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Old Town Quay

Introduction to site

Old Town Quay consists now of a wide breakwater of uncemented rocks, reaching out across Old Town Bay. It is believed to be the only disused quay on the island of St. Mary's to date from the Medieval period. Its unintensive use during the Post Medieval period has resulted in little alteration and changes to its construction since the Medieval period which is very unusual.

The village of Old Town is located on the south side of the island of St Mary's. The village abuts Old Town Bay, and can be reached from the public highway running through the village and the coastal footpath the circles the entire island.

The site is free to visit and, and is open any reasonable time in daylight hours. It is best viewed at low tide when most remains are visible.

There are refreshment facilities within Old Town.

There are no public transport links directly/close to the site.

View our interactive Access to Monuments map to find this and other nearby sites.

Old Town Quay is first mentioned in 1554 in connection with the fortification of the nearby Ennor Castle, but was probably old by that point. Ennor Castle is not currently accessible, but its mound is clearly seen from the village, covered with trees rising above the level of the houses.

The quay is of an angled plan with a drystone construction of large boulders. These were gathered from the enclosed part of the harbour. At the sides the retaining boulders are set vertically. It measures 20m wide by 0.4m at the landward end, narrowing to 6m wide and 3m high at the seaward end.

The quay has two phases of construction. The original phase was constructed from much larger material and L-shaped in plan, measuring 15m wide at the landward end. The two sides of the structure were faced with massive irregular blocks of granite, close packed, with no indication of cementing material or ties. The outer facing blocks projected above the surface of the quay by about 0.3m.

The second phase involved the widening of the quay for most of its length on the inner side by the construction of a 10m wide section of rubble-filled small-block stage, against the original internal harbour wall. The top course facing blocks are flush with the surface, and in places iron ties and holes can be seen.