History of The Castle Hotel in Taunton
Once a Norman fortress, The Castle at Taunton has been welcoming travellers since the 12th century.
In 1685, the Duke of Monmouth’s officers were heard “roystering at the Castle Inn” before their defeat by the forces of King James II at Sedgemoor. Shortly after, Judge Jeffreys held his Bloody Assize in the Great Hall of the Castle. Today the Castle lives at peace with its turbulent past but preserves the atmosphere of its ancient tradition.
Over the past 60 years, the Castle has been owned and run as a luxury hotel by the Chapman Family. During this time, it has acquired a worldwide reputation for the warmth of its hospitality. The current owner, Kit Chapman, is the author of several books including ‘An Innkeeper’s Diary’, a witty account of a year in the life of the hotel, full of humorous stories about clients and staff. The book also contains details on running a fine establishment and the role of the hotelier. Kit Chapman’s book was also the inspiration behind the popular TV series, ‘Diary of an Innkeeper’ filmed at the Hotel.
He is also the author of two gastronomical works, ‘Great British Chefs’ volumes 1 and 2. His series of twelve TV programmes entitled ‘Simply the Best’, a celebration of British Food, was broadcast on the ITV network and Channel 4 in the early 1990s.
In Kit’s latest book, My Archipelago, he shares a very candid view of his family’s turbulent history and his life, including the story behind becoming proprietor of The Castle Hotel.
The Castle is famous for recruiting young, talented chefs, giving them free rein to achieve their full potential. Celebrity chefs who began their rise to stardom at The Castle include Gary Rhodes and Phil Vickery. Today, Liam Finnegan heads the Castle’s kitchen.
Find Us The Castle Hotel, Castle Green, Taunton, Somerset, TA1 1NF