As a non-commercial Community web site we rely totally on people in the community to send us information and photos that will add to other people's knowledge of Exmoor and its surrounding area. Many thanks to the thousands of people who have contributed information so far to Everything Exmoor. Do you know the history of a particular place or have a story to tell about a local character? If so please send it along.

Add a FREE business listing - Send us photos and text for the site - Suggest new pages
Add events to the Exmoor Calendar - Add an Exmoor related Online Shop

Business Section


Submit Listing
Compare Memberships
Login Now
Advanced Search
Contact Us
Improve your listing
Online Exmoor Shops


   Art and Antiques
   Arts and Crafts
   Beauty and Hair
   Building and Construction
   Business Services
   Care Providers
   Charities and Voluntary Groups
   Clothing & Accessories
   Clubs and Societies
   Computing and internet
   Festivals and Events
   Financial and Legal
   Food and Drink
   Health and Beauty
   Home Services
   Horse Riding
   Information Websites
   Insurance and Security
   Local and Community
   Manufacturing and Engineering
   Media and Communication
   Personal Development
   Personal Services
   Portal websites
   Property and Accommodation
   Public and Social Services
   Solar and Wind Energy
   Sport and Leisure
   Towns and Villages
   Transport and Vehicles
   Travel & Tourism
   Village websites
   Wood Fuel Heating

Login Now


Password Reminder

Jubilee Guest House

Above is a randomly chosen banner to support an Exmoor Business

Recent Listings

, Barnstaple, Devon

Filming and production of DVDs and video

Home Place Farmhouse Spa
, Combe Martin, Devon

Weekend Spa Breaks on Exmoor

Pet Owners Association
, Nynehead, Somerset

The online community for Pet owners and it's

Equipoise Yoga
, Bampton, Devon

Classes for the beginners and the advanced

Royal Huntsman
, Williton, Somerset

Quality bed and breakfast

Robbers Bridge
Robbers Bridge

Steep Holme View

Above is a randomly chosen banner to support an Exmoor Business

Search for:    


Taunton Castle Somerset

Add your information to this page

Taunton Castle was a stronghold and administrative centre of the Bishops of Winchester.

Built in the early 12th century beside the River Tow and near the Saxon minister church, it included a large keep for soldiers' quarters and occasionally for prisoners. Beside it stood a hall and a chamber over a vaulted undercroft. The base of the keep survives in The Castle Hotel garden.

Taunton Castle Gate

Taunton Castle Gate

In the 1240's Bishop William Raleigh improved the hall and built a new chamber and a chapel, which still survive. There were also kitchens and other offices, and a gateway (altered by Bishop Langton in 1496) which housed the treasury and exchequer. Together these buildings, surrounded by a moat, formed the inner ward.

To the south was a moated outer ward, entered by gates from east and west (Castle Bow). The Castle Bow also included quarters for the Constubte. In the outer ward stood St Peter's Chapel, lodgings and farm buildings. The last Medieval addition was the school house, built by Bishop Fox in 1521-2.

During the Civil War the castle, then recently fortified, was defended by Robert Blake for Parliament, but the keep was probably distmantled soon after the Restoration. The great hall was used for Assizes, and rebels were tried here by Judge Jefferys after Monmouth's Rebellion in 1685. Much of the building was restored in the 1780's by Sir Benjamin Hammet. In 1874 the castle was bought by the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society to prevent its demolition, and the building now houses the Society, the County Museum, and the County Local History Library.

Taunton Castle

Taunton Castle

• Taunton Castle is Grade 1 listed and a Scheduled Ancient Monument.
• Parts of the building date from the 12th Century.
• For hundreds of years, it was the administrative centre of the great manor of Taunton Deane, owned by the Bishop of Winchester.
• It was the setting in 1685 for Judge Jeffreys' Bloody Assizes following the defeat of the Duke of Monmouth's Army at the Battle of Sedgemoor. Over 500 of the Duke's soldiers went on trial in the Great Hall for rebelling against the King, with 144 sentenced to be hanged and their remains displayed around the county.
• The castle was purchased in 1874 by Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society.
• It was placed in the care of Somerset County Council in 1958 on a 49-year lease, which is about to be renewed.

Taunton Castle, with 13ft thick walls and two 15ft deep moats, was a stronghold of the Bishop of Winchester from the 12th Century. The outer moat partly followed the line of Corporation Street, and an inner moat surrounded the castle. Gatehouses with drawbridges controlled access and two of the gates, including Castle Bow, still survive.

In 1216, Bishop Peter des Roches, a supporter of King John, defended the castle during a barons' revolt. In 1451, during the Wars of the Roses, the Earl of Devon laid siege to the castle. Some people claim the Wars of the Roses ended at Taunton Castle. It was there in 1497 that Henry VII received the defeated Perkin Warbeck, the last man to seriously threaten Henry's claim to the throne.

Taunton became a centre of resistance to Charles I during the Civil War and was besieged three times with the fiercest fighting in 1645. The town and castle were bombarded by the King's army, but Taunton, under Robert Blake, triumphed and for generations celebrated May 11 as 'the day the Cavaliers ran away'.

The castle also served as a prison and a courthouse.

The castle is famous for the Bloody Assizes when Judge Jeffreys tried and condemned hundreds of Monmouth's rebels.

Sir Benjamin Hammet MP restored the castle in the 1780s when the inner moat was converted to gardens and lawns.

Taunton, the County Town of Somerset, has had a Castle since quite early after the Norman Conquest.  Henry de Blois, Bishop of Winchester, fortified the original manor around 1135. He built many fortified manors throughout the Bishopric during the Anarchy, although none seem to have seen much action at the time.

Indeed, Taunton Castle seems to have remained a fairly peaceful place right up until the arrival of the Civil War; by which time it was quite a large and strong Castle not unlike Tiverton Castle in Devon.

The Civil War arrived 'big time' in Taunton and the Castle suffered three sieges.  Taunton was one of the most staunch Parliamentarian towns. After the Restoration Charles II ordered it to be destroyed, and unfortunately a great deal of destruction did go on.

The main courtyard was later rebuilt and refashioned as we see it today; and it was in this rebuild that the notorious Judge Jeffries sentenced 508 rebels to death after the Battle of Sedgemoor in 1685.

Today the Castle houses the Somerset Museum, and has been greatly reduced in its impact by the loss of the keep and outer gatehouse and the addition of large windows in the the curtain walls and towers.

Taunton Castle

Taunton Castle

See also:

Taunton Park and Ride

Contributed by:

Add your information to this Everything Exmoor page now

Community Section

Number of people currently online at Everything Exmoor - 61
Maximum number of people simultaneously viewing Everything Exmoor recently - 81

Full list of Everything Exmoor Pages SEE FULL
Currently over 1200 pages of information - you can add more..

Exmoor Calendar of Events

Events on Exmoor

Blaze - lost Collie dog
Blaze - lost Collie dog

HELP ME to find information on this web site
Contact us
Add to Favourites
Refer a friend
Project Background
Public Notices

Local Weather
Read the National Park Exmoor Visitor Newspaper

West Somerset Rural Life Museum
Above is a randomly chosen banner to support an Exmoor Business

Dunster Yarn Market , Exmoor National Park
Dunster Yarn Market , Exmoor
National Park

Buzzard , Exmoor National Park
Buzzard , Exmoor National Park

Featured Listings

Anna Mazek Art
, Exeter, Devon

Beautiful original works of art

Exmoor Hog Roast
, Exford, Somerset

Locally produced top quality outside catering

Ben Horrobin Artist & Blacksmith
, Roadwater, Somerset

Westermill farm
, Exford, Somerset

Langaton Alpacas and The Alpaca Training Centre
, South Molton, Devon

Featured Products

Cranberry Vase
Lovley round vases 3", 4" and 5" diameter -hand made in Porlock Weir
Electrical Installations
From Design to installation of new and additional electrical circuits.

Cranberry Minitures
Cranberry minitures glassware perfect collectibles

© 2006-2008 Everything Exmoor All Rights Reserved for the site structure.

All text, content, photos, diagrams, logos and trademarks in this site are property of their respective owners who are a mix of individual contributors from the community, organisations and businesses.

Disclaimer | Privacy | Terms of Use | Business Directory Site Map | Community Pages Site Map

As a condition of using this web site you note that Everything Exmoor and those creating the web site try to ensure that the information supplied and published on Everything Exmoor is accurate. However, we cannot accept any liability for the accuracy of content and no responsibility can be accepted by anyone connected with Everything Exmoor for any consequential loss or damage arising from its use. Visitors who rely on the information on Everything Exmoor do so at their own risk. Prior to using this web site you must read and agree to the following three documents Disclaimer, Privacy and Terms of Use

This site is continually being updated - last major update 07th April 2008

We would very much appreciate it if you you place a link to this web site from your own web pages