Star Castle       

St. Mary's Island, Isles of Scilly                
Thanks to for its gracious if unwitting permission to use this picture!
The Isles of Scilly are an archipelago just to the southwest of Great Britain. They have been inhabited since the Stone Age, and part of Great Britain ever since there was a Great Britain. Scilly has been visited by Phonicians, Greeks, Romans and Vikings, to varying degrees of benefit to the islands themselves, but as we're primarily interested in the fortification known as Star Castle, we'll begin with the Spanish.

Spain's planned invasion of England in 1588 was foiled when its invincible armada proved itself pretty darned vincible after all, thanks to characteristically nutty weather in the English Channel and British naval wherewithal. While the Armada had been soundly defeated, invasion jitters were understandably still present for the next several years in England.

Feeling particularly vulnerable out there in the ocean, the Governor of the Isles of Scilly, Francis Godolphin (1540-1608), ordered the construction of a defensible fortification on St. Mary's Island in 1593. The thought was to defend the islands against Spanish invasion, but Star Castle seems a relatively small and landlocked position to deter Spanish aggression...although any time you build your fortification in the shape of a star, you're at least assured an all-around defensibility. Regardless, the Spanish did not come.

During the English Civil War (1642-1651), Parliamentarians captured the islands, but the garrison mutinied and returned them to Royalist control. In 1651 Royalist Governor Sir John Grenville used Scilly as a base of naval attacks on Parliamentarian and Dutch shipping, leading to a declaration of war by the Dutch government against the Islands of Scilly...which, weirdly, lasted for the next 335 years. No official end of the conflict came until 1986, making the 335 Years' War both the longest war in history, and the one with the fewest casualties. The Isles were recaptured by Parliament later in 1651.

Since 1930, Star Castle has been a hotel. Though some of its rooms have been described as strangely shaped they start at a mere 80 Pounds per night, and we are talking the 16th century here. Plus, they have something called "colour TV."

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Star Castle?
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Thanks to Google Maps for the image!