WEST COWES CASTLE
- Heritage Category:
- Listed Building
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Statutory Address:
- WEST COWES CASTLE, THE PARADE
The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1267310.pdf
The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.
This copy shows the entry on 21-Apr-2021 at 18:50:58.
- Statutory Address:
- WEST COWES CASTLE, THE PARADE
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Isle of Wight (Unitary Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- SZ 49374 96559
In the entry for:-
THE PARADE West Cowes 1. 5270 West Cowes Castle SZ 49 NE 4/84 17.8.51 II*
The entry shall be amended to read:-
COWES SZ49NE THE PARADE - /4/84 West Cowes Castle 17/08/51 GV II* Royal Yacht Squadron Club House, formerly fort. A complex building, originally a coastal defence fort built in 1539 by Henry VIII, the only surviving one of two defending each side of the River Medina protecting the town of Newport, the other being East Cowes Castle. From this period remain the low bastion fronting the promenade along the sea, with its castellated parapet, and a fragment of the northern segment of the two storey squat round tower behind. These fragments are built of limestone ashlar, said to have been brought from Beaulieu Abbey which was then partially demolished. The Castle was remodelled in 1716 when the greater part of the round tower was demolished, a staircase turret added to the south eastern corner of the tower and wings built for residential use. In 1856-58 Anthony Salvin (1799-1881) adapted the build for the Royal Yacht Squadron. The C18 house was altered and enlarged by adding the gabled profile and distinctive north west tower, also the castellated gatehouse. The service wing was probably added as an L shape projecting west from behind the NW tower. The Platform, a conservatory-like front extension was added in the 1880s and remodelled in the 1970s. In the 1920s J J Joass (1868-1952) added a mansard roof, the service wing and a northern extension in matching style. Later C20 accretions are not considered to be of special architectural or historic interest though they form an integral part of the Royal Yacht Squadron's facilities. These include the additions and adaptations by A G Biggs in 1962-68 to provide the Ladies Balcony and Ladies facilities, The Gendemen's Locker Room and Office Block and Flat, also of the 1960s and the prefabricated Conservatory extension to the platform erected in 1988. The building is an L-shaped structure of 2 to 3 storeys stone with slate roofs, cemented chimneystacks and irregular fenestration. Squat Henrician tower to south east of 3 storeys with crenellated cambered entrance. Three storey C18 circular stair turret with conical roof and metal finial adjoins to south east. To north east and north west are the 1716 wings, of three storeys in the centre and two at the sides, with gables added by Salvin and sash windows. At the extreme north west is Salvin's three storey curved tower with steeply hipped roofwith metal finial and weathervane. To the north is the Platform, supported on cast iron late C19 columns but with 1970s glazing. To the south west is the 1920s Joass extension of two storeys and attics with mansard roof and sash windows with vertical glazing bars only. Interior features include an C18 staircase with curved handrail, column newel and stick balusters, two C18 marble fireplaces in the Members' Dining Room with panels depicting cherubs, a c1858 fireplace with cast iron firegrate and the 1880s cast iron columns in the Platform. During the Commonwealth period, West Cowes Castle was used as a prison and amongst others Sir William Davenant was imprisoned there. He wrote the heroic poem 'Gondibert' during his captivity. Following its use as a private house in the C18, West Cowes Castle was bought by the Royal Yacht Squadron in 1856. This had been founded in 1813 and had been previously housed in what became the Gloucester Hotel, The Parade. Cowes owed its fortune in the C19 to the visits of the Duke ofGloucester, The Prince Regent and other royal princes who became early patrons of the Yacht Club and after 1863 of the Prince of Wales who made the town fashionable. the distinctive Royal Yacht Squadron Platform, as seen from the Solent, has long been a well-recognized landmark for the start and finish for some of the most famous yacht races in the world. ["The History of the King's Works" Vol IV,1485-1660 (Part II). "Hunt's Yachting Magazine", September 1856. "Further Memoirs of the RYS 1901-1938" by J B Atkins, 1919. "Isle of Wight at War, 1939-1945" by A B Searle, 1989. "History of the RYS" by Spencer Herapath, Librarian and custodian of Pictures, 1977. "The Little Port That Became Cowes" by D Phillips-Birt, Country Life July 1965. "Based on a Tudor Bulwark" by Marcus Binney, Country life, August 1985.]
THE PARADE 1. 5270 West Cowes West Cowes Castle SZ 49 NE 4/84 17.8.51. II* 2. Royal Yacht Squadron Headquarters. Remains of Henrician coastal defence of 1538-9 with C18 stair turret and enlargements by Salvin of 1856-7. Of the C16 fort there remain the low bastion fronting the promenade along the sea, with its castellated parapet, and the 2-storey squat round tower behind. They are built of limestone ashlar, said to have been brought across the Solent from Beaulieu Abbey which was then partially demolished. At the south-east corner of the tower a turret was added in the C18 which contains quite a good C18 staircase. The remainder of the building consists of the C18 house as altered and greatly enlarged in the C19 by Salvin, when the north-west turret, amongst other portions was added. This is of 2 to 3 storeys stone rubble having mansard roof with some gables and incorporates a one storey cemented and castellated lodge. The building is listed for both architectural and historic interest. The historical interest is as the sole remaining fort of 2, built in 1538-9 by Henry VIII to defend the mouth of the Medina, the other having been built at East Cowes. During the Commonwealth period the building was used as a prison and amongst others Sir William Davenant was imprisoned there. He wrote the heroic poem "Gondibert" during his captivity. The castle was added to and became a private house in the C18 and in 1856 it was bought by the Royal Yacht Squadron which was founded in 1813 and had been previously housed in what became subsequently the Gloucester Hotel, The Parade, Cowes owed its fortunes in the C19 to the visits of the Duke of Gloucester, the Prince Regent and other royal princes who were early patrons of the Yacht Club and after 1863 of the Prince of Wales, which made the town fashionable.
Listing NGR: SZ4937496559
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
- Legacy System number:
- Legacy System:
Books and journals
Atkins, J B , Further Memoirs of the Royal Yacht Squadron 1901-1938, (1939)
Herapath, S, History of the Royal Yacht Squadron, (1977)
Searle, A B, Isle of Wight at War 1939-1945, (1989)
'Country Life' in July, (1965)
'Hunts Yachting Magazine' in September, (1856)
'Country Life' in August, (1985)
Summerson, C, Biddle, M, Hale, J R, Merriman, M, 'History of The Kings Works' in History of the Kings Works 1485-1660 Part 2, (1982)
This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.
End of official listing