The long history of Dunster Castle

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Norman origins

Early fortifications of Dunster Castle in the 12th century © Stephen Biesty

William de Mohun built Dunster's original Normal fortress on two levels. The upper ward was on the tor and the lower ward was below what's now the green court.

Civil War changes

The rattle of musketry © Nick White

George Luttrell commissioned a new Jacobean house in 1617. Captured by Oliver Cromwell's forces in 1646, the castle's medieval walls were largely destroyed on his orders.

Victorian rebuild

A Victorian workers cabin can be seen in the background © Luttrell Family

George Fownes Luttrell commissioned the great Victorian architect, Anthony Salvin, to remodel Dunster. He added a billiard room, library, conservatory and servants’ quarters.

Did you know?

  • Twenty-one generations of Luttrells and their descendents lived here
  • The Luttrell family owned the castle for 600 years
  • Charles the second spent a night here when he was the Prince of Wales
  • Dunster was besieged by parliamentary forces in 1645
  • Dunster had the first plumbed in bath in Somerset
  • The Luttrell family were staunch royalists

The Victorian household

A carriage at Dunster Castle, Somerset. © National Trust

In 1881 the living-in staff consisted of a butler, a housekeeper, two footmen, a groom, a hall boy, two ladies' maids, a housemaid and six other female servants.

Dunster's hidden history photo album

View Dunster Castles family photos

View Dunster Castles family photos

Want to see the hidden history of Dunster? The people who have lived here and how the place has changed over time?

Paintings at Dunster Castle

Many fascinating portraits hang on the walls of Dunster Castle. Some of the earliest date from the late 1500s and the latest from the early 1900s. If you want to discover more visit BBC Paintings.