Plymouth Blockhouse, Mount Batten

Has been described as a Possible Artillery Fort

There are no visible remains

NamePlymouth Blockhouse, Mount Batten
Alternative Names
Historic CountryDevonshire
Modern AuthorityPlymouth; City of
1974 AuthorityDevon
Civil ParishPlymouth

C17 artillery tower, and a Civil War breastwork as well as sundry World War II remains. Grenville's map of the fortifications on Mount Batten in 1586-8 showed a new bulwark and 3 artillery pieces, the latter facing west and south-west, but no surface remains are identifiable. In the C17 an artillery tower of three storeys was built on the headland of Mount Battern perhaps between 1645-60 as part of the defences of Plymouth Sound. It is a circular stone tower 9.1 metres high, 14 metres in diameter, and with walls approximately 1 metre thick; it has a castellated parapet with embrasures for ten guns. A Civil War earthwork was noted close to the tower in 1882; this earthwork is thought to date from the siege of Plymouth from 1643-45 and may be part of a Parliamentarian retreat-work shown on a contemporary Royalist map. It survives as a slight bank and ditch on the south western side of the seaward slope of the headland. During World War II the need for effective air and coastal defence saw the area of Mount Battern given over to both air and sea defence structures. These structures include the remains of two Light Anti-Aircraft gun emplacements and a signal identification panel on the area of the plateau south west of the artillery tower, and two L-shaped anti-submarine searchlight batteries of brick and shuttered concrete construction which survive intact minus their searchlights; they lie just above the high water mark of medium tides on the south west rock bench of the headland. (PastScape)

Gatehouse Comments

Nothing remains of the C16 artillery fortification.

- Philip Davis

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 ReferenceSX486532
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Calculate Print


  • 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
  • Salter, Mike, 1999, The Castles of Devon and Cornwall (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 76
  • Pye, Andrew and Woodward, Freddy, 1996, The historic defences of Plymouth (Exeter: Exeter Archaeology Fortress Study Group South West) p. 136
  • Pevsner, Nikolaus and Cherry, Bridget, 1989, Buildings of England: Devon (Harmondsworth) p. 649
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1
  • RCHME, 1963, Monuments threatened or destroyed: a select list: 1956-1962 (HMSO) p. 32


  • 1883, Journal of the British Archaeological Association Vol. 39 p. 329 (slight) online copy

Primary Sources


  • Historic England, 2016, Heritage at Risk South West Register 2016 (London: Historic England) p. 179, 183 online copy
  • Historic England, 2015, Heritage at Risk South West Register 2015 (London: Historic England) p. 180, 184 online copy (new entry - relates to C17 fort)