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Latitude: 50.1554 / 50°9'19"N
Longitude: -5.0237 / 5°1'25"W
OS Eastings: 184104
OS Northings: 32752
OS Grid: SW841327
Mapcode National: GBR ZH.G9L9
Mapcode Global: FRA 08CL.W3P
Entry Name: St Mawes Castle, Gatehouse, Blockhouse, Magazine and Outer Defences
Listing Date: 25 June 1985
Source: Historic England
Source ID: 1136705
English Heritage Legacy ID: 63079
Location: St. Just-in-Roseland, Cornwall, TR2
Civil Parish: St. Just-in-Roseland
Built-Up Area: St Mawes
Traditional County: Cornwall
Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall
Church of England Parish: St Just-in-Roseland
Church of England Diocese: Truro
SW 84 32 ST JUST IN ROSELAND ST MAWES
7/118 St Mawes Castle, gatehouse,
- blockhouse, magazine and outer
Castle for coastal defence and including gatehouse blockhouse, magazine and outer
defences. Built 1540-1543 for Henry VIII blockhouse early C16 also for Henry VIII,
magazine is Victorian. Slatestone rubble walls with granite strings, copings, door
and window frames and granite ashlar circular stair turret lookout rising above
embrasure position with C17 lead ogee shaped roof with finial. Otherwise flat lead
roofs over keep and bastions. Clover leaf plan of round keep with 3 adjoining semi
circular bastions. Very thick walls to resist cannon fire. 3 storeys over kitchen
basement. Entrance is through polygonal, slate roofed single storey gatehouse
leading to 2 span bridge with parapets and originally with drawbridge. Oak door with
wicket and original hinges. Doorway and other arches and openings elsewhere is four
centred; flanking cross slits and chain slits over. Gunport with hoodmould overlooks
gatehouse with coat of arms over. The surrounding seascape is overlooked by further
similar gunports to all sides of 2nd floor of keep and to bastions. Battlemented
parapets to keep and bastions with provision for mantlets. Southern entrance has
Royal coat of arms over flanking by Tritons bearings inscribed scroll, inscriptions.
Further inscription on string under keep battlements which is punctuated by
gargoyles. Keep has 2, 4 and 6 light mullioned windows, some with king mullions, to
basement, ground and first floors all protected by bastions.
Interior of keep has original granite newel stair leading to all floors plus further
stairs to bastion parapets. Circular, 1 room kitchen in basement has large fireplace
with large oven, some original floor beams (originally ceiled) on granite posts and
niche by stair over moulded pedestal. Octagonal, 1 room ground floor, originally the
mess room with 2 small rooms within wall thickness, 1 with fireplace and keeping
place, further recess, probably garderobe. Main fireplace has overmantle with
pediment. Octagonal 1st and entrance floor has half partitioned off creating 2 rooms
flanking passage, probably chambers, and main room ie hall in remainder. Fireplace
to each room; the main one with niche over, oven left and linked keeping place right.
Some original carved oak door heads survive. To right of main entrance is deep shaft
with small room at the bottom. Second floor ie. the gunroom is octagonal with deep
gunport to each side. Beside the gunports here and in bastions are niches possibly
for powder or shot. Overhead smoke vents now blocked. Well is cut in moat wall near
bridge and stone slab in basement possibly covers further well.
Blockhouse built before main castle, now roofless, has 3 gun ports, large oven and
Magazine mid to late C19 to south has low pitched masonry roof with granite coping
and cornice and doorcase of granite with low pitched gable echoing main roof. Of
similar date are further gun emplacements.
Mostly uneventful history, being surrendered in March 1646 by Hannibal Bonython,
lieutenant of the castle to Fairfax, the parliamentary General after a brief
discussion of terms without a shot being fired.
St Mawes Castle is described in greater detail in the castle guide which is based on
Illustrated Guide to St. Mawes and Pendennis castles by Miss Daphne Drake.
Some information from Ministry of Works guide, Henry VIII and the Development of
coastal Defence (H M S O) and Castles of Cornwall by Mary and Hal Price. Scheduled
Ancient Monument 278.
Listing NGR: SW8410432752
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