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aerial photograph of Dunster Castle Somerset England UK. Originally built in the 11th century as a Normal Motte & Bailey Castle which itself replaced a previous Anglo-Saxon structure. The castle was rebuilt in stone in the early 12th century and was then besieged, in 1138, by forces loyal to King Stephen during the Anarchy. Empress Matilda's garrison held out against the siege. Further improvements and additions were made in the 15th century although by this time it was starting to become more of a grand house than a military installation. By the 17th century the castle was somewhat dilapidated and was rebuilt as a Jacobean mansion although still incorporating some of the earlier structures.despite no longer being ideal for warfare the castle was fought over during the English civil war. The Castle held off an attack by Royalist forces in 1642 but surrendered to a second attack in 1643. the Parliamentarians retook the castle after a long siege in 1645-6. After the war Parliament ordered almost all castles to be slighted and so in 1650 most of the remaining medieval defensive walls were demolished. At the end of the 19th century the castle was given a Victorian Gothic makeover with various towers and structures added. The castle was donated to the National Trust in 1976 and is open to the public.