Cricket St Thomas

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Coordinates: 50°52′19″N 2°53′42″W / 50.872°N 2.895°W / 50.872; -2.895

Cricket St Thomas
Large house with terrace and lawn.
Cricket House (Grantleigh Manor in To the Manor Born), now used by Warner Breaks for holiday accommodation
Cricket St Thomas is located in Somerset
Cricket St Thomas
Cricket St Thomas
 Cricket St Thomas shown within Somerset
Population 50 [1]
OS grid reference ST375084
Civil parish Cricket St Thomas
District South Somerset
Shire county Somerset
Region South West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town CHARD
Postcode district TA20
Dialling code 01460
Police Avon and Somerset
Fire Devon and Somerset
Ambulance South Western
EU Parliament South West England
UK Parliament Yeovil
List of places
UK
England
Somerset

Cricket St Thomas is a village and parish in Somerset, England, situated in a valley beside the A30 road between Chard and Crewkerne in the South Somerset district.

The village has a population of 50.[1] It is noted for a manor house and estate, formerly home to a wildlife park.

History[edit]

The name Cricket St Thomas is not related to the game of cricket, but is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word "cruc," meaning a hill or ridge.[2]

The estate is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086, where it is described as "Land of the Count of Martin" paying tax to the king for six hides, or about 720 acres (291.4 ha). It also had two slaves, six villagers, five smallholders and a variety of livestock — all valued at 100 shillings.[3]

The parish of Cricket St Thomas was part of the South Petherton Hundred.[4]

Governance[edit]

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 South Somerset, which was formed on 1 April 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972, having previously been part of Chard Rural District.[5] 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 Yeovil 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 seven MEPs using the d'Hondt method of party-list proportional representation.

Church[edit]

White marble monument to Alexander Nelson Hood at the Church

The parish church is dedicated to St Thomas. It is based on Saxon and medieval origins, but was almost totally rebuilt in 1819 to 1820 for Samuel Hood, 2nd Baron Bridport. The church contains monuments to the families of Hood (Viscount Bridport) and their predecessors the Viscounts Nelson, who gained the title through Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson. These include, on the chancel south wall, a commemoration of Alexander Hood, who died in 1814, which was designed and signed by Sir John Soane, with a black marble base topped by a white marble monument on Ionic columns framing the memorial plaque. Mounted on the north nave wall is a fragment of the altar cloth used in the Coronation Service of Queen Elizabeth II. The church is designated by English Heritage as a Grade II* listed building.[6]

In the churchyard is a white marble monument, dating from the early 20th century, showing a figure of St Michael. It commemorates Alexander Nelson Hood, 4th Duke of Bronté, 2nd First Viscount Bridport (created in 1868) who died in 1904. A note in the church states that for many years the statue was laid flat, as the white figure at night scared too many locals.[7] There are also two 18th-century chest tombs, made from hamstone, one of which commemorates John Northcote, who died in 1738.[8]

Cricket House[edit]

The Lodge

Cricket St Thomas manor house, known as Cricket House, has 14th-century origins, but was rebuilt and considerably modified at the beginning of the 19th century for Sir Alexander Hood under the direction of Sir John Soane.[9] The 19th-century orangery attached to the house was later turned into a parrot house but is now used for bowling by Warner holiday guests.[10] In the grounds is a small garden house known as The Admirals Seat.[11]

The house was used as "Grantleigh Manor", the setting for the television series To the Manor Born which aired from 1979 to 1981. The Manor House was then owned by the father-in-law of the writer Peter Spence. Despite the closeness depicted on screen, the Manor and Lodge are in fact about one mile (1.6 km) apart.[12] The Lodge was given additional features such as gateposts to give the impression it was a gatehouse, following various previous alterations.[13] The house was again used as "Grantleigh Manor" in a 25th anniversary special of To The Manor Born shown in 2007.

In 2009, the estate was added to English Heritage's Heritage At Risk register due to development pressures from various businesses connected with the estate. Its vulnerability is now classed as 'Medium'.[14]

Wildlife Park

Wildlife park[edit]

The grounds of the house, known as Cricket Park, were designed by D.D (David) Davis, a noted Horticulturist at the start of the 19th Century,[15] and later turned into a wildlife park. The grounds also became home to Crinkley Bottom, a theme park created by Noel Edmonds around the Mr Blobby character from his hit television series Noel's House Party. The project was short-lived and was later abandoned.[16] The grounds reverted to their previous use and the wildlife park was home to 600 rare and endangered species including lemurs, primates, camels, reptiles and wildfowl.[17] Questions were raised in the UK parliament in 1995 after a rare Asian elephant was euthanised at the park.[18][19] The wildlife park closed in 2009 and most of the larger animals were moved to other zoos around the country. Some of the smaller animals, such as the lemurs, were kept and the park was returned to gardens and lakes, re-opening in mid-2010.[20] The manor house was developed into a Warner Leisure Hotels resort in 1999.

As a result of pressure from the development of the hotel and leisure market, it has been added to the Heritage at Risk register; despite areas being restored through Natural England's Environmental Stewardship scheme.[21]

Mr Blobby's home[edit]

Cricket Park was also the home of BBC television's Mr Blobby's house, named 'Dunblobbin' situated at the rear of the park. Mr. Blobby, the house and its gardens appeared as an attraction in the park in 1994, but it closed within five years, shortly after Noel's House Party went off air.[22] Remains of the house and its 'blobbyland' theme park can still be seen today,[22] overgrown and strewn with fallen leaves and mud.[23]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "South Somerset population estimates for 2002". Somerset County Council. Retrieved 27 December 2009. 
  2. ^ Bush, Robin (1994). Somerset: The complete guide. Wimborne: Dovecote press. ISBN 1-874336-27-X. 
  3. ^ "Cricket St Thomas Hotel". Haynes Motor Museum World Forum 2007. Retrieved 2008-02-01. 
  4. ^ "Somerset Hundreds". GENUKI. Retrieved 20 October 2011. 
  5. ^ "Chard RD". A vision of Britain Through Time. University of Portsmouth. Retrieved 4 January 2014. 
  6. ^ "Church of St Thomas". Images of England. Retrieved 2007-09-24. 
  7. ^ "Nelson monument in churchyard, in angle between nave and south transept, Church of St Thomas". Images of England. Retrieved 2007-09-24. 
  8. ^ "Two monuments in churchyard, about 3 metres west of porch, church of St Thomas". Images of England. Retrieved 2007-09-24. 
  9. ^ "Cricket House". Images of England. Retrieved 2007-09-24. 
  10. ^ "Former orangery, about 30 metres south-west of Cricket House". Images of England. Retrieved 2007-09-24. 
  11. ^ "The Admiral's Seat, about 650 metres north-north-east of Cricket House". Images of England. Retrieved 2007-09-24. 
  12. ^ "British Sitcom Guide Page". 
  13. ^ "West Lodge". Images of England. Retrieved 2007-09-24. 
  14. ^ http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/publications/har-2013-registers/sw-HAR-register-2013.pdf retrieved 21 january 2013
  15. ^ "Cricket St Thomas Overview". Warner Breaks. Retrieved 2007-09-24. 
  16. ^ "Pictured: The abandoned ruins of Mr Blobby theme park after ravers trash site". Daily Mail (London). 15 October 2009. Retrieved 2011-06-19. 
  17. ^ "Take a Walk on the Wild Side!". Warner Breaks. Retrieved 2007-09-24. 
  18. ^ "Killing of an elephant at Cricket St Thomas Wildlife Centre". Parliament UK. Retrieved 13 March 2013. 
  19. ^ "Sahib Fridolin at Cricket St Thomas Wildlife Park". Elephant database. Retrieved 13 March 2013. 
  20. ^ http://www.warnerleisurehotels.co.uk/hotels/cricket-st-thomas-hotel/lakes-and-gardens/index.aspx
  21. ^ "Cricket House, Cricket St. Thomas / Winsham - South Somerset". Heritage at Risk. English Heritage. Retrieved 19 October 2013. 
  22. ^ a b "Look what's happened to the house that Blobby built". Chard and Ilminster News. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  23. ^ "Crinkley Bottom has gone down the pan, Mr Blobby". Sun. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 

External links[edit]