Plymouth Castle Quadrate

Has been described as a Certain Masonry Castle

There are masonry footings remains

NamePlymouth Castle Quadrate
Alternative NamesThe Barbican
Historic CountryDevonshire
Modern AuthorityPlymouth; City of
1974 AuthorityDevon
Civil ParishPlymouth

The construction of Plymouth Castle was initiated under patent from Henry IV when a wall with towers and other defences was erected by the inhabitants. In 1416 two towers were erected and in 1519 the defences were further strengthened. It was described by Leland (circa 1540) as 'a castle quadrate, having at each corner a great round tower'. Restoration work was done in 1508-9 but it was probably allowed to fall into decay after the Civil War. In 1807 a townsman named Harris recollects that there were remains of one tower with a diameter of 30ft and that 200ft. to the south were the remains of another with a diameter of only 10ft, finally removed about 1804. The tower Harris describes disappeared in recent years, he also evidently over-looked the remains of the gateway in Lambhay Street (see illustration). These remains representing the right-hand flanking turret of the gatehouse, South Port, are rectangular in plan with a semi-circular end and are rounded rubble stonework walls rising to about 10ft, resting on exposed rock (Worth, 1883). Remains of the gatehouse of the "South Port". Probably C14 or C15. Rubble wall about 3m high, built on bedrock. Short length of very thick wall with central semicircular on plan truncated projection which is the remains of the right-hand flanking turret of the west gatehouse (listing description). (PastScape)

Remains of the gatehouse of the "South Port". Probably C14 or C15. Rubble wall about 3m high, built on bedrock. Short length of very thick wall with central semicircular on plan truncated projection which is the remains of the right-hand flanking turret of the west gatehouse. (Listed Building Report)

Gatehouse Comments

The 'patent from Henry IV' is a licence to crenellate of 1404 for 'a wall of stone and lime and make and crenellate fortalices, towers and other defences'. Clearly Castle Quadrate is of the right date to be part of these intended works and is the fortalice. See also the Plymouth town wall record.

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

This is a Grade 2 listed building protected by law

Historic England Scheduled Monument Number
Historic England Listed Building number(s)
Images Of England
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSX482539
Latitude50.3658905029297
Longitude-4.13450002670288
Eastings248280
Northings53950
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Copyright Chris Goddard All Rights Reserved
Copyright Chris Goddard All Rights Reserved
Copyright Chris Goddard All Rights Reserved
Copyright Chris Goddard All Rights Reserved
Copyright Chris Goddard All Rights Reserved
Copyright Chris Goddard All Rights Reserved
Copyright Chris Goddard All Rights Reserved
Copyright Chris Goddard All Rights Reserved
Copyright Chris Goddard All Rights Reserved
Copyright Chris Goddard All Rights Reserved
Copyright Chris Goddard All Rights Reserved
Copyright Chris Goddard All Rights Reserved

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Books

  • Salter, Mike, 1999, The Castles of Devon and Cornwall (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 76
  • Pye, Andrew and Woodward, Freddy, 1996, The historic defences of Plymouth (Exeter: Exeter Archaeology Fortress Study Group South West) p. 130
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 64 (slight)
  • Mildren, James, 1987, Castles of Devon (Bossiney Books) p. 82-4
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 118
  • Colvin, H.M., Ransome, D.R. and Summerson, John, 1975, The history of the King's Works Vol. 4: 1485-1660 (part 2) p. 484-5
  • Bracken, 1931, History of Plymouth (Plymouth) p. 45-6
  • Oman, Charles W.C., 1926, Castles (1978 edn Beetham House: New York) p. 102
  • 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. 37 online copy
  • Worth, R.N., 1890, History of Plymouth online copy
  • Lysons, D. and S., 1822, Magna Britannia Vol. 6 Devon p. 398-9 online transcription

Antiquarian

  • Holler, Wenceslas, c. 1643, A Trve Mapp and Discription of the Towne of Plymouth online copy
  • Chandler, John, 1993, John Leland's Itinerary: travels in Tudor England  (Sutton Publishing) p. 110
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1907, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 1 p. 214 online copy

Journals

  • Higham, R.A., 1988, 'Devon Castles: an annotated list' Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society Vol. 46 p. 142-9
  • Kenyon, John R., 1988, 'The State of Fortifications in the West Country in 1623' Fort Vol. 16 p. 47-8
  • Worth, R.N., 1883, 'The Ancient Castle of Plymouth' Journal of the British Archaeological Association Vol. 39 p. 255-8, plan facing 404 online copy

Guide Books

  • Noble, S., 2000, Plymouth's Barbican and Castle: an historic landscape and its archaeology (Plymouth Archaeology No. 5)

Primary Sources