Cary Castle

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Cary Castle
Somerset, England
Castle Cary castle remains from Lodge Hill.jpg
Earthworks of Cary Castle
Cary Castle is located in Somerset
Cary Castle
Cary Castle
Coordinates51°05′17″N 2°30′50″W / 51.0880°N 2.5140°W / 51.0880; -2.5140Coordinates: 51°05′17″N 2°30′50″W / 51.0880°N 2.5140°W / 51.0880; -2.5140
Grid referencegrid reference ST641322
TypeMotte and bailey
Site information
ConditionOnly earthworks remain

Cary Castle stood on Lodge Hill overlooking the town of Castle Cary, Somerset, England. It is a Scheduled Ancient Monument.[1]


The motte and bailey castle was built either by Walter of Douai or by his son Robert who also built Bampton Castle in Devon. During The Anarchy Robert was exiled by King Stephen and the castle given to Ralph Lovel who then sided with Robert, 1st Earl of Gloucester against the king. King Stephen abandoned his siege of Bristol in 1138 and besieged Cary Castle with fire and showers of stones from siege engines.[2] This lasted until the garrison surrendered due to hunger.[3]

In 1143 Stephen lost control of the West Country after the Battle of Wilton. Henry de Tracy gained control of Cary Castle and built another stronghold in front of the older castle, however this was demolished when William Fitz Robert, 2nd Earl of Gloucester and his troops arrived to take the castle. The Lovels later achieved the return of the castle, and their descendants were lords of the manor until the 14th century.[2]

By 1468 the castle had been abandoned. Around that time a manor house was built on or adjacent to the site of the castle,[4] possibly by Baron Zouche. It later passed to Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset but by the 1630s it was occupied by Edward Kirton. It was largely demolished at the end of the 18th century.[2]

The site was excavated in 1890 and demonstrated the foundations of a 24-metre square stone keep and an inner and outer bailey.[1][5][6]

Only the earthworks now remain. Some of the stonework of the castle can be seen in the buildings of the town, and a display about its history is available in the Castle Cary and District Museum.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Monument No. 200127". Pastscape National Monuments Record. English Heritage. Retrieved 17 July 2011.
  2. ^ a b c Dunning, Robert (1995). Somerset Castles. Tiverton: Somerset Books. pp. 32–33. ISBN 978-0-86183-278-1.
  3. ^ Meade (1858). Castle Cary. Proceedings of the Somersetshire Archaeological and Natural History Society during the years 1856-7. 7. pp. 82–99.
  4. ^ Richardson, Miranda. "An archaeological assessment of Castle Cary" (PDF). English Heritage Extensive Urban Survey. Somerset County Council. p. 4. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 17 July 2011.
  5. ^ Adkins, Lesley and Roy (1992). A field Guide to Somerset Archeology. Stanbridge: Dovecote press. p. 35. ISBN 0-946159-94-7.
  6. ^ "Castle, Castle Cary". Somerset Historic Environment Record. Somerset County Council. Retrieved 17 July 2011.


  • Fry, Plantagenet Somerset, The David & Charles Book of Castles, David & Charles, 1980. ISBN 0-7153-7976-3