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Sir Bevil Grenville's Monument

A Scheduled Monument in Cold Ashton, South Gloucestershire

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Latitude: 51.4314 / 51°25'53"N

Longitude: -2.4014 / 2°24'5"W

OS Eastings: 372189.605937

OS Northings: 170345.107067

OS Grid: ST721703

Mapcode National: GBR JZ.P4N2

Mapcode Global: VH96D.B9B0

Entry Name: Sir Bevil Grenville's Monument

Scheduled Date: 12 December 1950

Last Amended: 23 December 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015110

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28523

County: South Gloucestershire

Civil Parish: Cold Ashton

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Gloucestershire


The monument includes a memorial situated on the Civil War battlefield of
Lansdown Hill; it marks the approximate centre of the Royalist attack upon the
Parliamentary army's position on the hill. The monument, which is Listed Grade
II*, is dedicated to the Royalist Colonel Sir Bevil Grenville (also spelt
`Granville' on the monument) who was fatally wounded at the head of his
Cornish pikemen establishing a breach-head on the brow of the hill at a
decisive point in the battle. The monument was built in the early 18th
century, and inscriptions say it was dedicated in 1720. It was repaired twice,
once in 1777 and again in 1829.

The monument is set upon a base 4.5m square, around the outer edge of which is
a protective encirclement of iron railings, which is included in the
scheduling. The bottom part of the monument is a square podium of rusticated
ashlar c.3m high and c.1.6m across with dedications on its north and south
sides. The inscription on the south side of the monument is a eulogy to Sir
Bevil Grenville taken from Clarendon's History Vol 2. On the north side of the
monument are two poems: the first, about the death of Grenville, by William
Cartwright and the second referring to Grenville's grandfather, Sir Richard
Grenville, by Martin Llewellin, both dated 1643. Under the poems is a
dedication of the monument. Above this is a square shaft c.1.2m across and
c.1.8m high with trophies and arms in relief on each of its four panels. This
is topped by egg and tongue decoration and a heavy cornice. The whole is
surmounted by a gryphon.

The battle, which was fought between the Royalists commanded by Sir Ralph
Hopton and the Parliamentarians under Sir William Waller, took place on the
4th and 5th July 1643. The battle ended in a stalemate, and in the context of
the overall struggle for the West country, the Royalist cause was not advanced
by the result of this battle.

The modern landscape is little changed from that in 1643 when the battle took
place, apart from further enclosure, more arable, and a degree of wood and
scrub development. Contemporary references to the engagement mention place
names which can still be found today. Features mentioned in the accounts of
the battle such as Freezinghill Lane, up which the Royalist cavalry advanced,
and the stone wall across the top of the hill behind which the
Parliamentarians took cover, can still be seen.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The English Civil War, 1642-1648, was the culmination of the political
struggle between King Charles I and Parliament. Prior to the war, Charles,
believing in the Divine Right of Kings, had dissolved Parliament and ruled for
11 years without it, aided by the Earl of Strafford. These 11 years were
dominated by religious issues, and particularly the reforms of Archbishop
Laud. Laud's reforms in Scotland triggered rioting which necessitated the
recall of Parliament, which in turn led to the impeachment and execution of
Laud and Strafford. Parliament made further attacks on the king's prerogative
and the episcopy, resulting in Charles seeking to arrest leading MPs.

Thwarted in this, Charles set up his standard in Nottingham on the 22nd August
1642. The king's popularity lay broadly in the north and west among
conservative elements and Catholics. Parliament attracted support from the
Scots Covenanters and from the south and east of England. Parliament also
controlled London, Hull, Plymouth, Bristol, Gloucester and Portsmouth, in all
about two thirds of the population and three quarters of the country's wealth.
In 1645, after the formation of the New Model Army by Cromwell, under the
command of Sir Thomas Fairfax, the decisive engagement of the war was fought
at Naseby. Defeated, Charles fled and surrendered himself to the Scots, but
was promptly handed over to Parliament, tried, and executed in 1649.

The importance of the battle of Lansdown must be seen in the context of the
progress of the war in the west country. The first part of the war was
indecisive, but by the early summer of 1643 the Royalists were optimistic at
recent successes. Parliament, however, still held a number of garrisons in the
west including Devon, Bristol, Bath and Gloucester. Sir Ralph Hopton's
Royalist army, campaigning in Devon and Somerset, needed to join with the
king's Oxford army for a combined advance upon London. In order for this to be
done the Parliamentarian position in the West had first to be destroyed. Sir
William Waller, as Major General of the Western Association Forces, commanded
Parliament's forces in Shropshire, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire
and Somerset. The Royalist plan for dealing with Waller rested upon
constructing a firm base for operations by occupying Wells, Taunton,
Bridgewater and Dunster Castle, and then applying pressure against the
Parliamentarian rallying point of Bath. The Royalist forces advanced towards
Bath and there were a number of skirmishes in the surrounding region before
the two forces met at Lansdown Hill. The Parliamentarians considered that
Lansdown Hill was their victory. Although Waller had left the field, the
Royalists had been prevented from taking Bath, and were now more concerned
with their own withdrawal rather than conquest.

The monument to Sir Bevil Grenville formalises on the ground the site of the
battle of Landsdown. The monument itself provides an approximate indication of
the central area of the battle.

Source: Historic England


English Heritage, English Heritage Battlefield Report: Lansdown 1643, (1995)
English Heritage, English Heritage Battlefield Report: Lansdown 1643, (1995)
Williams, S. M. W., AM 107, (1984)

Source: Historic England

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