Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
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Statutory Address:

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

Cornwall (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SW 47670 29851

Reasons for Designation

yes, List



866/0/10037 BATTERY ROAD 24-JUN-10 (South,off) Battery and War Memorial

II Battery built by Penzance Corporation in 1740 and war memorial unveiled, designed by Sir Edward Warren.

Materials: Granite.

Description Battery: C18 battery with attached bulwark situated on a rocky shore side outcrop overlooking Mounts Bay. The battery includes a heptagonal, granite built platform with a low retaining wall enclosing an area measuring up to 14m north to south by 10.8m east to west. The walls are battered to provide protection against the sea. The battery is attached to the mainland by a stone built causeway from which a bulwark leads toward the South Pier. The causeway is partially encapsulated within later walls and surfaces, but the original vertical laid blocks along part of the eastern side are clearly visible and elsewhere the original wall is known to survive because it protrudes through the modern surface. The bulwark leading from the end of the causeway probably survives as a buried feature, whose position is known from early mapping.

War Memorial: The war memorial stands in the centre of the battery and is dedicated to " THOSE BRAVE MEN OF PENZANCE/ WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES TO/ THEIR COUNTRY'S CAUSE AND/ FELL IN THE GREAT WAR/ OF 1914 - 1919". The granite stone war memorial includes a square two stepped plinth, with pedestal surmounted by a tall obelisk. Each face of the obelisk bears a cross pattée in relief towards the top and towards the bottom a panel containing an inscription. That on the north reads FOR GOD, on the south side FOR HONOUR, on the west side FOR KING and on the east FOR COUNTRY. The pedestal is surrounded by a low cast iron rail and each face has a central recessed panel. The northern panel bears a wreath in relief containing the inscription PRO PATRIA, the south side hold the dedication on a slate tablet and the western and eastern sides contain slate tablets inscribed with the 207 names of the fallen.

History Battery: In June 1739, after years of declining relations, war with Spain seemed inevitable. Penzance Corporation successfully petitioned the government for guns to protect the town on condition that they built a battery to house them. The war, which became known as the War of Jenkins' Ear was declared in October and the battery built in 1740 at a cost of £200. The Corporation were responsible for maintaining the guns and battery and in 1744-6 paid Tobias Vibert "for work about the Battery and Guns including lead balls and gunpowder" and in 1745 paid for the cleaning of the guns. The battery remained in commission throughout the C18 and, manned by a volunteer company, protected the adjacent harbour throughout the Napoleonic Wars (1793-1815). Detailed glimpses of life at the battery are provided by the Penzance Corporation Accounts and the battery is shown on the Ordnance Survey drawings of 1809 of coastal defences at which time it contained three 24 pounders. A print of the time shows the battery complete with flagpole and gateway. A photograph taken around 1870 illustrates that the guns had been replaced by a small weatherboard building. . The building had disappeared by the next edition of the mapping in 1909, being replaced by two smaller structures situated within the northern part of the battery. A photograph taken in 1910 shows the battery complete with at least five cannons.

War Memorial: In 1922 the war memorial was erected to the fallen of Penzance in the centre of the battery. The memorial was designed by Sir Edward Warren and built by Messrs. W.H. Snell & Sons. Warren (1856-1937) was a prolific country house and church architect, who designed the Imperial War Graves Cemetery at Basra, Iraq, whch also has a prominent obelisk. It was unveiled on 14th May 1922 by Mrs Bolitho and dedicated by the Bishop of Truro. In 1935 the Jubilee Pool ( Listed Grade II) was constructed adjacent to and west of the memorial and battery. During the Second World War 4 inch MkVII guns were placed on or around the battery and nearby Bofors guns and searchlights provided additional protection for the harbour.

Sources: Carter C, The Port of Penzance - A History (1998) Pool PAS, The history of the town and borough of Penzance (1974) The Cahill Partnership with Eric Berry, Penzance Harbour, South Pier Historic Building Analysis (2009) Available at:- Accessed 30-Nov-09. United Kingdom National Inventory of War Memorials - Penzance World War I Memorial Available at :- Accessed 30-Nov-09.

Headquarters Southern Command records WO199/1638

Reasons for Designation: The C18 battery and First World War memorial at Battery Rocks, Penzance are designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Historic Interest: the battery and related war memorial possess considerable interest as testaments to the fear of invasion, and to the losses sustained in the World Wars. The battery (for which documentation survives, and which is likely to contain considerable evidence of its construction within its fabric) is an interesting example of C18 coastal defences, protecting the important harbour of Penzance. It later saw modification for World War II defences.

* Design Interest: the battery retains its functional form, and the strongly modelled cross, standing at the edge of the exposed shore, has very considerable presence. The forceful employment of local granite has strong resonance.

* Group Value: the battery and war memorial stand beside the listed lido and adjacent to the notable South Pier; they are visible in many prospects from the town.

This List entry has been amended to add the source for War Memorials Online. This source was not used in the compilation of this List entry but is added here as a guide for further reading, 13 December 2016.


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


War Memorials Online, accessed 13/12/2016 from
War Memorials Register, accessed 13/12/2016 from


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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