Winscombe

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This article is about the English village. For the New Zealand locality, see Winscombe, New Zealand.

Coordinates: 51°18′49″N 2°49′35″W / 51.3136°N 2.8263°W / 51.3136; -2.8263

Winscombe
Street scene with houses and shops on both side of road on which there is a tractor.
Looking down Woodborough Road towards the village centre
Winscombe is located in Somerset
Winscombe
Winscombe
 Winscombe shown within Somerset
Population est. 4,500
OS grid reference ST425575
Unitary authority North Somerset
Ceremonial county Somerset
Region South West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town WINSCOMBE
Postcode district BS25
Dialling code 01934 (84)xxxx and (85)xxxx
Police Avon and Somerset
Fire Avon
Ambulance Great Western
EU Parliament South West England
UK Parliament Weston Super Mare
List of places
UK
England
Somerset

Winscombe is a village in North Somerset, England, close to the settlements of Axbridge and Cheddar, on the western edge of the Mendip Hills, 7 miles (11 km) south-east of Weston-super-Mare and 14 miles (23 km) south-west of Bristol. The Parish of Winscombe and Sandford, centred around the Parish Church of Church of St James the Great, includes the villages/hamlets of Barton, Hale, Oakridge, Sidcot and Woodborough.[1]

Winscombe has a few shops and businesses focused in the centre of the village, along Woodborough Road and Sandford Road. There is a doctor's surgery in the village, and two dentists.

West of the village is the Max Bog biological Site of Special Scientific Interest.

History[edit]

It has been suggested that the name means a valley belonging to a Saxon named Wine.[2]

The parish was part of the Winterstoke Hundred.[3]

Winscombe was the subject of an historical and archaeological study led by Professor Mick Aston, published in the Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society.[4]

Governance[edit]

From 1894 to 1974 Winscombe was part of the Axbridge Rural District. When this was abolished under the Local Government Act 1972 it became part of the Woodspring district in the new county of Avon. In 1996 this became the North Somerset unitary authority, which remains part of the ceremonial county of Somerset.

The MP for the Weston-super-Mare parliamentary constituency is John Penrose of the Conservative Party, who won the seat in the 2005 General Election and retained it in 2010.

Winscombe falls within the South West England constituency of the European Parliament, which currently elects seven MEPs using the d'Hondt method of party-list proportional representation.

Transport[edit]

The bridge going over Woodborough Road in Winscombe on the A371, which used to be the old railway bridge and is now used for the Strawberry Line railway walk and cycle path

Winscombe grew in the 19th century with the arrival of a branch of the Great Western Railway, opened in 1869. This was the Cheddar Valley line, also known as The Strawberry Line, which ran from Yatton to Wells via Cheddar. The railway was closed in 1963, and today the route is a public footpath and cycle track; the site of the former Winscombe station is now the Millennium Green. It is possible to walk, or cycle, from the station to the coast at Clevedon via Sandford, Congresbury and Yatton, and in the opposite direction through the railway tunnel at Shute Shelve Hill to Axbridge and Cheddar.

The station was originally named Woodborough, that being the part of the parish of Winscombe where it was; Winscombe was originally the settlement up by the church. The station was soon renamed Winscombe to avoid confusion with another station in Wiltshire named Woodborough. The station was closed in 1963 as part of the Beeching cuts to rail services. Part of the original track can still be seen from a platform by the Millennium Green.

The village is on the A371 and A38.

Education[edit]

There are two schools in the village, as well as community and sports facilities. State secondary education is provided at nearby Churchill Community School. Sidcot is a nearby fee-paying independent school run by the Society of Friends.

Things to do in Winscombe[edit]

Much of the village was built on land originally belonging to the Quakers, and so there is only one pub in the centre of the village, called The Woodborough Inn.

There is also the local Headquarters of the Royal British Legion located near to the centre of the Village in Sandford Road, opposite the village bowls club. It houses the Winscombe Club.[5]

The Wine Shop of Winscombe, located next to the library. Offers regular monthly wine tasting events, in addition to hosting the annual Somerset Wine Fair.

Sports in the village[edit]

There is a very well established Recreational Ground located a short distance away from the centre of Winscombe which accommodates a variety of different sports, including Cricket, Tennis, Hockey, Bowls, football and a rugby union team, Winscombe RFC.

The rugby club hosts three annual tournaments for mini and junior players: a mini rugby tournament for local schools; a regional championship for Under 8s; and the Mendip Sevens rugby sevens tournament for ages Under 13 – Under 16.

Religious sites[edit]

Church of St James, Winscombe
View of the rear of St James the Great, Winscombe

The Church of St James has origins from the 12th century. The church is in the middle of the original hamlet of Winscombe. The church has 13th-century origins but the present building dates from the 15th century, with restoration and a new Chancel in 1863. It is designated as a Grade I listed building.[6] The bells of St James have long called people to worship, the original bells being cast in 1773 by local founders, the Bilbie family.[7] Two newer bells were added in 1903 by Taylors Founders. The eight bells are in the key of E flat and the tenor weighs 18-1-8 – 18 hundredweight, 1 quarter of a hundredweight and 8 lb (930 kg).[8] St James holds regular services on Sundays, with bell ringing being provided for both the morning service and evensong.

Culture[edit]

The Millennium Green at Winscombe, on the site of the former railway station

The former station site now hosts an annual May Fair, on the Saturday closest to May Day, and has a variety of activities, entertainments and stalls selling various products and promoting many local charities and organisations.

In September, the village hosts the annual Michaelmas fair in the community centre, a chance for villagers to show their handiwork, handicraft and produce.

The British Headquarters of Moose International forming The Loyal Order of Moose in Great Britain can be found at Mooseheart in the village.[9]

Notable people[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Tucker, Margaret, The Book of Winscombe, Halsgrove Press, ISBN 1-84114-344-8
  2. ^ "Autumn newsletter 2007" (PDF). Mendip Hills AONB. Retrieved 25 September 2007. 
  3. ^ "Somerset Hundreds". GENUKI. Retrieved 9 September 2011. 
  4. ^ "Proceedings". Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society.  See volumes 151 to 155.
  5. ^ "Welcome". Winscombe Club. Retrieved 9 August 2014. 
  6. ^ "Church of St James". Images of England. English Heritage. Retrieved 16 December 2008. 
  7. ^ Moore, J. Rice, R. and Hucker, E. (1995). Bilbie and the Chew Valley clockmakers: the story of the renowned family of Somerset bellfounder-clockmakers. The authors. ISBN 0-9526702-0-8. 
  8. ^ "Dove's guide for Ringers". Dove's Guide/CCCBR. Retrieved 7 March 2007. 
  9. ^ "Moose International". Moose International. Retrieved 16 December 2008. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Winscombe at Wikimedia Commons