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An English Heritage Site

Nunney Castle

Nunney Castle is situated in the village of Nunney a small village in Somerset three and a half miles south west of Frome. It can be accessed at any reasonable time all year round and you access it through a small gate from the road. It is a pretty village and as well as the moated castle you can also photograph a stream, church and other village buildings. Village roads are narrow so parking is tight, but as it's not one of English Heritages sites which is manned there are not usually too many other tourists visiting. It is in the centre of the village and the grounds are used occasionally for village activities hence the bunting in one of the pictures when we visited.


NC06.jpg (319544 bytes) A fortified manor house built c1373 by John De La Mare it appears to have strong French influence. Today it is surrounded by a moat, which was restored in the early part of the 20th century. Originally this would have been far more substantial, with water extending to the castle walls. On the ground floor, where remains of a large fire place and side oven are still visible, and storage facilities in the base of the towers with a well at one end, is where the kitchen would have been. The first floor of the tower would have contained the servants quarters. The 2nd and 3rd floors would have contained the Great Hall and Lord's Solar, with a Chapel adjoining in the southwest tower. The upper storeys of the towers would have provided additional accommodation.

Seventeenth century drawings show that originally the curtain walls would have been the same height as the towers, at that time capped with conical roofs. A timber rampart walk extended around the perimeter of the wall and towers, as the protruding corbels indicate. The rampart would have stood proud of the wall, supported by the corbels, and in between each corbel there would have been a hole allowing various objects to be thrown down onto any attacking force below. Unusually the curtain wall between the southwest and northeast towers is so short (about 1m). The main rectangular central void was capped with a roof with each of the towers having an extra level for defence. The window surrounds particularly at the higher levels are well preserved and are typical of those found in domestic residence castles of the time.

Access to the castle was originally by a drawbridge (probably made of wooden planks) located in front of the main door leading to a causeway to the other side of the wider moat than is present today. It was probably manually drawn into the castle at times of need.


Very little is known and it appears to have been largely uneventful. The most notable chapter seems to have been during the Civil War (1645) when it was besieged by Cromwell’s troops, but capitulated within two days. It was not designed to withstand cannon and the north wall was soon breached above the entrance, this hole still remained until 1910 when the fabric finally succumbed to the elements, causing the bulk of the wall to collapse. After the Civil War, its roof was removed to render it uninhabitable, and so it has remained ever since. There are engravings and 19th century watercolours depicting the wall still standing with a breach at the second floor level.

In 1926 the commissioners of H. M. Office of Works became guardians of the castle, and repairs that they have subsequently effected to the building have saved it from the ravishes of rapid decay that was all to but evident in the early part of this century. In addition to making safe the standing structure, the interior and surrounding ground was cleared of the fallen masonry predominately from the north wall and the moat as seen today re- instated. It is today in the care of English Heritage.

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NunneyChurch.jpg (297955 bytes)

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The stream at Nunney which

feeds the castle moat.

Ducks in the castle moat.

These pictures taken in July 2002, prior to Nikon DSLR.

Click on the image to get a larger view.

All Saints church in the village.

A view of the church

from inside the castle.

Planning Grid


Nunney Castle, Somerset

Grid Reference

ST 737457 - OS Map 183

Map Link:

Getting there:

In the centre of Nunney, 3.5 miles SW of Frome off A361.


On foot, through a gate into the grounds and a footbridge over the moat into the castle remains.


No car park - so roadside parking within the village


Disabled access to exterior only. Local village has a village shop and pub where you can pick up some refreshment.

Things To Do, See and Photograph:

Remains of a wet moated castle. Also there are some very quaint cottages and pathways around the village and small brook which runs through the middle and a village church.

What to take:

Camera, Tripod, shift lens

Nature watching:

Within the moat and nearby village brook there are usually some ducks around.

Best Times to Visit:



Nunney, Somerset








Nunney Castle - Somerset

Opening times:

Any reasonable time all year.


Free access to all

Photo Restrictions and Copyright:

No commercial photography is allowed in all their grounds, it is not permitted in some buildings for conservation purposes, usually a no photography symbol is present on entry to the building where this restriction is in place.

Other useful websites:


CIN Page Ref:


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