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Following the latest government recommendations, Pendennis Castle will be closed until 1 May. During this time we’re keeping open our free-to-enter sites which are unstaffed and have large open spaces.
Henry VIII establishes gun forts on both shores of the Fal estuary, at Pendennis and St Mawes.
Find out more about the history of Pendennis Castle
Faced with the threat of a Spanish invasion, the fort is fully garrisoned by up to 100 men.
Engineer Paul Ive encloses Henry VIII's castle within a pentagonal fortress to defend the entire headland. It has a high rampart, ditch and bastions with heavy guns.
After catastrophic English involvement in the Thirty Years War, engineer Sir Bernard Johnson builds a new bastioned rampart and ditch, strengthening the castle's northern defences.
Pendennis serves as a Royalist garrison for Charles I. About 1,000 men endure a three-month siege, surrendering only when food runs out.
A small garrison is maintained, with new gateway and guard barracks. An engineer later reports Pendennis is 'neglected' and 'in a very ruinous condition'.
Engineer Colonel Christian Lilly recommends repairs. The old rampart is reformed and new guns are installed. New buildings include a storehouse, powder magazine and gunners' barracks.
During the American and Napoleonic wars, the local Miners' Militia garrisons Pendennis. New additions include the Half-Moon Battery and five raised gun batteries.
Peacetime results in decades of neglect. When England and France once again become rivals, powerful guns are installed at Half-Moon Battery and Crab Quay.
Falmouth becomes a Defended Port. A submarine minefield is laid across the Fal estuary. Breech-loading guns, range-finders, searchlights for night fighting, telephones and electricity are introduced.
The 105th Regiment Royal Garrison Artillery takes over at Pendennis. A war signal station is installed on the original castle roof to control shipping movements.
Pendennis is the coast artillery defence command centre for West Cornwall during the First World War. Thousands of troops are trained here before going to war in France and Belgium.
Pendennis defends against torpedo boats and launches long-range, radar-controlled attacks against enemy ships.
The Coast Artillery Branch of the Army uses Pendennis for training until it is disbanded.
The Ministry of Works takes over care for Pendennis and opens it to the public.
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