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Old Sturminster
Alfred the Great left the manor of Sturminster (alternatively Newton Castle) to one of his younger sons, Ethelwald. c. 1010 Edmund Ironside bestowed Newton Castle on the Abbey of St. Mary Glastonbury. It remained in that Abbey until the Reformation. The house was then described in the inventory of abbey lands as the auncyent buylding, portly and strong, fit for a knight to lye in'.
Leland says 'At the ends of the bridge (Sturminster town bridge) in ripa dextra Sturi flu., is a fayre maner place of a hille made steep round by mannes hand, cauled yn olde writings Newton-Castelle. King (Edmund Ironside) gave this Stourminster and Newton to the abbaye of Glessenbyri. The castell syns clerely decayed, and the abbates of Glessenbyri made there a fayre maner place and usid to resorte to yt.'
Camden describes it to be a mole of earth, which cost no small pains in throwing up, and is separated from the high land behind it by a deep and wide ditch; but there was nothing remaining of the castle but the name. See Leland and the anaonymous author before cited. Mr. Coker calls it a castle or house of the West-Saxon kings. It was no doubt a very ancient castle or fortification, if it was not originally made by the Romans, of whom there are no traces, if this be not one. But upon the whole, it cannot be late than the Saxon age. It is in the form of a Roman D, and stands on a high hill, surrounded by an high vallum and deep ditch on the S.W. and part of the E. On the N. the precipice renders them unnecessary. On the top near the center is a small mount or keep, near which are the remains of a large ancient house (wherein are several doors with elliptical arches) where the courts were formerly kept.'