Nunney Castle

Nunney Castle is a medieval moated castle built by the knight John de la Mare in the late 14th century from his profits serving as a soldier in the Hundred Years War.  The castle’s style is said to have French influence, for example the castle had machicolations, though this statement has been long debated whether it is true by historians.

Built14th Century
TypeQuadrangular moated Castle
ConditionRuins (extensive stone works remain)
OwnershipEnglish Heritage
AccessPublic – Free

Click here to watch our video on the history and exploring Nunney Castle

The castle was constructed in a narrow quadrangular shape with circular corner towers, four stories high and surrounded by a moat.  The towers had battlements and conical roofs.  The moat was set within a larger courtyard with a stone wall beyond this on three sides.

Following John’s death the castle passed through a number of owners before finding itself in the hands of Richard Prater who modernised it to the standards of the time in the late 16th century.  The redesign included larger windows, a grand staircase, a Catholic altar and a terrace.

Nunney Castle remained with the Prater family until the time of the English Civil War (1642–1651).  Colonel Richard Prater was a Royalist who supported King Charles I over Parliament.  As the war went on things turned in favour of the Parliamentarians and Nunney Castle was garrisoned ready for an attack.  On 18th September 1645, a Parliamentary army under the command of Lord Fairfax and Oliver Cromwell surrounded the castle and opened fire with cannons  The castle was besieged for a further two days before it surrendered.  Due to the considerable damage caused by the cannon the castle avoided being slighted.

Following this period the castle slowly fell into decline, in the late 18th century it was still considered usable but by the 20th century it was in ruins and covered in thick ivy.  On Christmas Day in 1910 a large portion of the north wall collapsed and the stone was taken by local residents.  In 1926 the castle was transferred to the Commissioner of Works who began restoration work.

English Heritage now maintains Nunney Castle and it is open to the public to visit free of charge.

Postcode BA11 4LW

Click below to watch our video on the history and exploring Nunney Castle

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