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"700-Year Old Farleigh Castle" Top 5 Page for this destination Somerset Things to Do Tip by Bwana_Brown

Somerset Things to Do: 45 reviews and 85 photos

  The Castle Main Gate from our Car Park
by Bwana_Brown
  • The Castle Main Gate from our Car Park - Somerset
      The Castle Main Gate from our Car Park
    by Bwana_Brown
  • Looking Through the Gate at More Ruins - Somerset
      Looking Through the Gate at More Ruins
    by Bwana_Brown

Not very long after pulling out of Bradford-on-Avon, we crossed the border into Somerset County and almost immediately came across the ruins of Farleigh Castle sitting undisturbed by human life right beside the A366 highway.

I pulled off the road into a small spot marked for tour coaches and we got out to have a look. It turns out that these were the remains of a manor house built in the 1300s and sold to Sir Thomas Hungerford in 1369. Sir Thomas was a skilled lawyer and represented the King in these parts when matters of land succession had to be dealt with. Although he became the first Speaker of the House of Commons, he did get into a bit of a bind by fortifying the place without Royal permission, but received a pardon for this in 1377! The walls still standing in these photographs were built by his son in the early 1400s as he enclosed the original works, with the gatehouse and curtain walls still protecting the interior courtyard. As is often the case with hereditary situations, the Hungerford clan grip on this property came to an end in 1686 after over 300-years in the family. Sir Edward Hungerford had become embroiled on the wrong side in the 1685 Monmouth Rebellion when Protestants in this part of England tried to unseat King James II, the Roman Catholic successor to King Charles II. It was all over in five weeks and it appears that Sir Edward was implicated in the plot. He had to buy his life by giving up the estate and it then fell into ruin and was partially torn down for building materials.

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  • Updated Jan 19, 2006
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