Lyng, Somerset

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Square church tower showing above tees and shrubs. In the foreground is a grass field with cattle.
View of East Lyng across the levels
Lyng is located in Somerset
Lyng shown within Somerset
Population 338 [1]
OS grid reference ST328287
Shire county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town TAUNTON
Postcode district TA3
Dialling code 01823
Police Avon and Somerset
Fire Devon and Somerset
Ambulance South Western
EU Parliament South West England
UK Parliament
List of places
51°03′11″N 2°57′32″W / 51.053°N 2.959°W / 51.053; -2.959Coordinates: 51°03′11″N 2°57′32″W / 51.053°N 2.959°W / 51.053; -2.959

Lyng is a civil parish in Somerset, England, comprising the villages of West Lyng and East Lyng and the hamlet of Bankland.


The name derives from the Old English hlenc, meaning hill.

Nearby Athelney is famous for being the refuge of King Alfred the Great from the Danes before the Battle of Ethandun in 878, and the site of a monastery he founded after his victory.

East Lyng is on higher ground towards the west of Athelney. Archaeological research suggests East Lyng was a medieval settlement, and was an important fortified burh during Saxon times,[2][3] hence the usage of the East Lyng burh and Athelney by King Alfred the Great and his army. The Balt Moor Wall dates to this period.

By the time of the Domesday census completed in 1086, Lyng was described as a small rural settlement. In 1267 a charter for a market was granted, but is no longer recorded by 1349. Despite this the settlement at East Lyng retained burh status and was recorded as such in 1498–99.

Lyng was part of the hundred of Andersfield.[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; it also evaluates local planning applications and works with the local police, district council officers, and neighbourhood watch groups on matters of crime, security, and traffic. Its 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 Sedgemoor, which was formed on 1 April 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972, having previously been part of Bridgwater Rural District,[5] which 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 Bridgwater and West Somerset 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.


The villages occupy an east-west ridge within the Somerset Levels, with Hitchings Moor and Salt Moor to the north, and Curry Moor adjoining the River Tone to the south. The ridge falls to the east, ending at Athelney Hill near the confluence of the River Tone and River Parrett at Burrowbridge. North Moor is a biological Site of Special Scientific Interest because of its nationally important grazing marsh and ditch system on the Somerset Levels and Moors. A range of neutral grassland types supporting common and scarce plants has developed mainly due to variations in soils and management practices. Aquatic plant communities are exceptionally diverse with good populations of nationally scarce species. The site has special interest in its bird life.[6]


The ridge across the Somerset Levels has always been important for transport links. Today it carries the A361 road from Taunton to Street, and the Great Western Railway London Paddington to Penzance main line. The railway originally cut through the ridge just west of East Lyng, and traversed Hitchings Moor, but after years of being blocked by winter floods, the railway was diverted south of the ridge to join the line from Bristol at Cogload Junction.

Religious sites[edit]

The current church at East Lyng, which is dedicated to St Bartholomew, is thought to have been built by the monks who were displaced from Athelney Abbey when it was dissolved by King Henry VIII of England in 1539.[7] The ornate three-stage tower is of lias with hamstone dressings supported by set-back buttresses connected diagonally across the angles of the tower on the bottom two stages; these terminate as diagonal pinnacles on shafts at the third stage. The paired two-light bell-chamber windows have Somerset tracery flanked by attached shafts and pinnacles, with quatrefoil grilles. There are similar single windows on the stage below.[8]

The East Lyng churchyard contains the grave of George Marston[9] who was the artist for Ernest Shackleton's 1914 Endurance
Trans-Antarctic Expedition.


  1. ^ "Statistics for Wards, LSOAs and Parishes — SUMMARY Profiles" (Excel). Somerset Intelligence. Retrieved 4 January 2014. 
  2. ^ Havinden, Michael. The Somerset Landscape. The making of the English landscape. London: Hodder and Stoughton. p. 95. ISBN 0-340-20116-9. 
  3. ^ "Anglo-Saxon burh at East Lyng". National Heritage List for England. English Heritage. Retrieved 6 December 2014. 
  4. ^ "Andersfield hundred through time". A Vision of Britain Through Time. Retrieved 31 May 2017. 
  5. ^ "Brdigwater RD". A vision of Britain Through Time. University of Portsmouth. Retrieved 4 January 2014. 
  6. ^ English Nature citation sheet for the site (accessed 9 August 2006)
  7. ^ "Lyng — Church". British History Online. Retrieved 8 March 2008. 
  8. ^ "Church of St Bartholomew, Lyng". Images of England. Retrieved 8 March 2008. 
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 March 2012. Retrieved 2010-05-01. 

External links[edit]

  • A History of the County of Somerset: Volume 6: Lyng (1992)
  • A History of the County of Somerset: Volume 2: Athelney (1911)
  • The Somerset Urban Archaeological Survey: Lyng and Athelney by Miranda Richardson
  • [1] village website
  • community website