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Somerset Historic Environment Record


Site Name: Alleged Somerton Castle, Somerton
Civil Parish: Somerton
PRN 22526Watching brief (2006), former Magistrates Court, West Street, Somerton
Grid Ref: ST 4907 2844 (ST 42 NE)
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Public access:

The public accessibility of this site is unknown or has not been checked. Please ask locally and do not visit without permission. [Information last updated on 21 May 2003]


Somerton Castle has now disappeared. Late in the 16th century a portion of the surrounding walls was standing together with a round bastion tower. The materials were used to construct a goal on its site somewhere in close proximity to the present White Hart Inn (PRN 51655). According to the 1952 listed buildings provisional list, remains of the castle wall are said to be incorporated in the structure of the White Hart Inn. Externally there are no remains of the castle walls in either the White Hart Inn or the adjoining buildings. {1}

"There is a tradition that the castle's dungeons once imprisoned French Royalty and remain under the Market Square" {3}

The presence of very thick walls and other masonry in outbuildings behind the inn has often been quoted in support of a tradition that a castle once stood here. This tradition dates from the late C18 and evidently arose from a confusion with Somerton in Lincolnshire, which does have a castle. The name was also applied to a larger house which stood further east until 1842 and it may have been the outbuildings of this substantial building that formed the 'castle' ruins. They included what appeared to be several incomplete stone buildings, one containing a small round headed doorway, described as 'anglo-norman' and tow very small pointed windows high up. {4}


1 Detailed records - Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division record card. Record ID: ST 42 NE 22 (1966) Location: HER files.
2 Description - Barnett, CRB. Somersetshire Highways, Byways and Waterways..  (1894), 20.
3 Guide book - Hayter, THO. The Parish Church of St Michael and All Angels, Somerton.  (1956)
4 Description - Dunning, RW. Somerton. In Dunning, RW (ed). Victoria History of the County of Somerset. 3 (1974) at 129-53 (specifically 132).

Record created on 17 September 2002

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