near Westwood, Somerset, England
The castle is located in the village of Farleigh Hungerford, 9 miles from the city of Bath on the Wiltshire Somerset border.
Today’s castle is surrounded by a dry moat and sections of curtain wall with two of the original four towers; the south west tower still standing at it’s near original height of five floors and the tower to the south east only three floors.
Visitors can also see the foundations of the manor house with an inner gate, and a chapel with original 15th century wall paintings. Across the road from the castle; although once within the castle’s outer walls is the parish church of St. Leonard.
Tales of the castle’s past and family history are told on a free audio tour and interpretation panels. Visitors can also take part in guided tours (subject to minimum and maximum numbers) outlining the castle’s troubled past and the unfortunate lives of some of its occupants. The tours also unlock hidden treasures, rare wall paintings and death masks.
The castle is open daily between April and October from 10am and between November and March at weekends only, a shop and refreshments are also available on the site.
Farleigh Hungerford Castle is also know as Farleigh Castle or Farley Castle. The original building on the site was called Farley Montfort Manor House, overlooking the River Froome it was built in the 14th century for the for the Montfort family. They sold the castle to Sir Thomas Hungerford after the Norman Conquest and its name changed to Farley Hungerford.
The four towers; reaching over sixty feet tall, were crenellated and the house fortified by Hungerford in the 1370’s, he also added a moat with drawbridge, high walls and two gatehouses. In 1420 a barbican and a polygonal court were also added, as well as an outer court enclosing the parish church by his son Sir Walter Hungerford.
The castle was then gifted and handed down and eventually ended up back in the hands of another Walter Hungerford, grandson of Robert. Walter committed treason against Henry VII which resulted in his execution and the castle once again came into the hands of the monarchy who sold it in 1544 to Walter’s son Edward.
After this time the castle had many different owners and it suffered greatly at their hands. The majority of the wood paneling, beams and stone were removed to build other properties. What remained of the castle was finally purchased by Earl Cairns who donated it to English Heritage who now manage the site.
Other Castles in the Area
Cary Castle, Somerset
Nunney Castle, Somerset