Castle Cary Siege Work

Has been described as a Certain Siege Work

There are no visible remains

NameCastle Cary Siege Work
Alternative Names
Historic CountrySomerset
Modern AuthoritySomerset
1974 AuthoritySomerset
Civil ParishCastle Cary

A siege castle was built at Castle Cary in 1147 and promptly destroyed. (PastScape ref. King 1983)

The castle {Castle Cary surrendered to Stephen for lack of food in 1138, and Robert of Gloucester levelled a siege-castle being built before it by Henry de Tracy in 1147. (Renn 1973)

Henricus namque de Traceio, vir bellicosus, et in militari exercitio expertissimus, qui et regis partibus parebat, ante castellum, quod Cari dicitur, et aliud firmabat, quo et comitem Glaorniae per hoc facilius arceret, (et) diffusioris provinciae dominium possideret: cum, ecce, ipse comes, talibus, fama intimante, perceptis, cum immenso repente supervenit exercitu, incoeptumque Henrici municipium fundotenus, ipsumque, cum suis inglorium, cedere coegit. (Sewell)

On a hill to the SE of the castle (PRN 53640) is a bank 18-20ft high and 60 yards long with a ditch on the W side. To the E is a second and lower bank 100 yards long turning at right angles at its N end (VCH)

Marked "Earthworks" on OSAD 6" map.

The larger bank described by VCH is a steep but apparently natural scarp along the W edge of the flat platform above the castle. The ditch is a trackway leading to a quarry. The lower bank is artificial - O.8m high and both ends terminate against a modern field wall. Although in a good position for a siege work against the castle, its appearance suggests a modern field bank (OS Arch. Div. 1966). (Somerset HER)

Gatehouse Comments

General this site is said to be lost. There were almost certainly some siege works but possibly not the feature reported in the Somerset HER.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceST644320
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Calculate Print


  • Salter, Mike, 2002, The Castles of Wessex (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 69 (mention)
  • Dunning, Robert, 1995, Somerset Castles (Somerset Books) p. 32
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 445
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 136
  • Bothamley, 1911, in Page, Wm (ed), VCH Somerset Vol. 2 p. 522

Primary Sources

  • Potter, G.R. (ed), 1955, Gesta Stephani (Nelson) p. 44-6, 140
  • Sewell, R.C. (ed), 1846, Gesta Stephani, Regis Anglorum et Ducis Normannorum p. 43, 132 online copy (The newer edition and translation by Potter, K.R. (ed), 1976 (2edn), Gesta Stephani (Oxford University Press) should be consulted for serious study. See also Speight, S., 2000, 'Castle Warfare in the Gesta Stephani' , Ch√Ęteau Gaillard Vol. 19 [see online transcription >])