MSO9429 - Medieval harbour at Dunster (Monument)


First mentioned in 1183, the harbour was likely situated east and northeast of the castle. Silting was a problem by 1307 and Minehead gradually replaced Dunster as a harbour in the 15th Century. It finally went out of use in the 16th or 17th Century.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

A harbour at Dunster is first mentioned in 1183, and again in 1254-8. Silting was a problem by 1307 when freedom to dig slime from the harbour was granted, but a vessel of 57 tons, belonging to Dunster is mentioned in 1375. In the 15th century Minehead was developed as a harbour and gradually replaced Dunster, although in 1565 Dunster Haven was available for small boats to land goods. The harbour probably ceased to be used in the 16th or 17th Century. The present topography of the valley has altered by silting and changes in the course of the River Avill, but it is likely that the port was situated east and northeast of the castle. It possibly moved northwards as silting progressed, and the size of vessels increased, over the centuries. [1] The Somerset HER records another possible harbour site for Dunster at SS 9884 4508. [2]

Sources/Archives (2)

  • <1>XY Monograph: Aston, M and Leech, R. 1977. Historic Towns in Somerset. 45, 46, 48. [Mapped feature: #30759 ]
  • <2> Archive: South West Heritage Trust. 1977-. Somerset Historic Environment Record. PRN16620.



Grid reference SS 993 435 (point)
Map sheet SS94SE

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Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

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External Links (3)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO225
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 94 SE34
  • National Trust HER Record: MNA177217
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 36935

Record last edited

Jan 7 2020 12:02PM


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