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Upton Castle, Lewannick

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

OS Map Grid Reference: SX24547897
Latitude 50.58399° Longitude -4.47985°

Upton Castle, Lewannick has been described as a certain Timber Castle, and also as a certain Fortified Manor House.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Upton Castle occupies a slight E/W knoll in a valley hemmed in by much higher ground to the north, south and west. Immediately north of the Castle there is a natural gully, some 80m wide and 5m deep. To the south there is 100m of almost level ground with a 3m high 'cliff' bounding the River Lynher. In good condition. Some deciduous trees in the masonry but no intrusion by the conifer plantation. The 'castle' consists of a walled courtyard of D-shaped plan containing one small attached building and a large free standing one. All walling is of roughly coursed granite and killas of various sizes. No cut stone is visible anywhere. No mortar can be seen, clay and earth seems to have been used throughout in place of it with, quite often, small packing pieces rammed between the joints. The courtyard, 23m by 25m internally has walling from 1m to 2m thick and 0.7m to 1m high within. Outside up to 1.5m of wall is visible but the base is obscured throughout by a bank of tumbled stone 3m to 5m wide and at least 1m high. This may be tumble or excavation rubble but might be a deliberate policy of piling loose stone against the lower part of the wall. Traces of a ditch about 3m. wide and 0.3m deep, occur on the east and west sides. It seems unlikely to be much silted so is either a quarry ditch or an abortive attempt to create additional defence. In the NE corner an angular protrusion, internally 6m by 3.5m, might represent the base of an angle tower. Both walling and floor are 1m lower than the courtyard and access is by dropping over a masonry ledge. The wall of this structure is 1m thick, and 1.3m high. Two ragged gaps in the north and south walls may represent entrances. There is no evidence of any subdivision of the interior. To the south a small building 6m by 3.5m abuts the courtyard wall. There is a gap in the north west and another in the east side; either or both could be original. Upton would seem to be a defended manor house rather than a true castle, hidden in a narrow valley, with little or no strategic value. Contrary to Latham it is unlikely to have been a point of access to the moor but his view that the John Upton, mentioned in 1140, was of Upton Castle is more tenable than that of Lake (Polsue) who assigns Upton to an abode at what is now Upton Barton (SX 27 NW 34). Upton Castle is probably of early medieval date though whether the defence was original or induced by the period of anarchy is open to question. (PastScape–ref. RCHME Field Investigation 11-JAN-83 N.V Quinnell)

Called motte/ringwork in Higham. Preston-Jones and Rose write 'was probably the C12 century residence of the Uptons (Polsue, 1870, 118).'
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:22:04

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