Saturday, 26 February 2011

My Landmark of the Week
Kingswear Castle

In 1481 a new castle was begun at Dartmouth, to defend the harbour there. To support it from the opposite shore, Kingswear Castle was completed in 1502. Together they represent the most advanced military design of their day. For the first time large guns, such as murderers and serpyntynes, were mounted inside on the ground floor, with rectangular ports through which to fire them.

Within 50 years Kingswear Castle was redundant; for another century it was manned in time of war, but thereafter was left to decay, until rescued and turned into a summer residence in 1855 by a rich young bachelor, Charles Seale Hayne. During the last World War, a concrete Blockhouse was built 50 yards from it.

We have restored the castle’s ground floor to look as it did in 1502, with the living quarters above. The rooms have that sense of sturdy habitability in an exposed place, which the Victorians knew so well how to achieve, despite the building’s inherent susceptibility to damp and cold (not even twenty-first century devices can fully overcome this). The tower stands almost on the water’s edge (those with children beware) and its rooms are filled with shifting reflected light. From the windows you can look across to Dartmouth; or down the rocky coast, with its woods of maritime pine, and out to sea. Above all you can watch the river, busy now with friendly shipping.

Sleeps: 4

Beds: T D


  • Garden
  • Roof platform
  • Parking nearby
  • Steep steps and staircases
  • Dogs allowed

Not another castle! Yes, but only sleeps four and the position is glorious.

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