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Historic England Research Records

Farleigh Hungerford Castle

Hob Uid: 207732
Location :
Somerset
Mendip
Norton St. Philip
Grid Ref : ST8010057638
Summary : Farleigh Hungerford Castle is an enclosure castle built between the late 14th century and early 15th century, situated on high ground on the south bank of a bend in the River Frome. The castle includes an inner court and outer court with natural man-made defences surrounding it. The inner court lies at the north west end of the castle and comprises a hall with curtain wall and towers. Much of the keep was divided into living quarters, which included a hall and kitchen, seen now as wall footings and substructures, while the northern corner was devoted to the garden. The north east and north west towers are ruined down to basement level, but the south west and south east towers remain upstanding in part. The curtain wall stands to full height in some places and is ruinous elsewhere. The outer court is formed by a curtain wall which abuts the hall and encloses an area of circa 3000 square metres. In the outer court is a chapel, the Priest's House, and the site of the stables. Both the chapel of St Leonard and the Priest's House are still intact. The chapel, of mid 14th century date, was the parish church which was originally outside the defences whilst the Priest's House is east of the chapel and dates to the early 15th century. Whilst the north and east sides of the castle were naturaly defended by the steep scarp the west and south sides were defended by a moat. From the reign of William II to Edward III Farleigh was held by the Montfort family and their original manor house was on the site of the castle. In 1369-70 the manor was bought by Sir Thomas de Hungerford who fortified the manor house and built the hall in 1380-90. His son, Sir Walter Hungerford, added the outer court in 1420-30 including the moat. The castle was described as in a 'very ruinous' state by 1701. The chapel features an exquiste wall painting of St George, unusually shown standing, circa 1445, one of only four known examples of its type in England. The castle is in the care of English Heritage.
More information : [ST 801 576] FARLEIGH CASTLE [GT] (rems. of) CHAPEL [GT]. (1)

See M.P.B.W. pamphlet. (2)

Skinner a records a first brass [no other details] found in the
Castle garden. (3)

Detailed record of the Chantry Priests' House of 1430, built
within the Castle close to the Chapel on its SE side. (4)

Excavations at the Castle in 1975 and 1976. Minor points about the defences on the SW side cleared up, and the existence of an earlier church under the extant chapel established. (5)

Farleigh Hungerford Castle. Castle. Site of early C14 Manor House for Montfort family, fortified 1370-1380 for Sir Thomas de Hungerford, Barbican added c1420-30 for Sir Walter Hungerford, described as 'very ruinous' by 1701. Coursed rough faced Doulting stone. Displayed foundations of Manor House with Hall and domestic range, rectangular Inner Court enclosed by partly surviving curtain walls on 4-sides with circular tower at each angle. Inner Gate; at middle of south side remains of 2 round fronted towers with paved passage. Defensive ditches on west and south, once spaned by drawbridge to Inner Gate. To the south, the Barbican enclosing the Outer Court and Chapel of St. Leonard (qv) partly surviving curtain walls and south and south-west towers with defensive ditches on all 3 sides. Main entrance by East Gate, once with drawbridge, now a causeway, ditch filled and domestic buildings erected c1610-20, only displayed foundations survive. 2-storey Gate house pointed arch set in square headed recess to receive drawbridge above; holes to receive drawbridge chains and, centrally the sickle badge of the Hungerfords; relieving arch then 2-light stone mullioned window
with dripmould surmounted by family coat of arms of the Hungerfords. West Gate; mostly demolished, north jamb of archway survives. Scheduled Ancient Monument (Somerset County No.4)

Chapel of St. Leonard, perimeter wall and gateway Farleigh Hungerford Castle. Chapel, originally the Parish Church, now monument. Mid C14, with late C14, mid C15, early C16 and mid C19 additions and alterations. Scheduled Ancient Monument (Somerset County No 4).

The Priest House and adjoining range, Farleigh Hungerford Castle. Grade II*. House, then farmhouse, now monument. By 1430, extended northwards C17, restored C19, extensive repairs being completed at time of survey (December 1983). Scheduled Ancient Monument (Somerset County No 4).
(For full description of Castle, Chapel and Priest's House
see list). (6)

Additional reference. (7)

ST 801 576: Farleigh Hungerford Castle. 1369-83 Thomas Hungerford fortified the existing manor house at Farleigh to produce that part of the castle lying on the spur N of St Leonard's Chapel. His son, Walter, added an outer ward. The castle thrived for c.300 years, but by 1701 it was ruinous. Site cleared in 1920's. (see illus card for plan). (8)

Report on excavations at Farleigh Hungerford Castle, 1973-6. (9)

Additional reference. (10)

Scheduled. (11)

Additional references. (12-14)

Listed by Cathcart King. (15)

Remains of wall paintings can been seen in the chapel. The earliest appears to have been commissioned by Sir Walter Hungerford in the fifteenth century, which includes a grey and white brocade pattern and is dominated by a large St George in the south-east corner. Unusually St George is standing, this is one of only four known examples in England. Next to St George is a barely visible portrait of a knight in silver chain mail and armour embellished with gold. Both paintings were painted with rare and expensive pigments and gold and silver leaf.

The later side chapel, called St Anne's, is decorated with a scheme commissioned by Margaret, the wife of Edward Hungerford, in his honour in 1648. Remains of the paintings are visible on the ceiling beams and the east corner of the north wall. Further traces of possible seventeenth century painting have been found in the nave, and in the eighteenth century it seems that the large coat-of-arms of the east wall and possibly the corresponding lozenges on the east and west walls were executed. In the nineteenth century a theatre painter carried out a scheme of architectural motifs. (16)

A report compiles in 2000, details an analysis of the roof structure of Leonard's Chapel at Farleigh Hungerford Castle , including later alterations and repairs. (17)

In 2001 a report was made of behalf of English Heritage, comprising the compilation of reproduced images of the castle dating from at least 1700 to 2000 (mostly predating the 1960s). This includes reproductions of maps, plans, historic photographs and illustrations. (18)

Dendrochronology (tree-ring dating) analysis of timbers from the Roof of St Leonard's Chapel at Farleigh Hungerford Castle , published in 2002, indicates a felling date of AD 1590-1622 for the timber used. (19)

A further tree-ring dating report from 2002 was made on the roof of the Side Chapel also known as St. Anne's Chapel. Here the sampled timber gave a felling date of just after 1609. (20)

An analysis of the construction, alteration and repair of the chapel at Farleigh Hungerford Castle was made in 2003 on behalf of English Heritage. It includes numerous illustrations of architectural details and an overview of the documentary evidence available. There is also a 3 page detailed chronology of the development and restoration of the chapel, including windows, paintings and tombs. (21)

The 2006 Guide to the site by English Heritage includes a "tour" of the salient physical remains, a history of the development of the castle and a History of the Hungerford family's interaction with the site. It is illustrated with photographs, plans and historic images. The phased ground plan of the castle indicates that most of the surviving fabric of the main castle is of the 14th century. (22)

An article published in 2009 examines the anthropoid coffins from the crypt at Farleigh Hungerford Castle. There are eight adult sized coffins and two infants. The depictions on the adult coffins vary in style, with some being clearly female, whilst others are of indeterminate gender and without clear facial features. The article attempts to assign the coffins to known members of the Hungerford family, mainly of the 17th century. (23)






Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" (provisional) 1961
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Source Number : 2
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Ministry of Works. 1957. Guide to Farleigh Hungerford Castle
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Source Number : 9
Source : Excavations at Farleigh Hungerford Castle, Somerset, 1973-6
Source details :
Page(s) : 87-109
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Source Number : 10
Source : North Somerset and Bristol
Source details :
Page(s) : 190-191
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Source Number : 11
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : DOE SAM Record Form 3-NOV-1986
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Source Number : 12
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : RCHME Excavations Index
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Source Number : 13
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : 08-Jul-97
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Source Number : 15
Source : Castellarium anglicanum : an index and bibliography of the castles in England, Wales and the Islands. Volume II : Norfolk-Yorkshire and the islands
Source details :
Page(s) : 443
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Vol(s) : 2
Source Number : 16
Source : Our painted past : wall paintings of English Heritage
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Source Number : 17
Source : St Leonard's Chapel, Farleigh Hungerford Castle, Somerset: preliminary report on roof structure
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Source Number : 18
Source : Farleigh Hungerford Castle, Somerset: visual evidence of the site 1700-2000
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Source Number : 19
Source : Tree-ring analysis of timbers from the roof of St Leonard's Chapel, Farleigh Hungerford Castle, Norton St Phillip, Somerset; report number 55/2002
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Source Number : 3
Source : The Victoria history of the county of Somerset: volume one
Source details :
Page(s) : 362
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Source Number : 20
Source : Tree-ring analysis of timbers from the roof of St Anne's chapel, Farleigh Hungerford Castle, Norton St. Philip, Somerset; report number 68/2002
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Source Number : 21
Source : The chapel at Farleigh Hungerford Castle, Somerset: building and repair, 1363-2003
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Source Number : 22
Source : Farleigh Hungerford Castle [Guide]
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Source Number : 23
Source : English Heritage Historical Review
Source details : Article by Cameron Moffett and Richard Hewlings: 'The Anthropoid Coffins at Farleigh Hungerford Castle, Somerset'
Page(s) : 55-71
Figs. :
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Vol(s) : 4, 2009
Source Number : 3a
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Add Mss 33656 p.239 c.1820 (J. Skinner)
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Source Number : 4
Source : The chantry priests' house at Farleigh Hungerford Castle [Somerset]
Source details :
Page(s) : 165-194
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Source Number : 5
Source : Archaeological excavations
Source details :
Page(s) : 31
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Vol(s) : 26, 1975
Source Number : 6
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : District of Mendip, 16/11/1984
Page(s) : 123-125
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Source Number : 6a
Source : Farleigh Hungerford Castle [guide]
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Source Number : 7
Source : Ancient earthworks and camps of Somerset
Source details :
Page(s) : 134-5
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Source Number : 8
Source : The Archaeological Journal
Source details :
Page(s) : 356
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Vol(s) : 134, 1977

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Early C14
Monument End Date : 1332
Monument Start Date : 1301
Monument Type : Manor House
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Mid C14
Monument End Date : 1366
Monument Start Date : 1333
Monument Type : Chapel
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : 1380-1390
Monument End Date : 1390
Monument Start Date : 1380
Monument Type : Castle, Curtain Wall, Interval Tower
Evidence : Ruined Building, Structure
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Early C15
Monument End Date : 1432
Monument Start Date : 1400
Monument Type : Priests House
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : 1420-1430
Monument End Date : 1430
Monument Start Date : 1420
Monument Type : Moat, Curtain Wall, Chapel, Barbican, Wall Painting
Evidence : Earthwork, Structure, Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : c1445
Monument End Date : 1445
Monument Start Date : 1445
Monument Type : Wall Painting, Chapel
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : 18th century
Monument End Date : 1799
Monument Start Date : 1700
Monument Type : Wall Painting
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : 19th century
Monument End Date : 1899
Monument Start Date : 1800
Monument Type : Wall Painting
Evidence : Extant Building

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Guardianship Number
External Cross Reference Number : 235
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 267186
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : BB001447
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Somerset)
External Cross Reference Number : 2/37/05
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Unified Designation System UID
External Cross Reference Number : 1015871
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : AA008836
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : SO 4
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Somerset)
External Cross Reference Number : 23881
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 28840
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 267187
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 267188
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : NBR Index Number
External Cross Reference Number : 106651
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : EH Property Number
External Cross Reference Number : 257
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Unified Designation System UID
External Cross Reference Number : 1345336
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Unified Designation System UID
External Cross Reference Number : 1058118
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Unified Designation System UID
External Cross Reference Number : 1058117
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : ST 85 NW 1
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, FARLEIGH HUNGERFORD CASTLE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1962-01-01
End Date : 1968-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FARLEIGH HUNGERFORD CASTLE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1973-01-01
End Date : 1976-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FARLEIGH HUNGERFORD CASTLE
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1994-01-01
End Date : 1994-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, INVESTIGATION BY RCHME/EH ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY
Activity type : ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY
Start Date : 1995-11-14
End Date : 1995-11-14
Associated Activities : Primary, ST LEONARD'S CHAPEL, FARLEIGH HUNGERFORD CASTLE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1997-01-01
End Date : 1997-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FARLEIGH HUNGERFORD CASTLE (WALL PAINTINGS)
Activity type : MANAGEMENT SURVEY
Start Date : 1997-01-01
End Date : 1997-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FARLEIGH HUNGERFORD CASTLE (DRIVEWAY)
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1998-01-01
End Date : 1998-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FARLEIGH HUNGERFORD CASTLE
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1999-01-01
End Date : 1999-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FARLEIGH HUNGERFORD CASTLE
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2001-01-01
End Date : 2001-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FARLEIGH HUNGERFORD CASTLE: ST. ANNE'S CHAPEL
Activity type : ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY
Start Date : 2002-01-01
End Date : 2002-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FARLEIGH HUNGERFORD CASTLE: ST. LEONARD'S CHAPEL
Activity type : ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY
Start Date : 2002-01-01
End Date : 2002-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FARLEIGH HUNGERFORD CASTLE
Activity type : ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY
Start Date : 2004-01-01
End Date : 2004-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FARLEIGH HUNGERFORD CASTLE
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2005-01-01
End Date : 2005-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FARLEIGH HUNGERFORD CASTLE
Activity type : DESK BASED ASSESSMENT
Start Date : 2005-01-01
End Date : 2005-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FARLEIGH HUNGERFORD CASTLE: OUTER BAILEY
Activity type : ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY
Start Date : 2006-01-01
End Date : 2006-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FARLEIGH HUNGERFORD CASTLE
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2006-01-01
End Date : 2006-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FARLEIGH HUNGERFORD CASTLE
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2009-01-01
End Date : 2009-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FARLEIGH HUNGERFORD CASTLE
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2016-01-01
End Date : 2016-12-31