We went to Cornwall over a tragic period for the family and drove their in some comfort. We chose not to use the mini on this occasion as we really did not want to be messing around if the car was to break down as we had to be at places at the right time.
Pendennis Castle was a family home as my grandfather was the custodian of the castle. My dad and his family were therefore fortunate to have had the pleasure of growing up in the grounds. Sadly we never went with my father to the Castle, in fact I do not even recall his home being discussed with us.
We met people that knew my grandfather and saw pictures of him in the grounds doing his daily chores and posing with my grandmother.
Pendennis Castle is a Device Forts, or Henrician castle, on the west side of the estuary of the River Fal, near Falmouth in Cornwall. Together with St Mawes Castle its companion fort on the oppositr east bank, it was built by King Henry VIII between 1539 and 1545 to guard the entrance to River and to defend Carrick Roads from the perceived French and Spanish threat of naval attack. The castle comprises a simple round tower and gatehouse enclosed by a lower curtain wall.
Pendennis Castle was built as one of a chain of forts running along the coast of the southern half of Great Britain from Hull in the east to Milford Haven in the west. The building programme was in response to the threat of invasion by the French and Spanish, following the rejection of the Roman Catholic religion by King Henry VIII and the adoption of Protestantism at the Reformation.
The Pope had asked the catholic kings of France and Spain to invade England to perform a restoration of the Catholic faith. The English were aware that the French and Spanish were familiar with the strategic area of the Carrick Roads, perhaps as an anchorage from which to launch a land invasion, having had a naval battle there shortly before, and knew it to be largely unprotected. It thus appeared urgent to Henry that defences were required.
Family memories of the Castle:
THE BAKERS – Paul Baker’s & Sue Secker’s great grandfather and grandfather were both custodians of the castle and it was their duty to take care of the castle and grounds and are the only known custodians.
Great grandfather, Frederick John Baker, was a Quartermaster Sergeant with the Royal Garrison Artillery in 1907 and he lived in married quarters on the castle hill.
The family moved into the old guard house, until it was demolished in the 1920s the old guard house and the Bakers moved into a bungalow, which still stands today.
During the Second World War, Frederick and his family were forced to move back to the artillery’s married quarters for safety reasons, but returned to the castle once the danger was over.
Frederick discovered the castle’s original portcullis, which had been bricked up and remained hidden for years.
After his death his son Charles Alexander took on the role until the mid-1960s.
He, wife Winifred and children, Phyllis (Deceased), John Baker (Deceased – 2007) and Dennis Baker (who lives in Australia).
Phyllis remembers having to dust and clean the furniture and armour in the castle.
At this time the castle was full of different treasures, including what was thought to be an inactive bomb.
Phyllis and her family were extremely shocked when the Army turned up at the castle to collect what was actually a live bomb and detonate it.