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Stogursey Castle

Visited May 2018

Location Storgursey, Somerset
Entrance Fee No
Railway Station Nearby No
Parking Roadside
Facilities Holiday Let
   

 

It is a bit cheeky to include this castle as one that can be visited, as it is owned by the Landmark Trust and rented out as holiday accommodation, but they do open it occasionally for free public access open days, which is when we saw it. So we have included it here as a possible place to visit if you keep an eye on open day details. Of course it may also inspire you to book the castle for a holiday.....

 


 

 


Review

 

The castle here is of Norman origin, the manor of Stoke was given to William de Falaise after the conquest, and it was part of a ring of castles including nearby Dunster Castle which protected the Somerest coast from invasion. The manor of Stoke with its timber buildings then passed by marriage to the Curci family, and the name Stogursey, or Stoke-Curci was created. 

 

The castle was re-built in stone, and extended. The castle mound was built up to improve observation and to help drainage on what was a marshy site. The de Curci family added a stone keep on the mound but this has long since disappeared. During the war between King Stephen  and his cousin Matilda two outer baileys were developed, mainly used for crop production and the keeping of animals.

 

The castle reached its peak of importance during the reign of Henry III , with the dry ditches being flooded to make a moat and stone walling built around the site. The de Curci family did not live here permanently but visited occasionally, they eventually added an extra building built against the wall of the inner ward to make their stays more comfortable. The rest of the time the castle housed a constable who would look after the castle and surrounding lands.

 

King John stayed at the castle in 1210, and lost 20 shillings gambling after a day of hunting in the area. The same King then built a castle at nearby Bridgwater, which reduced Stogursey's importance, and it reduced in status (Bridgwater castle has little or no remains today, so Stogursey had the last laugh!)

 


 

 


 

The years passed with much patching up, rebuilding and refortifying  and the castle survived into more peaceful times, when it took on a domestic role and eventually was used as a farmhouse. The mighty towers of the gatehouse fell and a house was rebuilt on top of their remains, it is this yellow, thatched house that survives today and is the accommodation for today's visitors who book it for short breaks.

 

The stone bridge leading to the castle was built in the thirteenth century but had completed disappeared from view by the time the renovations for the holiday cottage started in the 1980s. The moat had silted up completely and covered it from view. It was rediscovered during the renovations, almost completely intact. The bridge leading across the moat to the house certainly makes a picturesque scene today.

 


 

 


 

The interior of the castle cottage has been fitted out in accordance with the age of the property, including a grandfather clock made in the village of Stogursey itself. It looks lovely and cosy in the cottage and we would love to stay there, funds permitting (it is a bit pricey for us) 

 

On the open day we parked in the village and walked to the castle, then we were free to view the interior and spend some time relaxing in the inner ward of the castle, which is usually reserved for visitors at the castle (there is no public access except on official open days) We were lucky with the weather so took advantage of the cream teas on offer and sat and took in the views across the Somerset countryside. 

 

After our castle visit we went to Cleeve Abbey which is about twenty minutes  drive away. The Somerset coast is close by and we enjoyed Kilve Beach for its fossils, it is not a bucket and spade beach although there are plenty of those around, Minehead or Dunster Beaches are both sandy and family friendly. There are plenty of cafes and pubs in the area so you won't be short of choice for a lunch stop.

 


 

 


 

More info:  Stogursey Castle

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