This castle and its sister castle Pendennis were built by Henry VIII as part of a defensive chain of fortresses to protect the south coast of Cornwall. This chain of coastal fortifications are known as Henrician Castles or Device Forts. See previous photo of St Catherine's Castle at Fowey. St Mawes was built between 1540 and 1543, half way down the hillside on the eastern shore of the River Fal to provide protection to a large inland expanse of water known as the Carrick Roads, near Falmouth. It was constructed with a central tower overlooking three huge circular bastions attached on the sides in a clover-leaf plan providing a wide area for gun placements with gun ports covering every angle of approach to the estuary. The castle was occupied by the Royalists in the English Civil War but it was not defensible from ground attack and it surrendered to Parliamentary forces in 1646. At the end of the 18th century a lower gun battery beneath St Mawes Castle was built during the Napoleonic Wars - it was armed with twelve guns and built with three flanks and these were superseded in 1870 by four 64-pounder guns although the battery was remodelled in 1898 to house two 6 pounder quick-firing guns and a heavy machine gun and these were served by a new underground magazine situated beneath the battery and the lower battery was superseded by a more powerful battery built on higher ground by 1903. During WWII the battery was part of an extensive system of defences set up on the headland.
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Photo taken in Saint Mawes, Cornwall, UK
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