Restormel Castle - History and Facts | History Hit

Restormel Castle

Lostwithiel, England, United Kingdom

Restormel Castle was a 13th century castle in Cornwall, the pretty ruins of which are well preserved.

Lily Johnson

05 Jul 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Restormel Castle

Restormel Castle is a ruined stone castle located on a large mound overlooking Cornwall, with a fascinating medieval past.

Restormel Castle history

Though Restormel Castle’s early record is somewhat hazy, a castle was almost certainly established at the site in the 12th if not the 11th century by the Normans.

This earlier castle may have been constructed by Baldwin fitz Turstan, son of the sheriff of Cornwall, and due to its position overlooking the River Fowey would have held strategic importance. Restormel may have also been constructed during the Anarchy of the 12th century, a civil war in England between King Stephen and Empress Matilda.

Later the seat of the Duchy of Cornwall, in the 13th century Restormel underwent a large building program by Henry III‘s nephew Edmund, who transformed it into a ‘miniature palace’.

Following Edmund’s death, Restormel would go on to be owned by Edward, The Black Prince in the 14th century, who stayed there on two occasions in 1354 and 1365.

It later fell into disuse, yet in 1644 found a short reprieve from dereliction as a stronghold in the English Civil War, and at this time was captured by Royalist lord Sir Richard Grenville. By the time the Parliamentarians won the entire war however, Restormel was so ruinous that they didn’t even bother to slight it, as they usually did to put castles beyond further Royalist use.

Restormel Castle today

Today, Restormel Castle remains in the keeping of the Duchy of Cornwall and is managed by English Heritage. Made up of a dramatic circular stone keep atop a mound and dried moat, visitors can walk the walls and explore the remains of the buildings inside.

Look out for the remains of the large windows, fireplaces, and Great Hall, indicating the past grandeur of this palatial residence, now surrounded by beautiful woodland and flowers.

The Restormel Walking Trail also guides visitors through the beautiful Fowey Valley, including stops at Restormel Castle, the Duchy of Cornwall Nursery, and Restormel Manor.

Getting to Restormel Castle

Restormel Castle is located 1.5 miles north of Lostwithiel just off the A390, with parking available at the site. The Travel Cornwall 423 and 482 bus services and the Gorran & District Community Bus G4 all stop in Lostwithiel, a 25-minute walk to the castle. Lostwithiel train station is also a 25-minute walk away.

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