Tiverton Castle's History

Few buildings evoke such an immediate feeling of history as Tiverton Castle, originally built as a motte and bailey castle in 1106 by Richard de Redvers on orders of Henry I. The de Redvers were the first Norman Earls of Devon. Henry III visited Tiverton in 1250 and would have stayed at the Castle with Amicia, Countess of Devon.  His second son, Edmund, married her granddaughter in 1269.

When the line died out in 1293 they were succeeded as Earls by the Courtenays, who rebuilt it in stone and enlarged the Castle.


In 1495 Princess Katherine Plantagenet, daughter of Edward IV, married William Courtenay who became Earl of Devon. She died in 1527 and was buried in St. Peter`s Church next door.  She called herself "sister, daughter and aunt of kings" but, tellingly, not "niece of" the King in the Car Park. Unfortunately for the Courtenays this royal marriage led to their eventual downfall in that turbulent age.  Katherine`s son, Henry, was implicated in a plot against Henry VIII and beheaded in 1539.  His son, Edward, aged 12 was imprisoned in the Tower of London and only released by Queen Mary in 1553.  He and Princess Elizabeth were linked romantically, suspected of being involved in a plot against Queen Mary,  again imprisoned, but soon released.  He was banished abroad and died in Padua in 1556, and the Castle subsequently had various owners down the ages.


During the English Civil War the Castle was besieged by Sir Thomas Fairfax in 1645, and fell to him due to a lucky shot hitting a drawbridge chain. There is a fine collection of Civil War arms and armour, some pieces of which can be tried on.

The Carew family owned the Castle from 1727-1922/23 and during their time they made various changes to the Castle.

Nowadays the Castle is a peaceful, private house, and the buildings, furnishings and exhibits reflect the colourful history and development. With continuing conservation in the Castle and beautiful walled gardens there is always something new and interesting to see.