In Polruan, on the headland called Peak Point, overlooking the sea, you can observe a wall behind which lies the base of a gun battery. As a main defensive position there may have been a gun battery here as early as the 17th century. This is not the only battery that existed in the area; pre World War 1 there were two on the hill. The wall was about three times higher than it is now and was used for rifle practice. There is evidence of other similar walls in the vicinity.
In 1860 there were four guns at the Battery with two more in Fowey, covering the entrance to the harbour. Seventy to one hundred Royal Naval Reservists would arrive on foot from Mevagissey, Polperro, Looe and the surrounding area, staying in the village for a period of six to eight weeks, Monday to Friday, while they were put through their paces. During the Napoleonic wars, a body of reservists known as the Sea Fencibles was also drilled here.
During the Second World War, when US forces arrived in the harbour, part of their AA Battery (Anti-aircraft artillery) was located on St Saviour’s Hill.
The Drill Hall was located beside the coastal walk. It was a large army hut erected on the flat piece of land where Hoe Cottage now stands. The Drill Hall was also used for social occasions and several people recall it also being used for dances or hops at 3d, and for Sunday School Teas.
Research: Liz Jolliff
Sources: Anon, Fowey Remembers, 50th Anniversary of D-Day Memories of Roddy Bate, (Commemoration Committee, 1994), p.21; Isabel Pickering, Pictures of a Parish, (Fowey; Author, 1993); Isabel Pickering, Back-a-Long (Fowey: Author: 1997), pp 17, 47; Catherine Parkes, Fowey Estuary Historical Audit, (Cornwall Archaeological Unit, 2000)