Featured image of Trematon Castle

The History of Trematon Castle

Trematon Castle is an extraordinary masterpiece situated near Saltash in Cornwall, England, United Kingdom. It was the formal caput of the feudal barony of Trematon. It is quite similar to the later Restormel Castle with a lovely 12th-century keep.

The history of Trematon Castle

Beautiful Trematon Castle overlooks Plymouth Sound. It was likely built by Robert, Count of Mortain atop the ruins of a much earlier Roman fort. It is a motte-and-bailey castle that is thought to date back from soon after the Norman Conquest.

It occupies a sentinel position roughly one and a half miles southeast of Trematon village.

The early history

Trematon Castle was established on the current site by Robert, Count of Mortain, very soon after the Norman Conquest. From around the time of the Conquest until 1270, the rights for the ferry from Saltash Passage on the Plymouth side of the River Tamar to Saltash belonged to the Valletort family.

In 1270, when Roger de Valletort sold Trematon Castle and manor to Richard, Earl of Cornwall for £300, the rent was subsequently paid to the Earl’s bailiff. In the 13th century, this would have amounted to nearly seven pounds sterling.

Later on

In 1580, when Sir Francis Drake returned from his circumnavigation voyage, he came into the harbour in Plymouth. He then slipped out to anchor behind St Nicholas Island until word came to him from Queen Elizabeth’s Court for the treasures, he had gathered to be stored in Trematon Castle. The hoard of treasure consisted of gold, silver, and many precious stones, mainly emeralds.

This treasure was the result of piracy from Spanish ships along the west coast of South America. Before it was moved for storage in the Tower of London, it was temporarily stored in the Golden Hinde. In 1961, the Duchy of Cornwall advertised the castle to be let on a full repairing lease for roughly 21 years. This was with the condition of breaks at a rent of £250 per year.

This resulted in it becoming the home in Cornwall of Hugh Foot, Lord Caradon, as well as his son, Paul Foot, a campaigning journalist. He spent some of his youth at Trematon Castle. In 1962, Queen Elizabeth II visited the castle alongside the Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall, Sir Edward Bolitho, before driving to Fowey and embarking on the royal yacht Britannia.

2005 Royal Visit: Queen Elizabeth II
2005 Royal Visit: Queen Elizabeth II“, by Government of Alberta, is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

The current day

Nowadays, the castle is beloved by people from all around the United Kingdom. It is currently open to the public every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 11:00 am to 4:30 pm. It has so much history behind it and it makes for a perfect day out for the entire family.

Trematon Castle, near Saltash in Cornwall
Trematon Castle“, by Nilfanion, is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Trematon Castle Timeline

  • 1270- Roger de Valletort sells Trematon Castle and manor to Richard, Earl of Cornwall for £300
  • 1580- Sir Francis Drake returns from his circumnavigation voyage and comes into the harbour in Plymouth awaiting news from Queen Elizabeth’s Court for the treasures he had gathered to be stored in Trematon Castle
  • 1961- The Duchy of Cornwall advertises the castle to be let on a full repairing lease for roughly 21 years at a rent of £250 per year
  • 1962- Queen Elizabeth II visits the castle alongside the Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall, Sir Edward Bolitho, before driving to Fowey and embarking in the royal yacht Britannia.

Trematon Castle facts

  • The keep at Trematon Castle is oval-shaped and has walls 10 feet thick and 30 feet high
  • Within the castle’s courtyard stands a Georgian house built in about 1808
  • Queen Elizabeth II visited the castle alongside the Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall in 1962
  • A rectangular gatehouse, built in 1270, has two floors and a portcullis
  • Part of the original castle wall was demolished to give the Georgian house a view into the surrounding countryside
  • The Secret Garden (2020)

Books on Trematon Castle

  • Trematon Castle by Gary Winget (Year of publishing unknown)

Who owns Trematon Castle?

Trematon Castle, also lovingly referred to as Castle of Trematon, has been owned by the Duchy of Cornwall without interruption since 1270 when Earl Richard purchased it for only £300.

Tourism

Plan the trip of your dreams to Trematon Castle to enjoy all that it has to offer. From famous interiors to stunning gardens, it is certainly a place you should have on your bucket list. Major portions of the castle are now in ruins.

However, they have been kept in good condition. Many people say that the castle has aged very gracefully. Be amazed by the thick walls and the Georgian house within the complex of the fortress. The castle is beloved by many people from all around the United Kingdom. It is currently open to the public every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 11:00 am to 4:30 pm. Nearby, you can visit Port Eliot House & Gardens, Royal William Yard, Whitsand Bay, Tamar Bridge, National Marine Aquarium, and Mount Edgcumbe House and Country Park.


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