The Tudors
Image: St Mawes Castle in Cornwall

Meet the porter of St Mawes Castle – then make your own mini model of the castle!

Watch the video to take a look around the impressive St Mawes Castle and hear the anwers to questions from some of our young Members, as they interview the Tudor porter of this Cornish seaside fortress. Learn more about the castle and its important role in defending England from attack, then make your own mini model of the castle using our templates!

Video: Meet the porter of St Mawes Castle


Watch our video to step back in time and meet the porter of St Mawes Castle, one of the soldiers stationed in the castle to help defend England, and its only permanent resident.

See him walking around the castle as he answers questions from young Members on why St Mawes was built, who lives there, what it’s like being in the castle when there’s risk of invasion – and whether they have to shoot at suspicious-looking ships…

Image: Re-enactor playing the porter of St Mawes Castle

What’s a porter? (Ollie)
As porter I’m third in command here. I serve under captain Hannibal Vyvyan and his lieutenant. As the lieutenant and the captain are also needed elsewhere, I’m often left in charge. I’m trained in warfare – both land and sea – and can captain a vessel if required. Basically, I have to be able to adapt to the situation in front of me at all times. And whether it’s peacetime or wartime, I’m here. 

Why is St Mawes Castle so important? (Theo)
We’re currently anticipating an attack from the Spanish. In this year of our Lord 1592, we’ve already had one unsuccessful attempt, so the garrison – the body of soldiers stationed here – and I have to be vigilant at all times.

How old do you have to be to be in the garrison? (Jared)
Age is less important than experience. We need to make sure any new soldiers or gunners are competent with weapons and have the right attitude – not anyone after an easy day of avoiding work, that’s for sure.

Image: St Mawes Castle's porter looks at the sunset

Why was this castle built? (Joel)
When Henry VIII, that’s our Elizabeth I’s father, divorced his queen, Catherine of Aragon, to marry Anne Boleyn, he made some powerful enemies in Spain and France. And this part of Cornwall, being so close to France, is an important strategic entrance into the country. This is good for trade but it’s also a hotspot for pirates, so we’re well defended on all sides by our cannon. We just have to be mindful of all the ships that come in and out of our waters and be able to defend ourselves at long range. St Mawes is shaped like a clover leaf, which gives us perfect visibility on all sides.

What is it like living in the castle when there’s a risk of invasion? (Poppy)
I may be the only permanent resident, but the soldiers take it in turn to keep watch, in case there’s an attack or invasion. A whole garrison of up to 20 men can sleep here – and we can squeeze in a few more local lads. We all have to do our bit as we’re on high alert at the moment. Even the local sailors and the traders will send us warning if they see anything untoward.

Image: The clover leaf-shaped St Mawes Castle

Exploring St Mawes Castle

St Mawes Castle was built by Henry VIII as one of a string of fortresses along the southern coast of England and Wales to protect against Spanish and French attacks. Along with Pendennis Castle, St Mawes was responsible for guarding the estuary of the River Fal, a passage where enemy ships could gain access to England.

The castle is shaped like a clover leaf and was originally surrounded by octagonal defences. You can still see the remains of the Tudor gun defences, and there are several cannons around the castle to show you how it would have been set up in wartime.

Climb to the top of the castle and you’ll be rewarded with amazing sea views. Then look down in the gun tower to see the sinister oubliette – a deep underground hole where enemies were imprisoned.

Image: Paper model of St Mawes Castle

Make your own mini model of St Mawes Castle

Now you can make your very own model of St Mawes Castle. Ask an adult to download the template and print it out for you, then you can follow the instructions below to finish the castle.

Once you’ve completed it, put your model on display to guard your bedroom, just as the real St Mawes defended England and Wales from attack!


Download your templates

How to make your model of St Mawes Castle


  • Your exclusive templates
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick or double-sided sticky tape
  • Thin card (optional)

  • Step 1

    Carefully cut out A1, A2, A3 and A4 using scissors. You can glue the pieces on to thin card if you want to make them stronger.

  • Step 2

    Use glue to stick A1 and A2 together to create a longer piece.

  • Step 3

    Score along the dotted lines and start folding your castle walls. Fold down the tabs at the top to create a ledge as shown in the picture.

  • Step 4

    Stick each tab to the corresponding number on A3. Don’t worry if it looks messy – you’ll hide this in the next step!

  • Step 5

    Stick A4 on to the top to create the roof.

  • Step 6

    Next, make one of the side bastions. Carefully cut out B1, B2 and B3.

  • Step 7

    Score along the dotted lines on B1 and fold the tabs down to create a ledge. Stick the tabs to the corresponding number on B2 to form a semi-circle shape. This is one of the side bastions for your castle.

  • Step 8

    Carefully cut out C1, C2 and C3, then score along the dotted lines on C1. Fold down the tabs to create a ledge. Stick the tabs to the corresponding numbers on C2 to create a second bastion.

  • Step 9

    Attach the two completed side bastions to the main central tower. Line up the tabs with the blank tabs on the central tower to position them correctly. Add some glue to B3 and C3 and stick them on to create the roofs for the side bastions.

  • Step 10

    Carefully cut out D1, D2 and D3 using scissors.

  • Step 11

    Score along the dotted lines on D1 and fold down the tabs to create a ledge like you did before. Stick the numbered tabs to the corresponding numbers on D2 to create the forward bastion.

  • Step 12

    Attach the forward bastion to the front of the castle using the blank tab indicators. Glue D3 on top of the forward bastion to create the roof.

  • Step 13

    Carefully cut out the staircase and chimney.

  • Step 14

    Score along the dotted lines of the staircase. Put glue on the tabs and fold the staircase together.

  • Step 15

    Score along the dotted lines of the chimney. Put glue on the tabs and fold the chimney together. Attach the staircase and the chimney to finish your model of St Mawes castle!

A spotter's guide to... Henry VIII's castles

Explore St Mawes Castle and other costal Tudor forts built by Henry VIII with our downloadable Spotter's Guide.

Print it out to learn more about these fascinating forts, discover what you need to look out for during a visit and how to tell them apart from other castles across the country.

Download the guide
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