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Tintagel Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Tindage; Tindagel

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

OS Map Grid Reference: SX051889
Latitude 50.66807° Longitude -4.75957°

Tintagel Castle has been described as a certain Masonry Castle.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Tintagel Castle lies on either side of the isthmus linking Tintagel Island to the mainland. Built by Richard, Earl of Cornwall between 1227 and 1233 AD with the Inner Ward on the Island, and the Upper and Lower wards on the mainland, with a bailey on either side of the isthmus. There is no keep. The Upper Ward is built around a natural crag, the main castle entrance being through the curtain wall in the Lower Ward. The Inner Ward contains the Great Hall built on an artificial platform with a thick retaining wall. Built as a double square in plan, the weight of the structure caused the platform to bulge, requiring the construction of 4 massive buttresses. A secondary curtain wall was added to the North of the Great Hall, and also buttressed, to provide protection for the new service wing built there. The gate tower is preceded by a narrow passage overlooked by an elongated enclosure wall on a rock outcrop which defenders could safely use, protected by the wall. The path descending to the sea is protected by the Iron Gate, controlling access to the beach. In the 14th century, the Great Hall was reconstructed on a smaller scale with modifications being made to the service buildings. A survey of the Duchy properties in 1337 records additional detail: two chambers over the gateway, an upper element above the Lower Ward entrance, a stable for eight horses. A cellar and a bakehouse are also documented. By the late 15th century the castle was noted as being strong but ruinous. (PastScape)

Castle built on site of Dark Ages stronghold. It seems the castle was built to associate the Dukes of Cornwall with the Authurian legends rather than for any military or economic reason. Although the major works are by Earl Richard some work was possible started c.1145, six years after Geoffrey de Monmouth's 'History of Britain' claimed Tintagel as the birthplace of Arthur, either by Earl Reginald (Radford 1935) or by the de Hornicotes, who changed their family name to de Tintagel at the end of C12 (Preston-Jones and Rose). The manorial centre was Bossiney Castle which seems to have maintained some administrative function and status after the foundation of Tintagel.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 15/08/2017 15:56:46

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