Exmouth 'Danish' Fort

Has been described as a Questionable Timber Castle (Other/Unknown)

There are earthwork remains

NameExmouth 'Danish' Fort
Alternative NamesExanmouth
Historic CountryDevonshire
Modern AuthorityDevon
1974 AuthorityDevon
Civil ParishExmouth

PastScape record headed 'castle' reads "Possible Site of a Danish Fort built in 1001. There are no visible remains."

"Somewhat lower upon the mouth of the river stands Exmouth, that is, the mouth of Exe; anciently Exanmouth;.... yet it should seem it had a castle for its defence above 600 years since; for Mr. Hollinsled saith about the year 1001, the Danes with their navy returned out of Normandy, came to Exmouth and there assaulted the Castle" (Westcote). "It would seem therefore, that in these days (1646) there was both a fort and a castle, but that they were in existance simultaneously is doubtful. In any event the castle was only an earthwork" (Delderfield). The site of this castle is now occupied by a refuse and manure heap - the adjacent ground comprising allotments - There are no visible surface signs of the antiquity and the gardeners working here state that they have been aware of no finds (Field Investigators Comments-R1 HC 24-APR-195). (PastScape)

About the same time, or shortlie after, the Danes with their na'uie, returning out of Normandie, came vnto Ex'mouth, and there assaulted the castell, but they were repelled by them that kept it. (Holinshed)

Gatehouse Comments

Is this the same as the Civil War fort of the 1640's marked 'site of castle' on some OS maps that Higham reports? The definite date given in PastScape makes this seem unlikely but no other possible sites listed in PastScape. Delderfield Civil War fort is probably Topsham 'castle' at about SX967876, not this site. What was at this site is unlikely to have been a medieval castle. Possibly a natural feature with an entirely fanciful history, although could well be a beacon site. See also Exmouth Castle.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSY003803
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  • Delderfield, Eric, R., 1948, Exmouth Milestones (Exmouth) p. 38
  • Polwhele, R., 1797, Historical Views of Devonshire Vol. 3 p. 214n


  • Westcote, Thomas, (Oliver, G. and Jones, P. (eds)), 1845, A view of Devonshire in MDCXXX (Exeter) p. 223 online copy
  • Risdon, Tristram, 1811 (written c. 1620) The Chorogphaphical Description or Survey of the County of Devon (London) p. 123 online copy
  • Holinshed, R., 1587, Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland Vol. 2 p. 167 Holinshed Project transcription


  • Higham, R.A., 1988, 'Devon Castles: an annotated list' Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society Vol. 46 p. 142-9
  • Davidson, J.B., 1883, 'On the Ancient History of Exmouth' Transactions of the Devonshire Association vol. 15 p. 159-160 online copy