Ancient Monuments

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Martinhoe Castle (Roman signal station)

A Scheduled Monument in Martinhoe, Devon

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Latitude: 51.2275 / 51°13'39"N

Longitude: -3.916 / 3°54'57"W

OS Eastings: 266308.099063

OS Northings: 149337.892456

OS Grid: SS663493

Mapcode National: GBR KX.2ZQT

Mapcode Global: VH4M8.2DLT

Entry Name: Martinhoe Castle (Roman signal station)

Scheduled Date: 10 August 1923

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1003882

English Heritage Legacy ID: DV 40

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Martinhoe

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Martinhoe St Martin

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


Roman signal station known as The Beacon 850m north-west of Martinhoe.

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 19 October 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

This monument includes a Roman signal station known as The Beacon situated on a prominent north facing clifftop overlooking Highveer Point, Wringapeak and the valleys of Hill Brook and Hollow Brook. The innermost enclosure is rectangular and measures up to 22m by 20m internally and is defined by a bank and slight outer ditch. Beyond this is the outer rampart which is sub circular in plan, is formed by a bank with outer ditch and encloses an area measuring up to 72m in diameter internally. The bank is up to 1m in height. To the north, the artificial outer rampart ceases and the natural cliff is utilised as a line of defence. The ditch used to construct the outer rampart survives as a partially buried feature. Excavations in the 1960s revealed the footings of three ranges of buildings and artefacts suggested a first century date. Within the outer enclosure the sites of a series of bonfires from its use as a coastal beacon are known to survive.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Roman signal stations were rectangular towers of stone or wood situated within ditched, embanked, palisaded or walled enclosures and were built by the Roman army for military observation and signalling by means of fire or smoke. They normally formed an element of a wider system of defence and signalling between military sites such as forts and camps and towns, generally as part of a chain of stations to cover long distances. Often stations were constructed along the coast to keep lookout over the sea and to signal information both along the coast and to inland sites. Part of a small group of Roman military monuments, they are important in representing army strategy, government policy and the pattern of military control and are of importance to our understanding of the period.

The Roman signal station known as The Beacon survives well and will contain important archaeological and environmental information relating to its construction, use and landscape setting.

Source: Historic England


PastScape Monument No:- 34615

Source: Historic England

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