Queen's Sconce

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016150

Date first listed: 26-Sep-1935

Date of most recent amendment: 24-Sep-1997

Map

Ordnance survey map of Queen's Sconce
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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Location

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

County: Nottinghamshire

District: Newark and Sherwood (District Authority)

Parish: Newark

National Grid Reference: SK7906253052

Summary

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

The battles and sieges of the English Civil War (1642-52) between King and Parliament were the last major active military campaigns to be undertaken on English soil and have left their mark on the English landscape in a variety of ways. Fieldworks are earthworks which were raised during the military campaigns to provide temporary protection for infantry or to act as gun emplacements. The earthworks, which may have been reinforced with revetting and palisades, consisted of banks and ditches and varied in complexity from simple breastworks to complex systems of banks and interconnecting trenches. They can be recognised today as surviving earthworks or as crop or soil marks on aerial photographs. They are recorded widely throughout England, with concentrations in the main areas of campaigning, and have been recognised to be unique in representing the only evidence on the ground of military campaigns fought in England since the introduction of guns. Newark was a key garrison held by the Royalists from the outbreak of the Civil War in 1642 until it surrendered on the orders of the King in 1646. The town was surrounded by a series of offensive and defensive fieldworks, many of which survive to the present day. They are the most impressive surviving collection of such works in England; not only do extensive remains survive, but the whole system is recorded on two nearly contemporary plans, one by a Royalist engineer, the other by a Parliamentarian. They thus provide a unique opportunity for the study of the field engineering of the Civil War. All surviving examples of the Newark siegeworks are identified to be nationally important.

The remains of the Queen's Sconce survive particularly well as a series of well preserved, substantial earthworks and will retain significant archaeological potential in the form of buried deposits. As a result of the survival of historical documentation and subsequent archaeological survey and evaluation, the sconce will contribute particularly to understanding of the Civil War sieges of Newark. In terms of scale, complexity and survival, the Queen's Sconce represents England's finest remaining example of Civil War military engineering. It is also believed to have included within its defences unusual features such as pitfalls, the use of which contemporary documentary sources suggest was extremely rare during the campaign.

History

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Details

The monument includes the remains of a Civil War sconce constructed by the Royalist forces defending the town of Newark. The monument is situated within Devon Park, and consists of earthworks covering an area approximately 120m by 133m. Ramparts up to 9m in height, a maximum of 17m in width at their base and surmounted by a parapet about 4.5m across, define an area up to 75m square. On the southern and eastern sides of the ramparts an eroded external lip to the parapet up to 0.6m in height and 3m in width is interpreted as having provided cover for a fire step within. Angle bastions projecting from the northern, north eastern, southern and south western corners of the ramparts are interpreted as platforms for mounting artillery pieces. Shallow ramps connecting the bastions and the area within the ramparts were constructed to enable guns to be hauled into position. A T- shaped depression about 9m in width and 2m in depth within the ramparts in the south west corner of the sconce is not thought to represent an original feature and is indicative of subsequent digging for gravel. The ramparts and bastions are surrounded by a steep V-shaped ditch up to 21m wide and between 3.6m and 4.5m in depth, with a narrow, flat bottom. A counterscarp bank about 3m in width and 0.7m in height running intermittently along the north eastern and south eastern edge of the ditch indicates the location of an external palisade which contemporary documents suggest originally enclosed the sconce. A triangular platform immediately beyond the northern ditch is the location of an additional line of defences in the form of pitfalls and is defined along its northern edge by a shallow linear depression approximately 5m in width and running on a north west-south east axis for up to 54m. This is interpreted as a field track or an outwork probably predating the sconce and therefore representing an earlier phase of constructional activity. Contemporary plans of the fieldworks constructed by the Royalist and Parliamentarian forces both clearly depict the monument and show it to have been an outwork situated outside the main line of town defences. A Royalist plan of c.1646 illustrates the sconce in some detail and includes a bridge spanning the western side of the ditch and the presence of an external palisade and pitfalls. The latter consisted of camouflaged pits containing sharpened stakes designed to hamper cavalry assaults. Documentary sources indicate that the Queen's Sconce was constructed in conjunction with a similar work to the north of the town in an effort to improve the defences following the end of the second siege in March 1644. It is known from contemporary accounts to have been completed prior to the beginning of the third and final siege in November 1645. The location of the sconce on a prominent knoll with commanding views of the crossing point over the River Devon and the line of the Fosse Way suggest that it was primarily designed to cover the southern approach to the town whilst denying control of a tactically important piece of high ground to the attacking Parliamentarians. All fences and the surfaces of roads and pathways are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.

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

Legacy

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

Legacy System number: 30213

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
The Seige of Newark by the English and Scotch Armies, (1646)
Clampe, R, A Description of the Seidge of Newarke upon Trent, (1646)
RCHME, , Newark on Trent - The Civil War Siegeworks, (1964)
Barley, M.W, 'Transactions of the Thoroton Society' in The Queen's Sconce, Newark, (1957)
Other
Baddeley, V., Nottinghamshire SMR: PRN 03502, (1987)
RCHME, NMR Complete Listing: SK 75 SE 34,
RCHME, NMR UID - 907998,
RCHME, NMR UID - 908002,
Title: Ordnance Survey 25" Series Source Date: 1920 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing