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In 1200, King John granted the town a charter which allowed William Brewer to build a castle, to create a borough outside of its walls and to hold a market and fair. Bridgwater Castle was a substantial structure being built in old red sandstone it covered an area of some 8 to 9 acres. A moat of up to 20 metres wide surrounded the castle in what is now Fore Street and Castle Moat, and between Northgate and Chandos Street.
The main entrance was opposite the Cornhill in the area of York Buildings. The complex included a dungeon, chapel, stables, a dovecote, a bell tower and agricultural buildings. A 12ft portion of the castle wall and water gate can be found on West Quay, and remains of what is thought to be a building within the walls of the castle can be seen in Queen Street. During excavations to construct Homecastle House in Chandos Street, foundations of the north east tower were found. The castle being built on the only raised ground in the town, controlled the crossing of the River Parrett. Over the centuries the castle fell into disrepair and certainly by about 1347- 48, parts of the moat had been back filled and built over and some walls had been pulled down. During the Siege of Bridgwater in 1645, the castle was either damaged or destroyed. Later, houses were built and the area subsequently redeveloped.
An engraving by John Chubb shows the seventeenth century mansion house which once occupied the site of the castle keep. These were demolished to permit the development of part of King Square. In the background is Castle Street which was partly built by 1723.
Impression of the Castle Entrance by Mr John Stuckey
Impression of Bridgwater Castle by Mr Michael Stirling
Castle Ruins by John Chubb a local merchant and artist 1746-1818
Bridgwater Castle
A west view of Bridgwater Castle in Somersetshire from the George III collection
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