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CROMWELLS CASTLE

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Cromwell's Castle is an artillery tower, supposedly built between 1651 and 1652, comprising a circular gun tower 13.5 metres diameter and c15m high, built of coursed rubble. It is situated on a small low rocky shelf projecting from the western coast of Castle Down on Tresco. The tower replaced an earlier Tudor blockhouse built between 1548 and 1554. The artillery tower is said to have been built after Parliamentarian forces recaptured Tresco during the Civil War. It was strategically positioned to command the channel between Bryher and Tresco. It originally comprised a basement and two floors, above which lay the gun platform with 6 gun ports. The first and second floor rooms included timber floors and stone fire places and were linked by a wooden ladder or steps. Access to the first floor was via stone steps within the wall of the tower. The gun platform was reached from the second floor by a spiral stone staircase within the walls of the tower. There was originally a walkway along the gun platform protected by a parapet. In around 1740, partly in response to threats from Spain, the defences were altered and refurbished by Abraham Tovey, Master Gunner. A pentagonal gun platform was added against the seaward side of the blockhouse and a guardhouse built between the two structures. In 1752, the monument was recorded by the antiquarian William Borlase who noted that the 'principal battery' was armed with nine-pounder guns and the tower platform had small four-pounder cannon. He also recorded that the structure had no garrison and that the timber was 'already much decayed'. It is now 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.