Rougemont CastleEdit profile
Rougemont Castle is the historic castle of Exeter. The castle was first built in 1068 to help William the Conqueror maintain control over the city. It is perched on an ancient volcanic plug, overlaying remains of the Roman city of Isca Dumnoniorum. The castle is named after the red stone found in the hill, and used in the construction of the original buildings, of which only ruins remain. Until 2003 the intact Georgian buildings of the castle remained the seat of royal power in the county and served as home to Exeter's Crown and County Courts. As a result the castle has been one of the least known and accessible parts of the city, and few local residents have set foot beyond its gates; it has never been accessible to tourists. Following the failure of a scheme for the Exeter City Council to purchase them, the buildings were recently sold by the Department of Constitutional Affairs to a private development partnership. This partnership is currently seeking uses for the building, with suggestions such as the creation of a "Covent Garden" experience being considered. The building is subject to a high degree of legal protection as a Scheduled Monument, and its main structures are all either Grade I or Grade II* listed buildings. As the relevant planning authority, the city council remains concerned about the future of the castle. It has stated its view that whatever its future use, the castle should be opened up to reasonable public access and integrated into the cultural quarter of the city as a key element, the historic importance and quality of the site and buildings should be respected, and at least the impressive courtyard of the castle should be available for public events even if the buildings are purchased for commercial use, for example as a hotel. The castle is surrounded on three sides by the Rougemont Gardens and Northernhay Gardens, public parks maintained by Exeter City Council.