Sir Bevil Grenville's Monument


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


Ordnance survey map of Sir Bevil Grenville's Monument
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This copy shows the entry on 18-Sep-2019 at 20:47:37.


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

Bath and North East Somerset (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
ST 72190 70345

Reasons for Designation

The English Civil War, 1642-1648, was the culmination of the political struggle between King Charles I and Parliament. Prior to the war, Charles, believing in the Divine Right of Kings, had dissolved Parliament and ruled for 11 years without it, aided by the Earl of Strafford. These 11 years were dominated by religious issues, and particularly the reforms of Archbishop Laud. Laud's reforms in Scotland triggered rioting which necessitated the recall of Parliament, which in turn led to the impeachment and execution of Laud and Strafford. Parliament made further attacks on the king's prerogative and the episcopy, resulting in Charles seeking to arrest leading MPs.

Thwarted in this, Charles set up his standard in Nottingham on the 22nd August 1642. The king's popularity lay broadly in the north and west among conservative elements and Catholics. Parliament attracted support from the Scots Covenanters and from the south and east of England. Parliament also controlled London, Hull, Plymouth, Bristol, Gloucester and Portsmouth, in all about two thirds of the population and three quarters of the country's wealth. In 1645, after the formation of the New Model Army by Cromwell, under the command of Sir Thomas Fairfax, the decisive engagement of the war was fought at Naseby. Defeated, Charles fled and surrendered himself to the Scots, but was promptly handed over to Parliament, tried, and executed in 1649.

The importance of the battle of Lansdown must be seen in the context of the progress of the war in the west country. The first part of the war was indecisive, but by the early summer of 1643 the Royalists were optimistic at recent successes. Parliament, however, still held a number of garrisons in the west including Devon, Bristol, Bath and Gloucester. Sir Ralph Hopton's Royalist army, campaigning in Devon and Somerset, needed to join with the king's Oxford army for a combined advance upon London. In order for this to be done the Parliamentarian position in the West had first to be destroyed. Sir William Waller, as Major General of the Western Association Forces, commanded Parliament's forces in Shropshire, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Somerset. The Royalist plan for dealing with Waller rested upon constructing a firm base for operations by occupying Wells, Taunton, Bridgewater and Dunster Castle, and then applying pressure against the Parliamentarian rallying point of Bath. The Royalist forces advanced towards Bath and there were a number of skirmishes in the surrounding region before the two forces met at Lansdown Hill. The Parliamentarians considered that Lansdown Hill was their victory. Although Waller had left the field, the Royalists had been prevented from taking Bath, and were now more concerned with their own withdrawal rather than conquest.

The monument to Sir Bevil Grenville formalises on the ground the site of the battle of Landsdown. The monument itself provides an approximate indication of the central area of the battle.


The monument includes a memorial situated on the Civil War battlefield of Lansdown Hill; it marks the approximate centre of the Royalist attack upon the Parliamentary army's position on the hill. The monument, which is Listed Grade II*, is dedicated to the Royalist Colonel Sir Bevil Grenville (also spelt `Granville' on the monument) who was fatally wounded at the head of his Cornish pikemen establishing a breach-head on the brow of the hill at a decisive point in the battle. The monument was built in the early 18th century, and inscriptions say it was dedicated in 1720. It was repaired twice, once in 1777 and again in 1829.

The monument is set upon a base 4.5m square, around the outer edge of which is a protective encirclement of iron railings, which is included in the scheduling. The bottom part of the monument is a square podium of rusticated ashlar c.3m high and c.1.6m across with dedications on its north and south sides. The inscription on the south side of the monument is a eulogy to Sir Bevil Grenville taken from Clarendon's History Vol 2. On the north side of the monument are two poems: the first, about the death of Grenville, by William Cartwright and the second referring to Grenville's grandfather, Sir Richard Grenville, by Martin Llewellin, both dated 1643. Under the poems is a dedication of the monument. Above this is a square shaft c.1.2m across and c.1.8m high with trophies and arms in relief on each of its four panels. This is topped by egg and tongue decoration and a heavy cornice. The whole is surmounted by a gryphon.

The battle, which was fought between the Royalists commanded by Sir Ralph Hopton and the Parliamentarians under Sir William Waller, took place on the 4th and 5th July 1643. The battle ended in a stalemate, and in the context of the overall struggle for the West country, the Royalist cause was not advanced by the result of this battle.

The modern landscape is little changed from that in 1643 when the battle took place, apart from further enclosure, more arable, and a degree of wood and scrub development. Contemporary references to the engagement mention place names which can still be found today. Features mentioned in the accounts of the battle such as Freezinghill Lane, up which the Royalist cavalry advanced, and the stone wall across the top of the hill behind which the Parliamentarians took cover, can still be seen.

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


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


English Heritage, English Heritage Battlefield Report: Lansdown 1643, (1995)
English Heritage, English Heritage Battlefield Report: Lansdown 1643, (1995)
Williams, S. M. W., AM 107, (1984)


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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