HeritageGateway - Home
Site Map
Text size: A A A
You are here: Home > > > > Historic England research records Result
Historic England research recordsPrintable version | About Historic England research records

Historic England Research Records

West Cowes Castle

Hob Uid: 460628
Location :
Isle of Wight
Cowes
Grid Ref : SZ4938309655
Summary : The remains of the artillery castle at West Cowes. It was built in 1539-40 by Henry VIII as part of his network of coastal defences to defend England from the threat of French and Spanish invasion. Together with the artillery castle at East Cowes it defended the mouth of the River Medina and Newport Harbour.The castle was used as a prison from 1649-53 and it became a private house in 1716. In this period it was extensively remodelled and most of the original castle was demolished with the building of a stair tower. In 1856-7 the building was bought by the Royal Yacht Squadron and was considerably altered and the remaining parts of the castle were incorporated into the organisation's clubhouse.The original castle was a round tower flanked to the east and west by rectangular wings with a semi-circular curtain wall on the seaward side. Eight guns were mounted at the castle in three tiers. The castle was built from material from the abbey at Beaulieu and possibly from Quarr Abbey. Little remains of the present day castle apart from a low bastion fronting the promenade along the seaward side and a fragment of the northern segment of the original round tower. The rest of the building consists of the 18th century house with its three storey tower and its castellated conservatory style lodge.
More information : (SZ 49389657) Cowes Castle (NR) (Royal Yacht Squadron Club House. (1)

The castle at West Cowes was built by Henry VIII about 1539. A coastal fort, it comprised a small stone house with a semi-circular stone battery for eight guns on the north front. (2)

The short round tower is said to no longer contain any of the original work. The stair turret is 18th century, the remainder 1856-7. It is now the Royal Yacht Squadron club house. (3)

West Cowes Castle is as described above. The battery faces north over the Solent, and commands an excellent view of the harbour entrance. The rest of the former 16th cent. fort has been destroyed or obscured by the later building of the R.Y.S. club house. (4)

Listed as grade 2*.
The Royal Yacht Squadron Club House was formerly a fort built in 1539 by Henry VIII to protect the Newport.
The only remains from this period are the low bastion fronting the promenade along the sea and a fragment of the northern segment of the two storey squat round tower behind. These are built of limestone ashlar, which is said to have been brought from
Beaulieu Abbey which was then partially demolished. The Castle was remodelled in 1716 and most of the round tower was demolished. A staircase turret was added to the south eastern corner of the tower and wings built for residential use. In 1856-58 the building was adapted by Anthony Salvin for the Royal Yacht Squadron. The Platform, a conservatory-like front extension was added in the 1880s and remodelled in the 1970s. In the 1920s a
mansard roof, service wing and a northern extension were added. Other alterations were carried out in the late 20th century. (5)

The fort at West Cowes was begun in March/April 1539 and was completed during the summer of 1540, although minor construction work may have continued until 1542 the fort may incorporate stone from Quarr Abbey in addition to material from the abbey at Beaulieu. For a detailed description of the site please refer to the source. (6)

Please refer to these additional references. (7-8)

The castle consisted of a two-storey central tower with one-storey high flanking rectangular wings on the east and west side. The seaward side was protected by a semi-circular curtain wall and the landward side by a walled ditch. Artillery was positioned on the roof of the tower, wings and the curtain wall providing three tiers of fire. (9)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS. 6" 1962
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Ants. England and Wales 2 1774 13-14 Illust. (Grose)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
Source : Hampshire and the Isle of Wight
Source details :
Page(s) : 741-2
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 4
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 PAS 16-JUL-71
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 5
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : Isle of Wight 947/4/84, 17-AUG-1951
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 6
Source : The history of the King's Works, volume 4 : 1485-1660 (Part 2)
Source details :
Page(s) : 370-1,404,535-9
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 7
Source : Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club and Archaeological Society
Source details : J. Kenyon
Page(s) : 138-9
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 39, 1983
Source Number : 8
Source : Post-medieval archaeology : the journal of the Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology
Source details : J. Kenyon
Page(s) : 67-8
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 9
Source : The Castles of Henry VIII
Source details :
Page(s) : 28
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Tudor
Display Date : Built 1539-40
Monument End Date : 1540
Monument Start Date : 1539
Monument Type : Artillery Castle, Artillery Fort
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Stuart
Display Date : Change in function 1649-53
Monument End Date : 1653
Monument Start Date : 1649
Monument Type : Prison
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Hanoverian
Display Date : Change in function and altered 1716
Monument End Date : 1716
Monument Start Date : 1716
Monument Type : House
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Victorian
Display Date : Change in function and altered 1856-7
Monument End Date : 1857
Monument Start Date : 1856
Monument Type : Sailing Club, Clubhouse
Evidence : Extant Building

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 419053
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SZ 49 NE 10
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 461607
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SZ 49 NE 10
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1971-07-16
End Date : 1971-07-16