Historic Dunster

Gateway to Exmoor


Dunster -




The village of Dunster was first settled on the present site around 700AD and was first referenced in the Doomsday Book. At this time the village was called Torre. The centuries have carved out a unique little village which is considered the jewel in the crown of Exmoor National Park.

The Yarn Market in the High Street shows the village's wool trading heritage that held sway of the towns economy for hundreds of years.  Naturally the story and history of Dunster is integrally linked with the history of the castle itself which is now owned and maintained by the National Trust.

Dunster has a long history and given the activities of various Celtic missionaries in the area, there must have been a church here in Saxon times. However, following the Norman Conquest, Dunster was confiscated from its Saxon overlord and given to the De Mohun family, which endowed the foundation of a Benedictine Priory; a daughter cell of Bath Abbey. 

In 1097, the monks began the construction of a priory church, which eventually became the Parish & Priory Church of St George. While some of this early construction work remains, notably in the North wall, West door and two piers at the base of the tower, much of what is seen today is perpendicular overlaying Early English, all overlaid again with Victorian embellishments.

Dunster is incredibly protected to ensure that it maintains its heritage. With over 200 grade 2 listed, 2 grade 1 and 2 grade 1* buildings, Dunster is well preserved

Dunster boasts a number of unique attractions and features.  From the ancient High Street to the old Butter Cross, the castle which towers over the village, the dolls museum and much more besides. Including its own working watermill.

The High Street is almost unchanged from images taken close to two centuries ago. 

Following a dispute between the monks and the town, in 1499 the church was divided into a conventual chapel to the East and a parochial church to the West; an arrangement that persists to this day.

One legacy of that split is the magnificent Rood Screen that spans the church.

Yarn Market, Dunster

The Nunnery, Dunster

Dunster High Street

St George’s Church Dunster

Dunster High Street