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When is a castle not a castle?

In the case of Dunster Castle the answer is: when it's a Victorian stately home.

The substantial motte on which the original shell keep used to sit still dominates the gardens and the surrounding countryside, and the Luttrell's late medieval gatehouse survives.

The main house, however, is largely the result of an ambitious building programme undertaken by George Fownes Luttrell and his architect Anthony Salvin in 1868. This incorporates an earlier Jacobean mansion of 1617.

For information on opening times, ticket prices, etc. please visit the National Trust's official website.

The original Norman motte and bailey castle was built in the 11th and 12th centuries by the de Mohun family (who came over with William the Conqueror).

In 1376 the de Mohuns sold the castle to the Luttrell family, who were responsible for most of what we see at Dunster today.

In 1976 Walter Luttrell gave Dunster Castle to the National Trust, and these days the interior largely reflects the house as it was in its Edwardian heyday.

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The Mill

In the grounds of the castle, and included in the entry price, is Dunster Mill. It is unusual as it has two waterwheels, both overshot, one behind the other.

Although there was a mill on this site recorded in the Domesday Book, the present building dates from around 1780. The mill closed in 1962 but was restored to working order in 1979. The upper wheel and associated machinery were repaired in 2007 and the lower wheel was replaced in 2015.

It currently produces around 10 tonnes of flour each year, which is for sale in the mill and the Dunster Castle shop.

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