Civil War fieldwork known as Gallant's Bower


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020166

Date first listed: 29-Nov-1950

Date of most recent amendment: 24-Apr-2002


Ordnance survey map of Civil War fieldwork known as Gallant's Bower
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 16-Dec-2018 at 17:05:22.


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

County: Devon

District: South Hams (District Authority)

Parish: Dartmouth

National Grid Reference: SX 88395 50198


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

Reasons for Designation

English Civil War fieldworks are earthworks which were raised during military operations between 1642 and 1645 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 inter- connected trenches. They can be recognised today as surviving earthworks or as crop- or soil-marks on aerial photographs. The circumstances and cost of their construction may be referred to in contemporary historical documents. Fieldworks are recorded widely throughout England with concentrations in the main areas of campaigning. Those with a defensive function were often sited to protect settlements or their approaches. Those with an offensive function were designed to dominate defensive positions and to contain the besieged areas. There are some 150 surviving examples of fieldworks recorded nationally. All examples which survive well and/or represent particular forms of construction are identified as nationally important.

Despite slight damage from tree roots and visitor erosion, the Civil War fieldwork known as Gallant's Bower is in good condition. Its earthworks and associated quarries will contain stratified remains relating to its construction and use and will add considerably to the future understanding of the monument, its surroundings and Civil War fortifications in general.


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


This monument includes a fieldwork of the English Civil War, dating to between 1644 and 1646 and constructed to protect Dartmouth town and the 15th century artillery fort at Dartmouth Castle, which is the subject of a separate scheduling 300m to the north east. A second earthwork fort at Mount Ridley on the opposite side of the estuary protected the village of Kingswear and associated coastal batteries. Gallant's Bower fort was besieged for a short period in January 1646 after the fall of the town to Parliamentary forces under Sir Thomas Fairfax, but surrendered almost immediately. The site lies at the eastern crest of a steeply sloping spur overlooking the mouth of the estuary of the River Dart, with wide views to the north, east and south over the estuary and immediate coastline. The earthworks comprise a roughly rectangular fort, measuring 100m long and 65m wide across the limits of the visible earthworks. Five massive bastions, each connected by a large embankment enclose a gently sloping interior 50m long and 27m wide. The ramparts and bastions rise from 1.7 to 3m from the interior, falling steeply for an average of 5m to the hillslopes below. The intermediate ramparts are from 8.5m to 12m wide. Each bastion is flat-topped and mostly featureless, though some have traces of stone faced breastworks to protect the defenders. Evidence for the quarrying of material for the fort is extensive, with several quarry pits surrounding the site. These are mostly small with two cut into the hillside on the south east side and several immediately north west of the fort. One large pit south west of the fort measures 15m by 20m wide and 0.6m deep, and is scarped 2.5m into rising ground on its west side. Hedgebanks predating the fort are overlaid by the bastions on the north side and survive as low linear earthworks 2.5m wide and from 0.3m to 1m high, while an animal pound 13m square, enclosed by stony banks 1.5m wide and up to 1m high, partly underlies the eastern bastion. Hedgebanks and a long wall running down the south east side of the fort are of post-medieval and modern date. One of two small stone buildings is associated with this wall, but has largely disappeared. The other lies a short distance away, cut into the back of the south west rampart. It measures 3.5m by 3.2m and stands up to 1.8m high, with a door on its east side. The fence posts 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. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


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

Legacy System number: 33800

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Wilson-North, R, Gallant's Bower: A Fort of the English Civil War, (1998)
Wilson-North, R, Gallant's Bower: A Fort of the English Civil War, (1998)
Wilson-North, R, Gallant's Bower: A Fort of the English Civil War, (1998)
MPP fieldwork by R Waterhouse, Waterhouse, R, (2000)

End of official listing