Second castle of our tour. I had heard friends talk about Nunney and the jazz cafe, but no mention of a castle. I didn’t even know there was a castle. Not sure why because the castle is remarkable. The village of Nunney has a population of around the 900 mark, so a reasonably small village. The castle stands proudly in the middle of the old part of the village, surrounded by a moat.
It was built in 1373ish by a local knight named Sir John de la Mere. During the Civil war, the family sided with the King, so when the Royalists lost, Cromwell’s men blew a hole in the castle (1645). The interior of the castle was destroyed, but the battered wall stayed upright until it collapsed in 1910. The walls of this building were built to last.
At first the children were impressed by the size and interested in the reason for the spikes used to deter birds from perching, but then wanted to know if there was more to see. Any rooms filled with artifacts.
I had one of those moments when I realised that I was seeing a vibrant castle and they were seeing just a dusty old ruin. I was seeing a castle filled with people and evolving with time.
To the children, it was one empty room, with no roof, one wall missing and a sign to remind them not to climb on the walls. Time to paint a different picture for them!
We pointed out the holes at each level where the supporting wooden joists would have slotted into the walls. Giving the castle floors. People could have stood and looked out of the windows that were several metres above our heads. Some of the changes made over the years could be seen around the windows, which helped to show that this building had lived and been improved through many centuries. We discussed how the roof may have been. Gradually they saw the castle. They could start to see the people and how they would have lived in the building.
By the end, their imagination had kicked in and they were adding their own stories.
This castle is near us, so I’m sure we will visit again. The village is beautiful in an old-world way and worthy of a wander in its own right.
I have a couple of ideas to bring this castle back to life for the children. One of which, we will start tomorrow. All the preparations are in hand. Its simple, but I know they are going to enjoy it. It will make a visual point. I’ll let you know how it goes.