SEA's Head Office - Beckington Castle set in the picturesque village of Beckington, Somerset
Beckington Castle is one of the most distinguished of the minor mansions of North-East Somerset. It is also one of the most individualistic. The building, which conforms to no typical plan, is a puzzling one both architecturally and historically. Lack of deeds and other documentary evidence concerning the Castle make its story difficult to reconstruct.
Beckington Castle was probably built, or re-built in the mid-16th century by the Long family, wealthy clothiers and patrons of Beckington Church. Other owners have included Sir James Lay, Christopher Brewer, member of a notable Trowbridge merchant family, Samuel Love, and Nathaniel Mortimer, a leading Beckington clothier in the 18th century. In the 1780's, Beckington Castle came into the hands of the Chislett family who owned it until 1870. During part of their time it was 'in Chancery'. In 1839, the name 'Castle House' first appeared which later evolved into 'The Castle' and 'Beckington Castle'. In 1870 George Esdaile bought the Castle for £450, his tenure being followed by Colonel Augustus Hill between 1896 and 1901.
In the 20th century Beckington Castle has been put to varied uses. Its most notable resident was E M Nelson from 1902 to 1926. He was President of the Mycroscopical Society and author of 'The Cult of Circle Builders'. It has been a high-class hotel, an antiques showroom and Ravenscroft School from 1945 to 1970.
Between 1995 and 1996 Beckington Castle was restored by SEA in co-operation with Mendip Council and English Heritage. The castle now serves as the headquarters of SEA.