Meeting Bev Woodger – 17th February 1996, 3pm

Notes from my meeting with Bev Woodger in the Luttrell Arms Hotel, Dunster, 17th February 1996, 3pm

Mr Woodger was a teacher for 40 years, he is now retired and researches the local area of Minehead and Dunster. He is extremely knowledgeable and helpful regarding this project.

Having looked at the work so far, he thinks it is very good and stated that the outcome could very well be used at the Castle by the Volunteer Guides for school children. He says there is a need for such animation. Children come to the castle and see the Manor House, not a Castle! He says that  it takes a lot for a child to visualise how it could have been when all they have is what is in front of them, to go on.

“They need something to hang their imaginations on” Mr Woodger said. He regards it as ideal and a ‘case of serving a purpose’. He seemed very pleased. He has agreed to be the ‘voice’ for the narrative, as long as the script is okay.

Apparently the Norman Castle was not a keep as traditionally seen – it was already defensible by being the steep tor that it is. It was more likely to be a wall around the tor, not right at the top, containing single storey buildings such as the Knight’s Hall etc. The Anglo-Saxon keep was more likely to be a Motte and Bailey type with spears jutting out of the tor at angles. There is no record known of that time.

The reason why the tor is the shape it is, is because of the River Avill. The strong river flowed round the stone tor, hitting the land side of the tor and washing away the sediment, pooling it on the sea-ward side of the tor, leaving it the shape it is now.

The tor was extremely steep, the only ledge was where the existing manor is now, although not as levelled as it is now, or the top of the tor.

The sea, although mentioned that it came up to the tor, is more likely to have only come up a little way, but there was probably flooding of the River Avill over the remaining area. At full tide/spring tide with the wind coming in from the sea, the River Avill still floods. The River Avill dates back to the Ice Age. Apparently if the sea had come up to the tor, then Minehead would never have existed.