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CASTLE HOUSE

Castle House, Taunton (listed Grade I) - in restoring this building the SBPT revealed one of Taunton's "hidden gems"

Painting of Castle House

THE GROUND FLOOR OF CASTLE HOUSE IS NOW OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.  THE UPPER FLOORS ARE AVAILABLE AS AN HISTORIC HOLIDAY LET FROM THE VIVAT TRUST  (www.vivat-trust.org).

This enormously exciting project, to restore the 15th century Castle House (Grade I Listed), Castle Green, Taunton was superbly project managed by Mike Foden, recently retired Chairman of the SBPT,  This virtually unchanged medieval, building had long been one of Taunton's "hidden treasures" and has now emerged in its true magnificence for all to see.  The SBPT were thrilled when they were approached by the Somerset County Council (who lease Taunton Castle and everything within its curtilage from the owners, the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society) to undertake full restoration of this building.   Our contractors,  Coombes of Ilminster completed their work at the end of July 2013. 

Aerial view of Castle House which forms the right half of of the photograph

 No ghosts have been found yet - but who knows!?

OUR GENEROUS FUNDERS

Heritage Lottery Fund have granted a fantastic £600,000+ and our thanks go to the SW Trustees as well as our Development Officer, Richard Bellamy and Julie Cooper, our Case Worker for their help. 

Viridor Credits Environmental Company awarded us the marvellous seed funding sum of  £390,000 and again our thanks go to the Viridor Credits Trustees, along with the great support given us by General Manager, Lisa Nelson.  

English Heritage have very generously granted us £150,000 to go towards the repair of those parts of the building that are at risk..  Thanks go to Andrew Vine, Chris Miners, Jenny Chesher and Louise Tyson (the latter has now moved on to other things) for all their support.

We are also very grateful to have also received funding from the Garfield Weston Foundation (£50,000), Architectural Heritage Fund (£30,000), Somerset County Council £50,000 an anonymous donation of £10,500 plus personal donations arising from a letter sent by Mike Foden to over 500 people amounting to £10,000.

Castle House from the Courtyard

After the necessary Options Appraisal was carried out on Castle House, funded primarily by the Architectural Heritage Fund, from amongst the suggestions made, the SBPT was in absolute accord over the use that the building  would have once restored.   The Vivat Trust, which leases historic buildings for holiday lets, said they would love to take on the whole building, using the upstairs area for their lettings and with the ground floor being open to all for informal and more formal learning opportunities and activities.  

The ground floor area - the Discovery Centre -  ismanaged by a new Trust - The Castle House Taunton Management Trust (CHT), Chaired by Ray Stokes with a Manager, Chris Sidaway  tel no 01823 337363.   This trust has taken on a sub-lease from the Vivat Trust for the interior of the ground floor. The CHT is now welcoming the public into Castle House from Tuesdays to Saturdays (inclusive) to have a look round and learn about the House's history fwith the help of volunteer stewards.  Lunch time concerts, short theatrical productions about the House's history and that of the surrounding area, play readings for all are but a few of the activities planned.  There will also be a programme of learning activities, with a number for adult learners.  An exciting time lies ahead.    Visitors will also be able to watch embroiderers work on panels depicting the history of Taunton.    Castle House is situated just off Castle Green in the centre of Taunton.

Fine shell canopy over the front door

 

Read more about Castle House in this recently published article in the Conservation and Heritage Journal.