Pengersick Castle is an early 16th Century fortified tower house. It was extended and altered in the early 20th Century. The castle is undergoing renovation today, but it is open at certain times for ghost tours.
The castle sits between the villages of Germoe and Praa Sands just a few hundred metres from the Cornish coast.
There is documentary evidence that the site of Pengersick has been occupied since about the 13th Century. It is thought that Henry, Lord of Pengrysek owned the castle in the 14th Century.
It was originally a courtyard castle with the current tower sitting in the south-east corner guarding against attack from the shore. A hall block sat on the east straddling the two courtyards and there was possibly another tower sitting on the north-west curtain.
The early castle was almost entirely replaced by the tower we see today. It was constructed around 1510 by William Worth and further extended a short time later by the Milliton family.
Unusually for a castle of this date, the builders were serious about its defences. Cornwall during the Tudor period was quite insecure. Coastal raids were common and the whole area was notorious for smuggling.
The ground floor of the tower was certainly well-defended. There are numerous gun-loops covering the stair and entrance and there are a few defensive windows and gun-loops higher up in the building. The upper floors were more domestic in nature with possibly a parlour on the first floor and solar on the second. The top of the tower is battlemented and seems to have had space to accommodate a lookout.
By the 1520s the castle had come in to the possession of John Milliton.
In 1526 the King of Portugal's ship St. Anthony was wrecked near Gunwalloe, just a few kilometres south of the castle. John was implicated in the looting of the treasure from the ship, which almost led to a war between England and Portugal. The evidence against him can't have been that incriminating though as we was later made Captain of nearby St. Michael's Mount and Sherriff of Cornwall.
When William Milliton died in 1556 the estate was divided between the family and the castle fell into disuse. It eventually became part of the estates of the Godolphin family.
The abandoned castle soon became the subject of numerous ghost stories. Tales are told locally of devil-worship, demon dogs and black magic. There is no historical basis for any of these, but I'm sure the local smugglers would have happily encouraged anything that would keep prying eyes away.
In the late 20th Century the castle came into the possession of Angela Evans. Before her death she set up the Pengersick Historic & Education Trust to manage and restore the castle.
Today the castle is a Grade 1 listed building on the site of a Scheduled Ancient Monument looked after by the trust. The castle is the site of regular ghost tours; there are however no facilities here.
Pengersick Castle has been the subject of quite a few television programmes including featuring on the Most Haunted series as well as documentaries by the BBC and ITV.
Status: Visitor Attraction
Owner: Pengersick Historic & Education Trust
Tel: +44 (0)1872 260 699
Opening Times: See website for event details.
Pengersick Castle tower and extension
The tower at Pengersick