Tintagel Castle

Has been described as a Certain Masonry Castle

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameTintagel Castle
Alternative NamesTindage; Tindagel
Historic CountryCornwall
Modern AuthorityCornwall
1974 AuthorityCornwall
Civil ParishTintagel

Tintagel Castle lies on either side of the isthmus linking Tintagel Island to the mainland. Built by Richard, Earl of Cornwall between 1227 and 1233 AD with the Inner Ward on the Island, and the Upper and Lower wards on the mainland, with a bailey on either side of the isthmus. There is no keep. The Upper Ward is built around a natural crag, the main castle entrance being through the curtain wall in the Lower Ward. The Inner Ward contains the Great Hall built on an artificial platform with a thick retaining wall. Built as a double square in plan, the weight of the structure caused the platform to bulge, requiring the construction of 4 massive buttresses. A secondary curtain wall was added to the North of the Great Hall, and also buttressed, to provide protection for the new service wing built there. The gate tower is preceded by a narrow passage overlooked by an elongated enclosure wall on a rock outcrop which defenders could safely use, protected by the wall. The path descending to the sea is protected by the Iron Gate, controlling access to the beach. In the 14th century, the Great Hall was reconstructed on a smaller scale with modifications being made to the service buildings. A survey of the Duchy properties in 1337 records additional detail: two chambers over the gateway, an upper element above the Lower Ward entrance, a stable for eight horses. A cellar and a bakehouse are also documented. By the late 15th century the castle was noted as being strong but ruinous. (PastScape)

Gatehouse Comments

Castle built on site of Dark Ages stronghold. It seems the castle was built to associate the Dukes of Cornwall with the Authurian legends rather than for any military or economic reason. Although the major works are by Earl Richard some work was possible started c.1145, six years after Geoffrey de Monmouth's 'History of Britain' claimed Tintagel as the birthplace of Arthur, either by Earl Reginald (Radford 1935) or by the de Hornicotes, who changed their family name to de Tintagel at the end of C12 (Preston-Jones and Rose). The manorial centre was Bossiney Castle which seems to have maintained some administrative function and status after the foundation of Tintagel.

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSX051889
Latitude50.6680717468262
Longitude-4.75957012176514
Eastings205160
Northings88900
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Copyright Ben Bawden and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright Karen Withak and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright Karen Withak and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright Karen Withak and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright Karen Withak and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright Karen Withak and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright Karen Withak and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright Karen Withak and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright Karen Withak and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright Karen Withak and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright Karen Withak and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright Karen Withak and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright Karen Withak and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright Karen Withak and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright Karen Withak and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.

Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.

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Books

  • Creighton, Oliver, 2015, 'Castle, Landscape and Townscape in Thirteenth-Century England: Wallingford, Oxfordshire and the 'Princely Building Strategies' of Richard, Earl of Cornwall' in Jörg Peltzer (ed), Rank and Order: The Formation of Aristocratic Elites in Western and Central Europe, 500–1500 (Ostfildern: Thorbecke Jan Verlag) p. 309-341
  • Goodall, John, 2011, The English Castle 1066-1650 (Yale University Press) p. 189, 238, 260
  • Barrowman, R.C., Batey, C.E. and Morris, C.D., 2007, Excavations at Tintagel Castle, Cornwall, 1990-1999 (London: Society of Antiquaries Research Report 74)
  • Higham, Robert A., 1999, 'Castles, Fortified Houses and Fortified Towns in the Middle Ages' in Kain, R. and Ravenhill, W., Historical Atlas of South-West England (University of Exeter Press) p. 136-43
  • Salter, Mike, 1999, The Castles of Devon and Cornwall (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 42-4
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 23
  • O'Mahoney, C., 1989, The medieval pottery from Tintagel (Redruth: Institute of Cornish Studies)
  • Spreadbury, I. D., 1984, Castles in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly (Redruth)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 76
  • Padel, O.J., 1981, 'Tintagel: an Alternative View' in C. Thomas, A Provisional List of Imported Pottery in Post-Roman Western Britain and Ireland p. 28-29 (Redruth)
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 307
  • Price, M. and H., 1980, Castles of Cornwall (Bossiney Books) p. 75-87
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker)
  • Pevsner, N. revised by Enid Radcliffe, 1970, Buildings of England: Cornwall (Harmondsworth) p. 201-2
  • Colvin, H.M., Brown, R.Allen and Taylor, A.J., 1963, The history of the King's Works Vol. 2: the Middle Ages (London: HMSO) p. 845-6
  • Toy, Sidney, 1953, The Castles of Great Britain (Heinemann) p. 26-33
  • Oman, Charles W.C., 1926, Castles (1978 edn Beetham House: New York) p. 124-6
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 2 p. 16-8 online copy
  • Timbs, J. and Gunn, A., 1872, Abbeys, Castles and Ancient Halls of England and Wales Vol. 1 (London) p. 499-500 online copy
  • Turner, T.H. and Parker, J.H., 1859, Some account of Domestic Architecture in England (Oxford) Vol. 3 Part 2 p. 362 online copy
  • Lysons, D. and S., 1814, Magna Britannia Vol. 3 Cornwall p. ccxl, plate xxiv, 304-6 online transcription
  • King, Edward, 1804, Munimenta antiqua or Observations on antient castles (W.Bulmer and Co) Vol. 3 p. 121-22 online copy
  • Buck, Samuel and Nathaniel, 1774, Buck's Antiquities (London) Vol. 1 p. 33
  • Borlase, William, 1754, Antiquites, historical and monumental, of the county of Cornwall (Oxford) p. 352-3

Antiquarian

  • Camden, Wm, 1607, Britannia hypertext critical edition by Dana F. Sutton (2004)
  • Chandler, John, 1993, John Leland's Itinerary: travels in Tudor England  (Sutton Publishing) p. 64, 83
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1907, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 1 p. 316-7 online copy
  • Harvey, J.H. (ed), 1969, Itineraries (of) William Worcestre (Clarendon Press) p. 21

Journals

  • 2014 Sept, 'Tintagel Castle, Cornwall' Castle Studies Group Bulletin Vol. 18 p. 13 (news report on plan for visitor centre)
  • Thorpe, C.M. 2013, 'Tintagel Castle: recent work' Cornish Archaeology Vol. 52 p. 247- 56
  • Smith, J.B., 2010, 'Richard, earl of Cornwall, Prince Dafidd ap Llywelyn and Tintagel Castle' Journal of the Royal Institution of Cornwall p. 31-42
  • Orange, H. and Laviolette, P., 2010, ‘A disgruntled tourist in King Arthur’s court: archaeology and identity at Tintagel, Cornwall’ Public Archaeology Vol. 9 p. 85-107
  • Rose, P., 1994, 'The medieval garden at Tintagel Castle' Cornish Archaeology Vol. 33 p. 170-82
  • Morris, C., Nowakowski, J. and Thomas, C., 1990, 'Tintagel, Cornwall: the 1990 excavations' Antiquity Vol. 64 No. 245 p. 843-849
  • Thomas, C., 1988, The 1988 C A U excavations at Tintagel Island: discoveries and their implications' Cornish Studies Vol. 16 p. 49-60
  • Padel, O.J., 1988, 'Tintagel in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries' Cornish Studies Vol. 16 p. 61-6
  • O'Mahoney, C., 1988, 'Medieval pottery from Tintagel: a summary' Cornish Studies Vol. 16 p. 67-8
  • Hartgroves, S. and Walker, R., 1988, 'Excavations in the Lower Ward, Tintagel Castle, 1986' Cornish Studies Vol. 16 p. 9-30
  • Thomas, C., 1988, 'Tintagel Castle' Antiquity Vol. 62 No. 236 p. 421-34
  • Youngs, S.M., Clark, J. and Barry, T.B., 1987, 'Medieval Britain and Ireland in 1986' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 31 p. 119 download copy
  • Preston-Jones, Ann and Rose, Peter, 1986, 'Medieval Cornwall' Cornish Archaeology Vol. 25 p. 135-185 online copy
  • McAvoy, F.M., 1984, 'Tintagel Castle' Cornish Archaeology Vol. 23 p. 184
  • Browse, R.G., 1982, 'Tintagel Castle' Cornish Archaeology Vol. 21 p. 189-90
  • Radford, C.A.Ralegh, 1974, 'Tintagel Castle and Celtic monastery' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 130 p. 248-50
  • Brown, R. Allen, 1959, 'A List of Castles, 1154–1216' English Historical Review Vol. 74 p. 249-280 (Reprinted in Brown, R. Allen, 1989, Castles, conquest and charters: collected papers (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 90-121) view online copy (subscription required)
  • Radford, C.A.Ralegh, 1942, Journal of the Royal Institution of Cornwall Vol. 25 p. 25-41
  • Radford, C.A.Ralegh, 1935, Antiquarian Journal Vol. 15 p. 401-19
  • Whitley, H.M., 1883-5, 'Note to accompany Sir Richard Grenville's plott of Tintagel Castle' Journal of the Royal Institution of Cornwall Vol. 8 p. 269-70 online copy
  • Kinsman, 1877, Journal British Archaeological Association Vol. 33 p. 170-5
  • Kinsman, 1871-3, 'A few observations on Tintagel Castle' Journal of the Royal Institution of Cornwall Vol. 4 p. 42-6 online copy
  • Wilkinson, J.J., 1870, 'Tintagel Castle' Journal of the Royal Institution of Cornwall Vol. 3 p. 227-35 online copy
  • MacLauchlan and Haslam, 1851, Royal Institute of Cornwall 32nd report p. 42-6 plates xxx, xxxi

Guide Books

  • Batey, Colleen E., 2009, Tintagel Castle (London: English Heritage)
  • Davison, Brian K., 2000, Tintagel Castle (London: English Heritage)
  • 1999, Tintagel Castle Souvenir Guide (London: English Heritage)
  • Thomas, Charles, 1993, English Heritage book of Tintagel: Arthur and archaeology (London: English Heritage)
  • Thomas, Charles, 1986, Tintagel Castle (London: English Heritage)
  • Radford, C.A.Ralegh, 1939 (2edn), Tintagel Castle Cornwall (HMSO)

Primary Sources

  • Stubbs, W. (ed), 1880, The Minor Works comprising the Gesta regum with its continuation, the Actus pontificum, and the Mappa mundi, by Gervase, the Monk of Canterbury (London: Longman Rolls series 73) Vol. 2 p. 424 online copy (late C11 mention of the castle of Tintagel)
  • Rickard, John, 2002, The Castle Community. The Personnel of English and Welsh Castles, 1272-1422 (Boydell Press) (lists sources for 1272-1422) p. 144-5
  • B.M. Harleian MS. 6252, f. 60 (Survey of temp. James I) British Library collection information
  • E120/1 (Survey of 1337) The National Archives reference