Pendennis Castle: 6th June 2014.
Pendennis Castle, said the guide, wasn’t, strictly speaking, a castle. When it was originally built, it wasn’t anybody’s home, as older castles were; it was simply a defensive position.
In the Middle Ages, it wasn’t thought necessary to put more than a token defence around England’s coastline. But then, King Henry VIII upset the Spanish by divorcing his Spanish Queen, Catherine of Aragon. Fearing an invasion from that country, he looked to strengthening his defences, and one of the links in that chain was Pendennis Castle.
Like many late Tudor castles, the keep is round, for cannon were increasingly coming into use, and the lack of corners would make it less vulnerable.
However, the castle didn’t really see any action until the Civil War, when it was the last Royalist stronghold to hold out against the Parliamentarians.
After the Reformation, King Charles II was so grateful for their having held out for his cause for so long that he granted them a Borough Charter. Thus, the nearby fishing village of Falmouth became a town, and grew into a busy port.
Military presence continued at Pendennis until 1956, and there are many displays within the keep … a diorama of Napoleonic gunners and the kit layout of an artilleryman of the First World War.
If you go through a short tunnel nearby, it will lead you to the Half Moon Battery, where gigantic guns from World War II … decommissioned, of course … still point out to sea.
They looked vaguely familiar … then I realised the tune I was humming was the theme from ‘The Guns of Navarone’ !