Site of Motte and Bailey Castle, Dunster Tor, Dunster Castle

Record ID:  119728 / MNA141395
Record type:  Monument
Protected Status: Registered Park or Garden, Scheduled Monument
NT Property:  Dunster Castle; South West
Civil Parish:  Dunster; West Somerset; Somerset
Grid Reference:  SS 9911 4345
Choose map:
Map Aerial
Choose labels:
No label ID SMR No.


Documents refer to the castle buildings that once existed on the summit of Dunster Tor. These were in existence from at least the 11th until the early 18th century when the last structures were levelled to create a bowling green.

Identification Images (0)

Monument Types

  • MOTTE AND BAILEY (Demolished 1720, Medieval to Early 18th C - 1086 AD? to 1720 AD)


The footings of medieval castle buildings including the chapel of St Stephen, hall, buttery, pantry, a knight's hall, three towers containing various rooms and a prison. These buildings are recorded in a document dated 1266 translated by Maxwell Lyte in his History of Dunster Castle (1909) together with later documents. There may have been Saxon or earlier structures on the summit but there was certainly a castle there by Domesday Book 1086. The last buildings were levelled for the bowling green c.1720 for Dorothy Luttrell.
Resistivity survey in July 2004 of the lawn on the summit revealed many anomalies and some of these probably relate to the footings of the medieval castle buildings.
Ruined remains of the outer Bailey were incorporated as landscape features in later garden schemes.

The current house evolved on the site of the medieval remains of the Lower ward, it was reconstructed c1617 by William Arnold and re-modelled between 1868 and 1872 by Salvin (119640).


  • SNA64771 - Collection: National Trust. Undated photographs and reconstruction drawingsrelating to Dunster Castle..

  • SNA65029 - Unpublished document: Martin Papworth. 2011. Dunster Castle Somerset Heritage Impact Assessment & WSI Path to Summer House.

  • SNA65034 - Unpublished document: Michael Heaton Heritage Consultants. 2009. Dunster Castle Roof Repairs.

  • SNA65244 - Unpublished document: Martin Papworth. 2012. Report on 4 Evaluation Trenches on Dunster Tor Path.

  • SNA65490 - Unpublished document: Paul Cooke. 2013. The Constrcution of Steps to Dunster Castle Tor, Dunster, Somnerset.

  • SNA66433 - Unpublished document: Thompson Steve DIHE. 1990. Geophysical Survey-Resistivity Dunster Castle, Somerset.

  • SZN48232 - Unpublished document: Martin Papworth. 2005. Resistivity Survey of the Lawn on the Summit of Dunster Tor.

  • SZN48234 - Unpublished document: Kate Felus and John Phibbs. Survey of the Historic Landscape, Dunster Castle, Somerset.


Other Statuses and References

  • HER/SMR Reference (External): MSO9412
  • National Park

Associated Events

  • ENA3166 - Field Survey, Resistivity survey summit of Dunster Tor, 2004
  • ENA3168 - Field Survey, Historic Landscape Survey Dunster June 2004
  • ENA6483 - Field Survey, Heritage Impact Assessment and WSI for Dunster Path to Bowling Green House Dec.2011
  • ENA6487 - Archaeological Intervention, Dunster Castle Roof Repairs 2006-08
  • ENA6785 - Archaeological Intervention, Four Evaluation Trenches on Tor Path to Summer Hiouse May 2012
  • ENA7070 - Archaeological Intervention, Watching Brief during the constrcution of steps on the path to the Summer House Sept 2012 (Ref: ACD521/2/0)
  • ENA7961 - Field Survey, Geophysical survey flanking entrance track west of Dunster Mansion c.1989-90

Associated Finds

None Recorded

Related Records

None Recorded