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Queen's Sconce

A Scheduled Monument in Newark, Nottinghamshire

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Latitude: 53.0688 / 53°4'7"N

Longitude: -0.8214 / 0°49'17"W

OS Eastings: 479064.525205

OS Northings: 353047.75772

OS Grid: SK790530

Mapcode National: GBR CLM.P4J

Mapcode Global: WHFHP.C426

Entry Name: Queen's Sconce

Scheduled Date: 26 September 1935

Last Amended: 24 September 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016150

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30213

County: Nottinghamshire

Civil Parish: Newark

Built-Up Area: Newark-on-Trent

Traditional County: Nottinghamshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Nottinghamshire

Church of England Parish: Newark-upon-Trent with Coddington

Church of England Diocese: Southwell and Nottingham


The monument includes the remains of a Civil War sconce constructed by the
Royalist forces defending the town of Newark.
The monument is situated within Devon Park, and consists of earthworks
covering an area approximately 120m by 133m. Ramparts up to 9m in height, a
maximum of 17m in width at their base and surmounted by a parapet about 4.5m
across, define an area up to 75m square. On the southern and eastern sides of
the ramparts an eroded external lip to the parapet up to 0.6m in height and 3m
in width is interpreted as having provided cover for a fire step within. Angle
bastions projecting from the northern, north eastern, southern and south
western corners of the ramparts are interpreted as platforms for mounting
artillery pieces. Shallow ramps connecting the bastions and the area within
the ramparts were constructed to enable guns to be hauled into position. A T-
shaped depression about 9m in width and 2m in depth within the ramparts in the
south west corner of the sconce is not thought to represent an original
feature and is indicative of subsequent digging for gravel. The ramparts and
bastions are surrounded by a steep V-shaped ditch up to 21m wide and between
3.6m and 4.5m in depth, with a narrow, flat bottom. A counterscarp bank about
3m in width and 0.7m in height running intermittently along the north eastern
and south eastern edge of the ditch indicates the location of an external
palisade which contemporary documents suggest originally enclosed the sconce.
A triangular platform immediately beyond the northern ditch is the location of
an additional line of defences in the form of pitfalls and is defined along
its northern edge by a shallow linear depression approximately 5m in width and
running on a north west-south east axis for up to 54m. This is interpreted
as a field track or an outwork probably predating the sconce and therefore
representing an earlier phase of constructional activity.
Contemporary plans of the fieldworks constructed by the Royalist and
Parliamentarian forces both clearly depict the monument and show it to have
been an outwork situated outside the main line of town defences. A Royalist
plan of c.1646 illustrates the sconce in some detail and includes a bridge
spanning the western side of the ditch and the presence of an external
palisade and pitfalls. The latter consisted of camouflaged pits containing
sharpened stakes designed to hamper cavalry assaults. Documentary sources
indicate that the Queen's Sconce was constructed in conjunction with a similar
work to the north of the town in an effort to improve the defences following
the end of the second siege in March 1644. It is known from contemporary
accounts to have been completed prior to the beginning of the third and final
siege in November 1645. The location of the sconce on a prominent knoll with
commanding views of the crossing point over the River Devon and the line of
the Fosse Way suggest that it was primarily designed to cover the southern
approach to the town whilst denying control of a tactically important piece of
high ground to the attacking Parliamentarians.
All fences and the surfaces of roads and pathways are excluded from the
scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The battles and sieges of the English Civil War (1642-52) between King and
Parliament were the last major active military campaigns to be undertaken on
English soil and have left their mark on the English landscape in a variety of
ways. Fieldworks are earthworks which were raised during the military
campaigns 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 interconnecting trenches.
They can be recognised today as surviving earthworks or as crop or soil marks
on aerial photographs. They are recorded widely throughout England, with
concentrations in the main areas of campaigning, and have been recognised to
be unique in representing the only evidence on the ground of military
campaigns fought in England since the introduction of guns.
Newark was a key garrison held by the Royalists from the outbreak of the Civil
War in 1642 until it surrendered on the orders of the King in 1646. The town
was surrounded by a series of offensive and defensive fieldworks, many of
which survive to the present day. They are the most impressive surviving
collection of such works in England; not only do extensive remains survive,
but the whole system is recorded on two nearly contemporary plans, one by a
Royalist engineer, the other by a Parliamentarian. They thus provide a unique
opportunity for the study of the field engineering of the Civil War. All
surviving examples of the Newark siegeworks are identified to be nationally

The remains of the Queen's Sconce survive particularly well as a series of
well preserved, substantial earthworks and will retain significant
archaeological potential in the form of buried deposits. As a result of the
survival of historical documentation and subsequent archaeological survey and
evaluation, the sconce will contribute particularly to understanding of the
Civil War sieges of Newark. In terms of scale, complexity and survival, the
Queen's Sconce represents England's finest remaining example of Civil War
military engineering. It is also believed to have included within its defences
unusual features such as pitfalls, the use of which contemporary documentary
sources suggest was extremely rare during the campaign.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
The Seige of Newark by the English and Scotch Armies, (1646)
Clampe, R, A Description of the Seidge of Newarke upon Trent, (1646)
RCHME, , Newark on Trent - The Civil War Siegeworks, (1964)
Barley, M.W, 'Transactions of the Thoroton Society' in The Queen's Sconce, Newark, (1957)
Baddeley, V., Nottinghamshire SMR: PRN 03502, (1987)
RCHME, NMR Complete Listing: SK 75 SE 34,
RCHME, NMR UID - 907998,
RCHME, NMR UID - 908002,
Title: Ordnance Survey 25" Series
Source Date: 1920

Source: Historic England

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