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Ilfracombe Town Wall

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;

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

OS Map Grid Reference: SS525478
Latitude 51.21112° Longitude -4.11289°

Ilfracombe Town Wall has been described as a Urban Defence although is doubtful that it was such.

There are no visible remains.

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.


C15 Stone walls planned but probably never built or never completed. Single grant of murage in 1418.

Grant to the good men of the town of Ilfredecombe, co. Devon, who have begun to build a new stone tower on either side of the port there and to enclose the town with stone walls and high towers, of murage for one year. (CPR dated 15 July 1418)

Although murage was not the only way to fund defences one years grant in a small port would not have raised much money. The much larger and more important town of Barnstaple was, at this time, allowing its defences, which dated back to Saxon times, to fall into decay. Although the Devon coast was subject to some pirate raids defense is not the real issue here. The planned walls have the feel of a, ill considered, local initiative to, superficially, gain trade and more likely gain some prestige for a few local men. However, a pier, with a lighthouse tower would have been a positive asset for the port and this may all that was really intended. St Nicholas Chapel, on Lantern Hill (SS 52514788), is a C15 building which is documented as being used as a lighthouse since C16 - was this chapel/lighthouse the real result of this initiative?
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:22:04

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