The remains of the medieval Farleigh Hungerford Castle, built by Sir Thomas Hungerford in the 1370’s, lie about 4 miles west of Trowbridge, Wiltshire and is worth a few hours visit.
The castle remained in the Hungerford family for 300 years before passing hands to various owners and is currently owned by English Heritage.
Despite this castle being quite small, I have always found it a captivating place as its history spans a number of significant periods in English history – the War of the Roses, the Tudor period and the English Civil War.
This was once a majestic structure and it also was the centre of some morbidly interesting stories too.
How about Agnes Hungerford who organised 2 of the servants of the castle to strangle her first husband and burn all the evidence in the castle ovens?
The Housewives of Medieval Castles.
Justice did prevail in the end though as in 1523 Agnes and the two servants were hung for murder in London.
A little less gruesome but still disturbing is the story of one of surviving turrets known as the Lady Tower.
This was named after Elizabeth Hungerford who was imprisoned in it by her husband, Walter.
This occurred during the reign of Henry VIII and Walter was a local agent for Thomas Cromwell. There are records of Elizabeth having written letters complaining that Walter had tried to kill her, by systematically starving her and attempting to poison her several times. (The local village actually smuggled food to her while she was in the tower)
Her luck did change as Cromwell ultimately fell from power and by association, Walter was executed for treason in 1540.
The little museum, the chapel and the Hungerford family crypt with its fascinating lead coffins are all worth a visit.
There is a lovely grass banks in the castle grounds to have a picnic 😊
To find out more and to book a visit, have a look at the English Heritage website here
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All images used are personal photographs taken during the visit to Farleigh Hungerford Castle in August 2021.
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