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Old yew tree
The Ashbrittle Yew Tree
Ashbrittle is located in Somerset
Location within Somerset
Population225 (2011)[1]
OS grid referenceST051214
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post town Wellington
Postcode districtTA21
PoliceAvon and Somerset
FireDevon and Somerset
AmbulanceSouth Western
EU ParliamentSouth West England
UK Parliament
List of places
50°59′05″N 3°21′07″W / 50.9846°N 3.3519°W / 50.9846; -3.3519Coordinates: 50°59′05″N 3°21′07″W / 50.9846°N 3.3519°W / 50.9846; -3.3519

Ashbrittle is a village and civil parish in Somerset, England, situated nine miles west of Taunton and close to the River Tone and the route of the Grand Western Canal in the Somerset West and Taunton district. The village has a population of 225.[1]


The parish of Ashbrittle was part of the Milverton Hundred.[2]

A 3-[3]4,000 year old[4][5][6] Yew tree (Taxus baccata) in the village was among the Great British Trees list that included 50 trees selected by the Tree Council in 2002 to spotlight trees in Great Britain in honour of the Queen's Golden Jubilee. The tree is growing on the top of a Bronze Age Bowl barrow. It is no longer one solid tree having divided into seven separate trunks in a circle with a diameter of 42 feet (13 m).[7]

Court Place Farmhouse was built in the late 15th century and has undergone several renovations and extensions since. It is a Grade II listed building.[8]

The film Luna de Miel received its first UK showing in its restored form, in the village, after restoration by Charles Doble, on 21 June 2003.[9]

The novels Two Cows And A Vanful Of Smoke and Isabel's Skin by Peter Benson, who lived in Ashbrittle during the 1970s, are set in the village and its surrounding area.


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 Somerset West and Taunton, which was established on 1 April 2019. It was previously in the district of Taunton Deane, which was formed on 1 April 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972, and part of Wellington Rural District before that.[10] 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 Deane 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.

Religious sites[edit]

The Church of St John the Baptist dates from the 15th century and has been designated as a grade II* listed building.[11]

Notable residents[edit]

Richard Parsons, from the village, was among the crew of the Titanic on its final voyage.[12]


  1. ^ a b "Statistics for Wards, LSOAs and Parishes — SUMMARY Profiles" (Excel). Somerset Intelligence. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
  2. ^ "Somerset Hundreds". GENUKI. Retrieved 17 October 2011.
  3. ^ "The Ancient Yew of Ashbrittle". Time Travel Britain. Retrieved 22 November 2008.
  4. ^ Matthew, Sam (27 April 2015). "Older than Stonehenge: Britain's 'oldest tree' is feared to be dying after more than 4,000 years". Mail Online. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  5. ^ Rowley, Tom (2 May 2015). "4,000 years of British history in the shade of our 'oldest tree'". Telegraph. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  6. ^ "The Church and Parish of Ashbrittle" (PDF). Somerset Routes. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  7. ^ Warren, Derrick (2005). Curious Somerset. Stroud: Sutton Publishing. p. 9. ISBN 978-0-7509-4057-3.
  8. ^ "Court Place Farmhouse". Images of England. English Heritage. Retrieved 1 November 2010.
  9. ^ Screening of Luna de Miel
  10. ^ "Wellington RD". A vision of Britain Through Time. University of Portsmouth. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
  11. ^ "Church of St John the Baptist". Images of England. English Heritage. Retrieved 22 November 2008.
  12. ^ "Titanic Crew List". Encyclopedia Titanica. Archived from the original on 24 July 2007. Retrieved 31 July 2007.

External links[edit]