A-Z Challenge 2012 - T
Back in Anglo-Saxon times, c 710 AD, King Ine of Wessex “timbered him a burgh” at Taunton in what is now the south west county of Somerset. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle related that Ethelburga, his consort, destroyed it 12 years later when recapturing it from rebels.
A minster and a manor house built by the Bishops of Wessex were later to occupy the site before the minster became an Augustinian Priory in c 1120. Henry de Blois transformed the manor house into a mighty castle in 1138 during the Civil War in the reign of King Stephen.
|Walls of Taunton Castle - 2009|
In the first half of the 12th century Taunton was a typical Norman keep, 50 feet by 40, with three stories and 13 feet thick walls. Now it is more Edwardian than Norman in appearance.
The outer ward of the castle has been invaded by two hotels, but the great gate-house opening into this enclosure dates from the time of Edward I (1272-1307. The inner ward is ‘triangular in shape with the Great Hall on the north side.
The rebellion was led by James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth, the illegitimate son of Charles II and his mistress Lucy Walter. After the death of his father in 1685 Monmouth tried to win the throne from his uncle James II. Having captured Taunton his followers took up residence in the Castle where he was proclaimed King. His supporters celebrated at the castle with wine and dancing. Their high spirits were to be short lived.
In the early morning of 6 July 1685, Monmouth’s army was crushed at the Battle of Sedgemoor. ON 15 July James Scott was beheaded in London. The King sent the infamous Hanging Judge Jeffries west to dole out savage retribution.
|Excalibur and Taunton Castle Gate - 2009|
The museum, now occupying the Great Hall is said to echo to the marching feet of soldiers bringing prisoners to trial. A man in period dress and wig, carrying a sword and pistol has been seen. In addition to poltergeist activity the ghost of a fair-haired woman in 17th century costume also appears in the castle.
Hilary Melton-Butcher’s chose ‘my castle’ in Kent on Saturday - Scotney Castle
· Walls of Taunton Castle 2009; by Ken Grainger; Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License.
· Excalibur and Taunton Castle Gate 2009; by Ken Grainger; Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License.
· Images from Geograph project collection