Place:Farleigh Hungerford, Somerset, England

NameFarleigh Hungerford
TypeParish (ancient), Civil parish
Coordinates51.316°N 2.287°W
Located inSomerset, England
See alsoWellow Hundred, Somerset, Englandhundred in which it was located
Frome Rural, Somerset, Englandrural district in which Farleigh Hungerford situated 1894-1933
Norton St. Philip, Somerset, Englandparish into which it was absorbed in 1933
Mendip, Somerset, Englandnon-metropolitan district covering the area since 1974
Contained Places
Farleigh Hungerford Castle
source: Family History Library Catalog

the text in this section is based on an article in Wikipedia.

Farleigh Hungerford is now a village in the civil parish of Norton St. Philip in Somerset, England, 9 miles southeast of Bath, 3½ miles west of Trowbridge on the A366, in the valley of the River Frome.

Farleigh Hungerford was absorbed into Norton St. Philip in 1933, having previously been a separate civil parish in Frome Rural District.


Historic Descriptions

1831 - A Topographical Dictionary of England by Samuel Lewis

FARLEIGH-HUNGERFORD, a parish in the hundred of WELLOW, county of SOMERSET, 7 miles (S. E.) from Bath, containing 174 inhabitants. The living is a discharged rectory, in the archdeaconry of Wells, and diocese of Bath and Wells, rated in the king's books at £8. 11. 8., and in the patronage of John Houlton, Esq. The church is dedicated to St. Leonard. The river Frome runs through the parish, and the neighbourhood abounds with a species of marble, good for roads, and with the best freestone rock for ornamental buildings in the kingdom. Farleigh castle was erected in 1170, by Sir Thomas Hungerford; only two of the towers are now standing, those at the north-eastern angle having been demolished in 1797 : the chapel contains several ancient momiments to the Hungerfords. Margaret, Countess of Salisbury, daughter of George, Duke of Clarence, the last of the Plantagenets, was born here ; this princess was married to Sir Richard Pole, a kinsman of Henry VII., and was the mother of the celebrated Cardinal Pole ; also of Lord Henry Montague, who being accused of high treason, the Countess was implicated in the charge, and sentenced to be beheaded ; after a violent struggle with the executioner, she suffered death in the 23rd of Henry VIII. A Roman tesselated pavement was discovered in 1685, and more recently a bath and other vestiges of a Roman villa were found, on digging in a field about half a mile north-westward from the castle.

1875 - Somersetshire edited by Edward Robert Kelly

FARLEIGH-HUNGERFORD is a parish and village, 2 miles south from Freshford railway station, 3 (by road, 5 by rail) west from Bradford-on-Avon, and 7 southeast from Bath, in Wellow hundred, Frome union and rural deanery, Bath county court district, Eastern division of the county, Wells archdeaconry, diocese of Bath and Wells, and Canterbury province, situated on the river Frome, which here separates the county from Wiltshire. The church of St. Leonard is an ancient ivy-clad stone building, having a chancel, nave, tower with 4 bells, and south porch: the east window is of stained glass. The register dates from the year 1673. The living is a rectory, tithe-rent charge £119, with residence and 48 acres of glebe land, in the gift of the trustees of the late J. T. Houlton, esq., and held by the Rev. Thomas Pacey Keene, LL.B. , of Christ's College, Cambridge. There is a Parochial school for boys and girls, and a Sunday school. The Baptists have a chapel here, erected 1850. Fryer's charity oi £16 10s. yearly, founded by will, 1821, is for clothing. The remains of Farleigh Castle stand on an eminence, partially surrounded by a deep dell filled with trees; there is an archway with embattled walls, ivy-clad, and on the east side are the remains of the chapel, which in summer is frequented by thousands of holiday makers: under the arch separating the chantry chapel from the nave, is a freestone altar-tomb to Thomas, Lord Hungerford, one of the first speakers of the House of Commons, elected 51 Edwd.III.,o6.1398. Farleigh House, erected by the late J. T. Houlton, esq., is a fine commodious mansion, with lawn and gardens, which stands in a park of some extent: it is in the occupation of Richard Vaughan, esq. The trustees of the late J. T. Houlton, esq., are lords of the manor and principal landowners. The chief crops are wheat, oats, barley and beans. The soil is loamy; the subsoil is grit and freestone. The area is 904 acres; rateable value, £1,690; and the population in 1871 was 146.

1929 - Somerset by George Woosung Wade & Joseph Henry Wade

Farleigh Hungerford, a small village 7 m. S.S.E. of Bath. It is a place of some interest to the antiquarian, and should be visited in conjunction with Hinton Charterhouse from Freshford Station (2 m.). Its attractions consist of a few crumbling fragments of a castle once belonging to the Hungerfords, and the contents of the castle chapel. The ruins stand on the shoulder of a deep defile descending into a wooded bottom called Danes' Ditch. The annals of the castle are long rather than stirring. An old manor house of the Montforts was transformed into a castle by Sir Walter Hungerford (d. 1449), who spent upon the alterations the ransom which he had obtained for the capture of the Duke of Orleans at the Battle of Agincourt. In the Great Rebellion it was, curiously enough, held for the king whilst its owner was commanding the Parliamentary forces in Wilts. To one of the existing towers a grim story is attached. In the unchivalrous days of Henry VIII. a Sir W. Hungerford, who, like his royal master, was a much married man, consigned his third wife to these uninviting quarters, and kept her under lock and key, with a chaplain for her only attendant. The lady, however, not only survived this knightly Bluebeard, but had the courage to contract a second marriage. The general arrangements of the castle are not very obvious to the casual observer. It seems to have consisted of a gatehouse and an outer and inner court. The inner enclosure was flanked by four cylindrical towers, and contained the dwelling-rooms, which overlooked the ravine. On its accessible side the castle was protected by a moat. Nothing now remains but the gatehouse, a few fragments of the enclosing walls, the remains of two towers, and the chapel. Passing under the gatehouse, the visitor will see the chapel and inner court on the R. The Chapel of St Leonard (keys to be obtained at inn above, fee 3d.) is now a museum, and contains a good collection of armour. Amongst other curiosities on show are a "He" Bible, a pair of Cromwell's boots, and one of his letters. A gigantic fresco of St George adorns the E. wall, and beneath the E. window is the original stone altar. The Chapel of St Anne, on the N., is shut off by an iron grille, and contains some fine monuments: (1) in centre, a costly marble cenotaph with effigies of Sir E. Hungerford, the Parliamentarian, and his wife Margaret (1648), (2) within the grille, Sir T. Hungerford and his wife Joan (1398-1412), (3) on N., Sir E. Hungerford and wife (1607), (4) against W. wall, tomb of Mrs Shaa (1613), with panel of kneeling figures. In the S.E. corner of main building is a plain altar-tomb of Sir W. Hungerford and son (1596). The font is said to have been brought from the church. At its foot is a slab with incised figure of a chantry priest of unknown identity. Beneath the side chapel is a vault (to which access can be obtained outside) containing the leaded corpses of several members of the family. The parish church of St Leonard stands on the other side of the road on rising ground overlooking the ruins. It is a small plain Perp. building with square W. tower surmounted by a short pyramidal spire. It is somewhat quaint, but contains nothing of interest except an altar made out of an ancient settle. Over the doorway is a semicircular stone bearing a curious Latin inscription, said to be not later than 1200 A.D. It is supposed to have belonged either to an earlier building or to some dismantled church in the neighbourhood. Below the church is Farleigh House, a picturesque modern mansion.

Research Tips

  • The Somerset Heritage Centre (incorporating what was formerly the Somerset Record Office and the Somerset Local Studies Library) can be found at its new location at Langford Mead in Taunton. It has an online search facility leading to pages of interest, including maps from the First and Second Ordnance Survey (select "Maps and Postcards" from the list at the left, then enter the parish in the search box).
    The Heritage Centre has an email address:
  • Three maps on the A Vision of Britain through Time website illustrate the changes in political boundaries over the period 1830-1945. All have expanding scales and on the second and third this facility is sufficient that individual parishes can be inspected.
  • Somerset Hundreds as drawn in 1832. This map was prepared before The Great Reform Act of that year. Note the polling places and representation of the various parts of the county.
  • Somerset in 1900, an Ordnance Survey map showing rural districts, the boundaries of the larger towns, the smaller civil parishes of the time, and some hamlets and villages in each parish
  • Somerset in 1943, an Ordnance Survey map showing the rural districts after the changes to their structure in the 1930s

Picture Gallery

Farleigh Hungerford Castle
Farleigh Hungerford Castle
St. Leonards Church
St. Leonards Church
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Farleigh Hungerford. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.