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Helston Castle

In the civil parish of Helston.
In the historic county of Cornwall.
Modern Authority of Cornwall.
1974 county of Cornwall.
Medieval County of Cornwall.

OS Map Grid Reference: SW65652739
Latitude 50.10025° Longitude -5.27799°

Helston Castle has been described as a probable Timber Castle, and also as a probable Masonry Castle, and also as a probable Fortified Manor House.

There are no visible remains.


The site of Helston Castle, probably a fortified manor house, is now occupied by the Bowling Green. It was in use in the late C12 but is otherwise unrecorded (Henderson). The castle was erected by Edmund Earl of Cornwall (1272-1300) and in 1478 is described by William of Worcester as being in ruins. Leland also saw traces of the castle, and the traditional site as marked on the OS 25" is probably accurate and is the obvious one for a medieval structure (Toy). The castle may have been more a defensive structure than a manorial one since the traditional site commands the valley, the river approach and the river crossing, and Toy mentions that there was a bridge across the Cober at St Johns in medieval times. No trace of the castle remains (Field Investigators Comments F1 NVQ 11-JAN-72). (PastScape)

Helston was a significant borough, one of the five Stannary Towns. It had a jail (presumably the castle) and was a place where rents were collected (including rents in the form of beer) so a safehouse for these rents and taxes would have been needed. The record of use in the C12 by Henderson implies an earlier, presumably timber, castle in the town rebuilt in stone in the late C13. The comment by NVQ (presumably Norman V Quinnell) about this being a defensive structure rather than 'manorial' may be a response to Henderson description of the site as a 'fortified manor house'. More of an administrative centre than a domestic house, particularly if it was used as a jail, so not a fortified manor house but a castle, although probably quite small.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:22:23

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