Totnes Castle

totnes castle south devon

The first castle on this site was built around the time of William the Conqueror in 1068 to control the area around Totnes. It is one of the first 3 stone castles in Devon and was built by the Breton Juhel of Totnes, this was probably wooden. On the death of King William I, Juhel lost all his lands (he probably supported the rebellion of 1088).

The barony was then passed to Roger de Nonant who held this for another 3 generations or so. It was then passed to a William de Braose who is responsible for constructing the first stone shell keep and walls which can be seen today, this was probably around the 14th Century.

By 1326 the castle was falling into ruin and a Royal Order was made to repair the fortifications using Devonian limestone and red sandstone. Following the War of the Roses it once again fell into disrepair and apart from a period during the Civil War was not occupied.

Since 1984 English Heritage have looked after the ruins and it is now classified as a Grade 1* listed building.


  • Parking - No problem
  • Accessibility - Difficult
  • Facilities - Toilets & refreshments
  • Dogs - Not in main grounds

Best for


Look out for Ghostly goings on

In 1855 there was heavy snowfall across South Devon but mysterious footprints appeared overnight. They stretched for over 100 miles through walls and haystacks and drains from the River Exe to Totnes and on to the River Dart, moving as if there were no barrier. They were described by hundreds of witnesses as strange hoof-shaped prints in perfect straight lines and even continued on the other side of Rivers as if the creature had walked on water.

There have been similar phenomena since the 13th Century, when on 19th July 1205 hoof prints appeared across other parts of Britain following a violent electrical storm. Why not explore more about these or listen out for when they happen again? Today they still remain a complete mystery.

‚ÄčIt's a fact !

The mythical founder of Britain, Brutus of Troy first stepped ashore here and set into the pavement on Fore Street is the "Brutus Stone" which according to local legend Brutus first stepped, as he did so he is alleged to have claimed:-

"Here I stand and here I rest. And this town shall be called Totnes".

* The information contained on this page is correct to the best of our knowledge, however, if you notice anything that you know to be incorrect or misleading, please contact us.

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