More correctly described as a fortified palace, Sherborne was built by Bishop Roger of Salisbury in the 12th century, and during the medieval period was one of the most impressive castles in the west country. In the late 16th century it was acquired by Sir Walter Ralegh (who was, apparently, so taken with the castle at his first sighting of it that he fell off his horse). The castle was finally slighted during the Civil War.

This monograph, by Peter White and the late Alan Cook, who each carried out investigations at the castle on behalf of the Ministry of Works, later English Heritage, also covers the work of Charles Bean between the 1930s and 1950s, never before published. The result is a very readable account of the construction and development of the castle and the plans and aspirations of its owners; Sherborne is a prime example of a building that has reflected the ambitions of men of power over many centuries.


Wessex Archaeology has been pleased to provide project management support to Peter White and Historic England for the final stages of publication, and also several specialist finds reports, one of which (on the extensive pottery assemblage) appears in the published volume, while others will be included in the digital publication, to be deposited with the Archaeology Data Service (ADS) later in 2015.

The monograph is available from Oxbow Books.

By Lorraine Mepham, Senior Post-excavation Manager

Source: Wessex Archaeology