Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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St Ishmael's Scar Beach Defence Gun House

A Scheduled Monument in St. Ishmael (Llanismel), Carmarthenshire (Sir Gaerfyrddin)

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Latitude: 51.7486 / 51°44'54"N

Longitude: -4.3742 / 4°22'27"W

OS Eastings: 236198

OS Northings: 208211

OS Grid: SN361082

Mapcode National: GBR GN.C07Q

Mapcode Global: VH3M1.49CW

Entry Name: St Ishmael's Scar Beach Defence Gun House

Scheduled Date: 5 November 2009

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 947

Cadw Legacy ID: CM383

Schedule Class: Defence

Category: Gun house

Period: Post Medieval/Modern

County: Carmarthenshire (Sir Gaerfyrddin)

Community: St. Ishmael (Llanismel)

Traditional County: Carmarthenshire


The monument comprises the remains of a beach defence gun house, dating to the early period of the Second World War (AD 1940-41). The defensive artillery battery was constructed at short notice to defend the strategically important Towy estuary. It is located on the east bank of the River Towy and surmounts the sea wall overlooking St Ishmael's Scar to the west. From this position, the gun could command the estuary and be used to defend against enemy landings on the gently shelving beach. The gun house was built from reinforced concrete and was designed to mount one 4-inch gun, together with loopholes for light machine guns on the south and east sides. There is an unusual ammunition magazine incorporated into the S wall. The gun house is rectangular in shape on plan and partly buried into the ground. It measures a maximum of 2.6m in height externally, 10.27m in length north to south and 7.3m in width. The roof comprises a massive reinforced concrete slab that measures 0.3m in thickness. The walls measure 1.07m in thickness. A protected entrance is located at the east end of the north wall and provided access on to the open-faced gun deck.

The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge of Second World War anti-invasion practices. This well preserved structure was originally one of a number of positions defending the south Wales coast and is an important relic of actions taken against the perceived threat of a German invasion from Ireland. It retains significant archaeological potential, with a strong probability of the presence of associated archaeological features and deposits.

The area scheduled comprises the remains described and an area around within which related evidence may be expected to survive. The scheduled area is rectangular in shape on plan and measures 20m in length (north to south) by 15m transversely.

Source: Cadw

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