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ST CATHERINES CASTLE

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St Catherine's Castle was built by Henry VIII between 1538 and 1540 as part of his network of coastal defences constructed due to heightened threats of attack from France and Spain in the immediate aftermath of the Reformation. It is situated on the tip of a rocky headland, St Catherine's Point, at the entrance to the River Fowey estuary on the south coast of Cornwall.

The two-storey blockhouse has a D-shaped plan and was built on a prepared platform levelled into the rock with slate rubble stone walls up to 1.35 metres thick. On the ground floor are three almost semi-circular gun ports, a fireplace in the south west wall and a small guard chamber within the entrance. The first floor has five narrow windows with semicircular heads and a winder stair, which originally ascended to a former parapet walk. In 1786 the blockhouse held six canons but in 1815, following the Napoleonic Wars, it had been abandoned. The curtilage of the blockhouse, as defined by its curtain wall, was refurbished in 1855 to form a gun battery during the Crimean War. A levelled platform, just below the blockhouse, accommodated a Crimean War battery. In 1887, this was armed with two 64-pounder rifled muzzle-loading guns manned by Artillery Volunteers and retained as a practice battery. By the end of the 19th century it was obsolete and subsequently abandoned. It was again modified and re-armed in 1940 as an emplacement in a more extensive Second World War gun battery occupying St Catherine's Point. This included a 4.7-inch naval gun, a large concrete protective shelter, an ammunition store and concrete pillbox. The site is in the care of English Heritage.

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Further information about monuments may be obtained by contacting Archive Services, through the Historic England website.