Scraesdon Fort


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.

Cornwall (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SX 39243 54920


Royal Commission fortification called Scraesdon Fort.

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'. Although never actually armed the fort remains largely intact and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, social, political, historical and military significance, domestic arrangements, periods of re-use and overall landscape context.


See Details.


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 7 December 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 Royal Commission fortification situated on the northern side of the peninsula leading to Rame Head overlooking the estuary of St Germans or Lynher River. The fort survives as an irregular octagonal enclosure built on two levels surrounded by a ditch with revetted scarps flanked by caponiers and galleries and including barracks, casemates, gun emplacements, drawbridge machinery, buildings to full height and some internal fixtures and fittings with further military outworks to the west.

Built between 1859 and 1860 as part of the Antony Line and linked to Wacker Quay by a railway it was designed to protect the western approaches to Plymouth. It was intended to house 27 guns facing west and south west and should have housed over 400 serving officers and men. The keep was never built and by 1868 a report suggested guns should only be installed if the need arose. As a result no guns were ever mounted and the fort was used instead as occasional barracks for a variety of units. The terreplein to the south of the fort has several Second World War huts.

Scraesdon Fort is listed at Grade II.


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

Legacy System number:
CO 649
Legacy System:


PastScape Monument No:-436663


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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