Pendennis Castle at Falmouth in Cornwall, faces St Mawes Castle across the mouth of Falmouth Harbour. Between them their cannon could cover the entire entrance to the Fal estuary. The castles were constructed between 1540-45 in the time of Henry VIII, who built a chain of castles along the south coast. The land on which the castle stands was originally owned by the Killigrew family, governors of Pendennis.
Pendennis Castle has been regularly altered to adapt to the requirements of the moment.The accommodation in front of the 'keep' were added to provide more comfort for the inhabitants. In 1598, under Elizabeth I, a new of defensive wall was added around the original fort.
The walls were strengthened again before the Civil War, and in 1646 the future Charles II sailed to the Isles of Scilly from here. Pendennis withstood a five months of siege during the Civil War, and was the penultimate Royalist garrison (after Raglan Castle) to surrender on the mainland. Cromwell's Roundheads set up headquarters in Falmouth at Arwenack House, the burnt out home to the Killigrew family. Commanded by Sir John Arundel and assisted by Sir Henry Killigrew, the fortress was in a much better strategic position, and perched securely on top of the hill and although completely cut off by Parliamentarian forces, resisted the siege for five months.
Pendennis Castle was re-armed during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, seeing action during World War II.
The Noonday Gun is fired every day at noon during July and August. World-War-II Observation Post reconstruction shows how a warning of an enemy attack was given. And you can descend through secret underground tunnels to the big guns of Half Moon battery and take a guided tour of the underground magazines.
Pendennis Castle is run by English Heritage
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