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Wiveliscombe: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Coordinates: 51°02′35″N 3°18′49″W / 51.04306°N 3.31369°W / 51.04306; -3.31369

Street scene with buildings and shops. The three storey building on the left has a sign saying The Courthouse.
Court House, Wiveliscombe, built by the Hancock family (a local brewing family) in 1881[1]
Wiveliscombe is located in Somerset

 Wiveliscombe shown within Somerset
Population 2,670 [2]
OS grid reference ST080279
District Taunton Deane
Shire county Somerset
Region South West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Police Avon and Somerset
Fire Devon and Somerset
Ambulance South Western
EU Parliament South West England
List of places: UK • England • Somerset

Wiveliscombe (known locally as Wivey) is a town and civil parish in Somerset, England, situated 9 miles (14 km) west of Taunton in the Taunton Deane district. The town has a population of 2,670.[2] The parish includes the nearby hamlet of Maundown.



North west of the town are Clatworthy Camp an Iron age hill fort and Clatworthy Reservoir.

Nearby is Elworthy Barrows an unfinished Iron Age hill fort rather than Bronze Age barrows.[3]


The parish council has responsibility for local issues, including setting an annual precept (local rate) to cover the council’s operating costs and producing annual accounts for public scrutiny. The parish council evaluates local planning applications and works with the local police, district council officers, and neighbourhood watch groups on matters of crime, security, and traffic. The parish council's role also includes initiating projects for the maintenance and repair of parish facilities, as well as consulting with the district council on the maintenance, repair, and improvement of highways, drainage, footpaths, public transport, and street cleaning. Conservation matters (including trees and listed buildings) and environmental issues are also the responsibility of the council.

The village falls within the Non-metropolitan district of Taunton Deane, which was formed on April 1, 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972, having previously been part of Wellington Rural District.[4] The district council is responsible for local planning and building control, local roads, council housing, environmental health, markets and fairs, refuse collection and recycling, cemeteries and crematoria, leisure services, parks, and tourism.

Somerset County Council is responsible for running the largest and most expensive local services such as education, social services, libraries, main roads, public transport, policing and fire services, trading standards, waste disposal and strategic planning.

It is also part of the Taunton county constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It elects one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system of election, and part of the South West England constituency of the European Parliament which elects six MEPs using the d'Hondt method of party-list proportional representation.


Wiveliscombe is a former borough, market and cloth making town just 5 miles (8 km) from the border between Devon and Somerset. It is situated at the foot of the Brendon Hills and acts as a gateway to Exmoor.

The town used to have a station on the Devon and Somerset Railway which closed in 1966.


While the population of 2,670 is small for a town, the shops and services meet the needs of a much larger population, spread through the western fifth of Taunton Deane, in scattered farms and villages. A survey in 1997 revealed that there were at least 300 businesses within a 5 miles (8 km) mile radius of the town; 14 of these were trading internationally and a further 20 nationally. Wiveliscombe is also home to two breweries, Cotleigh Brewery and Exmoor Ales. It is also one of the first towns in the UK to set up a completely free goods and services exchange forum for the local ten parishes area.[5] The community radio station 10radio is based in the town, serving the community of the ten parishes from which its name is derived.


The tower of St Andrews church

The Church of St Andrew dates from 1827-9 and was built from red sandstone with Hamstone dressings, although the font is octagonal and originated in the 14th century. The architect was Richard Carver. The church has been designated by English Heritage as a grade II* listed building.[6]

Within the churchyard is a 14th century Sandstone cross.[7]


Wiveliscombe Primary School serves most of the surrounding villages. Kingsmead Community School, for pupils aged 11–16, houses a Theatre and Sports Hall and a youth club complementing the town's Recreation Ground where the Tennis, Rugby, Cricket and Football Clubs have their bases.


  1. ^ "Nos 5 & 7 The Square". Images of England. Retrieved 2008-02-16. 
  2. ^ a b "Taunton Deane 2002 parish population estimates". Somerset County Council. Retrieved 27 December 2009. 
  3. ^ Barrow, "Hllforts and hilltops 1000BC - 1000AD" in Aston and Burrow, The Archaeology of Somerset (1982)
  4. ^ A Vision of Britain Through Time : Wellington Rural District
  5. ^ "Wiveliscombe". Somerset Market Towns. Retrieved 2008-07-09. 
  6. ^ "Church of St Andrew". Images of England. Retrieved 2008-02-15. 
  7. ^ "Churchyard cross, Church of St Andrew". Images of England. Retrieved 2008-02-16. 

External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

WIVELISCOMBE (pronounced Wilscomb), a market town in the western parliamentary division of Somersetshire, England, q z m. W. of Taunton by the Great Western railway. Pop. (1901), 2246. It stands on a picturesque sloping site in a hilly district, and has some agricultural trade and a brewing industry, while in the neighbourhood are slate quarries.

Traces of a large Roman camp may still be seen to the southeast of Wiveliscombe (Wellescombe, Wilscombe, Wiviscombe), which is near the line of a Roman road, and hoards of Roman coins have been discovered in the neighbourhood. The town probably owed its origin to the suitability of its position for defence, and it was the site of a Danish fort, later replaced by a Saxon settlement. The overlords were the bishops of Bath and Wells, who had a palace and park here. They obtained a grant of freewarren in 1257. No charter granting self-government to Wiveliscombe has been found, and the only evidence for the traditional existence of a borough is that part of the town is called "the borough," and that until the middle of the 19th century a bailiff and a portreeve were annually chosen by the court leet. A weekly market on Tuesdays, granted to the bishop of Bath and Wells in 1284, is still held. During the 17th and 18th centuries the town was a centre of the woollen manufacture.

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