A medieval fortress like a home
There are many places in the Canaries where you can find various castles that were once used as a defence against attacks that the islands could suffer, predominantly from pirates.
These castles date from the early days of the Conquest, bastions either in a cylindrical tower shape or polygonal.
Their con-struction is based on the use of huge foundation build-ing blocks in stone. The “Torre del Con-de” on La Gomera is the oldest and most important of these constructions.
In Tenerife, there are a number of these buildings which have been conserved in memory of a not-so-distant past and there are many examples of these: the castillo de San Felipe en el Puerto de la Cruz, the Castillo de San Miguel in Garachico, the Castillo de San Andrés in Santa Cruz de Tenerife and so on.
Interestingly, at the entrance to the municipality of Los Realejos, on the Carretera General del Norte no 1, it’s possible to observe a building which surprises in its architectural form in that it resembles, in a way, the medieval castles of the north of Europe.
The construction of this Castillo was not associated with the defence of the municipality but for residential use only. Its history appears to be linked to Luis Renshaw in the early 1860s who apparently designed it on a whim but never actually lived there.
The castle was acquired by the English musician Robert Holford Macdowall Bosanquet on March 23rd, 1878. He lived there with his butler Cecil Bisshopp, as well as two servants, somewhat isolated from the English community which could be found nearby in La Orotava and Puerto de la Cruz.
After Robert’s death on August 7th, 1912, all of his possessions were inherited by Bisshopp. In 1960, his children sold the castle to Fernando Weyler who was a painter and professor of the school Bellas Artes de Madrid who lived in it until 1976. Finally, in 1980, it incorporated a museum on the history and culture of the Canary Islands.
The house has four entrances, one for each facade. The main access to the castle is via the main facade and it is accessed via staircase of three steps in the form of a pyramid.
The steps are in natural stone (chasneras slabs), as are all the others. The principal facade is flanked by two circular towers, with windows. Inside, the lower section is illuminated by two windows whilst upstairs there is just one window.
The central part of this facade is composed of three windows on the top and two at the bottom on the sides of the front door. The other sides of the building are in an excellent condition.
The importance of this property lies in being one of the first expressions of British influence in Los Realejos. The charm of this place merges with the wonderful environment, creating somewhere which transports the visitor to medieval times. It’s a space that must be cared for and respected as a remarkable footprint to the first occupation by the British.
Today, this incredible building enjoys a new lease of life as a stylish venue for cultural events and is cherished as our author suggests it should be.
It is set in lush and beautiful gardens which can house a large marquee and the many rooms inside, both large and small, are opulent in style. There is a restaurant and a lounge area and it is a venue for various activities, cultural and musical, and a wonderful setting for weddings.