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Little Dennis (The Blockhouse)
Pendennis Point, Falmouth, Cornwall
associated engineer
Not known
date  1538
UK era  Tudor  |  category  Earthwork/Fortifications  |  reference  SW826316
During the reign of Henry VIII, the threat of invasion from France and Spain was ever present. As an interim measure, the blockhouse known as Little Dennis was constructed in 1538 so that cannon could be mounted to guard the sea lanes known as the Carrick Roads, and the Fal Estuary. The main castle at Pendennis could then be built at the top of the headland.
The blockhouse is situated on the rocky shoreline at Pendennis Point, on the south eastern tip of the headland. It is a D-shaped masonry structure 10m long and 9m wide, with walls up to 2.8m thick. It is topped by a parapet with a wall walk and once had several gun ports facing the sea, although these were later replaced by a larger single port.
During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I the blockhouse was incorporated into a small fort covering the whole of the point. This included three sea-level batteries, a ditch and a drawbridge. The fort was in use until the 18th century.
Little Dennis forms part of the site of Pendennis Castle, which is administered by English Heritage and is open to the public.
Research: ECPK
"The Castles of Devon and Cornwall" by Mike Salter
Folly Publications, Malvern, 1999
"The Castles of Pendennis and St Mawes" ed Lorimer Poultney
English Heritage, London, 1999

Little Dennis (The Blockhouse)