St Mawes Castle
Following the latest government recommendations, we have taken the decision to close all our staffed historic sites from the end of Wednesday 18th March until 1st May. We will be reviewing this and will keep you updated. Some sites may be opened earlier and we will let you know if this is the case. We also need to cancel our public events during this period.
Free-to-enter sites will remain open to visitors. These sites have large open spaces in which visitors can maintain social distancing and they are often located in quieter spots away from crowds.
St Mawes Castle is among the best-preserved of Henry VIII's coastal artillery fortresses, and the most elaborately decorated of them all.
One of the chain of forts built between 1539 and 1545 to counter an invasion threat from Catholic France and Spain, it guarded the important anchorage of Carrick Roads, sharing the task with Pendennis Castle on the other side of the Fal estuary.
A charming clover-leaf shape originally surrounded by octagonal outer defences, St. Mawes was designed to mount heavy 'ship-sinking' guns. But particular care was also taken with its embellishment, and it is still bedecked with carved Latin inscriptions in praise of King's Henry VIII and his son Edward VI. It owes its fine preservation to the fact that unlike Pendennis Castle, it was little developed after its completion.
Easily falling to a landward attack by Civil War Parliamentarian forces in 1646, it remained neglected until partial re-arming during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Other coastal forts built by Henry VIII include Portland, Deal and Walmer Castles.
* The 'gunners' at rest in the gun room
* Taking the audio tour that brings the castle to life
* Seeing the only Civil War cannonball ever found at St. Mawes
Dogs welcome on leads
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