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Britannia's Magical History Tour
Stop 10: Lostwithiel, Cornwall
Inside circular keep of Restormel Castle, Lostwithiel, Cornwall
This lyrically named town, served, for a short time in the 13th century, as the seat of the feudal government of the Duchy of Cornwall. Its prosperity during the middle ages derived from the profits it received from the local wool and tin trades. Today, it is a quiet, attractive place to shop for antiques and crafts well away from the beaten tourist tracks, or to relax in the gardens alongside the River Fowey. The short drive down the eastern side of the river to the picturesque church of St. Winnow, used often as a location for television and movie productions, is well worth the trouble.

On a strategic hilltop, to the north of town is the ruin of Restormel Castle, an interesting, nearly circular keep, perched on an eleventh century hill (motte) and surrounded by an impressive earthwork (moat). The site originally was occupied by a wooden castle of Norman construction, with the first stonework appearing around 1100. The present stone structure was erected in around 1200, with a barbican and towers added over the next century. Stairways and scaffolding allow you to circumnavigate the castle (see photo at top), inside the walls, and to see the views of the attractive countryside beyond.

The castle's most famous owner, who held the castle from 1337-76, was one of the greatest knights of the middle ages. His name was Edward of Woodstock, aka the Black Prince, Duke of Cornwall and Prince of Wales. He was the oldest son of King Edward III and the hero of the battles of Crecy and Poitiers during the Hundred Years War.

Next stop: Fowey, Cornwall

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