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Oldaport Fort

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Yoldeporte; La Porte in parochia de Modbury

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

OS Map Grid Reference: SX63344934
Latitude 50.32772° Longitude -3.92285°

Oldaport Fort has been described as a Fortified Manor House although is doubtful that it was such, and also as a Urban Defence although is doubtful that it was such.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


A fortification of earth and stone walls on a spur of land at the junction of two small creeks, where they join a short arm of the river Erme. There are two periods of construction. Firstly a rectangular work occupying the north east end of the spur, and secondly a much larger work occupying the whole spur and incorporating all but the south west side of the smaller work in its perimeter. A stone wall defence survives 74.2 metres long, 3 metres wide and up to 2.7 metres high. Excavation in 1968 found a samian sherd suggesting the early feature may be a Roman fort. The phase 1 enclosure is probably Romano-British. However, a Romano-British civilian settlement has no morphological parallel in the south-west, and the Oldaport site would be out of character with such an interpretation. Therefore the second phase of stone construction must be considerably later. The earliest evidence of stone secular building in England comes from the palace site at Northampton (late 8th/early 9th century), and it is not until the 10th century that stone was again used in defensive works. It is unlikely then that the Phase II stonework dates to before the 10th century. By analogy, the work appears to be a burh of the reign of Aethelraed II. (PastScape)

The masonry walls now seem to be fairly securely dated as early C11, when the site may well still have been accessible by sea going vessels. It is unlikely to have had post-Conquest significance. Presumably silting of the waterways resulted in this small town and port failing. The later medieval farmstead that stood within the old defences is unlikely to have been fortified and certainly would have been unable to garrison these defences.
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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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