19 May, 2012
Dunster And A Reminder Of Carefree Days
While we were away on our break Karin and I visited Dunster in Somerset, a small historical town dating back to around 700 AD. As we approached the town the first thing we saw was the castle as in the photo above.
"Ah," we both thought, "this rings a bell."
It was then we realised that we had visited this place 30+ years ago before we were married. We slept in the car park - in my old VW Beetle car. We didn't have much money at the time so stayed in a few small bed and breakfast places until the cash ran out - and it ran out in Dunster!
The photo below shows where we parked my VW - behind the top hedge to the left of the photo.. In those days the parking was free and we made up a meal on a single burner stove. Happy carefree days!
The town of Dunster is over 500 years old and hasn't changed much. The castle dominates the main street and the buildings are pretty much the same.
It's virtually identical to this etching from 1810 ...
... at the forefront is the Yarn Market built in 1609 for the sale of local broadcloth and homespuns and it's still pretty much as per the etching.
Dunster is jam packed with history from the chocolate box style thatched cottages ...
to the 15th-century Gallox Bridge which was used by pack animals to cross the River Avill.
There's the old nunnery ....
... and the tithe barn where 10% of local farmers crops and stock were stored and passed to the Benedictine Priory. This was from around 1000 AD. In 1535 King Henry VIII wanted to know how rich the churches were and it is shown on record that the net annual income of the Dunster Tithe Barn at that time was £37.4s.8p (£37:23).
Also, of course, is the church - the Priory Church of St George which is predominantly 15th century with evidence of 12th and 13th century work.
After viewing all of this, and much more besides, we'd had enough of history so we lunched in a restaurant and then went on a 5 mile circular forest walk from Dunster to find England's tallest tree - but that'll do for today's post!
Click on photos to see larger size. Photos: © Mike Perry
Other Somerset Posts:
The Lucky Lessons Learnt In Somerset
The Holy Well That Saved a Saints Head