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Plymouth Castle Quadrate

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
The Barbican

In the civil parish of Plymouth.
In the historic county of Devonshire.
Modern Authority of Plymouth; City of.
1974 county of Devon.
Medieval County of Devon.

OS Map Grid Reference: SX48285395
Latitude 50.36589° Longitude -4.13450°

Plymouth Castle Quadrate has been described as a certain Masonry Castle.

There are masonry footings remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.
This is a Grade 2 listed building protected by law*.


The construction of Plymouth Castle was initiated under patent from Henry IV when a wall with towers and other defences was erected by the inhabitants. In 1416 two towers were erected and in 1519 the defences were further strengthened. It was described by Leland (circa 1540) as 'a castle quadrate, having at each corner a great round tower'. Restoration work was done in 1508-9 but it was probably allowed to fall into decay after the Civil War. In 1807 a townsman named Harris recollects that there were remains of one tower with a diameter of 30ft and that 200ft. to the south were the remains of another with a diameter of only 10ft, finally removed about 1804. The tower Harris describes disappeared in recent years, he also evidently over-looked the remains of the gateway in Lambhay Street (see illustration). These remains representing the right-hand flanking turret of the gatehouse, South Port, are rectangular in plan with a semi-circular end and are rounded rubble stonework walls rising to about 10ft, resting on exposed rock (Worth, 1883). Remains of the gatehouse of the "South Port". Probably C14 or C15. Rubble wall about 3m high, built on bedrock. Short length of very thick wall with central semicircular on plan truncated projection which is the remains of the right-hand flanking turret of the west gatehouse (listing description). (PastScape)

Remains of the gatehouse of the "South Port". Probably C14 or C15. Rubble wall about 3m high, built on bedrock. Short length of very thick wall with central semicircular on plan truncated projection which is the remains of the right-hand flanking turret of the west gatehouse. (Listed Building Report)

A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1404 Feb 6 (Click on the date for details of this licence.).
A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1439 Nov/Dec.


The 'patent from Henry IV' is a licence to crenellate of 1404 for 'a wall of stone and lime and make and crenellate fortalices, towers and other defences'. Clearly Castle Quadrate is of the right date to be part of these intended works and is the fortalice. See also the Plymouth town wall record.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:22:04

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