Okehampton Castle, Devon
Castle Ln, Okehampton
Devon EX20 1JA
Okehampton Castle is set within beautiful grounds once full of deer for the hunting of the Lord of Okehampton Castle.
Access to the castle is very easy with parking not far from the castle ruin which is a short walk away.
There remains plenty to explore amongst the ruins with a curious ruined chimney at the top of the motte dominating the castle.
~ History ~
1068 ~ Following the Norman conquest William the Conqueror grants swathes of lands to his most trusted Norman lords to put down Saxon rebellions and secure land in the name of the King. Baldwin FitzGilbert is granted lands in Devon, including the manor of Okehampton.
Upon Baldwin's death the castle is inherited by his daughter, Adeliza, but takes little interest in her fathers castle.
1173 ~ Okehampton Castle passes to Renaud de Courtenay through the marriage of his son, Robert de Courtenay marrying the daughter of William de Redvers, the Earl of Devon.
1193 ~ King Richard takes ownership of the castle to assist in the royal defence of Devon. The de Courteneys carry out some building work at the castle, installing new structures in the castle bailey.
1274 ~ Hugh de Courtenay inherits the castle which is described as "an old motte which is worth nothing, and outside the motte a hall, chamber and kitchen poorly built".
1297 ~ The Redvers family line dies out, and as a result Hugh's son, another Hugh de Courtenay, inherits the Redvers family lands, later being confirmed as the Earl of Devon. Hugh's main seat is at Tiverton Castle, but Hugh and his father redevelop Okehampton Castle, expanding its facilities and accommodation to enable it be used as a deer hunting lodge and retreat.
1455 ~ The Courtenays are embroiled in the Wars of the Roses. Thomas de Courtenay fights for the Yorkists, but later reconciles himself with the Lancastrians.
1461 ~ Thomas's son is killed at the Battle of Towton fightingfor the Lancastrian's. The victorious Yorkist King Edward IV confiscates Okehampton Castle. The Lancastrian King Henry later restores the castle to the family as power shifts between the two houses.
1471 ~ John Courtenay dies fighting for the Lancastrians at the battle of Tewkesbury and so the castle and Earldom is again confiscated.
1485 ~ King Henry VII takes the throne. The Earldom and Okehampton are returned to Edward Courteney.
Edward's son, William, enjoyes a turbulent political career, during which time the castle is again confiscated for a period.
1539 ~ Henry's son, also named Henry is executed by King Henry VIII and his properties confiscated.
After his death the castle is abandoned and left to decay.
1643 ~ Despite the battle of Sourton Down being fought near Okehampton during the English Civil War, the castle plays no part in the conflict.