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Slapton Ley Bridge defence

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Pool Farm; Pole; Poole

In the civil parish of Slapton.
In the historic county of Devonshire.
Modern Authority of Devon.
1974 county of Devon.
Medieval County of Devon.

OS Map Grid Reference: SX827443
Latitude 50.28762° Longitude -3.64711°

Slapton Ley Bridge defence has been described as a Fortified Bridge although is doubtful that it was such.

There are no visible remains.


Slapton Manor had a gatehouse at the landward end of the bridge over the freshwater lagoon of Slapton Ley. This is shown on the Cotton MS map in the British Library which is a pictorial map of the 1540s showing the sea defences of south-west England. While most of these defences are blockhouses, the Slapton Bridge defence is shown as a barbican with two tall drum or D shaped towers flanking a drawbridge. How much for show this was, is uncertain, but it guarded the only way of crossing the Ley dryshod. A collegiate church was built at Slapton in 1372 and it is possible that the gatehouse was related to it as well as the manor, which belonged to Sir Guy de Bryan. (Robert Waterhouse 2007)


The gateway is shown as on the waters edge. The manor seems to have a little outside the village and inland (at Poole) and, whilst this feature may have been associated with the college (itself fairly inland), it should be noted that this Cotton map does include a number of planed but never built structures and is difficult to interpret. There are no archaeological remains and while the area will have had some road development and may have been subjected to erosion from storms it has not been overbuilt so whatever may have been there was probably not substancial.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:52

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