North Curry is a village and civil parish in Somerset, England, situated 5 miles (8.0 km) east of Taunton in the Taunton Deane district. The parish, which includes Knapp and Lower Knapp has a population of 1,640.
North Curry sits on a ridge of land, 7 metres (23 ft) above sea level. North Curry is a fairly large village, but is quietly tucked away on the southwestern side of the Somerset Levels, well away from the main highways. The buildings, history, and village life make North Curry a surprising gem amongst the winding, hedgerow-bordered country lanes that tie it to surrounding villages. North Curry Meadow (grid reference ) is a 1.3 hectare (3.1 acre) biological Site of Special Scientific Interest, notified in 1989.
The parish was part of the North Curry Hundred. North Curry was settled in Saxon times and was a royal manor in the 11th century. Around 1194, Richard the Lionheart (Richard I of England) deeded North Curry over to the Bishop of Wells, along with other possessions, in exchange for cash to pay off his ransom to the Austrian Emperor, Henry VI. North Curry parish traditionally included the hamlets of Helland, Knapp, Lillesdon, Moredon, Newport and Wrantage. In 1231 Henry III granted a licence for the Bishop of Bath and Wells to deforest the manor of North Curry and enclose the lands as parks.
Reclamation of the surrounding moors before 1311 allowed the village to expand. A market village since the 13th century, North Curry's sources of wealth have included hunting, fishing, and wool trade, with access to other markets via the nearby River Tone. Evidence of the prosperity of the village can be seen in the exemplary architecture, including 68 listed buildings.
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 Taunton Deane, which was formed on 1 April 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972, having previously been part of Taunton Rural District. 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.
North Curry is in an electoral ward called 'North Curry and Stoke St. Gregory'. Whilst North Curry is the most populous area the ward stretches through Stoke St. Gregory to Burrowbridge. The total ward population taken at the 2011 Census is 3,226.
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.
North Curry Parish Church
North Curry Parish Church, dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul, is nicknamed ‘The Cathedral of the Moors’. Parts of the large, airy church date to the 14th century, and the church was erected on the site of an earlier church. Episcopal records in Wells mention a church in North Curry as early as 1199. The church has a good view of the Levels and moors, with benches placed for walkers and other visitors to enjoy the view from the slightly higher grounds of the churchyard. To assist visitors tracing their ancestry to North Curry, the church has posted a map of the graves in the cemetery. In August 2007, North Curry Church was incorporated into the Athelney benefice of the Church of England. The vicar of the Athelney benefice covers the parishes of Burrowbridge, Lyng, North Curry, and Stoke St Gregory.
North Curry has an active history society, village hall, playing fields, primary school, doctor's surgery, Women's Institute, cricket club, gardening club, musical and theatrical groups, and a luncheon club. In 2006, villagers opened a coffee shop, staffed by 70 volunteers, in a converted barn. The coffee shop offers artwork and crafts by local artists, along with hot food, homemade cakes, and good cheer. Proceeds from the coffee shop go to charity. The coffee shop is part of the refurbished Town Farm Barn, in the loft of which are housed the North Curry Archives. Apart from artefacts from the past, the records of people and places going back centuries are being sourced daily for those seeking Family Tree Information. In 2009 the Parish Council opened a new 12-acre (49,000 m2) Sports Field in White Street with cricket and football pitches, a pavilion and community woodland - all maintained by a devoted crew of volunteers.
Memorial in North Curry commemorating the reign of Queen Victoria
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- North Curry: A Place in History, by Angela Dix, ISBN 978-0-9531141-1-5
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- North Curry Church website
- North Curry village website
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Media related to North Curry at Wikimedia Commons