Farleigh Hungerford Castle

Venue Type & Location

Private Residence

Site Name: Farleigh Hungerford Castle
Location: Farleigh Hungerford Castle
County: Somerset
Location Type: Countryside - at determined location

Performance Spaces


Located on a steep hill above the River Frome and the NE Somerset/Wiltshire border, the Hungerford's square, grey limestone castle lay near a main road through the SW. Farleigh Hungerford was defended by a moat on the S and W sides and the escarpment to the N and E.

Apart from the foundations little remains of the castle's domestic buildings. Only the gatehouse and curtain wall, 2 ruinous towers, the original parish church of St Leonard used as a chapel and the priest's house survive.

Performance History

A probable performance venue. No relevant Hungerford household records survive but entertainers under Sir Walter Hungerford's patronage performed elsewhere in the SW in the early 15th c. It is likely that they also performed here at their patron's residence.

Current Status

A ruin under the care of English Heritage. Open to the public at specified hours.

History of the Venue

1369 Manor of Farleigh Montfort sold by the Montfort family to Sir Thomas Hungerford who converted the manor house into a moated castle.

1383 Hungerford pardoned for crenellating without royal licence.

ca. 1425 Sir Walter Hungerford (later 1st Baron Hungerford) enlarged the castle with an outer courtyard enclosing the parish church for use as his chapel.

1461 Robert, 3rd Baron Hungerford and Lord Moleyns, attainted abd his possessions forfeited.

1462 Castle and manor granted to Richard, Duke of Gloucester.

1483 Granted to John Howard, Duke of Norfolk.

1485 Howard died at the Battle of Bosworth.

1486 Sir Walter Hungerford, son of the 3rd Baron Hungerford, recovered Farleigh Hungerford.

1540 Sir Walter's grandson, Walter, Baron Hungerford of Heytesbury, attainted and executed. Lands passed to the Crown.

1544 Sir Thomas Seymour granted custody of the Hungerford lands.

1549 Seymour executed and lands reverted to the Crown.

1554 Farleigh Hungerford sold by Queen Mary to Sir Walter Hungerford, son of Baron Hungerford of Heytesbury.

1686 Castle sold by the spendthrift Sir Edward Hungerford to Henry Baynton of Spye Park, Devizes, the last resident.

1730 Bought by the Houlton family of Trowbridge. Most of the fabric dispersed and the buildings in the inner court destroyed during this period.

1891 Sold to Lord Donington, husband of Baroness Hungerford, and subsequently sold to Lord Cairns.

1915 Placed in the guardianship of the Commissioners of His Majesty's Works.

Record Source

REED Devon 90--3

Patrons who owned this venue

Name Dates Titles
Hungerford, Walter 1378-1449 Knight , 1st Baron

Bibliographic Sources

  • Buck, Samuel, and Nathaniel Buck. [A Collection of Engravings of the Castles, Abbeys, and Towns in England and Wales]. 5 vols. London: The authors, 1726–52.
  • English Heritage. Farleigh Hungerford Castle, Somerset. 1986. London: English Heritage, 2001.
  • Jackson, J.E. 'Farleigh-Hungerford Castle.' Somersetshire Archaeological and Natural History Society Proceedings 3 (1852): 114–24.
  • King, David J. Cathcart. Castellarium Anglicanum: An Index and Bibliography of the Castles in England, Wales and the Islands. 2 vols. Millwood, NY, London and Nendeln, Liechtenstein: Kraus International Publications, 1983.
  • Leland, John. The Itinerary of John Leland in or about the Years 1535–1543. Lucy Toulmin Smith, ed. 5 vols. London: Centaur, 1964.
  • Mackenzie, James D. The Castles of England: Their Story and Structure. 2 vols. New York: The Macmillan Co., 1896.
  • Oman, Charles W.C. Castles. London: The Great Western Railway, 1926.
  • Pettifer, Adrian. English Castles: A Guide by Counties. Woodbridge: The Boydell P, 1995.
  • Pevsner, Nikolaus. South and West Somerset. The Buildings of England. Harmondsworth, Midd: Penguin Books, 1976.
  • Pevsner, Nikolaus. North Somerset and Bristol. The Buildings of England. Harmondsworth, Midd: Penguin Books, 1973.
  • 'Proceedings at Meetings of the Royal Architectural Institute.' Architectural Journal 87 (1930): 486–8.
  • Simpson, W. Douglas. Castles in England and Wales. London: B.T. Batsford, 1969.
  • Somerset Fry, Plantagenet. Castles of the British Isles. New York: Dorset P, 1990.