Historic Environment Record images

MSO9432 - Conygar Tower, Dunster

ENPHER Number:MSO9432
Name:Conygar Tower, Dunster
Type of Record:Building
Grid Reference:SS 9917 4410

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record caveat document.


A circular hollow tower built as a folly in the late 18th century to enhance the landscape around Dunster Castle. It was designed by Richard Phelps.

Monument Types

  • FOLLY (AD 18th Century to Modern - 1755 AD to 2050 AD (Unclassified))
  • TOWER (AD 18th Century to Modern - 1755 AD to 2050 AD (Unclassified))

Designated Status

  • Listed Building (II) 1057596: CONYGAR TOWER
  • Conservation Area: Dunster Conservation Area


[SS 9918 4410] Conygar Tower [NAT] [1]

A hollow tower and other artificial ruins were built on Conygar Hill in about 1775. [2]

Conygar Tower is a navigator's aid and prospect tower of two four-windowed storeys [2, 3]

Conygar Tower, Grade II. Erected in 1775. Folly. (For full description see list.) [4]

Built c.1760-70 as part of the 18th century improvements of Dunster Castle. [6]

Conygar Tower lies on the southwest edge of a small hill immediately to the north of Dunster, at SS 9918 4410. The tower is circular, and 7.9 metres in diameter with walls of mortared local stone some 0.8 metres thick. It is hollow, ie there are no internal features, floors or roof. The top of the walls are crenallated. The tower has three sets of arched windows, which decrease in size as the tower ascends. The windows give a panoramic view of the surrounding country and sea. The tower was approached by a ruined gatehouse, some 500m to the northwest (MSO9477). [11]

Conygar Tower was built around 1775. It was designed by Richard Phelps to enhance the landscape around Dunster Castle, which was then owned by H F Luttrell. It cost £76 11s 1/2d to build, £4 2s 6d in scrumpy for the workmen, and an entertainment when it was complete cost £2 5s. [7]

Erected in 1775. Folly. Embattled circular random rubble red sandstone shell. Three storeys, four pointed-arched openings to each floor with two-stage buttresses between. Prominently sited on summit of wooded hill. Important landscape feature overlooking village. [9]

English Heritage Listed Building Number: 264747. First Listed on 22/05/1969. [10]

The tower is included in Dunster's Conservation Area. Its importance as a landscape feature overlooking the village was particularly noteworthy. [12]

The building was visited in April 2012 as part of the rapid condition survey of
Exmoor's Listed Buildings 2012-13. It received a BAR score of 5A. [13]

<1> Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date) , OS 1:10000 1974 (Map). SMO5112.

<2> Externally held archive, Dunster Manor Office, Box iv (Externally held archive reference). SMO5110.

<3> Royal Archaeological Institute, 1844 onwards, The Archaeological Journal, HC Maxwell-Lyte, Volume 37 (1880), 403 (Serial). SMO5332.

<4> edited Sir Hugh Casson, 1963, Follies (Monograph). SMO5758.

<5> Department of the Environment, List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest , DOE (HHR) West Somerset District (Dunster Ph) Somerset 4th August 1983 45 (Index). SMO5109.

<6> Pevsner, N., 1958, The Buildings of England: South and West Somerset, p157 (Monograph). SMO5711.

<7> Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, Field Investigators Comment, Riley H 1998 RCHME Field Investigation (Unpublished document). SMO5111.

<8> Eardley-Wilmot, H., 1981, Worksheet in Devon HER, Binding, H nd Discovering Dunster, a history and guide (Unpublished document). SMO5301.

<9> 4/8/1983, Twenty-fifth List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. District of West Somerset (Somerset) (Index). SSO691.

<10> Webster CJ, Historic Environment Record, 2005, Staff Comments, Somerset County Council (Unassigned). SSO2013.

<11> 1/6/1998, SS94SE Site visit (Map). SSO653.

<12> Fisher, J., 2002, Dunster Conservation Area Character Appraisal (Unpublished document). SEM7910.

<13> Lawrence, G., 2014, Exmoor National Park: Rapid condition survey of listed buildings 2012-13 (Report). SEM8060.

Related records

MSO9412Part of: Dunster Castle (Building)
MSO9477Related to: The Arches, Conygar Wood (Building)

Other References

  • 2012-3 Building At Risk Score (5A): 26/3/115
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO12152
  • Local List Status (Unassessed)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 94 SE38
  • National Park
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 36941
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 33578
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 35019
Date Last Edited:May 27 2014 2:42PM


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