Bayard's Cove Fort

by Gethin Thomas December. 24, 2020 268 views

[141-365] 24th. December 2020- I've mentioned previously the castle in Dartmouth, but that castle was the first line of defence, this fort is in the town itself.

Bayard’s Cove Fort was built in the early 16th century by the townspeople of Dartmouth to protect the town quay. The significance of its strategic position is best appreciated from the sea: it controls the narrowest point of the channel at the entrance to Dartmouth harbour.

The town of Dartmouth developed in the Middle Ages because of the value of the safe, deep water anchorage at the mouth of the Dart estuary.

It was here in the estuary that the English contingent assembled in 1147 and again in 1190 to depart on crusade. Originally, the major port on the River Dart was Totnes, higher upriver, but from the 13th century the name Dartmouth was being used for the harbour town that was gradually expanding south along the waterside.

The town became the main base for the wine trade with south-west France, and despite the loss of this source of wealth following the start of the Hundred Years’ War (1337–1453), Dartmouth continued to prosper with the growth of the cloth trade.

Bayard’s Cove Fort was never tested in a naval assault, but it rapidly became obsolete as the type of cannon for which it was designed was replaced by new and more powerful weaponry. Though the potential of artillery was recognised at an early stage, at the outset it was unreliable and often ineffective.

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