Notes: The keep can be viewed across the hills from the nearby village. On road parking is possible. There is no access to the castle grounds.
WHAT IS THERE TO SEE?
A tower similar in style and size to that of nearby Restormel Castle. The gatehouse can also be viewed peaking above the treeline. Access to the castle itself is restricted and by permission of the Duchy of Cornwall only.
NO OFFICIAL SITE - CLOSED TO PUBLIC
Castle is owned by the Duchy of Cornwall.
1. When Sir Francis Drake returned from his great circumnavigation of the world, the treasures he had ‘acquired’ were briefly stored at Trematon castle on the orders of Elizabeth I.
2. In the novel the Cruel Sea, mention is made of a HMS Saltash Castle. There was no such place nor ship but the author probably had Trematon Castle in mind when devising the name.
Originally built to secure the Norman invasion in the South West, Trematon castle controlled the river crossing to/from Cornwall and the Lynher estuary leading to St Germans. Sacked during the religious turmoil of the 1540s, the castle saw no military action but was used periodically as a prison.
HISTORY OF TREMATON CASTLE
A traditional turf and timber motte and bailey castle was established at Trematon shortly after the Norman Conquest possibly as a result of the South Western risings against the invaders in the late 1060s. With the fording point over the River Tamar being situated much further to the north (at Launceston), Trematon controlled and drew income from the ferry crossing between Cornwall (Saltash) and Plymouth. It also controlled the key trading route along the Lynher estuary leading to the town of St Germans (one of Cornwall’s key towns at the time).
The present castle dates from the late twelfth century and consists of a shell keep similar in style and size to that seen at Totnes and Restormel. The earth and timber defences around the bailey were upgraded to stone in the mid-thirteenth century. In 1270 the castle and the surrounding territory was granted to Richard, Earl of Cornwall but on his death reverted to the Crown. In 1337 the Earldom became consumed into the Duchy of Cornwall and was granted by King Edward III to his son, Edward (‘Black’ Prince of Wales).
In 1549 the castle was sacked during a general Cornish uprising against the imposition of a new Prayer Book under the reforms during the reign of Edward VI; the locals, whose Celtic background meant they had a better grasp of Latin than English, were angry at the banning of the Latin Mass. Thereafter the castle saw no military action other than being periodically used as a prison; perhaps most notably for captured Spaniards during the Elizabethan war in the 1590s.
Leased out on a long term basis to a Governmental official in the early nineteenth century, the castle was converted into stately home with parts of the outer wall being demolished to give a better view.