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Dartmouth; Paradise Point

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Paradise Fort; "the old castelle of Kingswear"; Ravensbury

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

OS Map Grid Reference: SX88155048
Latitude 50.34359° Longitude -3.57325°

Dartmouth; Paradise Point has been described as a probable Pele Tower.

There are masonry footings remains.

This is a Grade 2 listed building protected by law*.


Paradise fort was garrisoned by the Royalists in the Civil War, and was still in existence in 1822, when Lysons described it as a large circular tower on a point of land between the town and the castle. Saunders says that a strong round tower, situated at Paradise Point on the northern side of Warfleet Creek, was demolished in 1855 to make way for a house called Ravensbury. He believed it might be identified with the 'lodging' by the entrance to Dartmouth which John Corp was licensed to crenellate in 1402. "for defence against the King's enemies". (For alternative siting of this, see SX 85 SE 10 and 17)
O'Neil suggest that Paradise fort may have been the "earth bastion, with six pieces" which was described in 1599 to the north of Dartmouth Castle (see also SX 85 SE 16) and that its site may be occupied by the house called 'The Wilderness' (SX 87935065) (for general description of Dartmouth defence, see SX 85 SE 51) (Lysons; O'Neil; Saunders).
The house constructed in 1885 on the site of Paradise Fort was called Paradise. Its name was changed later to Ravensbury. Of the former fort the only possible trace is walling in the cellar of Ravensbury. This consists of three facets of a former polygonal structure, possibly a tower. Each facet is c.1.5m in length. A print in possession of the owner shows the ruined fort as it was in 1830. Its remains still substantial at that date seemed to consist of a circular (or polygonal) tower (RCHME Field Investigation, 25-OCT-1991, WR Wilson-North). (PastScape)

On the grounds of the date of existing remains and the relationship with Dartmouth Castle Gatehouse considers the licence to crenellate granted to John Corp in 1402 to have been for Gomerock.
The "earth bastion, with six pieces," has not been securely identified but an alternative location is Gallant's Bower.
The date of this tower is unclear but apparently pre Civil War and, therefore, possibly medieval. Dartmouth had a number of wealthy merchants and privateers who may well have had houses built in the prestigious 'military' style as towers and this could have been a house of that type. Dartmouth was a target, itself, for pirates and French privateers so a actual defensive nature for such houses in this area should not be dismissed although prestige and status would have been important considerations in design and styling of such houses.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:52

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