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Plymouth Blockhouse and Harbour Chain

In the civil parish of Plymouth.
In the historic county of Devonshire.
Modern Authority of Plymouth; City of.
1974 county of Devon.
Medieval County of Devon.

OS Map Grid Reference: SX483539
Latitude 50.36626° Longitude -4.13361°

Plymouth Blockhouse and Harbour Chain has been described as a certain Chain Tower.

There are no visible remains.


There was a blockhouse on the harbour chain opposite the castle, according to Leland. (PastScape ref. King 1983)

"On the south-west side of the entrance is a blockhouse, and next to it on a rocky hill is a strong square castle castle with a large round tower at each corner. It does not appear to be very old." (Chandler)

The mouth of the gulph wherin the shippes of Plymmouth lyith is waullid on eche side and chainid over in tyme of necessite. On the south west side of this mouth is a blok house: and on a rokky hille hard by it is a strong castel quadrate having a eche corner a great rounde tower. It semith to be no very old peace of worke. (Toulmin Smith)

The castle is Quadrant castle. This blockhouse was clearly the tower with the chain works. PastScape place this at SX485533 (Mount Battern Point). However, it seems clear that the Blockhouse with the chain works was adjacent to (not opposite) Castle Quadrant. The wharf enclosed by the chain was probably only Sutton Harbour with the chain crossing to Coxside, where West Pier and the marine lock are now, rather than Mount Batten Point. This would make the protected area very much smaller than that seemingly imagined by King and, given the walls mentioned by Leland may represent a precursor to the West Pier the chain could have been little more than 50m in length rather than the 400m suggested by the PastScape record. This is, in fact, clearly shown on the chart of 1540.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:22:04

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