...the small picturesque ruins of a once fabulous castle
Standing on a rise with its stream fed moat in the village centre the Castle is a scheduled Ancient Monument and a grade I listed building. Delightful surroundings make a perfect stop on any tour of historical Somerset.
After returning from France in the Hundred Years was and having gained royal favour during the reign of Edward III, Sir John de la Mere had Nunney Castle built in the French style of architecture possibly based on the Bastille in Paris. It had a four lobed plan encircled by a moat, with a conical roofed turret on each corner and a projecting line of battlements running round the wall tops. There was a kitchen at ground level, a hall on the third floor and withdrawing chambers on the top floor with a chapel in the far right corner tower.
In the late 16th Century the castle was modernised under the ownership of Richard Prater who had purchased it around 1578. During the English Civil Wars (1642-51) the Castle was besieged by Cromwell’s forces and succumbed when they used cannon to blast a hole in the North wall. All of the floors were removed or burned along with the roof to make it uninhabitable so all that remains today are its moat, towers and walls, although the badly damaged wall finally collapsed on Christmas Day in 1910 having stood for all those centuries.
Close by there are traces of a nunnery which is thought to have given the village its name, a Roman Villa with a mosaic floor and remains of a Roman camp where a hoard of coins was discovered in 1869 at Westdown farm.
The Castle is run by English Heritage and is open at any reasonable time with no fees being charged at present.
Other attractions in the area:
East Somerset Railway
Last Updated: 28 Apr 2015