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TINTAGEL CASTLE

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  DUROCORNOVIUM
DESCRIPTION + /

The site of Tintagel Castle, a medieval castle on the site of a possible Roman outpost and 5th to 7th century trading or royal settlement. This site is famous mostly because of its Arthurian connections, although these are largely unfounded, deriving from Geoffrey of Monmouth's writings in the 12th century. The castle lies on either side of the isthmus linking Tintagel Island to the mainland, and was in fact built by Richard, Earl of Cornwall between 1227 and 1233. The Inner Ward is on the Island, and the Upper and Lower wards are on the mainland, with a bailey on either side of the isthmus. There is no keep. The Upper Ward is built around a natural crag, the main castle entrance being through the curtain wall in the Lower Ward. The Inner Ward contains the Great Hall built on an artificial platform with a thick retaining wall. Built as a double square in plan, the weight of the structure caused the platform to bulge, requiring the construction of four massive buttresses. A secondary curtain wall was added to the north of the Great Hall, and also buttressed, to provide protection for the new service wing built there. The gate tower is preceded by a narrow passage overlooked by an elongated enclosure wall on a rock outcrop which defenders could safely use, protected by the wall. The path descending to the sea is protected by the Iron Gate, controlling access to a quay. In the 14th century the Great Hall was reconstructed on a smaller scale with modifications being made to the service buildings. A survey of the Duchy properties in 1337 records additional detail: two chambers over the gateway, an upper element above the Lower Ward entrance, and a stable for eight horses. A cellar and a bakehouse are also documented. By the late 15th century the castle was noted as being strong but ruinous. This is an English Heritage Property.

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