Ancient Monuments

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Civil War battery at Wearde Quay

A Scheduled Monument in Saltash, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.3981 / 50°23'53"N

Longitude: -4.2179 / 4°13'4"W

OS Eastings: 242465.620122

OS Northings: 57705.898896

OS Grid: SX424577

Mapcode National: GBR NS.S8FQ

Mapcode Global: FRA 271Z.YC6

Entry Name: Civil War battery at Wearde Quay

Scheduled Date: 15 May 1963

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1004447

English Heritage Legacy ID: CO 462

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Saltash

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: St Stephen-by-Saltash

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a Civil War battery at Wearde Quay, situated at the confluence of the St Germans or Lynher River and the River Tamar. The battery survives as lengths of mortared stone walling up to 3.5m high with a sloping profile, topped with a vertical parapet forming a central pointed bastion which decreases in height to both sides. The northern part of the battery was cut by the railway in 1857. It has been variously described as both an open battery and a fully contained redoubt. The fortification was labelled 'enemy' (and Royalist) on a 1643 map and depicted on the Hollar siege map of Plymouth in 1644. The 1914 and 1934 Ordnance Survey maps depict part of a star shaped plan, and the bastion was surveyed by CJ Squires in the 1950's

Sources: HER:-
PastScape Monument No:-437473

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The term battery refers to any place where artillery is positioned to allow guns to cover a particular area such as a line of communication or the approaches to a defended location. Although often contained within artillery forts designed to withstand sieges, typically including resident garrisons, many batteries were lightly defended and only manned at fighting strength in times of emergency. Batteries not contained within forts or castles were either open, with some approaches left undefended or enclosed, often with a loopholed wall, ditch and/or fence designed to repel small scale attacks. Battery design evolved over time with developments in artillery. Those of the 16th and 17th centuries were normally simple raised earthwork platforms faced with turf, facines (bundles of sticks), or wicker baskets filled with earth and known as gabions. More permanent batteries, normally those on the coast, were faced in stone. The guns and gunners were typically protected by a raised parapet with guns firing through embrasures, or breaks in the wall, or over the parapet. Gun positions protected by casemates (roofed gun chambers) were generally restricted to batteries within artillery forts and castles. The gun carriages were supported on timber or stone platforms known as barbettes, often ramped to limit gun recoil.

English Civil War fieldworks are earthworks which were raised during military operations between 1642 and 1645 to provide temporary protection for infantry or to act as gun emplacements. The earthworks, which may have been reinforced with revetting and palisades, consisted of banks and ditches and varied in complexity from simple breastworks to complex systems of banks and inter- connected trenches. They can be recognised today as surviving earthworks or as crop- or soil-marks on aerial photographs. The circumstances and cost of their construction may be referred to in contemporary historical documents. Fieldworks are recorded widely throughout England with concentrations in the main areas of campaigning. Those with a defensive function were often sited to protect settlements or their approaches. Those with an offensive function were designed to dominate defensive positions and to contain the besieged areas. There are some 150 surviving examples of fieldworks recorded nationally.

Despite having been partially cut by the railway, the Civil War battery at Wearde Quay survives well and is substantially constructed in mortared stonework. It is positioned at a strategic location, overlooking Bull Point and the approaches to the navigable waters of the St Germans or Lynher River and those of the River Tamar. It will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, military, political and strategic significance, function and abandonment.

Source: Historic England

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