The last meeting of the year for members of the Bridgwater & District Archaeological Society ended on a high note when Chris Webster, the Historic Environment Records Manager for the South West Heritage Trust, gave members a glimpse into the past of Taunton Castle and grounds. This was followed by a time for members to socialise over wine and an extensive buffet.
Mr. Webster said that the area had originally been a burial ground with the establishment of a minster church in around 650AD when Somerset became part of the kingdom of Wessex.
The Normans established the castle which over the centuries has been used for many different purposes. It served as a medieval lodging house for travellers who had communal sleeping in the Great Hall. Robert Blake defended the Castle in the Civil War and it later provided the seat for the Assizes and Quarter Sessions.
It eventually came into the possession of Somerset Archaeological and Historical Society and the next step in the Castle’s long life was to become a museum. This led to the museum’s most recent renovation and today it offers the visitor a wealth of artefacts including the famous Dido and Aeneas mosaic together with exhibitions and activities.