My story of Exmouth’s long-lost castle certainly seems to have got your interests up, dear readers!

Since writing the article I have been asked did it really exist and can I please find out  more. I have, if you will forgive the pun, done a little more digging and hope the following will satisfy your thirst for knowledge!

There is a school of thought that the castle that stood on the highest ground of what was to become Exmouth; was in fact a glorified, defensive earthworks, rather like that of Woodbury Castle.

There have however been no recorded archaeological finds to back up this theory. Being on the high ground at the junction of Gussiford Lane, Boarden Barn and Long Causeway it would have been ideally situated in a good defensive position.

The 'road' from the shoreline settlement to Withycombe, Littleham and Exeter passed directly up Boarden Barn, so again would have been a suitable place to have such a 'castle'. 

The uninterrupted view to the shoreline would also have provided security for the castle inhabitants.

The primitive earthworks of a castle is one theory but the more romantic amongst you might like to imagine a fairytale castle with turrets and flags a-fluttering, where knights of old would in the true Arthurian tradition pay homage to fair damsels – or just perhaps that is stretching the imagination a little too far!

There is no doubt that Exmouth did at one time have a castle as in the words of the Elizabethan chronicler, Raphael Holinshed in his writings of 1577 "Here was sometime a castle – but now the place hath no defence than a barren haven, and the inhabitant’s valour.”

What are we to make of this? It does seem to imply that any evidence of a castle had long since disappeared.

It is likely as we saw in the earlier article that it was built, in some form, by Walter de Thane, who held Raddon, under the orders of Walter de Clavill 2nd in either the late 11th or early 12th centuries.

The castle seems to have been there no more than a hundred years as it is believed to have been demolished in the 12th century by Henry 2nd.

But there again, to disprove this we have the account that in the English Civil War, in 1646, General Fairfax of the Parliamentarians laid siege to Exmouth Castle for six weeks.

It is highly unlikely that a ruined earth mound could have sustained attack over six weeks so there must have been something of substance there.

On its site, eventually, was built Castle Park House, the name of which might imply that the castle stood in a great park at one time, possibly land once occupied by the later Convent School.

Although I have been unable to date this house, it was there by 1850 as it was inhabited by Sir Edward Carrington and there was also a Castle Park Cottage inhabited by a Mrs Galpin. By 1878 the house was occupied by Admiral Grenfell.

Interestingly, also listed in the Devon Directory was Castle Park Terrace and in Gussiford Lane a Castle Park House and Terrace.

By 1930 the house is shown as being three flats, and now has a street number of 4 and from appearances, number 2 may possibly have been Castle Park Cottage. Castle Park Terrace was probably referring to a row of terraced houses on the left as you enter Gussiford Lane from Boarden Barn.

I do hope this has given you more insight to our mysterious castle. Earthworks or not, me, I still prefer the idea of a wild, romantic turreted castle, with flags a-flying, and knights paying homage to beautiful damsels – possibly in distress! As perhaps illustrated in the attached photo (credit: 

You can find out more about Exmouth Museum at the museum’s website or you can email me at