The Civil War of the seventeenth century undoubtedly provided Nunney with its most dramatic episode. Although the quarrel between King and Parliament inevitably had its political and economic effect on all the land, it was nevertheless a remote happening to most villages and hamlets of England. Not so to Nunney: the depth and seriousness of the conflict was made very real to the village when in 1645 Fairfax and Cromwell despatched two regiments to Nunney with orders to subdue the castle and capture the huge store of ammunition mistakenly reputed to be stored there.
The castle was held for the King by Colonel Prater, and the popular legend relates how, hoping to deceive the besiegers into believing that they had an ample supply of fresh pork, the garrison carried up daily into one of the towers a young pig, the ears and tail of which they pulled until the squeals of the tormented animal could be heard by the enemy encamped without. But a deserter revealed their ruse to Cromwell’s earnest besiegers, and at the same time indicated the point where the Roundhead cannon should most effectively be directed.
In no time a breach was effected, and Colonel Prater, after a brief parley, not only agreed to surrender, but in an attempt to preserve his property offered to change his allegiance. This act of treachery availed him little. Parliament voted that the castle should be ‘slighted’, thus being rendered ineffective for iy further military purpose. The interior was destroyed, the roof stripped, and the remainder of the Colonel’s property was declared forfeit to the Commonwealth. A cannon ball in the church recalls those troubled times, and musket balls are still found on Nunney Slate and elsewhere.
The silent towers remained, a crumbling monument for future generations to contemplate and marvel at.

The castle stands, an empty shell,
Si monumentum. .stranger, look:
These stones regard, and ponder well
The slighted walls by Nunney brook.

In the Beginning Page1 Page2
The Last Invasion Page3 Page4 Page5 Page6 Page7 Page8 Page9