Fenny Castle

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Fenny Castle
Castle Hill, Fenny Castle - geograph.org.uk - 83383.jpg
LocationWookey, Somerset, England
Coordinates51°11′22″N 2°42′19″W / 51.18944°N 2.70528°W / 51.18944; -2.70528Coordinates: 51°11′22″N 2°42′19″W / 51.18944°N 2.70528°W / 51.18944; -2.70528
Builtc. 1140
Official name: Fenny Castle
Reference no.197243[1]
Fenny Castle is located in Somerset
Fenny Castle
Location of Fenny Castle in Somerset

Fenny Castle is the remains of a motte and bailey castle in the parish of Wookey, Somerset, England. It is a Scheduled Ancient Monument.[1]

It is sited on a natural hillock of Lias approximately 20 metres (66 ft) above the surrounding flat land on the edge of the Somerset Levels.[2] Such sites were typically chosen for castles in low-lying areas.[3]

The original builder of the castle is unknown, but it may be associated with the Anarchy, a period of English history during the reign of King Stephen which was marked by a succession crisis between the supporters of Stephen and those of his cousin, the Empress Matilda. In 1327 the owner was William atte Castle.[1] By 1480 it was described as a ruin by William Worcestre who saw the plan of "all the houses and offices there".[4] During the 19th century the quarrymen found twenty skeletons which were reported as dating from an unspecified period before the construction of the castle.[1]

The Castle gave its name to a hamlet of the parish of Wookey named 'Castle', one mile south-west of the main village. A stone cross in the hamlet, marking its importance, was still to be seen in 1839.[5]

Little remains of the stonework, and there is evidence of extensive quarrying. The mound is now covered in grass and scrub with a few trees.[2] However, the site was described in The Archaeology of Somerset (1982) as still having "interesting and prominent earthworks".[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Fenny Castle". Pastscape — National Monument Record. English Heritage. Archived from the original on 25 March 2012. Retrieved 13 May 2011.
  2. ^ a b "Fenny Castle". Somerset Historic Environment Record. South West Heritage Trust. Retrieved 13 May 2011.
  3. ^ O. H. Creighton, Castles and landscapes: power, community and fortification in Medieval England (2002), p. 38: "In low-lying marshy areas a castle was very often raised on a natural eminence, typically a glacial knoll, as at Fenny Castle, Wells (Somerset)..."
  4. ^ Dunning, Robert (1995). Somerset Castles. Tiverton: Somerset Books. p. 58. ISBN 0-86183-278-7.
  5. ^ William Phelps, The History and Antiquities of Somersetshire, part 1, 'The parochial history continued, viz. The city and cathedral of Wells; the hundreds of Wells Forum and Whitstone' (1839), p. 172
  6. ^ Michael Aston, Ian Burrow, The Archaeology of Somerset: a review to 1500 AD (1982), pp. 9-12