Dunster CastleEdit profile
Dunster Castle is the historical home of the Luttrell family located in the small town of Dunster, Somerset, England ( grid reference SS991434). Colonel Sir Walter Luttrell gave Dunster Castle and the greater part of its contents to the National Trust in 1976. It has been designated by English Heritage as a Grade I listed building. During 2009 it received 134,502 visitors. There has been a castle at the top of the hill at Dunster for more than 1,000 years. The Domesday Book records one on this location before 1066. The castle was granted by William the Conqueror to William de Mohun, whose family lived there until the castle was sold in 1376 by Lady Joan de Mohun to Lady Elizabeth Luttrell. Lady Elizabeth's descendants owned Dunster Castle until 1976. The castle dominates a steep hill overlooking the picturesque village of Dunster. The hill has been fortified since Saxon times, although nothing now remains of these early defences. During the early medieval period the sea reached the base of the hill offering a natural defence, and strong walls, towers, ramparts and outworks protected the other sides. By the 15th century the sea had receded and the Luttrells created the deer park. When Sir George Luttrell inherited in 1571, the castle was dilapidated and the family were living elsewhere. In 1617, Sir George employed the architect, William Arnold, to erect a new house in the lower ward of the castle. During the Civil War, Dunster was a Royalist stronghold under the command of Colonel Wyndham. In November 1645 Parliamentary forces started a siege which lasted until an honourable surrender of the castle in April 1646. Dunster shared the fate of many other Royalist castles and had its defences demolished to prevent any further use against Parliament. All that now remains of the medieval fortifications are the impressive gatehouse and the stumps of two towers. The house was modified and developed over the following centuries, and much of the current appearance dates from the 18th century when the park was landscaped and the Green Court, terraced grounds and follies were created. Much of the furniture in the house also dates from this period. Dunster Castle is home to the National Plant Collection of Strawberry Trees. The National Trust have installed solar panels behind the battlements on the roof in order to provide electricity and make the premises more environmentally friendly. This is the first time they have done this on a Grade I listed building, and is expected to save three tonnes of carbon a year.