Martinhoe Castle (Roman signal station)


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.

North Devon (District Authority)
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
SS 66308 49338


Roman signal station known as The Beacon 850m north-west of Martinhoe.

Reasons for Designation

Roman signal stations were rectangular towers of stone or wood situated within ditched, embanked, palisaded or walled enclosures and were built by the Roman army for military observation and signalling by means of fire or smoke. They normally formed an element of a wider system of defence and signalling between military sites such as forts and camps and towns, generally as part of a chain of stations to cover long distances. Often stations were constructed along the coast to keep lookout over the sea and to signal information both along the coast and to inland sites. Part of a small group of Roman military monuments, they are important in representing army strategy, government policy and the pattern of military control and are of importance to our understanding of the period.

The Roman signal station known as The Beacon survives well and will contain important archaeological and environmental information relating to its construction, use and landscape setting.


See Details.


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 19 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.

This monument includes a Roman signal station known as The Beacon situated on a prominent north facing clifftop overlooking Highveer Point, Wringapeak and the valleys of Hill Brook and Hollow Brook. The innermost enclosure is rectangular and measures up to 22m by 20m internally and is defined by a bank and slight outer ditch. Beyond this is the outer rampart which is sub circular in plan, is formed by a bank with outer ditch and encloses an area measuring up to 72m in diameter internally. The bank is up to 1m in height. To the north, the artificial outer rampart ceases and the natural cliff is utilised as a line of defence. The ditch used to construct the outer rampart survives as a partially buried feature. Excavations in the 1960s revealed the footings of three ranges of buildings and artefacts suggested a first century date. Within the outer enclosure the sites of a series of bonfires from its use as a coastal beacon are known to survive.


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

Legacy System number:
DV 40
Legacy System:


PastScape Monument No:- 34615


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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