PRESS RELEASE: SANHS Castle Garden Project


2 October 2020

Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society

Opening up the Castle Garden

The Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society has received a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of £59,000 towards the repair and restoration of the Castle Gardens adjacent to the Museum of Somerset in Taunton.

Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players and other generous funders including Historic England, the project will repair the ancient curtain wall, re-lay paths and steps, make improvements to disabled access and create a visual link with Taunton Castle.

Work is underway to clear the overgrowth of vegetation and building contractors will be on site during the next few months to undertake the repairs.  The work is revealing the beauty and history of the site, enabling the discovery of features that have been hidden in the undergrowth for decades.

The South West Heritage Trust is supporting this project by developing learning opportunities for local schools. They are also designing information panels highlighting the history and importance of this Ancient Scheduled Monument.

A castle was first recorded in Taunton in 1138 when Bishop Henry of Blois, half-brother of King Stephen, was fortifying sites throughout his estates in southern England. An impressive tower like building was created here together with other structures which partly survive as the Museum of Somerset.

Chris Jessop, Chair of the Society, said:

“We are thrilled to have received this support from the National Lottery players. Once complete the garden will provide a wonderful space for the community and a peaceful haven in the centre of Taunton”.

Stuart McLeod, Director London & South at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:

“We’re delighted to support The Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society with their project. Thanks to National Lottery players the local community will be able to engage with the important history of the Castle Gardens once more and enjoy the benefits of this outdoor space.”


For further information please contact Chris Jessop.

Notes to editors

About The National Lottery Heritage Fund 

Using money raised by the National Lottery, we Inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future.  

Follow @HeritageFundUK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund   

  1. The Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society

The Society promotes the study of archaeology, natural history, local history and historic buildings relating to the historic County of Somerset and is an important point of contact for anyone with an interest in understanding and protecting the heritage of Somerset.  It is the owner of Taunton Castle and the adjoining garden and owns remarkable collections of museum objects and archives.  The Society works closely with the South West Heritage Trust, Somerset County Council and other partners to make these resources available to the public.

  1. The South West Heritage Trust

The South West Heritage Trust is an independent charity committed to protecting and celebrating Somerset and Devon’s rich heritage. As well as the widely-praised Museum of Somerset and the Somerset Rural Life Museum, in Glastonbury, the Trust manages state-of-the-art facilities in Taunton and Exeter to care for the extraordinary archive collections of the two counties. The Trust also provides essential advice about the historic environment and manages historic sites. Individuals and businesses are invited to support the charity through its Supporters’ scheme. Visit