Baldwin Fitz Turstin, Sheriff of Cornwall, built the original castle around 1100 AD although it was no more than a timber palisade. The present stone castle was probably built by Robert de Cardiman in about 1200. Today Restormel belongs to the Duchy of Cornwall as in 1337 the castle was given to Edward, The Black Prince, the first Duke of Cornwall who is reported to have held court there on at least two occasions.
Restormel is a perfect example of a shell-keep perched high on a motte given extra prominence by digging a circular ditch all around its base. The curtain walls which are 8 ft thick and 125 ft in diameter form a perfect circle and rise to more than 20 ft above the inner courtyard. The main castle buildings within the Keep included bedchambers with large fireplaces, a kitchen and a great hall all located around a circular courtyard. A chapel was added after the original work and a wide archway was cut through the stone curtain of the Keep leading to a rectangular eastern projection built for the purpose.
Before the Civil War, the castle fell into disrepair but then enjoyed a brief spell of rehabitation when the Parliamentarians garrisoned the Keep. In 1644 the castle was captured and from then on Restormel was left to crumble into a ruin.
The view from the ruins of the castle affords wonderful views across the peaceful Cornish countryside. The walk around the top of the curtain walls along with pleasant picnic areas make Restormel Castle an ideal spot for an interesting day out.