Dartmouth Lamberds Bulwark

Has been described as a Certain Artillery Fort

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains

NameDartmouth Lamberds Bulwark
Alternative NamesLambards Bulwark; Maiden Fort; Old Battery; Clifton; Stoke Fleming
Historic CountryDevonshire
Modern AuthorityDevon
1974 AuthorityDevon
Civil ParishDartmouth

Originally built in C16 and called Lamberd's Bulwark, rebuilt in stone in 1747 and called Maiden Fort. It was strengthened in 1861 and converted for a single gun in 1940. Restored by English Heritage to its C19 appearance. (PastScape)

The coastal battery at Dartmouth, known as the Old Battery, is Listed Grade II-star and is a 19th century artillery fort built on the site of earlier 16th and 18th century fortifications. In its present form the Old Battery is a small two tier work of 1861. The guns on the upper tier were in open embrasures on a level space behind a rampart, whilst the guns in the lower tier are in three bomb proof vaulted chambers built into the thickness of the ramparts (casemates). The upper tier included two embrasures and provision for latrines, side arms and magazines. The building now used as the ticket office was built on top of the western embrasure in around 1940 to provide shelter for a 4.7 inch gun. The eastern embrasure has not been significantly altered and now contains one of the cast iron guns issued to Dartmouth in the 1890s. It is a 64 pounder rifled muzzle-loader converted from a smooth bore piece in 1874 and mounted on a reproduction traversing siege carriage. The three casemates lie immediately below the upper tier and behind them are the magazines and a lighting passage. Artillery pieces have been placed in each of the casemates for presentation purposes, although only the 64 pounder in the western casemate was part of the battery's armament. The magazines in which the ammunition was stored were separated from the casemates for safety reasons, with the shells being issued through hatches. Lighting for the magazines was provided by a lighting passage which was added in 1868. The magazine lamps were serviced from and vented into this passage, away from the magazines. The lanterns shone through glazed hatches and thus lit the magazines but avoided the danger of direct flames or sparks

The final main area within the Old Battery is the guardhouse which was entered from the upper tier and includes two separate rooms. The smaller room was the officer's quarters and the other the guardroom. Ammunition for the upper battery was brought up through hatches in the floor of the guardhouse. Three holes in the floor situated immediately above the main entrance to the battery are murder holes for defending the main door against attackers approaching the battery from the rear down an incline. The detailed history of the Old Battery is known from a series of military documents. The first specific mention of a gun battery on the site is in 1545 when Lamberd's Bulwark is referred to. The only description of this battery was made by a Spanish spy in 1599 who described it as a bastion of earth with six or eight pieces of artillery. (Scheduling Report)

Artillery battery. 1861, built on the site of Lamberds Bulwark, later known as Maiden Fort, and incorporating some C17 or C18 masonry. Some earlier local rubble on the landward side but predominantly snecked limestone with granite ashlar dressings. Battery, square in plan, contains casemates for three 64-pounder guns pointing south-eastwards towards the sea, with magazines behind and some barrack accommodation, and, on top, embrasures for another 2 guns (one has been restored on a replica traversing carriage). The other embrasure now occupied by an octagonal painted brick emplacement for a 120mm gun which was erected in 1940 and given a castellated parapet to disguise it as an antiquity. A good example of a small Victorian artillery fort. (Listed Building Report)

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

This is a Grade 2* listed building protected by law

Historic England Scheduled Monument Number
Historic England Listed Building number(s)
Images Of England
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSX886502
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

No photos available. If you can provide pictures please contact Castlefacts

Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.

Calculate Print


  • (For full bibliography of Dartmouth defences see Dartmouth Artillery Castle)
  • Duffy, Michael, 1999, 'Coastal Defences and Garrisons 1480-1914' in Kain, R. and Ravenhill, W., Historical Atlas of South-West England (University of Exeter Press) p. 158-60


  • O'Neil, B.H.St.J., 1936, 'Dartmouth Castle and other defences of Dartmouth Haven' Archaeologia Vol. 85 p. 129-59

Guide Books

  • Davison, B.K., 2000, Dartmouth Castle Guidebook (London: English Heritage)
  • Saunders, A.D., 1986, Dartmouth Castle, Devon (London: English Heritage)
  • Saunders, A.D., 1983 2edn, Dartmouth Castle, Devon (HMSO) p. 9, 12
  • Saunders, A.D., 1965, Dartmouth Castle, Devon (HMSO)