Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: November 09, 2019
Webpage updated: May 07, 2021




The Belvedere lies on the seaward side of Plymouth Hoe.  The National Grid reference is SX 476 538.  It is sometimes known as the "Corporation Seat" or "The Wedding Cake".

The Belvedere on Plymouth has had various names and is here, circa 1910, called the "Public Shelter".
From a postcard.

The same postcard was issued with the Plymouth coat-of-arms overprinted in the top right corner.
From a postcard.

It was erected in 1891 and tradition says that the pillars of the two upper tiers came from a previous market building.  It has also been suggested that the pillars were originally taken from Plympton Priory when it was demolished in in 1564.

Below the Belvedere was the Bull Ring, where in the 17th century bulls were tethered and baited by bull dogs as a sport and to make the flesh tender.  In the Town's records for the Mayoralty of Mr John Waddon, 1604-05, appears an entry of paying five shillings to William Jerman and John Jope, butchers, for killing a bull before he was baited, and similarly in the Mayoralty of William Harper, 1663-64, there was a payment of just over a pound to several butchers for killing of bulls.  In that same year was a payment of sixteen shillings for 'a greate Bulleroape for a Stake and unto the Smith for beateinge of Bulls'.  Butchers were fined for not carrying out the baiting, which was banned by Plymouth in about 1815.

The last political meeting to be held in the Bull Ring took place on June 7th 1882 to celebrate the jubilee of the passing of the Reform Act of 1832.  In 1891 a bye-law was passed prohibiting all public meetings on the Hoe except with the permission of the Town Council.

A notice reads ~ Erected 1891-1892 Alderman F W Harris, Mayor, Alderman Tho. Pitts, JP., Chairman of the Hoe Committee ~

The coat-of-arms depicted here is the one designed for the Corporation following the Municipal Reform Act of 1835 but it was not registered with the College of Arms.

There is now a memorial garden on the site of the old Bull Ring.