hoped to design the future layout of the riverside area to reflect the lines of these early quays.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV341346Report - Survey: Timms, S. C.. 1976. The Devon Urban Survey, 1976. First Draft. Devon Committee for Rescue Archaeology Report. A4 Unbound + Digital. 72-3.
SDV344553Report - Evaluation: Exeter Archaeology. 1998. Archaeological Evaluation at The Strand, Barnstaple. Exeter Archaeology Report. 98.37. A4 stapled + Digital. 6.
SDV349431Cartographic: Devon County Council. 1838-1848. Tithe Mosaic, approximately 1838-1848. Digitised Tithe Map. Digital.
SDV70999Report - Assessment: ASI Heritage Consultants. 2000. Leaderflush and Shapland Site, Barnstaple: Archaeological Assessment. ASI Heritage Consultants Report. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV73005Report - Assessment: Exeter Archaeology. 1997. North Devon District Council Barnstaple Quay Project: Archaeological Assessment. Exeter Archaeology Report. 97.80. A4 Stapled + Digital. 3-8.
SDV73888Report - Assessment: Exeter Archaeology. 2001. Archaeological Assessment and Building Recording at Commercial Road, Barnstaple. Exeter Archaeology Report. 01.28. A4 Stapled + Digital. 2, 3, 10.
SDV85921Report - Evaluation: Exeter Archaeology. 1998. North Devon District Council Barnstaple Quay Project: Archaeological Assessment and Evaluation. Exeter Archaeology Report. 98.44. A4 stapled + Digital. [Mapped feature: #39516 ]
SDV90540Worksheet: Timms, S. C.. 1982. Citing GPO Day Book Section 61 for 17-20 November 1936.
SDV90555Correspondence: Unknown. Unknown. Archaeological Investigations at Barnstaple Quay. Press Release. A4 single Sheet + Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV873Related to: Barnstaple Town Quay (Monument)
MDV19247Related to: Castle Quay, Barnstaple (Monument)
MDV61692Related to: Little Quay, Barnstaple (Monument)
MDV870Related to: Mill End Quay, Barnstaple (Monument)

Associated Finds

  • FDV1511 - PIPE (SMOKING) (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1750 AD)
  • FDV1512 - WINDOW GLASS (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1750 AD)
  • FDV1515 - SHERD (XVIII - 1701 AD to 1800 AD)
  • FDV1513 - SHERD (XIX - 1801 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FDV1514 - SHERD (XIX - 1801 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Events

  • EDV4671 - Archaeological Evaluation at The Strand, Barnstaple (Ref: 98.37)

Date Last Edited:Jun 18 2014 10:52AM