Trematon Castle has belonged to the Duke of Cornwall since soon after the Norman Conquest. Built on the ruins of an earlier Roman Fort it survives, a perfect miniature Norman castle, motte and bailey with a gatehouse built to be fit as lodgings for Edward, Prince of Wales, known as the ‘Black Prince’.
When Sir Francis Drake returned to Plymouth from his circumnavigation voyage in 1580, he slipped out to anchor behind St Nicholas Island until word came from Queen Elizabeth for the treasures he had gathered to be stored in Trematon Castle.
The horde consisted of gold, silver, and precious stones, mainly emeralds, the result of piracy from Spanish ships along the west coast of South America. Before being moved for storage in the Tower of London, the treasure was temporarily stored in the Golden Hinde. Ruined and forgotten for centuries in 1807 the Duchy granted a naval man and later Surveyor of the Duchy of Cornwall, Benjamin Tucker, Secretary to the Admiral Earl of St Vincent, a long lease and permission to build within the Castle Courtyard a Georgian house.
Part of the original Castle wall was demolished to give this house a view to Plymouth Sound. In the words of John Betjeman it has “one of the superb views of Cornwall, a Brunel stone viaduct crossing a foreground creek, the Lynher and Tamar estuaries beyond, and the wooded slopes of Anthony. Trematon Castle is all the more romantic for being still a private residence and un-archaeologised.”