A tour of Okehampton Castle, Devon

(The keep and motte)

Okehampton has the distinction of being the largest castle in Devon and there is plenty to explore onsite. Before proceeding on our tour, I will begin with a brief overview of its history.

(The castle as viewed from the road)

Okehampton was founded in the late eleventh century after the Norman Conquest by Baldwin de Brionne as a motte and bailey castle with a stone keep. It later passed into the ownership of the Courtenay earls of Devon, with Hugh Courtenay responsible for rebuilding much of the castle in the early fourteenth century. After the execution of Edward Courtenay for treason by Henry VIII in 1539, Okehampton gradually fell into decay and became a picturesque ruin.

(Side view of the Great Hall as viewed from the north-west)

The castle is entered through a barbican, which leads via a passageway up to the Gatehouse.

(The barbican as viewed from the east)
(The barbican as viewed from the west, with ticket office behind)
(From the passageway looking westwards towards the gatehouse and bailey)
(External view of the Gatehouse)

This leads to the bailey, with the Great Hall, Buttery, and kitchens located on the west side, which primarily date from the fourteenth century.

(From the Great Hall facing towards the eastern lodgings)
(The Great Hall as viewed from the Chapel)
(From the Great Hall facing the Buttery)
(The kitchens)
(Ovens built into the base of the Motte)

Whereas the other side of the bailey contains the Eastern Lodgings, Chapel, Priest’s Lodging, and Western Lodgings.

(The Eastern Lodgings as viewed from the Gatehouse)
(The Eastern Lodgings as viewed from the ground floor)
(The Chapel and Priest’s Lodging as viewed from the south)
(The Western Lodgings, Priest’s Lodging and Chapel as viewed from steps to the Motte)

The Motte is the most prominent feature of the castle, which is some 25 metres tall, with the eleventh century keep expanded in size in the fourteenth century.

(The Motte and Keep as viewed from the Gatehouse)
(The Motte and Keep as viewed from outside the castle to the west)
(The internal of the Keep as viewed from the south-east)
(The fourteenth century part of the Keep looking westwards)

Okehampton was once adjoined by a huge deer park some 1,700 acres in size, and there are some nice walks around the castle that can be explored.

(The wood to the south of the castle)

This concludes my tour of Okehampton Castle, if you have any feedback or suggestions for future tours then feel free to leave a comment!

(The north face of the curtain wall with the Motte to the right)

Visiting information

The site is managed by English Heritage and there is an entrance fee.

Further reading

Alan Endacott, Okehampton Castle (London: English Heritage, 2005)

Images

All photographs taken by Dan Spencer ©

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