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WEST COWES CASTLE

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The remains of the artillery castle at West Cowes. It was built in 1539-40 by Henry VIII as part of his network of coastal defences to defend England from the threat of French and Spanish invasion. Together with the artillery castle at East Cowes it defended the mouth of the River Medina and Newport Harbour.
The castle was used as a prison from 1649-53 and it became a private house in 1716. In this period it was extensively remodelled and most of the original castle was demolished with the building of a stair tower. In 1856-7 the building was bought by the Royal Yacht Squadron and was considerably altered and the remaining parts of the castle were incorporated into the organisation's clubhouse.

The original castle was a round tower flanked to the east and west by rectangular wings with a semi-circular curtain wall on the seaward side. Eight guns were mounted at the castle in three tiers. The castle was built from material from the abbey at Beaulieu and possibly from Quarr Abbey.

Little remains of the present day castle apart from a low bastion fronting the promenade along the seaward side and a fragment of the northern segment of the original round tower. The rest of the building consists of the 18th century house with its three storey tower and its castellated conservatory style lodge.

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