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Historic England Research Records

Marisco Castle

Hob Uid: 31785
Location :
Devon
Torridge
Non Civil Parish
Grid Ref : SS1415043770
Summary : Marisco Castle is situated in a prominent cliff-top setting at the south east corner of Lundy. The history of a castle on this site begins with the construction of a shell keep and bailey on order of Henry III in 1243. In 1643, during the Civil War, the royalist Thomas Bushell restored the castle 'from the ground at his own charge. The present remains seem to date from this restoration as well as including subsequent additions and comprise a keep, a parade ground revetted with stone, a curtain wall on the north side, and a fosse or outer ditch on the north and west sides. The keep is built of granite with battered walls, rectangular in plan and with domed chimneys at each corner. The crenellations have been filled in and the walls brought up to the height of the chimneys. This now forms a courtyard to protect the fishermen's ottages which have been inserted into the interior during the 19th century. The cottages were remodelled as holiday cottages in the late 20th century. The construction of the keep now visible appears to be wholly the work of Thomas Bushell. The earlier medieval foundations will survive beneath the present building. The east side of the castle has a terrace reveted with stone. This is known as the Parade Ground. This was part excavated in 1984 and 1985. On the north side there are extensive remains of a curtain wall showing both medieval and 17th century fabrics. Outside these features are the remains of a fosse or outer ditch. Within the enclosure are the remains of the Old House to the south side of the parade ground and the smithy which was revealed by the 1984 excavations. The Old House was probably built in the 17th century by Bushell as his own residence. This survived until the construction of the Manor Farm house in the village in the late 18th century. In 1887 a lean-to was built to house the terminal of a submarine telegraph cable. Scheduled. The keep and bailey walls are also Listed Grade II*.
More information : [SS 14174377] Marisco Castle [G.T.] (Remains of) [T.I.]
Fosse [G.T.] (1)

Marisco was built by Henry III in 1243 at the top of the only path
from the beach to the plateau, commanding an excellent view of the east coast of Lundy, the landing bay and the Channel. The castle comprised a small keep measuring 51ft. NW-SE by 38 ft. transversely, with 3 ft.-thick walls, and with a two-stepped forebuilding projecting to the east, with outer walls and a ditch,
except towards the sea where the rock is almost perpendicular.

The outer walls can still be traced and the ditch is very evident
on the N. side. Here there was a gateway at the head of the beach path and another to the W. gave access to the plateau( 2)
The castle was re-fortified and probably remodelled at the time of the civil wars.(3)
See AO/62/127/4 & 5 from auth. 2. (2-3)

Marisco Castle occupies a minor promontory at the SE corner of Lundy and is situated some 330 feet above the sea. The castle comprised a square keep with small Bailey on the landward
side. The bailey was enclosed with a curtain wall, the ends of which probably abutted onto the keep. Precipitous cliffs encircle the site on the seaward side, and a large ditch with an outer earthen rampart isolated the castle from the plateau. The extant remains fall into two periods. Of the 13th c. castle, constructed of random rubble, the shell of the Keep and a fine stretch of curtain walling to the N.E. are predominant. The Keep has been mutilated internally to accommodate three cottages now ruinous. The eastern end of the ditch and rampart remain in fairly good condition.

In the Civil War, a large Bastion was added on the SE side and the curtain walls were reinforced or rebuilt of coursed random rubble, but only footings and some fragmentary remains of walling now exist. Published survey (25" 1905) to be amended by Field Surveyor.
See GPs. AO/62/68/3 Keep from SE. (4)

Additional bibliography. (5-8)

Listed. (9, 10)

List description mentions a lean-to built against north side of keep in 1887 to house terminal of submarine telegraph cable. (11)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1906
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Source Number : 2
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Langham A and M. 1960. Lundy: Bristol Channel, 95-96
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Source Number : 11
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details :
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Source Number : 3
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Chanter JR. 1877. Lundy Island
Page(s) : 14-15
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Source Number : 4
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 ASP 18-MAY-62
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Source Number : 5
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : 10/06/1998
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Source Number : 6
Source : The castle in the Isle of Lundy
Source details :
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Source Number : 7
Source : The castle on the island of Lundy : 750 years, 1244-1944
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Source Number : 8
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : Torridge 07/10/1991
Page(s) : 6
Figs. :
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Vol(s) : 1938
Source Number : 9
Source : Castellarium anglicanum : an index and bibliography of the castles in England, Wales and the Islands. Volume II : Norfolk-Yorkshire and the islands
Source details :
Page(s) : 553
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Vol(s) : 2
Source Number : 10
Source : The history of the King's Works, volume 2 : the Middle Ages
Source details :
Page(s) : 732-3
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Built in 1243
Monument End Date : 1243
Monument Start Date : 1243
Monument Type : Keep And Bailey Castle, Curtain Wall, Shell Keep
Evidence : Ruined Building, Structure
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : 1643
Monument End Date : 1643
Monument Start Date : 1643
Monument Type : Castle, Keep And Bailey Castle, House, Parade Ground, Curtain Wall, Shell Keep, Barbican
Evidence : Ruined Building, Structure
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : C19
Monument End Date : 1900
Monument Start Date : 1801
Monument Type : Fishermans House
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Lean to built in 1887.
Monument End Date : 1887
Monument Start Date : 1887
Monument Type : Submarine Cable Station
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : 20th Century
Display Date : Late C20
Monument End Date : 1999
Monument Start Date : 1967
Monument Type : House
Evidence : Extant Building

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : DV 746
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 27644
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 91981
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SS 14 SW 5
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SS 14 SW 5
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1962-05-18
End Date : 1962-05-18
Associated Activities : Primary, MARISCO CASTLE
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 1978-01-01
End Date : 1978-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, MARISCO CASTLE
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2000-01-01
End Date : 2000-12-31