Launceston Castle
Launceston Castle Launceston Castle Launceston Castle Launceston Castle Launceston Castle Launceston Castle Launceston Castle

A castle was built at Launceston, possibly as early as 1067. The original Norman motte and bailey castle, with its wooden defences, guarded the main route into Cornwall, and became the administrative centre for the Earls of Cornwall.

In the late 12th century a circular stone keep was constructed on top of the motte. Between 1227 and 1272, Richard of Cornwall held the earldom, and during this time he made extensive alterations to the castle. A tower was built inside the keep and stone curtain walls replaced the timber palisades, with substantial gatehouses in the north and south. After Richard of Cornwall's death in 1272, his son, Edmund, moved the earldom's administration to Lostwithiel. This resulted in a decline in the importance of the castle, although it remained the home of the judiciary and also served as a prison.

By 1650 the castle was in ruins, with only the North Gatehouse considered habitable. This was partially demolished in 1764 to provide stone for an impressive new house, built immediately outside the North Gate. In 1838 the assizes (county court) and the seat of county government were moved from Launceston to Bodmin. The jail, the last remaining building in the castle grounds, was demolished and the Duke of Northumberland had the castle landscaped and turned into a public park and garden.

Clearly signposted in Launceston, just off town centre.
Launceston Castle, Launceston, Cornwall, PL15 7DR
English Heritage. Open to the public. Admission fee.
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