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 Castles of England - Okehampton Castle

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Okehampton, Devon, England

Okehampton Castle is situated 1 mile from the town centre of Okehampton, 22 miles west of Exeter in the south west of England.

Situated on a wooded spur overlooking the Okement river, Okehampton Castle is the remains of Devon's largest Castle.

The castle's two storey rectangular keep is accessed through firstly an inner and then an outer gatehouse which are linked together by a narrow barbican passage. Once inside the bailey there are the remains of a chapel, hall, living accommodation and kitchens.

The castle is open to the public daily from 10am between April and September, and as well as visiting the ruins visitors can take a walk long the river bank and enjoy a picnic.

Hot and cold drinks and snacks can be purchased at the ticket kiosk.

At the time of the Doomsday Book in 1086 the castle was owned by the Sheriff of Devon, Baldwin de Brionne.

Very little is written of the history of the castle, but it is known that in the 14th century the keep, curtain wall and most the luxurious residential accommodations were built by the Marquees of Exeter, Henry Courtenay, and he lived there until he was found guilty conspiracy against Henry VIII in 1539 and was executed.

The castle was then partly demolished and left to become a ruin.

The Arts
Due its beautiful appearance, even as a ruin, the castle was twice painted by the English Romantic landscape painter J.M.W Tuner.

Other Castles in the Area
  Castle Drogo, Devon
  Launceston Castle, Cornwall
  Lydford Castle, Devon

Lydford Castle
Okehampton Castle near the south of the square.

Photograph by Chris Shaw. Some rights reserved.  (view image details)

Lydford Castle
This is the 'motte' of Oakhampton castle. A motte is an enditched mound, usually artificial, which supported the strongpoint of the motte-and-bailey castle, overshadowing the bailey or enclosed courtyard below. The castle was built in as a 'chivalric' type castle. ie: it was built by a rich lord to impress his friends and the local populace with his knightly castle. As it never actually saw any action, or was ever defended. First mentioned in the Domesday Book as the first castle to be built at Okehampton, by the Sheriff of Devon, during the late 11th century. The castle was largely abandoned in 1539 after its owner, Henry, Marquis of Exeter, was found guilty of conspiracy and executed by Henry VIII.

Photograph by doc. Some rights reserved.  (view image details)

Lydford Castle
Okehampton Castle

Photograph by john spivey. Some rights reserved.  (view image details)

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