The rise, decline and rise of Compton Castle
Compton has grown from a manor house to the fortified structure you can now visit. The manor was enlarged in the 1450s and then, in response to French raids on Plymouth in the 1520s it was fortified. By 1800 the family had moved to Bodmin, Cornwall, and Compton fell into ruin and was sold. Commander
Walter Raleigh Gilbert bought the castle and surrounding orchard back in 1931 and started its restoration. Fragments of the original stonework were found amongst the ruins in 1955 and were used as the basis for the Great Hall’s windows.
The American connection
The world would be a different place without the Gilbert men and their exploration of North America. In 1583, in the name of the Queen Elizabeth I, Sir Humphrey Gilbert colonised Newfoundland. Two years later his half brother, Sir Walter Raleigh started planning the Roanoke Colony in North Carolina. Sir Humphrey’s youngest son Raleigh Gilbert continued exploring, settling the Popham Colony in Maine, in
1607. It only survived one year, succumbing to a bitter winter.
Why not take a look at the video at the top of this page to find out more? The video is also screened in the Medieval Kitchen at Compton Castle.