Ancient Monuments

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Plymouth Castle (remains of)

A Scheduled Monument in St Peter and the Waterfront, Plymouth

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Latitude: 50.3659 / 50°21'57"N

Longitude: -4.1345 / 4°8'4"W

OS Eastings: 248289.365881

OS Northings: 53959.224153

OS Grid: SX482539

Mapcode National: GBR RCM.CR

Mapcode Global: FRA 2872.F2L

Entry Name: Plymouth Castle (remains of)

Scheduled Date: 19 February 1948

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1003833

English Heritage Legacy ID: PY 217

County: Plymouth

Electoral Ward/Division: St Peter and the Waterfront

Built-Up Area: Plymouth

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon


A tower and two lengths of walling forming part of Plymouth Castle.

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 13 October 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

The monument includes a tower and two lengths of walling which formed part of Plymouth Castle situated in Lambhay Street close to the Barbican in Plymouth. The tower survives as an upstanding semicircular tower which is up to 3m high built on bedrock with short adjoining lengths of very thick curtain walling to the east and west. The tower is believed to be the right hand flanking turret of the western gatehouse, or an internal tower within the castle. Henry IV allowed under patent the construction of a wall with towers and other defences to be built by the inhabitants of Plymouth and work commenced in around 1339. In 1416 two towers were added and in 1519 the defences were further strengthened. In 1540 Leland described it as ‘a castle quadrate, having at each corner a great round tower’. Further restoration work was carried out in 1509. It is depicted on a 1539 panorama and in de Gomme’s plan of 1665 as a square structure with a tower at each corner. The castle was largely demolished in 1665 to provide material for the Citadel.

The tower and walls are Listed Grade II.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The remaining tower and lengths of walling which form part of Plymouth Castle are not sufficient to determine exactly what type of castle they represent. It seems likely, however, that the construction was a erected as a part of a strategy to defend against attack from water-borne raiders or invading forces, rather than as an important residence for a member of the aristocracy or social elite. Neither does this appear to have been a royal castle constructed by or on behalf of the Crown. It is known from documentary evidence to have been in existence for a considerable time and doubtless saw some use as a defensive structure during its existence. It was largely dismantled to provide material for the Citadel, which suggests it had become surplus to requirement by this time. The tower and walls will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, function, development, date, abandonment, demolition and overall landscape context. In addition it has potential to answer wider questions about the evolution of Plymouth’s defences.

Source: Historic England


PastScape Monument No:-437578

Source: Historic England

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