Wednesday 18 April 2012

P is for Pendennis Castle, Cornwall

Like its counterpart, St Mawes castle across the Carrick Roads from Falmouth, Pendennis Castle was a link in Henry VIII’s coastal defence system, which ran from Hull on the east coast, right round to Milford Haven in Wales.

Painting of Falmouth, Cornwall in the 1700s

The term Carrick Roads (above) is a large waterway created after the Ice Age from an ancient valley which flooded as the melt waters caused the sea level to rise dramatically, creating a large natural harbour – where container ships now lay up!

The Tudor Arms carved above a doorway
Henry VIII changed the religion of the English to Church of England so he could get a divorce, money and more power over his country.  The Pope had asked the French and Spanish, who both had strong armies and were Catholic, to invade England to perform a restoration on the country’s religion.

Pendennis Castle Keep

The French and Spanish two years earlier had fought in the Carrick Roads, so they knew it was unguarded, and so Henry believed this would be a target for attack and hence in the 1540s had the two Castles built.

Pendennis Castle has continued to play a role in the various attacks from land and sea, particularly during the English Civil War holding out for over five months before starvation forced surrender to the Parliamentarians – who sacked it.

Explore the recreated Tudor Gun Room c/o English Heritage
Crab Quay lies below the Castle and is the most suitable location for a landing, so a battery (of guns) was built here in the late 17th or early 18th centuries – first recorded on a map of 1715.

These early armaments were replaced with five 18-pounder guns, firing through embrasures in a thick retaining wall.  In 1855 the battery was upgraded to 32-pounders; but these in turn by the 1880s were replaced by two 64-pounders rifled muzzle-loaders.

St Mawes Castle in the foreground,
Pendennis Castle across the water
In 1898 the battery was reconstructed to provide two concrete emplacements for a pair of 6-pounder quick-firing guns, which, together with a sister battery at St Mawes, would prevent fast torpedo boats evading the heavier guns on the headland and entering the Carrick Roads.  The battery was briefly rearmed in 1942, but had been removed by 1943.

English Heritage have housed a large collection of George Butterworth (1905 – 1988) wartime cartoons, generously given to them by his widow, at the Castle.  (The Political Cartoon gallery shows some of his cartoons).

Falmouth Harbour, National Maritime
Museum, Cornwall and Pendennis

The National Maritime Museum, Cornwall is adjacent to Pendennis Castle.

That is P for Pendennis Castle – a castle that’s stood the test of time and fought off many invasions; evidence of its fascinating history is on show throughout the site ... part of the ABC series Aspects of British Castles

Bob Scotney wrote about Okehampton Castle for his 'O' post

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories


Amanda Heitler said...

Another beauty and another unfamiliar castle :)

I now have the strongest urge to plan a holiday based around castles. Can't wait to see if you're using my local castle for R.

Diane said...

Another great post. There was also a ship named Pendennis Castle which I presume was named after this. Diane


Now this one I know and visited many years ago. Loved the tour you gave and excellent picture's Hilary.


Lynn said...

That one has the look of a building ready to do battle. Lovely P post, Hilary.

Old Kitty said...

Oh wow - I do like how these castles are fat and circular - proper battle type castles with stunning views - and they did see many battles! Now that's sad!

Take care

baygirl32 said...

the number of castles is astounding. thanks for sharing

Bob Scotney said...

Hilary, I've had no internet connection for 36 hours so I'm a bit behind; just posted Okehampton and will follow with Powis shortly.

Pendennis wasn't on my list. I think Pendennis was mentioned in Daphne du Maurier'e 'The King's General.' Must get to the Maritime Museum in Falmouth as well,

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Amanda - I have to say I wasn't familiar with any of these castles - so I might join you on a round trip holiday! Two days before the R castle appears .. not long now!

@ Diane - thanks, and yes there was a ship named Pendennis Castle - it did the South African run down the west coast of Africa. Thanks for this 'link' across to ships ..

@ Yvonne - it's not that far for us southerners is it .. I know I've been - but the restoration in recent decades makes it look so much more interesting - glad you enjoyed it.

@ Lynn - they've certainly restored the castle using the focus of defence .. a different aspect of the castle I hadn't previously featured ..

@ Old Kitty - by Tudor times the castles had become very solid - and as you say 'fat and circular' .. they withstood many battles thankfully otherwise we might be speaking Spanish! Sad perhaps - but I'm quite glad!!

@ BayGirl - there are lots of castles aren't there .. Bob and I between us are only covering a few .. under 50 ...

@ Bob - good to see you back and connected (didn't think you'd dropped off the edge of the planet - so bided my time eagerly awaiting your return!).

And again we have different castles ...

I can't remember the connection with Daphne du Maurier's King's General .. though Menabilly, her home, us not far away near the St Austell area.

I thought the Maritime Museum would be interesting ..

Cheers everyone - thanks for coming by .. and good to see you all - Hilary

Luanne G. Smith said...

That's so interesting that it was still being armed as recently as WWII. What a history.

Jo said...

Yes, that surprised me that it was being armed during WWII. I kinda thought castles weren't used in modern warfare - I guess to a lot of people WWII is no longer modern anyway.

Haven't read the King's General in years, exciting story as I recall.

Good post Hilary.

Laura Eno said...

So much rich history in your beautiful castles. I so want to get back there and do some exploring!

Suze said...

Now, I'm curious to see if your R castle will be Amanda's castle.

~Sia McKye~ said...

I just love the sound of the castle, Pendennis. Interesting history.:-)


Julie Flanders said...

I love the photo of Falmouth Harbor. I have family in Massachusetts and visit Martha's Vineyard regularly, and to get to the island we take a boat from a town called Falmouth. So many of the names in our New England come from English towns, but I never realized this one most likely did as well.

Loved reading this history lesson as always.

Unknown said...

Even though Henry VIII had horrible traits, he was incredibly smart it seems.

Glynis Peters said...

A beautiful place for a castle. Great post. I am enjoying the castle tour, thanks, Hilary.

D.G. Hudson said...

Another history lesson Hilary, and I enjoyed it. So many lovely castles I'm learning about.

We visited Fort Jefferson on the Dry Tortugas (an old pirate stop) in the Gulf of Mexico and they had the same type of gun openings in the very thick walls.

Too bad we haven't done away with wars, yet.

Lynn Proctor said...

i love castles, this one is marvelous

J.L. Campbell said...

Fascinating information. The Pendennis castle is awesome. How they managed to do this stuff so long ago, without much technology is simply amazing.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Luanne .. yes I thought that was interesting and I liked the concept of batteries - I hadn't realised what they were before ...

@ Jo .. it didn't last long did it - that rearmament .. certainly during WWII extra defences were put up around the coast and I'm sure the Castles played some part in this .. certainly Dover did.

I obviously should read The King's General sometime ..

@ Laura - so much history here - that is for sure - we'd love to see you around exploring!

@ Suze - I know .. two days to go .. I want to see what Bob is posting for tomorrow's Q!!

@ Sia - there's lots to see in Cornwall .. and Pendennis does look fascinating ..

@ Julie - yes I'm so glad I found the photo of Carrick Roads painted in the 1700s .. I think probably lots of names would have come from the homeland. When I look up various things - I'm surprised how many names are used for other towns, villages around the world. Hope your family will be interested!

@ Clarissa - yes Henry VIII was pretty gross .. but as you say he was very smart ...

@ Glynis - delighted you're enjoying the castle tour ..

@ DG - good to know you're also enjoying the castles ..

I imagine the Europeans and the English took ideas from each other .. so the Spanish castles would have been similar to ours ..

War is another matter .. and sadly getting worse ..

@ Lynn - so pleased you are enjoying my selections ..

@ JL - thank you - I thought I might elaborate a bit on the how - and the why etc .. in my XYZ posts ..

Thanks everyone .. so delighted you're enjoying the various castles and emphasis I'm pulling out for each one. Cheers - Hilary

Unknown said...

Great post! For some reason I had to follow you again....Have I gone senile already? LOL!

jabblog said...

The defence of these islands has always been a prime concern. Really interesting to read about these Cornish castles.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Whew, you must be getting "royally" tired of researching all these castles! Can hardly wait to see what you're gonna come up with for the pesky letters like Q, X, and Z.

Sara said...

Wow. I liked this post. I'd never heard of this castle. My daughter studied Henry VIII time period. I heard many stories about him.

I imagine castles guarding waterways were very important. Sounds like Pendennis Castle did its job well. may it rest in retirement.

p.s. I'm sorry I'm so far behind. I can't believe you're already at "P." That's pretty impressive:~)

Jenni Steel said...

What an amazing castle and so much to learn. So much to research and I love your picture's. Well done Hilary.

I look forward to reading more.

I haven't been down that way for a few years now but having learn't so much history between you and Bob, I can see yet another trip.

I wonder what you both will do for T and if my castle will be either of them.

Keep up the good work.

Susan Scheid said...

I love that keep!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Thank you for a bit of history. I never realized there were so many castles.

Anonymous said...

Ah, these castles that have stood the test of time. That is a phrase that also reminds me of people - in the latter case through trials and tribulations! I feel like I'm having a lot of them lately!!

But you made my day today with this comment on my Golden Movie post P for Pillow Talk: "Hi Ann .. I’m so lacking in not having seen so many of these films – I almost feel ashamed or deprived .. we just didn’t do movies .. I have a bright idea .. sometime I’ll have to come out and we can watch these together spread out over a few months .. I’ll travel around and return for another movie night!! Sounds a good idea to me .. and I’d get to meet you both .. cheers for now – Hilary

YES YES YES. Fly over and we'll do a marathon classic movie watch. Then you'll travel and we'll do it again. And WE would get to meet YOU. What a lovely, LOVELY idea! Hold that thought, as the late great Cary Grant would say (which he often did in his romantic roles).

scarlett clay said...

I'm amazed at how different each castle looks, each one has it's own personality. Enjoyed learning about this one, and a little about Henry VIII that I didn't know as well. Thanks, Hilary!

Tracy said...

you know, they are beautiful but I just got to thinking, would you really want to sleep in something that huge? Not me...

Denise Covey said...

More history for me. Love this series Hilary. To an Aussie, where nothing is much over 200 years old, you can imagine our fascination with 'olde Britain'.


klahanie said...

Hi Hilary,
I'm back after going on a bit of another blogging tour to thrill and bring smiles to the faces of all those who cherish my comments. Or something like that.
Anyway, this "P" castle, "Pendennis Castle" is somewhere I've seen from the outside and maybe I should get inside the next time I'm down in Cornwall. It would have been very easy to make a typo with the word "Pendennis" Ignore me :)
Cheers, Gary

Ella said...

I loved the tour and I'm amazed how much it reminded me of a fort back home with those type of cannons!
I love the history you share...
I so long to visit, but for now I will enjoy your tour! I know I need to glance back and see what I have missed. I always learn so much from your post! Thank you Hilary for being you :D Cheers!

Empty Nest Insider said...

Another fascinating Castle which has the added bonus of being next to the Maritime Museum! I also enjoyed the amazing pictures Hilary! Julie

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Siv - certainly Blogger does funny things - it's definitely not us old timers!! Glad you're back though ..

@ Janice - yes defence has probably defined this country since the Romans landed and forts/castles were built: every prominent position had to be protected.

@ Susan - surprisingly I'm not - because I decided I wasn't going to do just castles and walls - I was going to put in the things that interested me .. so a castle is a castle - but there's always a twist! Q is up .. and I wonder what everyone will think ... !! XYZ will be summaries .. only way out.

@ Sara - lovely to see you .. did you not get down to Cornwall when you visited your daughter here? Henry VIII defined England for the future .. he established England on the map and Elizabeth I kept it there ..

May Pendennis Castle rest in retirement .. good thought ..

@ Jenni - good to see you again .. I'm enjoying my own journey! Cornwall is dear to my heart -so this was fun to do .. Glad if I'm inspiring you to do a tour around ..

I enjoy checking to see what Bob has done each day - so far only Nottingham has appeared on both our blogs .. surprisingly.

@ Susan - it's a great castle, and keeps stand out don't they ..

@ Susan - hundreds of castles! Lots of coastline and lots of routes to be safeguarded ..

@ Ann - sorry to read you're having those trials and tribulations .. so tricky for you.

Yes - I thought my fly in, travel, watch movies would be a good idea .. perhaps one day .. a good dream and goal though. I'm holding that thought - thanks for the thumbs up!!

@ Scarlett - you're right there .. and they are all different, reflecting their surroundings and defence needs. Henry VIII set the tone - his own way of life!

@ Tracy - you'd have been surrounded by lots of courtiers looking after you - but if you were royal and noble, or you'd have been sleeping in the corridors, guarding them! I agree - I prefer my cozy bed!!

@ Denise - yes we do have a lot to offer of Olde Britain .. and I'm delighted you're enjoying your read .. I so enjoyed your travels last year for the A - Z .. should go back and give them a run through ..

@ Gary - ah the P letter - you did a fun post .. oh yes I could have lots of fun with P and Pendennis - kept it straight though .. these castles have dungeons!! Good to see you ...

@ Ella - the Spanish and British forts - similar attributes were used when conquering took place. well we'd love to see you here - and I sure hope you get to visit sometime ..

@ Julie - it's wonderful that our heritage is coming together, so we can see a Castle, and a Museum, or a garden ... glad you enjoyed it.

Thanks so much everyone - love your comments .. cheers Hilary

Nick Wilford said...

Those coastal defences certainly stretched a long way. The castle looks in great condition so it's obviously done its job well. It was interesting to read about the origin of Carrick Roads too.

Robyn Campbell said...

I'm learning so much from you and Bob. That painting is awesome.:-)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Nick - yes I was amazed at the length of the coastal defences - I think the wars started being fought at sea - so land defences weren't so often attacked.

I was pleased to find the painting of Carrick Roads - it does show the ice age valley very clearly .. how they could visualise and paint such things in the 1700s just amazes me ...

@ Robyn - yes having Bob's castles co-posting is great isn't it .. the history is interlinked, the ghosts mainly not! - I'm learning from his postings ..

The painting is awesome - I agree.

Thanks Nick and Robyn - delighted to see you - Hilary