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King Charles Castle

In the civil parish of Tresco.
In the historic county of Isles of Scilly.
Modern Authority of Isles of Scilly.
1974 county of Isles of Scilly.
Medieval County of Isles of Scilly.

OS Map Grid Reference: SV88241611
Latitude 49.96354° Longitude -6.34871°

King Charles Castle has been described as a certain Artillery Fort.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

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


King Charles' Castle is an artillery castle built between 1550 and 1554, situated on the highest point on the west side of Castle Down overlooking New Grimsby Harbour, Tresco. The castle was part of a series of fortifications built on the Isles of Scilly between 1548 and 1554 in response to a threat from the French. After an abortive attempt to construct an artillery castle on St Mary's, whose remains are known as 'Harry's Walls', the emphasis focused on Tresco. King Charles' Castle was built to command the northern entrance to the harbour. The castle is cruciform in plan with the hall and kitchen forming the eastern half, from which the accommodation chambers project to the north and south, and with a semi-hexagonal gun platform extending to the west. The castle was originally of two storeys but the walls now only rise up to 3.4 metres high. A guardroom was attached to the east wall, the main entrance to the castle. The ground-floor gun platform of semi-hexagonal plan originally consisted of 5 gun ports. Despite early prominence, the castle was superseded as the islands' chief stronghold by the building of the Star Castle on St Mary's, 1593-1594. However an earthen artillery defence was added to the north and east of the artillery castle by Royalists during the English Civil War, which on Scilly lasted from 1642-1651. It is a rectangular earthwork with three bastions consisting of a bank up to 2 metres in height externally and an outer ditch 0.4 metres deep on the north and east sides. The south west corner is protected by a steep face of natural rock outcrop. The defence was designed to protect the castle from landward attack. The Royalist's are believed to have blown up part of the castle when they abandoned it in 1651 and much of the stone was used to build a blockhouse, known as Cromwell's Castle, in 1651-2. The castle was partially excavated in 1954, which uncovered pottery, a 16th or 17th century bronze buckle and two coins of Henry VIII and Edward VI. (PastScape)
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:22:45

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