Launceston, Cornwall, England
The ruins of Launceston Castle are set on a natural mound in a commanding position overlooking the market town of Launceston in the south west of England.
The castle ruins today are of the small circular stone keep surrounded by an almost intact curtain wall and parts of a gatehouse.
The castle is open daily between April and October from 10am; visitors to the site can climb to the top of the tower via an internal staircase.
The earliest castle on the site was a Norman motte and bailey castle in 1067. The castle was built to guard the route into Cornwall and was where the Earls of Cornwall had there administrative centre.
Between 1227 and 1272 Richard, Earl of Cornwall made considerable changes to the current structure which had already had a circular stone keep built on top of the motte in the late 12th century. He added a tower made from darker stone inside the keep and erected a curtain wall with gatehouses to the north and south. On his death in 1272 his son Edmund moved the administrative centre away from the castle to Lostwithiel, this move caused the demise of the castle; although a prison still remained within the walls and it was home to the judiciary.
By the mid 1650's only the northern gatehouse was habitable, but that too was partially demolished and the stone used to construct another building. In 1838 the judiciary moved to a new court in Bodmin and the prison, the last remaining building, was demolished. The castle was never reconstructed but the Duke of Northumberland had the castle turned into a public garden and is now under the care of English Heritage.
Other Castles in the Area
Lydford Castle, Devon
Okehampton Castle, Devon
Restormel Castle, Cornwall
Tintagel Castle, Cornwall