Farleigh Hungerford Castle

Farleigh Hungerford Castle - Medieval History - Medieval England - Middle Ages History - Thomas HungerfordFarleigh was the manor house of the family of Montfort. In 1369, Thomas Hungerford purchased it. Thomas was a citizen and merchant from New Sarum, or Salisbury, though he was of high standing as he was steward to John of Gaunt, and for a brief period, he was Speaker of the House of Commons. Thomas obtained knighthood with help from John of Gaunt. Thomas’ father at one time was a baliff in Salisbury, and his uncle was one of the King’s Justices in the Eyre, so Thomas came from an influential background.

In 1383, Thomas received a license to crenellate the manor house of Farleigh, and from that point on, the house was referred to as Farleigh Hungerford instead of Farleigh Montfort.

The remains of the castle reside on the borders of Somerset and Wiltshire. The ruins consist mostly of the inner bailey and the later additions to the outer bailey made by Thomas’ son,  Walter, who was a soldier of King Henry V at Agincourt and at the Siege of Rouen. Walter eventually became a Knight of the Garter and Lord High Treasurer before his death in 1449.

The inner bailey of Farleigh was enclosed by a curtain wall with a cylindrical tower at each corner. A dyke to the north and east of the castle and a ditch to the south and west still show some of the outer protective barriers of the site. At one time, a collection of domestic buildings filled the inner bailey, but now, only two outer towers and some sections of the wall are standing. Remains of two fireplaces near the center of the inner courtyard are also still visible.

Sources:

Farleigh Hungerford Castle, Somerset.  http://www.theheritagetrail.co.uk/castles/farleigh%20hungerford.htm (retrieved April 28, 2010).

Farleigh Hungerford Castle: From Rags to Riches – and Rags Again. http://www.britannia.com/history/somerset/castles/fhungcast.html (retrieved April 28, 2010).

2 thoughts on “Farleigh Hungerford Castle”

  1. Funnily enough I was just reading about Thomas Hungerford this morning in relation to the Good Parliament of 1376 and the Bad Parliament. He was the first official Speaker of the House of Commons at the Parliament of 1377, which reversed a lot of the acts of the Good Parliament. The Good Parliament had been critical of several of the King’s ministers and called for their removal. The first actual speaker had been Peter de la Mare, who had led the criticisms during the Good Parliament. He ended up in prison for his troubles!

    Thomas Hungerford was a crony/retainer of John of Gaunt, the chief representative of Royal Power during Edward III’s declining years.

  2. Thanks for the info, Mark! I always enjoy your contributions. I need to read more details about the English Parliament during the medieval period. Any recommendations?

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