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Farleigh Hungerford Castle

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Introduction

Farleigh Hungerford Castle On the banks of the river Frome are the extensive remains of Farleigh Hungerford Castle, once a tall grand emblem of history but now barely more than a few remains of the curtain wall and gatehouse. When built, the Castle was built to impress, to awe visitors with immense power and strength, built to look old as if the money was of old origins; the castle was built for show. Originally, since approximately 907AD, there was a manor house where Farleigh Castle stands. However in 1369 Thomas Hungerford purchased the manor house and fortified it without a royal licence, but in 1383 received a pardon for doing so. Thomas fortified the castle because it was fashionable to do so at the end of the fourteenth century; he did this by adding the inner court, which consisted of four cylinder towers and a curtain wall. There are no visual remains left of the manor house as you walk through the castle but there is a well which is likely to date back to the time of the manor house as a well would have been needed. Therefore this would indicate that the manor house was situated in the middle of the inner court. The inner court was built in 1370-1380 and parts still remain. ...read more.

Middle

The Outer Court consisted of the East and West gates, the curtain wall and the south tower. The outer court has a ditch on all three sides for defence, which were then filled with water from the dam that Walter also added. Walter extended the Outer Court to include the Chapel of St. Leonard, which then became the castle chapel. The Barbican was also added in 1420-30 but if you look for it in the castle now only foundations are visible and jutting out stones, which would have been needed for support. As Leland's script says, "In this outer court is an ancient chapel with a new chapel annexed into it." This is true as the Chapel of St. Annes and the chapel of St. Leonard's were joined together. The Gatehouse bears, above its arch, the family coat of arms, which has c1520 carved into it by Sir Edward Hungerford. The gatehouse was two storeys high. The top level was a guardhouse. There is a doorway that leads out presumably onto what was once the wall walk. There used to be a drawbridge, you can tell this by the square in the wall which the drawbridge used to fit into when it was up. Also there are two drawbridge holes for which the chains would have been pulled up by. ...read more.

Conclusion

Nowadays changes are still being made to the castle. The English Heritage is beginning the repairs to the roof of the Chapel of St. Leonard. It has been about 1094 years since the manor house was built and changes are still being made. The castle was never built to defend. As I looked around the castle I found arrow slits that were blocked up on prime targets of the castle, there are no battlements to fire from and it is built halfway down a hill. The window, which is very large, on the second floor of the lady tower is looking out of the castle and could have easily been the main point for an attack also the windows in the Southeast tower are large. They were enlarged in the 18th century which meant even as time went on Farleigh was still for decoration. The castle was a way of showing off how much money Thomas had. You can tell he was rich because from 1339 onwards there were frequent outbreaks of the plague so to build quickly in a short space of time would mean that he must have had enough money to recruit workers. Farleigh Hungerford Castle was just an elaborate living space. List of Sources 1610-20 John Aubrey The English Heritage Guide book 1733 Samuel and Nathaniel Buck 1746 Wigstead Leland's script 1645 picture used by Rev Jackson ...read more.

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