Restormel Castle

Restormal Castle occupies a knoll above the River Fowey, a mile north of Lostwithiel. Its plan is quite a curiosity. A perfectly circular bailey with a set of internal buildings arranged concentrically against the curtain. The domestic buildings are all ruined but the curtain is virtually intact. The sense of compactness is heightened by the absence of an outer bailey, because although one existed every trace has disappeared. There is no historical reference to the castle until 1264, when Simon de Montfort seized it, but Restormel is clearly older than that. From outside the embattled curtain appears to crown a motte, and the structure is often described as a large shell keep, but the “motte” is really a ringwork. Furthermore …

Hereford Castle

Hereford means “army ford”, a reference to the turbulent days of its foundation when the Kingdom of Mercia was pushing westwards into Welsh territory. Excavations have uncovered the Saxon town rampart. For centuries the English settlers and the Welsh beyond the River Wye were uneasy neighbors, and in 1055 the town went up in flames. Harold Godwinson, later King Harold, drove back the invaders and rebuilt the shattered defenses. In Norman times, the enclosed area doubled in size and a walled circuit replaced the earthwork defenses from 1224 onward. Hereford rebuffed a Scottish army in 1645 but fell to Parliament at the end of the year. Damaged during these sieges, the city wall suffered the common fate of demolition and …