Mount Pleasant Redoubt
- 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.
- City of Plymouth (Unitary Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- SX 45942 55757
Reasons for Designation
Redoubts are defensive outworks, usually square or polygonal in shape, and without any flanking defences. Constructed as earthworks or of stone, or a combination of the two, they were often sited at strategic locations forward of the main defences in order to command the easiest approaches and thus deter the enemy from making any direct assault. Landward gun-mounted redoubts were not heavily defended against attack but relied on their prime location and firepower to keep any potential enemy at a distance. Mount Pleasant Redoubt survives as a nearly complete example in plan of a forward redoubt of late 18th century date with many of its original features still visible and with its strategic location commanding the approaches to the dockyard and Dock Lines still able to be appreciated. Although there has been some modification, additions, and repairs of the interior during post-war measures to incorporate the redoubt into a public park amenity, Mount Pleasant Redoubt survives well. It serves as a visual reminder of the importance of the Plymouth Dockyard as a major base of Britain's naval power in the 18th and 19th centuries and illustrates the steps which were taken to protect it from land invasion. The redoubt is sited in public open space and has been provided with comprehensive information boards explaining how the redoubt operated and its place within the defences of Plymouth.
The monument includes Mount Pleasant Redoubt, a square earthwork redoubt
constructed in the late 18th century and designed to hold a battery of
guns in an advanced position forward of the defences of the Plymouth
Dockyard (known as the Dock Lines). It was sited in a commanding location
on the watershed between two valleys leading down to the River Tamar and
Stonehouse Creek and the redoubt was intended to cover the easiest
landward approach to the dockyard. It was part of an integrated defensive
system intended to protect the dockyard against the threat of a land
invasion by Franco-Spanish forces during the period of uncertainty caused
by the American War of Independence (1775-83) and it stood about 0.5km to
the north east of the Dock Lines. The monument is Listed Grade II. The
Mount Pleasant Redoubt was first proposed by Dixon in January 1780 and it
appears to have been completed by March of that same year. It is defined
by an earth bank about 42sq m with a single entrance cut through on the
south side. The entire redoubt was surrounded by a 5m wide ditch and a
counterscarp bank which are still visible over most of their length
although the ditch has been partly filled. The inner face (scarp) of the
ditch was revetted in brick, a substantial section of which survives at
the north west corner. The outer face (counterscarp) of the ditch
consisted of a battered masonry wall of which only some sections remain
visible. Access across the ditch and into the redoubt was via a
drawbridge. A glacis or landscaped area to provide a clear field of fire
was created around the redoubt.
The redoubt was armed with guns which were mounted on the two front faces,
those facing north and east, en barbette, that is with the guns able to
fire over the low parapet wall without the need for embrasures or gaps in
the parapet. By 1787 the redoubt had eleven 18-pounders and by 1811 the
terreplein (the level area where the guns are mounted) was resurfaced in
stone and eleven individual gun positions were reported. The rear two
faces (western and southern) did not have mounted cannon as they formed
the rear of the position. However, they were provided with infantry
banquettes, firing steps on the interior of the rampart along which the
troops could deploy with light arms. In the centre of the redoubt was a
two-storey blockhouse which was burnt out in 1855 and no longer survives
above ground, although its below ground room most likely survives. It was
connected via an underground passage or souterrain to the main magazine in
the south west corner of the rampart which has been blocked off and is not
As a result of the Royal Commission of 1860 a new line of defences for the
dockyard was created much further out. Mount Pleasant Redoubt was intended to
provide a rear support for these defences but in the event it became redundant
although as late as 1885 its potential armament was still being discussed.
In World War II the position was utilised for at least one anti-aircraft gun
and a barrage balloon was anchored to the remains of the blockhouse whilst a
civilian air-raid shelter was constructed in the lee of the glacis alongside
Masterman Road. After the war the blockhouse was demolished and the redoubt
and its surroundings incorporated into a public park.
Several features are excluded from the scheduling. These are: all fixed benches, fixed signposts, modern brick steps, modern brick information plinths, modern entrance walling, modern paths, surfaces and hardstanding, all playground furniture, and all fencing. The ground beneath all of these features is, however, included.
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:
Books and journals
Pye, A, Woodward, F, The Historic Defences of Plymouth, (1996), 166
Pye, A, Woodward, F, The Historic Defences of Plymouth, (1996), 164-66
Pye, A, 'Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society' in An archaeological survey of Mount Pleasant Redoubt, Plymouth, , Vol. 50, (1992), 137-161
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