St Mawes: John Leland’s texts

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St Mawes © David Gill

The Tudor Royal Arms were placed above the main entrance to the keep at St Mawes, with the Latin text, Dieu et Mon Droit, below. Above the crest is the statement:

Semper Honos / Henrice Tuus / Laudesque Manebunt.

(Henry, your honour and praises will remain forever.)

This is one of four texts composed by the poet, antiquary and royal chaplain, John Leland (c. 1503–1552) at the request of Thomas Treffry of Fowey (a detail mentioned in Leland’s Itinerary).

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St Mawes © David Gill
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St Mawes © David Gill

On the opposite side, above the door leading from the keep to the forward bastion is another Royal Coast of Arms. Either side are two Tritons:

Semper Vivet A(n)i(m)a Re/gis Henrici Octavi / Qui An(no) 34 Sui Reg/ni Hoc Fecit Fieri.

(May the soul of King Henry Eighth, who had this built in the 34th year of his reign, live forever.)

Henry came to the throne in 1509, and this places the completion of the castle in 1543. (It was started in 1540.)

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St Mawes © David Gill

Another text is placed above the crest on the west bastion, celebrating Henry’s son, Edward (who is proclaimed on the eastern bastion as Duke of Cornwall, a title given at his baptism in 1537).

Edwardus Fama Referat Factisque Parentem.

(May Edward resemble his father in fame and deeds.)

Further texts are placed on the south (Henry, king of England, France and Ireland) and east (Edward) bastions.

VE Day 75: Pendennis

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Half Moon Battery, Pendennis © David Gill

The Half Moon Battery at the south end of Pendennis was placed to defend Carrick Roads and the port of Falmouth was first built in 1793, and then remodelled in 1894–95. The concrete bunkers were constructed in 1941 to defend against aerial attack. They battery housed 6-inch Mark VII guns, and from 1943 Mark XXIV guns.

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Half Moon Battery, Pendennis © David Gill

VE Day 75: Landguard

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Landguard Fort © David Gill

The 8th May 2020 marks 75 years since the end of fighting in Europe (VE Day). The towers on Darell’s Battery at Landguard Fort, opposite Harwich, were constructed in 1939–40 to direct guns (twin 6-pounders) defending this strategic port.

Tilbury Fort: guidebooks

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1980 (1985, repr. 1987)

The fort at Tilbury was designed to protect the Thames. The 17th century artillery fort was built on the site of a fort constructed by Henry VIII. The first English Heritage guidebook was written by A.D. Saunders, who prepared texts for other artillery forts. This contained the standard format of history and description. A ground plan of the fort was provided in the centre pages.

The fort was transferred from the War Office in 1948 after it had ceased to be used for military purposes. It was opened to the public in 1982.

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2004 (rev. repr. 2014)

The replacement English Heritage guide was by Paul Pattison. A colour bird’s eye view of the fort is provided inside the front cover, and colour coded plan inside the back cover. The guide contains a tour of the fort followed by a history.

 

Yarmouth Castle: information board

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Yarmouth Castle © David Gill

Yarmouth Castle on the Isle of Wight retains some of its original Ministry signs including this information board close to the entrance. The blank section at the bottom would have indicated (using similar signs), ‘This monument is in the care of the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works [or Ministry of Works] / It is an offence to injure or deface it’.

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Yarmouth Castle © David Gill

Pendennis and St Mawes: guidebooks

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Pendennis Castle © David Gill

The castles at Pendennis and St Mawes were built to protect the Carrick Roads and Falmouth in Cornwall. Both appear to have been completed by 1543. They formed part of a wider network of coastal castles, including Deal and Walmer, and the Solent. For further details of the programme of defence see here.

Both castles were placed in State Guardianship in 1920 (from the War Office), and they were requisitioned for military purposes in the Second World War. They were re-opened to the public in 1946.

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1963 (5th impress. 1972)

A souvenir guide was produced in 1963, was continued into the 1970s under the Department of the Environment. This provides a guide to both castles as well as a historical introduction.

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1999 (repr. 2002)

English Heritage produced a colour guide to both castles in 1999 by Richard Linzey. It includes tours of both castles, as well as a page on the National Trust property of St Anthony Head Battery.

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2012 (2nd ed. 2018)

The latest guide by Paul Pattison has extended tours of both castles. There are special topics that include smuggling and piracy, the submarine minefield, as well as St Anthony Head. Foldout plans are printed inside the cover.

Ministry signs on St Mary’s

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Porth Hellick Down © Patrick Taylor

The ancient monuments on St Mary’s on the Isles of Scilly received Ministry signs. The chambered tomb on Porth Hellick Down is described as ‘the best preserved tomb of all those in the islands’, echoing O’Neil’s guidebook, ‘perhaps the best preserved of all those in the islands’. Again, ‘a few potsherds have been found in the chamber’, follows, ‘a few potsherds have been found in this tomb’.

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Innisidgen © Patrick Taylor

At Innisidgen the sign starts with the same description as Porth Hellick. The description in the guidebook, ‘Nothing is known to have been found in the chamber’, follows the sign, ‘the chamber has long since been rifled of its contents’.

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Lower Innisidgen © Patrick Taylor

The sign at Lower Innisidgen echoes the others.

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Bants Carn © Patrick Taylor

The sign notes, ‘Cremated bones and pieces of pottery were found in the chamber many years ago’, whereas the guidebook states, ‘Four piles of cremated bones were found at the inner end of the chamber many years ago, as well as some pieces of pottery in the passage just outside the entrance to the chamber’.

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Bants Carn Ancient Village © Patrick Taylor

Near to Bants Carn Burial Chamber is a village. The sign and guidebook place it to the 2nd–3rd centuries AD, describing it as ‘Roman period’ or even ‘Romano-British’. The sign and guidebook talks of ’round or oval huts … built of large, well-laid granite blocks’. The guidebook continues ‘Paths and garden plots or small fields may also be detected’.

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Harry’s Walls © Patrick Taylor

A later monument is the artillery fort known as Harry’s Walls.

We are grateful to Patrick Taylor for digitising the images.