...in Nunney
After the Plague, the Pestilence,
The castle is born,
Rising out of the stream
Under the hill

The century that endured the great pestilence known as the Black Death, which carried away at least a third of the population of England, saw also the building of the most conspicuous and memorable edifice in the village - the castle. Few English villages can boast a castle, particularly one of such unusual design. It stands 'brooding in a kind of magnificent delapidation' according to A.W.Coysh, 'giving the authentic medieval air to the little village which clusters around it. It is a surprising structure in both location and design, but it has to be realised that it's purpose was not military or strategic, but merely residential. It is modeled, of course, on the French castles Sir John Delamere has observed while campaigning in France.
Begun in 1373, it stands in magestic permanence, a monument to the durability of the local stone, worn on one side by 'wind and wet and weather from the west' damaged on the north side by the destructive hands of vindictive man.
The castle was held and occupied by the Delameres untilthe manor passed into the hands of the Paulets through the marriage of Eleanor Delamere to Willaim Paulet, whose grandson became the Marquis of Wincheseter. This same Lord St.John Marquis of Wincheseter, was given by Queen Elizabeth in 1560 grant of 'all that house of mansion of the Chantry of Nunney with the appurtenances situate within the castle of Nunney also those our two tenements and cottages and one vergate of land and three acres of meadow being at Truttoxhill'. We are told by Micheal McGarvie that Winchester's long life of 88 years 'embraced the close of the Plantagenet dynasty and the twilight of the Tudor age'.
The manor then passed into the hands of the Prater family, who held it until Restoration times.
In 1586 Nunney figured in the Star Chamber proceedings in case brought against Margret Prater, widow, by Richard Mawdley, gentleman, who 'dare not travel abroad nor goe about their ordynary busyness for fear of the continual dainger of mischief conspired against them by Margret Prater and George Prater and their confederates'.
The Praters were charged with plucking down a hedge belonging to Richard Mawdley, and assaulting him.'Your subject travelling about his necessarie affayres and bysness in the highwayes of Nonney, accompanied only by a little ladd named John Haywood, neither of them having any weapons, Humfrey and Richard, brothers of Goerge Prater, with others unknown, arrayed with swords, bucklers and daggers, upon your subject and his said ladd did riotously and forcibly make an assult, and did then beate, wounde and evile intreat and put them in feare of their lives.' Further charges were made in which George Prater is said to have resisted the constable sent by Sir John Horner whose ancestor had 'pulled out the plum' - the deeds of the manor of Mells nearby.

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