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HER Number:MDV9101
Name:Town Wall at the North Gate, Castle Street, Totnes


Totnes town wall forms an irregular ellipse in plan. This section is located at the North Gate, just below the castle.


Grid Reference:SX 800 605
Map Sheet:SX86SW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishTotnes
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishTOTNES

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX86SW/48

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • TOWN WALL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD (Between))

Full description

Windeatt, E., 1880, An Historical Sketch of Totnes, 161 (Article in Serial). SDV168929.

Whitley, H. M., 1916, Totnes Castle and Walled Town, 196-8 (Article in Serial). SDV342886.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1951, SX86SW19 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV160786.

Apart from two small fragments the town wall has been completely destroyed. In Saxon times Totnes formed part of the Royal demesne and is described in Domesday book as having 95 burgesses within and 15 without the walls. The town was entered by four gateways two of which the north and east are still standing. SX79996043-SX79956047 town wall (MDV 8169) reputed to have run alongside this alley's south side. SX80276048-SX80286046 (MDV 9103) a small portion of town wall ragstone built survives here 16.0m long, 2.0m high. SX80286042- SX80276020? (MDV 9102) approximately 86.0m of town wall survives here as the east wall of buildings. Ragstone and about 3.5m high.

Copeland, G. W., 1965, Proceedings at the 103rd Annual Meeting, 24 (Article in Serial). SDV145408.

Totnes town wall forms an irregular ellipse in plan. Only a short length of wall remains near the East Gate, which is much altered from its original design, and also the North Gate of Norman origin, just below the castle. It is still possible to walk along much of the perimeter of the wall.

Bellchambers, J., 1989, Totnes Town Defences to c1350. A Review for Discussion (Un-published). SDV325569.

Report compiled to bring attention to the remains of the town defences which are potentially threatened by development. It is suggested that a policy of protection be formulated to enforce the retention of standing walls. An overview of the early history of the town is given with particular reference to the defences. The Saxon township would have been enclosed by ditches and embankments, probably with a timber paling. Construction of the Norman motte would have absorbed the earlier west gate and the new gateway probably incorporated the 'Brodestone'. Documents relating to the defences of the town are minimal. In 1265, Henry III gave a grant of murage for five years. In 1313, a town court heard that the walls were in bad repair and it is suggested that some effort was subsequently made to improve the defences. When Leland visited the town in circa 1538, he noted that 'this town hath been walled but the walls be clene down. A man may see where the foundation was of them'. Maps and Plans.

Griffith, F. M., 1990, DAP/TV, 1-5 (Aerial Photograph). SDV160790.

Keystone Historic Buildings Consultants, 1996, Assessment of Civic Centre Area, Totnes (Report - Assessment). SDV340328.

Ordnance Survey, 2012, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV348725.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV145408Article in Serial: Copeland, G. W.. 1965. Proceedings at the 103rd Annual Meeting. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 97. A5 Hardback. 24.
SDV160786Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1951. SX86SW19. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card.
SDV160790Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1990. DAP/TV. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper) + Photograph (Digital). 1-5.
SDV168929Article in Serial: Windeatt, E.. 1880. An Historical Sketch of Totnes. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 12. Hardback Volume. 161.
SDV325569Un-published: Bellchambers, J.. 1989. Totnes Town Defences to c1350. A Review for Discussion. Totnes Town Defences to c1350. A Review for Discussion.
SDV340328Report - Assessment: Keystone Historic Buildings Consultants. 1996. Assessment of Civic Centre Area, Totnes. Keystone Historic Buildings Consultants Report. K477. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV342886Article in Serial: Whitley, H. M.. 1916. Totnes Castle and Walled Town. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 48. A5 Hardback. 196-8.
SDV348725Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2012. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #109307 ]

Associated Monuments

MDV46802Related to: Earthwork on the North Side of North Street, Totnes (Monument)
MDV42291Related to: Embankment, Rear of 48 High Street, Totnes (Monument)
MDV21815Related to: Medieval Borough of Totnes (Monument)
MDV53882Related to: Totnes Town Wall to the rear of 54 High Street on South Street, Totnes (Monument)
MDV9103Related to: Town Wall, Guildhall Yard, Totnes (Monument)
MDV8169Related to: Town wall, High Street, Totnes (Monument)
MDV9102Related to: Town Wall, South Street, Totnes (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV3741 - Unnamed Event

Date Last Edited:Aug 23 2018 1:15PM