A coloured plan of Falmouth Fort (Pendennis Castle); drawn temp. Elizabeth Publication Details: ca. 1590-1598
This is a drawing of Pendennis Castle in Cornwall dating from around 1597-98. Although it is pictorial representation the real architectural features of the castle are recognisable. The castle is shown with a round tower with apertures arranged in two layers and surrounded by a low curtain wall. The impetus for the construction of Pendennis was Henry VIII’s divorce of his catholic wife Catherine of Aragon which initiated a threat of war from France and Spain. As a consequence, Henry set about the fortification of the whole of England's south coast. Between the years 1540 and 1545 two forts were constructed to guard the wide entrance of the River Fal; St Mawes on the east bank and Pendennis on the west.
This drawing shows the extra wall with bastions which was constructed to encircle the structure during the reign of Elizabeth I.
Raids on transatlantic shipping by English seamen such as Francis Drake and England’s support of the Protestant rebellion in the Spanish ruled Netherlands had brought tensions with Spain to a crescendo and England was under threat of invasion from Spain. Although the Spanish Armada was defeated by the English in 1588 England remained at war with Spain for many years and further attempts to invade were made by Philip II. In the year 1595, the Spanish attacked Mounts Bay, Newlyn and Penzance. The garrisons at Pendennis and St Mawes, were hurriedly reinforced and improved upon in preparation for the coming Spanish invasion. However the Spanish invasion never came and the only attacks on the castles were during the Civil War.