A castle is a structure that is fortified for defence against an
enemy and generally serves as a military headquarters dominating the
The mediæval castles of Cornwall are of motte and bailey type, and
were introduced by the Normans. They consist of a large mound (or
motte) topped by circular stone tower or keep, usually a replacement
for an earlier wooden structure. The Motte is attached to a walled
area (the bailey) where barracks blocks, workshops, stables and
other domestic buildings could be securely sited.
Towards the end of the period, as Cornwall becomes militarily and
strategically important to the defence of the realm, Henrician
castles are built to defend important ports and harbours and provide
early warning on the threat of invasion.