Ancient Monuments

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Civil War Sconce 150m west of Muskham Bridge

A Scheduled Monument in South Muskham, Nottinghamshire

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Latitude: 53.0978 / 53°5'52"N

Longitude: -0.8274 / 0°49'38"W

OS Eastings: 478614.744353

OS Northings: 356268.679136

OS Grid: SK786562

Mapcode National: GBR CL7.TXG

Mapcode Global: WHFHH.8D8G

Entry Name: Civil War Sconce 150m west of Muskham Bridge

Scheduled Date: 1 January 1949

Last Amended: 6 August 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017620

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30203

County: Nottinghamshire

Civil Parish: South Muskham

Traditional County: Nottinghamshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Nottinghamshire

Church of England Parish: South Muskham

Church of England Diocese: Southwell and Nottingham


The monument includes the remains of a Civil War sconce constructed by the
Royalist forces defending Newark and a later redoubt built by the

The monument lies 90m west of Muskham Bridge and includes the remains of
earthworks defining a polygonal enclosure covering an area of approximately
50m by 45m with ramparts between 6m and 3m in width. The ramparts turn
outwards at three points to form a west-facing central bastion and two demi-
bastions pointing north and south respectively. In the north east corner an L-
shaped ditch defines a later internal redoubt enclosing an area approximately
17m by 18m. An external ditch up to 2.5m in width follows the ramparts, beyond
which are the remains of a slight counterscarp bank which is well defined on
the western side. A linear depression 3m in width and approximately 0.6m deep
abuts the ditch and counterscarp bank at the tip of the southern demi-bastion
and runs ESE for up to 25m. This is identified as a covered way linking the
sconce to the 17th century course of the Great North Road, which ran on a NNE-
SSW axis from the end of the covered way to a point just beyond the north-
eastern tip of the rampart.

Contemporary documentary sources indicate that the monument was a defensive
work or sconce initially constructed by the Royalist forces defending Newark
but which was subsequently stormed and briefly held by the Parliamentarians
during the second siege of Newark in March 1645. During the third and final
siege between November 1645 and May 1646 the sconce was again assaulted by
the Parliamentarians, on this occasion by Scottish troops under the Earl of
Leven. Following capture by the Scots a redoubt was constructed in the
north eastern corner. Contemporary plans recording the fieldworks of the
Parliamentarians and a similar document showing the Royalist defences both
clearly depict the monument. In addition to the placement of the bastion and
northern demi-bastion, the location of the sconce in close proximity to the
17th century course of the Great North Road and Muskham Bridge suggest that it
was constructed to provide a clear field of fire over both these features,
therefore preventing incursions onto the island from across the River Trent.
The presence of the southern demi-bastion indicates that the sconce was also
designed to be able to defend itself from the southern, landwards side.

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 sconce west of Muskham Bridge survive particularly well as
a series of substantial earthworks and will retain significant archaeological
potential in the form of buried deposits. As a result of both the survival of
historical documentation and subsequent archaeological survey, the remains
will contribute particularly to an understanding of the siege of Newark.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
A Great Fight at Newarke, (1646)
The Seige of Newark by the English and Scotch Armies, (1646)
Bury, Lieutenant Colonel, A Brief Relation of the Siege of Newarke, (1645)
Bury, Lieutenant Colonel, A Brief Relation of the Siege of Newarke, (1645)
Clampe, R, A Description of the Seidge of Newarke upon Trent, (1646)
RCHME, , Newark on Trent - The Civil War Siegeworks, (1964)
RCHME, , Newark on Trent - The Civil War Siegeworks, (1964)
'Journal of the House of Lords' in Journal of the House of Lords, (1646)
'Journal of the House of Lords' in Journal of the House of Lords, (1646)

Source: Historic England

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