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HER Number:MDV41
Name:Marisco Castle, Lundy

Summary

Marisco or Lundy Castle was built in 1243 to prevent piracy but was apparently destroyed by the Scots in 1321. It was described as ruinous in the 16th-17th century but was restored during the Civil War. It was partly dismantled in the 18th and 19th centuries. The keep which is said to be medieval in date now houses three cottages.

Location

Grid Reference:SS 141 437
Map Sheet:SS14SW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishLundy
DistrictTorridge
Ecclesiastical ParishLUNDY

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: 31785
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS14SW/23
  • Old Listed Building Ref (II*): 91981
  • Old SAM County Ref: 746
  • Old SAM Ref: 27644
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SS14NW/SW15

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • CASTLE (XIII to XVII - 1201 AD to 1700 AD (Between))

Full description

Office of Works, Marisco Castle, Lundy (Schedule Document). SDV339346.

Fort within promontory earthwork, later impinged on by newtake and house. Overlooks cliff. Castle built 1243 by order of Henry III. Standing almost on the brow of the cliff, with outworks fanning along extreme verge of precipice.
Walls of citadel converted into four cottages, 1787.


National Monuments Record, SS1443 (Aerial Photograph). SDV7816.


English Heritage, 18/07/2013, Application for Scheduled Monument Consent, Marisco Castle, Lundy Island (Schedule Document). SDV351776.

Application for Scheduled Monument Consent concerning consolidation work comprising largely pointing, stabilising and some lintel repair on curtain wall.


Unknown, 1824, Journal of theTime I Spent on the Island of Lundy, in the Years 1752, and 1787, 51-62 (Article in Serial). SDV7814.


Charter, J. R., 1871, History of Lundy, 305 (Article in Serial). SDV7813.


Wall, J. C., 1906, Ancient Earthworks, 577-8 (Article in Monograph). SDV341465.

Other details: Plan.


R. B. M., 1930 - 1931, Lundy Church, 1244, 373 (Article in Serial). SDV7178.

Contrabreve to Sheriff of Devon in 1243 ordered him to build a tower and bailey wall using money from the sale of rabbits.


Tapley-Soper, H., 1940 - 1941, Lundy and the Marisco family., 303 (Article in Serial). SDV7798.

Reference to murder of Henry Clement. Details of Marisco or Marsh family in the 12th and 13th centuries.


Powicke, F. M. Prof, 1941, The Murder of Henry Clement and the Pirates of Lundy., 285-310 (Article in Serial). SDV7812.


Langham, A. + M., 1960, Untitled Source (Monograph). SDV6870.


Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1962 - 1977, SS14NW/SW15 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV7802.

Site visit 18th May 1962. Castle comprised a square keep, with small bailey on the landward side; the bailey was enclosed with a curtain wall, which ends probably abutted onto the keep. Extant remains of two periods. The keep and curtain wall of random rubble are 13th century and in 17th century Civil War a large bastion was added on south-east side and the curtain walls were refurbished. Other details: Plan.


Colvin, H. M. + Brown, R. A. + Taylor, A. J., 1963, The History of the Kings Works: The Middle Ages (Monograph). SDV7828.

Other details: 2 volumes.


Gardner, K. S., 1964, Untitled Source, 32 (Article in Serial). SDV17867.


Hurst, D. G., 1968, Untitled Source, 175-6 (Article in Serial). SDV8366.


Langham, A. F., 1969, Preliminary Investigations into Building Mortars Used on Lundy, 23 (Article in Serial). SDV7889.


Cambridge University, 1970, CUC/BAM, 43-44 (Aerial Photograph). SDV7950.


Ministry of Public Building and Works, 1970, Lundy, Marisco Castle (Schedule Document). SDV339343.

Remains of the castle which Henry III ordered to be built to prevent piracy in 1243 consist of three sides of a rectangular keep with projection stepped out on the east side and a moat most obvious on the north side.
At a later date castellations have been repainted and then walls built up to the height of the earlier domed chimneys at the four corners.
The walls all incline inwards and are built of local granite.
Along the cliff edge on the east and south sides of the castle a ?17th century revettment wall 3-4 feet high with an earlier bastion and building on its south side has been constructed. In the 19th century dwellings were constructed inside the castle and more windows inserted. A summer house has been built onto the south side.
Of guardianship status but all now in ruinous condition. South-east of the castle is a cave with an artificial entrance which has produced medieval pottery.


Langham, A. + M., 1970, Untitled Source, 201-4 (Monograph). SDV1268.


Thomas, J., 1978, A History of Lundy, 1390-1775, 141 (Article in Serial). SDV1273.

Thomas Bushwell, governor 1645-1648, rebuilt the old castle "from the ground, at his own charge".


Devon County Council, 1978, Lundy Island Medieval Site, 15 (Article in Serial). SDV7803.

Excavations in advance of building alterations in the keep of Marisco Castle. No medieval features or features of the 17th century rebuild were discovered inside the keep. Interior stripped to bedrock when 19th century cottages were inserted. Limited excavations in bailey established pre-18th century ground level and indicated that the "Old House", shown on engravings, was constructed in 17th century, and demolished late in the 18th century. Detailed recording and planning of surviving earthworks and masonry was also undertaken.


Timms, S. C., 1982, Marisco Castle, Lundy (Worksheet). SDV7799.

Three illustrations of Lundy Castle in Barnstaple Athenaeum, consisting of two 18th century prints showing views of the castle buildings and a plan, 18th or 19th century, showing detailed layout of the castle and modern buildings.


Dunmore, S., 1982, The Castle in the Isle of Lundy., 153-62 (Article in Serial). SDV7800.

Dunmore reports on excavation at castle on Lundy, and reinterprets the dating for the elements of the castle. The east parade or bastion with batteries on east and south sides, and part of the fabric of the north-east bailey wall were built in the Civil War by Thos. Bushell. The dating of the keep remains a problem: it may have been rebuilt in the Civil War. Castle in poor repair by 1775. In early 19th century Irish labourers lived in the castle. In mid 19th century interior of keep levelled to bedrock, and three cottages built inside it.


Thackray, D. W. R., 1985, Annual Report: Archaeology in Devon No. F (Correspondence). SDV7801.

Excavations carried out in 1984 by National Trust for Landmark Trust, to remove post-medieval demolition rubble from the parade ground to remove pressure on the curtain wall and to allow display. A number of interior features in the 'Old House' were identified. A kiln was discovered adjacent to the blocked east door of the keep.


Higham, R. A., 1988, Devon Castles: An Annotated List, 145 (Article in Serial). SDV341278.


National Trust, 1989, Lundy, Devon. Vol. One, 132-8 (Report - Survey). SDV1275.

Castle commissioned by Henry III in 1243 after eviction of Marisco family. Presumably derelict between the 13th century and 1643 when refortified. Bushell claimed 5,570 pounds stirling for "maintaining Lundy garrison and building the castle". Surrendered in 1648. Occupied by Lord Saye and Sele between 1649 and 1658. Housed Thomas Benson's convicts 1748-1753. Keep and associated buildings derelict by 1775 but bailey, east bastion walls and west gate still standing. Sir John Warren, owner 1775-1781, deliberately dismantled the defences to obtain building materials. Further dismantling of remaining woodwork and entrance gates by Irish labourers in early 19th century. The castle was built at the top of the only path from the beach to the plateau, commanding excellent views. Precipitous cliffs on seaward side and large ditch with outer rampart on plateau side. East end of ditch and rampart survive quite well. On west side the rampart has been undercut by a track terraced into the slope and the ditch here is wider than the steeply-contoured eastern end and contains ? garden plots which appear to post-date the outworks. These earthworks are under threat from rabbits. The castle keep measures 51 feet north-west to south-east by 38 feet transversely with 3 feet thick walls. Small bailey on landward side enclosed by curtain wall, though this may be a 17th century addition, and a ditch. Keep rectangular, of local granite with walls inclining inwards. Few small windows on south wall. At some point keep crenellations filled in and the walls built up to the height of the earlier domed chimneys at the four corners. Keep extensively repaired if not completely rebuilt 1645-1648. Walls of keep consolidated 1978-1982. Excavations within keep 1978 (see Dunmore, 1982). East parade or bastion added in the civil war, with batteries on the south and east sides. Curtain walls reinforced. A length of curtain wall with a small rectangular turret and containing medieval and 17th century fabric survives to the north of the parade ground. Depicted on Grose's plan of 1776. Only footings of parade ground walls visible in 1982 and east bastion collapsing causing slumping behind it. Excavations undertaken in advance of consolidation 1984-1985. Brick drain runs around east side of "Old House". The area was surveyed in 1984-5. Other details: 101157,101000-1.


Claris, P. D., 1989, Untitled Source, 48-9 (Article in Serial). SDV7831.

Other details: Plan.


Webster, C. J., 1990, Lundy in the Fifteenth Century: the Writings of William Worcestre, 53-4 (Article in Serial). SDV7832.


Department of Environment, 1991, Lundy, 6 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV7171.

Castle keep and bailey walls. Built in 1243 by Henry III, remodelled as cottages in circa mid 19th century and again as holiday cottages by Landmark Trust in late 20th century. Stone rubble, 20th century corrugated sheet metal roofs inside walls. Keep is approximately square on plan with projecting towers on east and west sides. Inside the keep fishermen's cottages were built in circa mid 19th century against the outer walls on the north-east and south sides. These cottages have been largely rebuilt in the 20th century. In 1887 a lean-to outshut was built outside against the north side of the keep to house the terminal of the telegraph cable.
Exterior: The low square keep has slightly battered walls, battlements and round turrets on the corners and as chimneys. Projection at centre of east side with tower breaking forward of centre. The entrance into the keep is through the side of a projection on the west side. The walls of the keep are blind except for a few small windows and putlog holes on the east side. On north side an outshut (now cottage) with lean-to corrugated asbestos roof. Inside keep the cottages are 2 storeys and have 20th century 2-light casements with glazing bars and brick lined openings.
Including bailey walls: remains of battered stone rubble revetments to south, east and north-east and fosse on landward side to north-west where gate was situated.
Interior: The interiors of the cottages are late 20th century.


Ternstom, C., 1994, Untitled Source (Monograph). SDV7840.


Higham, R. A. + Freeman, J. P., 1996, Devon Castles (Draft Text), 6, gazetteer (Monograph). SDV354350.

Marisco or Lundy Castle stands on a promontory at the south-eastern tip of the island overlooking the sheltered cove that provides the most suitable landing place. The earlier castle of the de Mariscos is believed to have been to have been in a higher position at the northern end of the present main street.
The castle was built by the sheriff of Devon for Henry III in 1243 after the overthrow of William de Marisco and used in attempts to control piracy and the threat of foreign invaders in the Bristol Channel. Such attempts were apparently not always successful as it is reported that the castle was destroyed by the Scots in 1321. By the 16th to 17th century it was being described as ruinous but it was substantially rebuilt and fortified in the Civil War when it was held in support of the Royalists.
The keep, which now houses three cottages, is supposedly medieval in date but excavation revealed little in the way of dating evidence and other surviving features have proved similarly difficult to date.


Department of National Heritage, 1996, Proposed Works at Marisco Castle, Lundy (Correspondence). SDV7807.

Scheduled Monument Consent granted for works concerning replacement of a main electric cable.


Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 1998, Marisco Castle, Lundy (Schedule Document). SDV339345.

The monument includes Marisco Castle, 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 the 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, a fosse or outer ditch on the north and west sides and a storage cave to the east.
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 cottages which have been inserted into the interior during the 19th century. An additional cottage was also constructed during the 19th century attached to the north wall of the keep. The construction of the keep now visible appears to be wholly the work of Thomas Bushell with later modifications. The earlier medieval foundations will survive beneath the present building.
The east side of the castle has a terrace revetted with stone and with a bastion on the east corner. This is known as the parade ground. This was part excavated in 1984 and 1985 by National Trust archaeologists and subsequently the wall footings were consolidated. 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. To the west the outer ditch is confused by the construction of later boundaries and a trackway although the outline of its course can be traced through these features.
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 a substantial building of the 17th century, probably built by Bushell as his own residence. This survived until the construction of the Manor Farm house in the village in the late 18th century. This is now a consolidated ruin. The smithy has been excavated and part backfilled to protect the remains of a furnace, floor cobbles, drains and interior partitions from erosion by visitors and stock. To the east of the parade ground and below it is Benson's Cave. This is a man made tunnel with a guard house of brick. It is 19.5 metres long and 2.5 metres wide and is reputed to have been made in the 18th century by Thomas Benson, the criminal MP, who used it for concealing contraband. It may have been constructed as a powder store during the refurbishing of the castle in 1643. During the 19th century it was used for smoking fish.
Marisco Castle, the keep and bailey walls are also listed Grade II*. The refurbished cottages inside the keep and the house attached to the north wall are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath these buildings is included.


Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 2000, Proposed Works at Marisco Castle, Lundy (Correspondence). SDV7841.

Scheduled Monument Consent granted for works concerning the excavation of a trench for a new mains electricity cable and mains water supply.


National Trust, 2000, The Archeaology of Lundy (Leaflet). SDV358931.


English Heritage, 2009, Heritage at Risk Register 2009: South West, 117 (Report - non-specific). SDV342694.

Generally satisfactory but with significant localised problems.


National Monuments Record, 2010, 31785 (National Monuments Record Database). SDV7838.

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*. Other details: SS14SW5. Record last updated: 2008.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV1268Monograph: Langham, A. + M.. 1970. Lundy. Unknown. 201-4.
SDV1273Article in Serial: Thomas, J.. 1978. A History of Lundy, 1390-1775. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 110. A5 Paperback. 141.
SDV1275Report - Survey: National Trust. 1989. Lundy, Devon. Vol. One. National Trust Archaeological Survey Report. 1. A4 Stapled + Digital. 132-8.
SDV17867Article in Serial: Gardner, K. S.. 1964. Lundy Field Society Annual Report. 17. Unknown. 32.
SDV339343Schedule Document: Ministry of Public Building and Works. 1970. Lundy, Marisco Castle. The Schedule of Monuments. Foolscap.
SDV339345Schedule Document: Department for Culture, Media and Sport. 1998. Marisco Castle, Lundy. The Schedule of Monuments. A4 Stapled. [Mapped feature: #90962 ]
SDV339346Schedule Document: Office of Works. Marisco Castle, Lundy. The Schedule of Monuments. Foolscap.
SDV341278Article in Serial: Higham, R. A.. 1988. Devon Castles: An Annotated List. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 46. Paperback Volume. 145.
SDV341465Article in Monograph: Wall, J. C.. 1906. Ancient Earthworks. Victoria History of the County of Devon. Hardback Volume. 577-8.
SDV342694Report - non-specific: English Heritage. 2009. Heritage at Risk Register 2009: South West. English Heritage Report. A4 Bound +Digital. 117.
SDV351776Schedule Document: English Heritage. 18/07/2013. Application for Scheduled Monument Consent, Marisco Castle, Lundy Island. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter. Digital + A4.
SDV354350Monograph: Higham, R. A. + Freeman, J. P.. 1996. Devon Castles (Draft Text). Devon Castles. A4 Unbound + Digital. 6, gazetteer.
SDV358931Leaflet: National Trust. 2000. The Archeaology of Lundy. Leaflet + Digital.
SDV6870Monograph: Langham, A. + M.. 1960. Lundy, Bristol Channel. Unknown.
SDV7171List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1991. Lundy. Historic Houses Register. A4 Spiral Bound. 6.
SDV7178Article in Serial: R. B. M.. 1930 - 1931. Lundy Church, 1244. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 16. Unknown. 373.
SDV7798Article in Serial: Tapley-Soper, H.. 1940 - 1941. Lundy and the Marisco family.. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 21. Unknown. 303.
SDV7799Worksheet: Timms, S. C.. 1982. Marisco Castle, Lundy. Devon County Sites and Monuments Register. Worksheet + Digital.
SDV7800Article in Serial: Dunmore, S.. 1982. The Castle in the Isle of Lundy.. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 40. Paperback Volume. 153-62.
SDV7801Correspondence: Thackray, D. W. R.. 1985. Annual Report: Archaeology in Devon No. F. Letter to S. Timms. Letter + Digital.
SDV7802Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1962 - 1977. SS14NW/SW15. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV7803Article in Serial: Devon County Council. 1978. Lundy Island Medieval Site. Archaeology in Devon. A5 Paperback. 15.
SDV7807Correspondence: Department of National Heritage. 1996. Proposed Works at Marisco Castle, Lundy. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter. Letter.
SDV7812Article in Serial: Powicke, F. M. Prof. 1941. The Murder of Henry Clement and the Pirates of Lundy.. History. 25:100. Unknown. 285-310.
SDV7813Article in Serial: Charter, J. R.. 1871. History of Lundy. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 4. Unknown. 305.
SDV7814Article in Serial: Unknown. 1824. Journal of theTime I Spent on the Island of Lundy, in the Years 1752, and 1787. North Devon Magazine: containing The Cave and Lundy Review, Volumes 1-2. Unknown. 51-62.
SDV7816Aerial Photograph: National Monuments Record. SS1443. National Monuments Record Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper).
SDV7828Monograph: Colvin, H. M. + Brown, R. A. + Taylor, A. J.. 1963. The History of the Kings Works: The Middle Ages. The History of the Kings Works: The Middle Ages. Unknown.
SDV7831Article in Serial: Claris, P. D.. 1989. Lundy Field Society Annual Report. 40. A5 Paperback. 48-9.
SDV7832Article in Serial: Webster, C. J.. 1990. Lundy in the Fifteenth Century: the Writings of William Worcestre. Lundy Field Society Annual Report. 41. Photocopy. 53-4.
SDV7838National Monuments Record Database: National Monuments Record. 2010. 31785. National Monuments Record Index. Website.
SDV7840Monograph: Ternstom, C.. 1994. The Castle on the Island of Lundy. A5 Paperback.
SDV7841Correspondence: Department for Culture, Media and Sport. 2000. Proposed Works at Marisco Castle, Lundy. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter. Letter.
SDV7889Article in Serial: Langham, A. F.. 1969. Preliminary Investigations into Building Mortars Used on Lundy. Lundy Field Society Annual Report. 20. Photocopy. 23.
SDV7950Aerial Photograph: Cambridge University. 1970. CUC/BAM. Cambridge University Collection of Aerial Photographs. Photograph (Paper) + Digital (Scan). 43-44.
SDV8366Article in Serial: Hurst, D. G.. 1968. Post-Medieval Archaeology. 2. Unknown. 175-6.

Associated Monuments

MDV44Parent of: Benson's Cave, Marisco Castle, Lundy (Monument)
MDV45907Parent of: Building at Benson's Cave, Marisco Castle, Lundy (Monument)
MDV45893Parent of: Castle Cottage, Marisco Castle, Lundy (Building)
MDV42Parent of: Cottages in Marisco Castle Keep, Lundy (Building)
MDV45894Parent of: Former Lloyd's Signal Hut at Marisco Castle, Lundy (Monument)
MDV45894Related to: Former Lloyd's Signal Hut at Marisco Castle, Lundy (Monument)
MDV43Parent of: Former Summerhouse at Marisco Castle, Lundy (Monument)
MDV45896Parent of: Smithy at Marisco Castle, Lundy (Monument)
MDV45895Parent of: The Old House, Marisco Castle, Lundy (Monument)
MDV45897Parent of: Track and Steps at Marisco Castle, Lundy (Monument)
MDV45898Parent of: Walled Garden to North of Marisco Castle Keep, Lundy (Monument)
MDV45899Parent of: Walled Gardens to South of Marisco Castle, Lundy (Monument)
MDV59360Related to: Bulls Paradise and Giants Graves, Lundy (Monument)
MDV45894Parent of: Former Lloyd's Signal Hut at Marisco Castle, Lundy (Monument)
MDV45894Related to: Former Lloyd's Signal Hut at Marisco Castle, Lundy (Monument)
MDV35Related to: Site of Fortified Manor House, Lundy (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded


Date Last Edited:Aug 12 2015 8:41AM