Kingswear Castle

Devon, England

City/Town/Village: Kingswear
District: South Hams
County: Devon
Latitude/Longitude: 50.342, -3.55983
Postcode: TQ6 0DX
(postcode is for sat-nav purposes only, and may not represent the actual address of the castle)


Privately Owned

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Kingswear Castle is a large 15th century stone square artillery tower, with a later 16th century blockhouse, which was founded by King Henry VIII. The tower defended the narrow entrance, of the Dart Estuary by holding one end of the Dartmouth chain. Built in 1491-4, it was abandoned in the 17th century and restored as a summer residence by Charles Seale-Hayne, in 1855.

Kingswear Castle is a Listed Building. Here's what the official description says about it:


9/32 Kingswear Castle
(formerly listed in
8.10.49 Brixham UD)

- I

Blockhouse for the defence of Dartmouth Harbour, converted into summer residence.
Built in 1491 to 1502 as part of the defences at entrance to Dartmouth harbour on
the east side and with Dartmouth Castle on the west side of the estuary. Slate
rubble with red sandstone dressings. Square on plan with slightly battered walls.
Corbelled embattled parapet, stepped up to higherlevel on north side. North side
has chamfered two-centred arch doorway and corbelled machicolations above, and
an octagonal stair turret to right on north west corner, with battlements, small
four-centred arch windows at top and loops below. On the other sides four-
centred head openings and loops at high level and square openings below with
relieving arches. Low circular detached tower to north west with corbelled
embattled parapet, openings with cambered arches, and round stair turret on south
east side also with corbelled parapet with battlements. C20 concrete accretions
linking it to main building. There was a fort on the Dartmouth side of the har-
bour mouth as early as 1388 but the existing Dartmouth Castle was begun in 1481
and most of the surviving work is of 1488-94. By the mid C17 the long range
guns installed at Dartmouth Castle made Kingswear Castle obsolete and it was
abandoned. But it was held by Sir Henry Cary for the King during the Civil War
and captured in 1646 by Sir Thomas Fairfax. Further defences for Kingswear were
built by the Royalists in the form of the redoubt immediately above the town.
Kingswear Castle was converted into a summer residence (for Major Charles Seale-
Hayne) in 1855 by T Lidston, architect, and it is still used for this purpose.
Reference: B.H. St J O'Neil, "Dartmouth Castle and other defences of Dartmouth
Haven", Society of Antiquaries 1936.

Listing NGR: SX8910150282

Information from British Listed Buildings

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