Pendennis Castle is an artillery fort constructed by Henry VIII near Falmouth, Cornwall, England between 1540 and 1542. It formed part of the King's Device programme to protect against invasion from France and the Holy Roman Empire, and defended the Carrick Roads waterway at the mouth of the River Fal. The original, circular keep and gun platform was expanded at the end of the century to cope with the increasing Spanish threat, with a ring of extensive stone ramparts and bastions built around the older castle. Pendennis saw service during the English Civil War, when it was held by the Royalists, and was only taken by Parliament after a long siege in 1646. It survived the interregnum and Charles II renovated the fortress after his restoration to the throne in 1660.
Ongoing concerns about a possible French invasion resulted in Pendennis's defences being modernised and upgraded in the 1730s and again during the 1790s; during the Napoleonic Wars, the castle held up to 48 guns. In the 1880s and 1890s an electrically operated minefield was laid across the River Fal, operated from Pendennis and St Mawes, and new, quick-firing guns were installed to support these defences. The castle saw service during both the First and Second World Wars, but in 1956, by now obsolete, it was decommissioned. It passed into the control of the Ministry of Works, who cleared away many of the more modern military buildings and opened the site to visitors. In the 21st century, the castle is managed by English Heritage as a tourist attraction, receiving 74,230 visitors in 2011–12. The heritage agency Historic England considers Pendennis to be "one of the finest examples of a post-medieval defensive promontory fort in the country".
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