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Dunster Castle

Dunster Castle
Dunster,
Somerset
TA24 6SL
Nearest Train Station: Taunton (22ml)
Nearest Motorway Junction: M5 J25

History

This large Grade I listed castle is the historical home of the Luttrell family located in the small town of Dunster, Somerset. There is evidence to support the fact that there has been a castle at the top of the Tor for over 1,000 years and the Domesday Book records one on this location before 1066 owned by the Saxon Aelfric. After William the Conqueror came to power he granted the castle to William de Mohun.

The castle was besieged, and its garrison ‘reduced and humbled’ (Gesta Spephani) by King Stephen in 1138 during his struggle for the throne with Matilda, daughter of his uncle, King Henry I. The Castle however still remained in the hands of the de Mohun family for around 300 years until it was sold in 1376 by Lady Joan de Mohun to Lady Elizabeth Luttrell.

In the mid 18th century the sea had receded and Deer Park was created in by Henry Fownes Luttrell. When George Luttrell inherited this in 1571, he and Dame Margaret Luttrell (portrait in Inner Hall) and George Luttrell (the Builder) lived in residence along with. In 1617, Sir George employed the architect, William Arnold, to erect a new house in the lower ward of the castle. During the Civil War, Dunster was a Royalist stronghold under the command of Colonel Wyndham. In November 1645 Parliamentary forces started a siege which lasted until an honourable surrender of the castle in April 1646.

In 1650, Dunster's fortifications were demolished. This was done on the orders of Oliver Cromwell following one six month siege 6th November 1645 – 22nd April 1646 during the Civil War. The house was then modified and developed over the following centuries, employing some of the countries finest architects and craftsmen until Colonel Sir Walter Luttrell gave Dunster Castle and the greater part of its contents to the National Trust in 1976.

Ghost Hunt at The National Trust

Activity

People have reported ghostly sightings at Dunster for many years, but the most famous ghosts that are seen the most often are that of the 'Grey Lady' and the Foot Guard, who wears a three pointed hat. These two have been witnessed to show themselves as blurry shapes or faces but there are others who are less well formed and manifest with noise, chills, feeling of general unease or else in the form or bright floating orbs.

The dungeons starved many and old stories said bodies were really left to rot so people didn't get a proper burial which may be why they haven't settled properly. It has also been claimed that the footsteps of soldiers garrisoned in the Leather Gallery at the castle can still be heard. In addition there are also a host of reported phenomena from staff that work and indeed live in the castle accommodation areas.

 

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