President: Ernie Reynolds 01752 302716
Secretary: Martin Lister 01752 842404
Treasurer: Prebendary Brian A Anderson 01752 511271
Subject: NEWS FROM THE FAR EAST
On Mon 11 Jun 18, just over twenty members of the Saltash OCS, (The Federation’s most Easterly Society), crossed the River Tamar to visit the 17th Century Military Fortress of ‘The Royal Citadel’ on Plymouth Hoe. ( Hoe meaning High Ground).
The site contains the actual area where Sir Francis Drake, played out his game of bowls whilst awaiting the tide to turn before attacking he invading Spanish Fleet in 1588. (Sir Francis married Saltash Girl ‘Mary Newman in 1589, her cottage in Saltash is open to the public).
Although the building of the bastion was sanctioned by Queen Elizabeth 1 in 1592, it was not completed until 1660 ironically designed by Dutchman ‘Bernard de Gomme’ in defence against the Dutch Wars 1664-67. The fortress was later visited by the Diarist Samuel Pepe’s who in his dislike of the design recorded that: ‘it was built silily’!
The main gate is ornate with four statues of King Charles 11 dressed as a Roman Centurion along with the coat of arms of: Sir John Granville, Earl of Bath. Although the deep dry ditch has long been filled it, the Gate still contains its draw bridge and port cullis. The armament of the fortress was to provide fire power for up to two miles out to sea and all flanks, North over the growing city, East over the River Plym and Mount Baton, then West to Cornwall, protected there by the much later Tregantle and Screasdon Forts, they both protecting the area not from the sea but fear of a land invasion by the back door.
The fortress contained a vaied collection of cannon, some rifled, dating from the 17th century to WW2 and some captured during the Falklands Conflict.
The original Church within the Fortress was that of ‘St Katherine Upon The Hoe’, dating from 1371 and later rebuilt in 1845 with the most interesting galleries doubling the seating capacity.
The fortress gained the Status of ‘The Royal Citadel’ in 1927 granted by King George Vi.
Our Blue Badge Guide for the day (name forgotten) was a native of Launceston.
The site is to be returned to the City of Plymouth in 2022 and adapted to a housing complex.
Duncan Paul Matthews
(Of the Bodmin, Looe, Saltash and Torpoint OCSs)
Turquoise, Black & Gold
(Photo: Terry Knight)