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The ruins of a medieval castle recorded as begun by William le Gros, Earl of Albermarle, circa 1135. It was appropriated by Henry II in 1154 and remained a royal castle until the reign of James I. The early fortifications of le Gros probably consisted of a ditch across the narrowest part of the headland and a gate-tower astride the line of a timber pallisade near to where the keep now stands. The great keep was erected by Henry II between 1158 and 1164. Originally circa 30m high with 4 storeys and surmounted by a turret at each angle. An inner bailey was enclosed on the east by a palisaded bank and ditch; the palisade being replaced by a stone wall, probably in the late 13th century. The curtain wall was the main defence of the castle on the west and south west and may be based on earlier fortifications by le Gros. The south west wall was strengthened by the addition of round-fronted towers; the two immediately south of the keep appear to be late 12th - early 13th century, and the remainder are probably 13th century although much repair and reconstruction has been undertaken since. The sheer cliffs on the eastern and northern sides form the constraints of the outer bailey. Located in the outer bailey are the foundations of an aisled hall, believed to date to the 12th century, and the Mosdale Hall. Though probably erected earlier, the hall was rebuilt at the end of the 14th century by John Mosdale then governor of the castle. The castle was a royalist stronghold in the Civil War and suffered badly in sieges of 1645 and 1648, with the west wall of the keep suffering extensive damage from cannon fire in 1645. The castle was used as a prison and barracks from the 1650s. The barracks were almost completely destroyed by shelling from the German fleet on 16 December 1914. The site is in the care of English Heritage.

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