Fort Stamford


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

City of Plymouth (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SX 49338 52730


Royal Commission Fortification known as Fort Stamford.

Reasons for Designation

The Royal Commission fortifications are a group of related sites established in response to the 1859 Royal Commission report on the defence of the United Kingdom. This had been set up following an invasion scare caused by the strengthening of the French Navy.

These fortifications represented the largest maritime defence programme since the initiative of Henry VIII in 1539-40. The programme built upon the defensive works already begun at Plymouth and elsewhere and recommended the improvement of existing fortifications as well as the construction of new ones. There were eventually some 70 forts and batteries in England which were due wholly or in part to the Royal Commission. These constitute a well defined group with common design characteristics, armament and defensive provisions. Whether reused or not during the 20th century, they are the most visible core of Britain's coastal defence systems and are known colloquially as `Palmerston's follies'. All examples are considered of national importance. Despite some adaptive re-use the Royal Commission Fortification known as Fort Stamford survives well and retains many of its original features and fittings enabling the layout and function of the fort to be ascertained with certainty. It represents an important national initiative in response to a perceived hostile threat and is an important part of the national coastal defence strategy and of major historical and military significance.


See Details.


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 13 October 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

The monument includes a Royal Commission Fortification artillery fort known as Fort Stamford which forms part of the coastal defences for Plymouth and is situated on a hill overlooking Mountbatten Point, Cattewater, Jennycliffe Bay and across to the northern flank of Staddon Fort. The fort survives as a polygonal work with three landward and one seaward faces and a partly in -filled gorge overlooking the Cattewater. It has an external ditch and many of the original interior buildings, fittings and features remain. The gorge contains bomb-proof casemented barracks and the main magazine at its western end. The central traverse contains the stores and in the eastern parade is a much altered gun shed. The gorge scarp is impressive with an imposing gateway flanked by thirteen sets of barrack casements on two floors; each casement has a double window. The main magazine retains many original features and served a series of four expense magazines above it which in turn underlie further magazines on the rampart. The ramparts have ten open gun positions which are separated by up to eight expense magazines. There are probable mortar batteries at the south west and south east corners. The gorge was partly protected by a loop-holed wall along the scarp. The ditches were protected by one double (eight guns) and two single (two and four gun) caponiers all protected by musketry galleries. Originally the design of the fort included a keep but this was never built. In 1869 the fort held 200 men and officers. When building work started is not known but it was completed in around 1869. No modern armaments were installed although the fort remained in military use until 1963. Fort Stamford or Fort Turnchapel was built on the site of a 1642–3 Parliamentarian fort which was besieged and captured by the Royalists in 1643.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
PY 517
Legacy System:


PastScape Monument No:-437586


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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