West Country 2019 (16): Launceston

Another wet day and so we made our way to Launceston.

Launceston was regarded as the Gateway to Cornwall, being not far from the border with Devon. This came to be regarded as being due to the major roads into the county that passed close by. However it may have had an earlier meaning as in the middle ages it was recorded as being the farthest into the county that justices and other royal officials would go, fearing that the lands beyond were unsafe. It may also have been a reflection of the poor road network that existed in the county. Thus Launceston became the de facto County town of Cornwall, although it was never officially declared as such.

The presence of the castle, dating from 1070 and was built by Robert, Count of Mortain, who had been granted control of most of Cornwall. Robert was the half-brother of William the Conqueror and had been one of the King’s companions during the battle of Hastings in 1066. He returned to Normandy around 1088 and died there in 1095.

Launceston ceased to be regarded as the county town in 1835 when the County Courts moved to Bodmin.

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