The Domesday Book states that it belonged to Aluric in the time of Edward the Confessor when it was known as Torre, a fortified tower. It then became Dunestorre, later shortened to Dunster; the Dun or Dune signifying a ridge of m ountains stretching towards the coast. After the Norman invasion, Dunster and other properties were granted to William de Mohun. Of the Norman castle no trace remains; the oldest surviving feature is the thirteenth century Gateway to the lower ward. In 1376 L ad y Jo a n de M ohun sold Dunster to Lady Elizabeth Luttrell, to whose descendants it belonged until the present century. In 1617 George Luttrell engaged William Arnold to design a new house in the lower ward o f the Castle.
During the Commonwealth the fortifications were demolished, though fortunately the Jacobean mansion was spared. It was refurbished in the 1680s by Colonel Erancis Luttrell who installed fine plasterwork ceilings and a m agnificent staircase.
The eighteenth century additions were swept away by George Fownes Luttrell and his architect, Anthony Salvin, in 1868 -72. Salvin gave the house its castellated appearance by adding two great towers with turrets and battlements. In the centre
of the park (south) front he added the lofty tower with a draw ing room on the ground floor and three storeys of bedrooms above. He remodelled the entrance (north) fafad e, rebuilding the porch and enlarging the west wing with a new kitchen in its
basement, and a comprehensive range of domestic offices in the low wing extending to the gatew ay. The appearance of the house before these alterations is recorded in
watercolour drawings by J . Buckler, two of which are illustrated in the guidebook. In 1976 the Castle and park were given to The National Trust by Lt.Colonel Walter Luttrell, M .C .
The walk from the stables up to the house is described on pages 29 to 31. The entrance to the house is deemed to face north and the park front, south.
BLUE ANCHOR — CLEEVE ABBEY
In the churchyard is a tall Cross, standing on a lofty Calvary, the whole restored in 1909 after m utilation in Cromwellian times. Close by is the tombstone o f a blacksmith,
whose calling is described in the epitaph (also found in various other parts o f the country).
On the hill above, by the wayside, is the base of another cross, called Cliddon's Cross.
From the road to Blue Anchor from Cleeve may be seen a
little distance away the old sixteenth-century manor-house of
Binham, now a farmhouse, and a little farther is the lodge—a
pretty thatched cottage—of the mansion of Chapel Cleeve. Here
are remains of an ancient chapel connected with the Abbey of
Old Cleeve. Up to the time of Edward IV a chapel stood on the
cliff above Blue Anchor, but it was ruined by a landslip, the
image of the Virgin alone remaining in its place uninjured. In
recognition of this miraculous preservation King Edward granted
a charter for a market or fair, the proceeds of which were to be
used for the maintenance of the new chapel built farther inland.
Some remnants of this later chapel can still be seen in the grounds
of Chapel Cleeve.
is a small hamlet on the edge of the sea, from which it is protected
by a substantial stone wall and promenade. The alabaster rocks
along the shore to the east are worth a visit, and many interesting
fossils are to be found along the beach.
There is good bathing, and excellent facilities for camping are
offered. Sites and furnished huts can be hired.
Open November-February, 9.30 a.m .-4 p.m.; M arch-April, October, 9.30 a.m .-
5.30 p.m.; May-September, 9.30 a.m .-7 p.m. Sundays from 2 p.m. Admission
The Abbey is about a mile south-east from Old Cleeve. W alkers may reach it by
passing Cliddon’s Cross and taking the old paved m onks’ path. From M inehead itcan
be reached by driving along the Bridgwater road to Washford and then turning to the
right, or taking the train to Washford. Free car park.
Cleeve Abbey, “the ecclesiastical gem of the district,” was founded
in 1198 for Cistercian monks by William de Romara, youngest son of
the Earl of Lincoln, and dedicated to “Our Blessed Lady of the Cliff,”
in the ninth year of Richard I, the valley in which it stands being styled
in monkish records “Vallis Florida”, or “the flowery valley”. The