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Mediæval 1066 to 1540

A castle is a structure that is fortified for defence against an enemy and generally serves as a military headquarters dominating the surrounding countryside.

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The mediæval castles of Cornwall are of motte and bailey type, and were introduced by the Normans. They consist of a large mound (or motte) topped by circular stone tower or keep, usually a replacement for an earlier wooden structure. The Motte is attached to a walled area (the bailey) where barracks blocks, workshops, stables and other domestic buildings could be securely sited.

Towards the end of the period, as Cornwall becomes militarily and strategically important to the defence of the realm, Henrician castles are built to defend important ports and harbours and provide early warning on the threat of invasion.

Examples to visit

Kilkhampton Motte and Bailey

The mediæval castle at Kilkhampton is situated to the west of the modern day village and stands on top of an elongated knoll of land with steep sided valleys falling away to the north and south and extensive views over the surrounding countryside.

St Catherine's Castle, Fowey

St Catherine’s Castle is situated on the tip of the rocky headland known as St Catherine’s Point at the entrance to the River Fowey estuary.

Tintagel Castle

The ruins of a castle's walls were built across the narrowest part of a headland during the 13th century. Erosion of the slate bedrock along obvious fault lines has resulted in the collapse of the central section of the narrow neck, separating the Island from the mainland and dividing the castle into an Inner (mainland) and an Outer (Island) ward.