Yarmouth Castle is an artillery fort built by Henry VIII in 1547 to protect Yarmouth Harbour on the Isle of Wight from the threat of French attack. Just under 30 m across, the square castle was initially equipped with 15 artillery guns and a garrison of 20 men. It featured an Italianate 'arrow-head' bastion on its landward side; this was very different in style from the earlier circular bastions used in the Device Forts built by Henry and was the first of its kind to be constructed in England.

During the 16th and 17th centuries the castle continued to be maintained and modified; the seaward half of the castle was turned into a solid gun platform and additional accommodation was built for the fort's gunners. A bulwark was built on the east side of the castle and an additional gun battery was placed on the town's quay, just to the west. For most of the English Civil War of the 1640s it was held by Parliament; following the Restoration, it was refortified by Charles II in the 1670s.

The fortification remained in use through the 18th and 19th centuries, albeit with a smaller garrison and fewer guns, until in 1885 these were finally withdrawn. After a short period as a coast guard signalling post, the castle was brought back into military use during the First and Second World Wars. In the 21st century, the heritage organisation English Heritage operates the castle as a tourist attraction.



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Founded: 1547
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom

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User Reviews

Tali Mbangwa (11 months ago)
Lovely little place. Guide was helpful and knowledgeable.
Nick Nugent (12 months ago)
A compact castle, originating around 1547 when Henry VIII had lost his flagship Mary Rose and was feeling particularly vulnerable to attack by France. Shows a unique example of an arrowhead bastion and is a very interesting way to spend an hour, particularly with the extra information provided by Sarah, a knowledgeable guide. Recommended
Simon Mesure (13 months ago)
What can I say,the Isle of Wight is well with a visit. If you go by car need to stay for a week. If by foot 2 weeks. Is a lovely place and mostly people are lovely. Go and say hello to Jim Hendrix ?? I did, and took some snaps of the God of rock.
Luca Morton (14 months ago)
Good place but old castle haven't been there yet but looks nice
Nunzi Iula (15 months ago)
Beautiful location Yarmouth has so much to offer small outlets all owned by friendly people the pier for a nice sea view walk gossips cafe for a quick bite ice cream sold at the beginning of the pier the harbour is full of very impressive boats the bugal Inn pub for an amazing meal and sometimes night entertainment on the Rock for steak on a hot lava stone and try not to burn your fingers the George Hotel for a very pleasant evening in the garden all lite up the blue crab for an impressive fish and chips in or out the list goes on for things to see do eat so come see and enjoy what Yarmouth has to offer
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The existence of the castle was known early in the 13th century, but the present construction is largely the work of Jean de Nielles, who married Marie d’Olhain at the end of the 15th century.

The marriage of Alix Nielles to Jean de Berghes, Grand Veneur de France (master of hounds) to the King, meant the castle passed to this family, who kept it for more than 450 years. Once confiscated by Charles Quint, it suffered during the wars that ravaged the Artois. Besieged in 1641 by the French, it was partly demolished by the Spaniards in 1654, and finally blown-up and taken by the Dutch in 1710. Restored in 1830, it was abandoned after 1870, and sold by the last Prince of Berghes in 1900. There is also evidence that one of the castles occupants was related to Charles de Batz-Castelmore d'Artagnan, the person Alexandre Dumas based his Three Musketeers charictor d'Artagnan on.

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