The Normans built a castle here in the 12th century which became a royal residence much visited by King John, but it fell into disrepair in the 14th century. A great house replaced the castle and this became one of the seats of the prominent Seymour family of Wolf Hall, hereditary Wardens of Savernake Forest. In the early 18th century, Lady Hertford made a famous garden in the grounds, but the family soon moved to Petworth and the mansion became the Castle Inn, one of the country’s great coaching inns. Here, many well-known visitors broke their journey either to or from the spa town of Bath, one day’s travel away. With the arrival of Brunel’s railway in the early 1840s the coaching trade collapsed and the Castle Inn closed.