|| Since Tudor times, the Fal Estuary has played a key role in the
defence of the nation. Henry VIII's twin castles of Pendennis and
St. Mawes, both of which can be visited all year, guard the entrance
to one of the finest natural harbours in the world. Pendennis Castle
offers a journey through 450 years of history from a Tudor garrison
to a Second World War base. What's more it is superbly sited on Pendennis
Headland, offering outstanding panoramic views.
Pendennis Castle, 'Cornwall's Greatest Fortress', was built by
King Henry VIII and has defended the entrance to the River Fal since
its construction between 1540 and 1545. Sitting high on Pendennis
Point opposite its sister castle, St Mawes, Pendennis was part of
Henry's coastal defences against the threat of an attack from the
French and Spanish, following his divorce from Catherine of Aragon.
Henry's daughter, Elizabeth I, later added an extra defensive wall
around the original fortress.
In 1660, during the reign of Charles II, a royal proclamation declared
the town should be known as Falmouth. Falmouth then flourished for
200 years as the second busiest port of the British Empire. In 1688
the post office packet service to foreign ports and colonies was
established and initially carried mail to Spain and the Mediterranean.
By 1705 small twin-masted boats were delivering mail to the West
Indies and eventually they were visiting the North American Colonies
and South America. The fleet reached a total of forty ships by 1817,
carrying passengers as well as mail, supplies and payment for British
Troops fighting overseas.
The Packet Ship service declined yet Falmouth continued to flourish
with the introduction of the electric telegraph, making the port
one of the few places that ships could call in to get their orders
for the delivery of their cargoes. The foundation of Falmouth Docks
in 1860 produced a focus for maritime related industries. The railway
finally reaching Falmouth by 1863 helped to promote the growing
tourist trade, resulting in the first purpose built tourist hotel
on the sea front in 1865 and the development of the family bathing
beaches of Swanpool, Gyllyngvase and Maenporth.
A fascinating leaflet is available from Falmouth Tourist Information
Office that gives details of historic buildings and places of interest