Cricket St Thomas

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Cricket St Thomas
To the manor born rolls.jpg
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
Location within Somerset
Population50 (2011)[1]
OS grid referenceST375084
Civil parish
  • Cricket St Thomas
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townCHARD
Postcode districtTA20
Dialling code01460
PoliceAvon and Somerset
FireDevon and Somerset
AmbulanceSouth Western
EU ParliamentSouth West England
UK Parliament
List of places
50°52′19″N 2°53′42″W / 50.872°N 2.895°W / 50.872; -2.895Coordinates: 50°52′19″N 2°53′42″W / 50.872°N 2.895°W / 50.872; -2.895

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

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


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]


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 parish 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.


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 park has since closed again and very little remains of the enclosures or buildings. 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]

Crinkley Bottom[edit]

Cricket Park was also briefly the home of Crinkley Bottom, a theme park based around the BBC television show Noel's House Party. Mr Blobby's house, named 'Dunblobbin' situated at the rear of the park. Mr. Blobby, the house and its gardens opened as an attraction in 1994, but it closed within four years, shortly after Noel's House Party went off air.[22] Other attractions at the park included a TV-themed dark ride and a walkthrough exhibit of Noddy's Toyland Adventures.[23] Remains of the house and its 'blobbyland' theme park could still be seen until 2014,[22] overgrown and strewn with fallen leaves and mud. Mr Blobby's house was demolished late 2014[24]


  1. ^ a b "South Somerset population estimates for 2002" (PDF). Somerset County Council. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 November 2009. 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. Archived from the original on 8 April 2008. Retrieved 1 February 2008.
  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. ^ Historic England. "Church of St Thomas (1056183)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 24 September 2007.
  7. ^ Historic England. "Nelson monument in churchyard, in angle between nave and south transept, Church of St Thomas (1177121)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 24 September 2007.
  8. ^ Historic England. "Two monuments in churchyard, about 3 metres west of porch, church of St Thomas (1056184)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 24 September 2007.
  9. ^ Historic England. "Cricket House (1177146)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 24 September 2007.
  10. ^ Historic England. "Former orangery, about 30 metres south-west of Cricket House (1366402)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 24 September 2007.
  11. ^ Historic England. "The Admiral's Seat, about 650 metres north-north-east of Cricket House (1177160)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 24 September 2007.
  12. ^ "British Sitcom Guide Page".
  13. ^ Historic England. "West Lodge (1366401)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 24 September 2007.
  14. ^ retrieved 21 January 2013
  15. ^ "Cricket St Thomas Overview". Warner Breaks. Archived from the original on 12 December 2007. Retrieved 24 September 2007.
  16. ^ "Pictured: The abandoned ruins of Mr Blobby theme park after ravers trash site". Daily Mail. London. 15 October 2009. Retrieved 19 June 2011.
  17. ^ "Take a Walk on the Wild Side!". Warner Breaks. Archived from the original on 12 December 2007. Retrieved 24 September 2007.
  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. ^
  21. ^ "Cricket House, Cricket St. Thomas / Winsham - South Somerset". Heritage at Risk. English Heritage. Archived from the original on 22 October 2013. 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 Park History". Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  24. ^ "Crinkley Bottom has gone down the pan, Mr Blobby". Sun. Retrieved 8 January 2014.

External links[edit]