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Restormel Castle was first built as a motte and bailey castle by Baldwin Fitz Turstin, Sheriff of Cornwall in around 1100 AD. It stands on the summit of a spur projecting into the west side of the River Fowey valley. The motte has a diameter of about 52 metres with a surrounding ditch and bank. The rectangular bailey was sited on gently sloping land extending west south west from the motte and today remains marked by earthworks. The earthworks indicate the siting of a hall, chapel, kitchen and administrative centre within the bailey. The circular shell keep, on top of the motte was constructed in about 1200 AD. It measures over 40 metres in diameter and was built to replace the original timber defences. The keep comprises a curtain wall nearly 2.5 metres thick, butted against the earlier gate tower and surviving to the height of the wall walk with a battlemented parapet. Inside this is an inner courtyard bounded by a circular wall. The internal structures included guardhouses, a kitchen, great hall, solar, ante-chamber, bed chamber and guest chamber. In the 13th century a chapel was added, projecting beyond the curtain wall on the west side. The castle was acquired by Richard, Earl of Cornwall, in the reign of Henry III (reigned 1216-1272), and his successor, Earl Edmund, appears to have made it his chief residence. Edmund converted the existing shell keep into its present form in the later 13th century. Thereafter it served more as a lordly residence then a defensive structure, standing within a large deer park. In 1337, the castle was handed over to Edward of Woodstock or 'the Black Prince' as 1st Duke of Cornwall, and he made extensive repairs. After the prince died (1376), the castle declined before it was garrisoned by the Parliamentarians during the civil war, only to be captured by Royalist forces in 1644. It thereafter fell into decay and became a picturesque ruin. In 1925 it passed into guardianship and is now in the care of English Heritage.

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