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Dartmouth Gommerock Harbour Chain

In the civil parish of Dartmouth, Kingswear.
In the historic county of Devonshire.
Modern Authority of Devon.
1974 county of Devon.
Medieval County of Devon.

OS Map Grid Reference: SX88855049
Latitude 50.34383° Longitude -3.56337°

Dartmouth Gommerock Harbour Chain has been described as a certain Chain Tower.

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


"The chain across the river was fixed to the cliff near Gommerock where there is a hole in the rock for fixing the chain" (Saunders, 1991, p. 23). The site consists of a vertical rock face about 6m high, cut back to create a rectangular level area measuring 5m by 9m at its base. This rock face has three horizontal lines of square sockets, presumably to take joists for a timber structure. At the foot is a rectanglar socket measuring 0.95m square and 0.45m deep. It is the hole refered to by Saunders. The site was apparently where the harbour chain was anchored and it was presumably either defended or concealed (Wilson-North 1991). The remains described are either a structure associated with Gommerock (SX 85 SE 10) or with the harbour chain. The fixing point for the chain is not as described by ..., but was identified recently at SX 88856 50494, and consists of a 0.2 m wide gulley cut into the rocks at 2 m above OD. The gulley was presumably intended to accomodate a loop of the harbour chain, thus acting as a natural bollard (Wilson-North 1996). (PastScape)

A large opening in the seaward side of this room is the hole through which the chain, which stretched across the harbour mouth, passed over a roller. The marks of successive slots for the axle of the roller can be seen in the jambs. The chain seems to have been hauled in by means of ropes, with the aid of a capstan or two wheels on an axle. The housing may have been in the holes in the back wall of the room. (Scheduling Report for Dartmouth Castle)

In 1462 the mayor and burgess was granted £30 pa for 20 years from the customs of Dartmouth and Exeter for expenses in defence of the borough included chains.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:53

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