Restormel Castle

Restormel Castle

Kastel Rostorrmel

Near Lostwithiel, PL22 0EE
Tel: (01208) 872687
Email: southwest@english-heritage.org.uk
Web: www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/restormel-castle

 

A fine example of a Norman castle

You can still make out the ruins of Restormel's keep, gate and Great Hall, and even the kitchens and private rooms. They were built around 1100, making Restormel one of the oldest and best preserved Norman motte-and-bailey castles in Cornwall.

Strategically located above the valley of the River Fowey, and controlling a river crossing, Restormel Castle was a powerful symbol of its lord's domination of the surrounding territory.

The earliest mention of the castle is its surrender by Sir Thomas de Tracy in 1264. When Edmund, Earl of Cornwall died in 1300, the Earldom of Cornwall reverted to the Crown. Since that date Restormel has belonged to the Earldom, latter the Duchy of Cornwall.

It was Richard, Earl of Cornwall who re-built the castle in stone when he moved his main administrative centre to Restormel from Launceston Castle in 1358, another shell keep. Although not tremendously strong defensively, the shape and design of the building with its large windows and views over the countryside, reflect the high status of its owner. The surrounding deer park was then the largest in Cornwall.

Its defences were perfect. The castle was built behind a 55 foot moat, upon slopes which were artificially steepened. These clearly acted as a powerful deterrent, for Restormel has seen action only once during its long history when Charles I's forces drove out the Parliamentarian garrison during the Civil War.

During 1846, whilst travelling in the Duchy, Queen Victoria called at Restormel, and in 1865 her eldest son Edward, Duke of Cornwall visited.

In February 1971 a proposal was made to restore the castle to attract more visitors. But after many lengthy and heated discussions the idea was abandoned.

The Castle still belongs to the Duchy of Cornwall. Various events are staged here from time to time, bringing history to life. The views over the valley from the top of the castle wall are magnificent.

Situated just below the castle is Restormel Manor House, which is a Grade 2 listed, 16th century two storied property still owned by The Duchy of Cornwall. Some of the building is used as office space by the Duchy and the rest is let out as holiday accommodation.

In the spring, Restormel Castle is surrounded by banks of daffodils and bluebells. It lies a mile to the north of the attractive medieval town of Lostwithiel, and it overlooks the River Fowey where there was once a major crossing point of the river.

In 2007 a Roman fortlet was discovered on a hill overlooking the Castle.

Restormel Castle has been managed by English Heritage since 1984.

Location

About one mile north of the town.

Opening Times

22nd March - 30th September: Daily, 10.00am - 6.00pm
1st - 31st October: Daily, 10.00am - 6.00pm/dusk

Facilities
Picnics welcome
Toilets
Parking

Admission Charged

Lostwithiel      Cornwall's History       Duchy Palace

Pendennis Castle       Launceston Castle       St. Mawes Castle       Tintagel Castle       Trematon Castle       English Heritage in Cornwall