Restormel Castle, Cornwall
Restormel Road, Lostwithiel
Off B3268 / B3269
Overlooking the River Fowey, this typical motte and bailey style castle was first built in the eleventh century, and is surrounded by a deep, wide moat, long since dried up.
However, Restormel Castle is unusual as its a huge circular shell keep enclosing the principle apartments of the castle, which are considered the best preserved in the country. Its walls are over 8 feet thick and 25 feet high. Restormel was entered over a drawbridge. During the thirteenth century the timber defences were replaced in stone. A well in the courtyard provided the original water supply, but an additional source was supplied from a spring, sited on the higher ground outside of the castle itself.
This is a small castle that we enjoyed exploring and found to be quite unusual. It won't take long to look around but there is enough of the castle left, especially when view from the battlements, to get a good idea how the castle was laid out and would have looked. An interesting little castle.
~ History ~
1086 - The land around Restormel is held by Turtin the Sheriff.
1120's - The timber castle is built by Turstin's son Baldwin Fitz Turstin to command the crossing of the river.
1166 - The castle passes into the hands of the Cardinham's.
1227 - Through marriage the castle passes to Tomas de Tracy.
1264 - Troops loyal to Simon de Montfort seize the castle from de Tracy to hold against the King.
1265 - Sir Ralph Arundel siezes back the castle in the name of the King.
1270 - The castle has passed into the hands of the Earls of Cornwall.
1299 - Edmund Earl of Cornwall dies, and so the castle passes to the Crown.
1354 - Edward the Black Prince visits his castle.
1365 - Edward returns to his castle. The castle's defences have long since become obsolete but it serves as a princely residence for the Earl within Cornwall's largest deer park to entertain his guests. However, nearby Lostwithiel, the capital of Cornwall and the centre of Cornish tin mining, falls into terminal decline. The tin waste flowing from Bodmin Moor has silted up the River Fowey and with this Lostwithiel loses its importance as a port. Restormel Castle suffers the same fate and soon becomes redundant as a palace long after its military role had already ceased.
1644 - Parliament garrison the castle against the King but following it's capture by Sir Richard Grenville it is allowed to decay over time through neglect.