Totnes Castle is one of the best preserved examples of a Norman motte and bailey castle in England. It is situated in the town of Totnes on the River Dart in Devon. The surviving stone keep and curtain wall date from around the 14th century.
The first castle on this site is believed to have been built by the Breton Juhel of Totnes (also known as Judhael) who was one of William the Conqueror’s lieutenants. The manor of Totnes was granted to him in 1068, and in order to cement his control over the area he constructed a fortification and founded a priory within the town. However, this first construction probably consisted of a wooden palisade and tower. On the death of William I, Juhel lost his lands, possibly as a result of his support for the Rebellion of 1088.The manor of Totnes was then granted to Roger de Nonant, whose descendants appear to have held the manor for the next three generations. Following this it came into the possession of William de Braose, who is probably responsible for constructing the first stone shell keep and walls on the site.
By 1326, the castle had fallen into ruin and was under the control the de la Zouch family. During this period a royal order was made for the repair of the fortifications. However, following the Wars of the Roses it once again fell into disrepair. The castle was occupied for a period during the English Civil War but saw no notable action.
The photo is by David Mitchell using kite aerial photography. The kite string and photographer can be seen, making this a self portrait with the castle.