The design of the keep on top of the motte is unusual as consists of a shell keep with a round tower inside it. The gap between the outer shell and the tower is quite narrow and is not much more than a passageway. It was not large enough for rooms for example. It appears that the passageway would have been covered as the holes where the wooden floor was inserted can be seen around the outside of the inner keep wall. The walls of the inner keep are very thick and are large enough to contain a staircase that leads up to the upper floors. The floors themselves have gone but a large fireplace can still be seen at the height of the first floor.
The bailey of the castle contained several buildings now gone but some foundations can still be seen. These would have included a chapel and a hall as well as smaller houses for accomodation and workshops. The castle was used during the English Civil War but was not in a good state of repair and was abandoned afterwards.
|Launceston Castle Key Facts|
|County||Cornwall (6 castles)|
|Categories||Motte & Bailey / Stone|
|Remains||Small amount survives|
|Access to site||Only open at certain times|
|The shell keep and keep on top of the motte are the only remains worth mentioning. The views from the top of the keep are excellent. A small castle but worth a visit. Friendly staff. Owned by English Heritage. Pay and display car-park close by.|
The Norman Conquerors built their castles in locations where they could keep control of the local populations of Saxons or at important locations such as river crossings or on key roads. Many motte and bailey castles were built on the border with Wales to try and keep the Welsh at bay. The advantage of this type of castle was that it was quick to construct. Making a fortification from wood was much easier than making one of stone.
Do you want to explore a Saxon Hall, a medieval church or a large stone keep? Click the images below to enter a medieval world.
Transport yourself back up to a thousand years and explore historical buildings as they may have appeared in the past.