Ancient Monuments

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Mount Pleasant Redoubt

A Scheduled Monument in Stoke, Plymouth

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Latitude: 50.3815 / 50°22'53"N

Longitude: -4.1682 / 4°10'5"W

OS Eastings: 245941.8873

OS Northings: 55756.628857

OS Grid: SX459557

Mapcode National: GBR R62.LH

Mapcode Global: FRA 2841.CXR

Entry Name: Mount Pleasant Redoubt

Scheduled Date: 24 February 2004

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021287

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33071

County: Plymouth

Electoral Ward/Division: Stoke

Built-Up Area: Plymouth

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Devonport St Michael

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


The monument includes Mount Pleasant Redoubt, a square earthwork redoubt
constructed in the late 18th century and designed to hold a battery of
guns in an advanced position forward of the defences of the Plymouth
Dockyard (known as the Dock Lines). It was sited in a commanding location
on the watershed between two valleys leading down to the River Tamar and
Stonehouse Creek and the redoubt was intended to cover the easiest
landward approach to the dockyard. It was part of an integrated defensive
system intended to protect the dockyard against the threat of a land
invasion by Franco-Spanish forces during the period of uncertainty caused
by the American War of Independence (1775-83) and it stood about 0.5km to
the north east of the Dock Lines. The monument is Listed Grade II. The
Mount Pleasant Redoubt was first proposed by Dixon in January 1780 and it
appears to have been completed by March of that same year. It is defined
by an earth bank about 42sq m with a single entrance cut through on the
south side. The entire redoubt was surrounded by a 5m wide ditch and a
counterscarp bank which are still visible over most of their length
although the ditch has been partly filled. The inner face (scarp) of the
ditch was revetted in brick, a substantial section of which survives at
the north west corner. The outer face (counterscarp) of the ditch
consisted of a battered masonry wall of which only some sections remain
visible. Access across the ditch and into the redoubt was via a
drawbridge. A glacis or landscaped area to provide a clear field of fire
was created around the redoubt.
The redoubt was armed with guns which were mounted on the two front faces,
those facing north and east, en barbette, that is with the guns able to
fire over the low parapet wall without the need for embrasures or gaps in
the parapet. By 1787 the redoubt had eleven 18-pounders and by 1811 the
terreplein (the level area where the guns are mounted) was resurfaced in
stone and eleven individual gun positions were reported. The rear two
faces (western and southern) did not have mounted cannon as they formed
the rear of the position. However, they were provided with infantry
banquettes, firing steps on the interior of the rampart along which the
troops could deploy with light arms. In the centre of the redoubt was a
two-storey blockhouse which was burnt out in 1855 and no longer survives
above ground, although its below ground room most likely survives. It was
connected via an underground passage or souterrain to the main magazine in
the south west corner of the rampart which has been blocked off and is not
As a result of the Royal Commission of 1860 a new line of defences for the
dockyard was created much further out. Mount Pleasant Redoubt was intended to
provide a rear support for these defences but in the event it became redundant
although as late as 1885 its potential armament was still being discussed.
In World War II the position was utilised for at least one anti-aircraft gun
and a barrage balloon was anchored to the remains of the blockhouse whilst a
civilian air-raid shelter was constructed in the lee of the glacis alongside
Masterman Road. After the war the blockhouse was demolished and the redoubt
and its surroundings incorporated into a public park.

Several features are excluded from the scheduling. These are: all fixed
benches, fixed signposts, modern brick steps, modern brick information
plinths, modern entrance walling, modern paths, surfaces and hardstanding,
all playground furniture, and all fencing. The ground beneath all of these
features is, however, included.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Redoubts are defensive outworks, usually square or polygonal in shape, and
without any flanking defences. Constructed as earthworks or of stone, or a
combination of the two, they were often sited at strategic locations
forward of the main defences in order to command the easiest approaches
and thus deter the enemy from making any direct assault. Landward
gun-mounted redoubts were not heavily defended against attack but relied
on their prime location and firepower to keep any potential enemy at a
Mount Pleasant Redoubt survives as a nearly complete example in plan of a
forward redoubt of late 18th century date with many of its original
features still visible and with its strategic location commanding the
approaches to the dockyard and Dock Lines still able to be appreciated.
Although there has been some modification, additions, and repairs of the
interior during post-war measures to incorporate the redoubt into a public
park amenity, Mount Pleasant Redoubt survives well. It serves as a visual
reminder of the importance of the Plymouth Dockyard as a major base of
Britain's naval power in the 18th and 19th centuries and illustrates the
steps which were taken to protect it from land invasion. The redoubt is
sited in public open space and has been provided with comprehensive
information boards explaining how the redoubt operated and its place
within the defences of Plymouth.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Pye, A, Woodward, F, The Historic Defences of Plymouth, (1996), 166
Pye, A, Woodward, F, The Historic Defences of Plymouth, (1996), 164-66
Pye, A, 'Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society' in An archaeological survey of Mount Pleasant Redoubt, Plymouth, , Vol. 50, (1992), 137-161

Source: Historic England

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