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Tiverton Castle

Visited August 2016

Location Tiverton, Devon
Entrance Fee Yes
Railway Station Nearby Tiverton Parkway
Parking Yes 
Facilities Toilets
Map

 

Tiverton Castle as it stands today was built by the Courtenay family in the 1300's, although there had been an earlier castle on the site since 1106. The Courtenays also owned Okehampton Castle and Powderham Castle and were an important Devon family. In 1495 Katherine Plantagenet, niece of Richard III and sister-in-law of Henry VII married William Courtenay and went to live at Tiverton Castle. On her death she was buried in the church next door. This connection led to the present day Courtenay family at Powderham being invited to attend the reinterment of King Richard III in Leicester Cathedral in 2015.

 


 

 

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The castle today has a Tudor mansion built into the earlier remains. This was the work of owner Roger Giffard, who wanted to update the living quaters of the castle. It was the Giffards who were in residence during the Civil War, when the castle was held for the King. Parliamentary forces under Sir Thomas Fairfax entered Tiverton and started to bombard the castle. A lucky shot at the chains holding up the drawbridge caused it to fall and the castle was taken. This was the only time the castle saw any military action, and even then it was brief. The castle has a wonderful display of Civil War armour and weapons in its upper gallery, with a helpful guide in attendance to explain the history in greater detail. Children are positively encouraged to ask questions and try on some of the armour if they wish.

 


 

 


 

The castle was originally built as a rectangular courtyard with towers in each corner, although only one survives intact today. This interior of which can be visited, there is a wooden staircase up to the top floor, where you can view the original castle loo. The castle is free flowing and so there is no guided tour as such, but the owners are on hand to answer questions. 

 

The grounds are also fabulous, with the picturesque remains of earlier parts of the castle now planted up into walled gardens. There is also a working kitchen garden, an orchard, and a woodland path down to the river. All of these areas can be explored by the visitors, there were no 'private' or ' no entry' signs that we observed, the gardens seemed to be very much a place for visitors to relax and unwind.

 


 

 


 

 Tiverton Castle does have restricted opening hours, as it is still a private home. At the moment it is Thursday & Sunday afternoons, 2.30 -5pm, but do check this before you go. The town of Tiverton is small, but it has a museum and plenty of shops for refreshment purposes. Please note that the railway station, Tiverton Parkway is approx. 8 miles away in the village of Sampford Peverell so it is not walkable, but there is a regular bus service linking the town and the station.

 


 

 


 

More info:  Tiverton Castle

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