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TOTNES CASTLE

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Totnes Castle was first built as a motte and bailey castle by Judhael of Brittany shortly after the Norman Conquest in 1066 AD. It is situated on high ground in close proximity to the River Dart and overlooks Totnes town. The motte is 58 metres in diameter and constructed of earth and rock to a height of 17.5 metres. A surrounding ditch now survives as a buried feature. On the summit of the motte stood a square timber tower with dry stone foundations. In 1088 AD the Totnes estate passed to Roger de Nonant and in 1196 AD it passed to the de Braose family. It is believed that Reginald de Braose was responsible for replacing the timber tower with a stone shell keep in around 1219 AD. In 1230 AD the de Cantilipe family controlled the castle before being succeeded by the de la Zouche family in 1273 AD. William de la Zouche was responsible for rebuilding much of the castle in about 1326 AD and this work forms most of the extant remains. The shell keep is nearly circular in plan, constructed of limestone rubble with sandstone dressings and measures about 21 metres in diameter. It has crenellated battlements approached by two stairways within the walls and a garderobe chamber within the western walls but also projecting beyond it. The inner bailey was attached to the north west side of the keep from which it was separated by a moat. It is horseshoe shaped in plan and is defined on three sides by a curtain wall, with interior earthworks perhaps marking where buildings once stood. The curtain wall of the inner bailey probably replaced a timber palisade in the 14th century. Little remains of the outer bailey but it is believed to have stood to the north of the moat protecting the inner bailey. After the 14th century, the condition of the castle gradually deteriorated. The castle was later owned by the Edgecombes of Cothele and the Seymour family. The castle is in the care of English Heritage.

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