With a documented history stretching back a thousand years, Dunster Castle in Somerset is one of Britain’s oldest and most intriguing great buildings, its turrets evoking centuries of warfare, dark deeds, bloodshed and treachery. What makes it particularly unusual is the prominent role women have played in its fortunes, from the indomitable Joan de Mohun in the 14th century, who promised as much land to the villagers as she could walk around barefoot in a day, to Lady Jane Luttrell, who saw off a Royalist attack during the English Civil War by personally commanding the cannons. Jim Lee worked for many years at the castle and knows more about it than just about anyone. Here he presents an entertaining history of the roles, from the heroic to the self-indulgent, its women have played over the centuries.
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