Castle of the Week
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St. Mawes & Pendennis Castles, England

As with last week’s Castle of the Week, I first learned of St. Mawes and Pendennis castles in Going Abroad for Pemberley. Both castles were built by Henry VIII along the Cornish coast (on either side of the Fal estuary) to defend against French and Spanish invaders after divorcing the Catholic Catherine of Aragon. Henry built Portland, Deal, and Walmer castles for the same reason. For a bit of context, below are two maps of the area; the map on the left below shows a wider area, including the English Channel and North Sea. The map on the right below is simply focuses on the area surrounding Falmouth. Beneath the maps are /wp-content/uploads/oldsiteimages of the castles themselves.

First up, St. Mawes

And now, Pendennis Castle

Neither castle saw action against the French or Spanish during Henry’s reign, or Elizabeth’s, even though the Spanish did try to attack her forces at Penzance. Both St. Mawes and Pendennis were Royalist strongholds during the English Civil War. St. Mawes’ commander surrendered his castle to the Roundheads upon being confronted, but the commander of Pendennis withstood a siege for six months.

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