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Gray stone bridge with two arches over water. The central pillar is on a small island. Trees to the left and right and behind the bridge.
Bridge over the River Chew
Publow is located in Somerset
Location within Somerset
Population1,119 (2011)
OS grid referenceST625643
Civil parish
  • Publow
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townBRISTOL
Postcode districtBS39
Dialling code01761
PoliceAvon and Somerset
AmbulanceSouth Western
UK Parliament
List of places
51°22′43″N 2°32′33″W / 51.3787°N 2.5425°W / 51.3787; -2.5425Coordinates: 51°22′43″N 2°32′33″W / 51.3787°N 2.5425°W / 51.3787; -2.5425

Publow is a small village and civil parish in Bath and North East Somerset, England. It lies beside the River Chew in the Chew Valley. It is 7 miles from Bristol, 9 miles from Bath, and 4 miles from Keynsham. The principal settlement in the parish is Pensford. The parish also includes the village of Belluton and part of the village of Woollard. At the 2011 census it had a population of 1,119.[1]


Publow anciently belonged to the St Loes of Newton, and later came into the hands of the Hungerfords along with Compton Dando. The manor having many owners Henry Hastings (Third Earl Becher (c1517-1570)), Sir John Popham, Sir Francis Popham.[2]

It is close to the route of the ancient Wansdyke. The name Publow is believed to mean 'The public meadow' from the Latin publicus and the Old English leah.[3] An alternative explanation is that the name was originally Publo or Publoe meaning Priests Hill and the nearest hill still bears that name.[4]

The parish of Publow was part of the Keynsham Hundred,[5] All Saints' Parish Church in Publow is the resting place of the world famous clarinet player Acker Bilk (1929-2014) and his wife.


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, such as the village hall or community centre, playing fields and playgrounds, 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 of interest to the council.

The parish falls within the unitary authority of Bath and North East Somerset which was created in 1996, as established by the Local Government Act 1992. It provides a single tier of local government with responsibility for almost all local government functions within their area including local planning and building control, local roads, council housing, environmental health, markets and fairs, refuse collection, recycling, cemeteries, crematoria, leisure services, parks, and tourism. They are also responsible for education, social services, libraries, main roads, public transport, trading standards, waste disposal and strategic planning, although fire, police and ambulance services are provided jointly with other authorities through the Avon Fire and Rescue Service, Avon and Somerset Constabulary and the Great Western Ambulance Service.

Bath and North East Somerset's area covers part of the ceremonial county of Somerset but it is administered independently of the non-metropolitan county. Its administrative headquarters are in Bath. Between 1 April 1974 and 1 April 1996, it was the Wansdyke district and the City of Bath of the county of Avon.[6] Before 1974 the parish was part of the Clutton Rural District.[7]

The parish is represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom as part of North East Somerset. It elects one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system of election. It was also part of the South West England constituency of the European Parliament prior to Britain leaving the European Union in January 2020, which elected seven MEPs using the d'Hondt method of party-list proportional representation. Publow has its own parish council, which has some responsibility for local issues and is part of the Publow and Whitchurch Ward, which is represented by one councillor on the Bath and North East Somerset Unitary Authority, which has wider responsibilities for services such as education, refuse, tourism etc. The village is a part of the North East Somerset constituency. Prior to Brexit in 2020, it was part of the South West England constituency of the European Parliament.


According to the 2001 Census, the Publow and Whitchurch Ward (which includes Belluton and Pensford), had 1,087 residents, living in 429 households, with an average age of 40.8 years. Of these 73% of residents describing their health as 'good', 24% of 16- to 74-year-olds had no qualifications; and the area had an unemployment rate of 2.3% of all economically active people aged 16–74. In the Index of Multiple Deprivation 2004, it was ranked at 26,408 out of 32,482 wards in England, where 1 was the most deprived LSOA and 32,482 the least deprived.[8]



The Church of All Saints dates from the 14th century has a 15th-century tower with gargoyles. The pulpit is Jacobean. It is a Grade I listed building.[9] The church consists of a west tower, nave, north aisle and porch, south aisle and porch, and chancel. The west tower has four stages with set back buttresses terminating in diagonally set pinnacles at the bell chamber stage. The nave has a clerestorey of four 2-light trefoil headed windows. The east end of the chancel has an early Perpendicular (restored) 3-light window with reticulated tracery. The pulpit dates from the early 17th century, and is made of oak with carved, arcaded panels to the upper part and rosettes on the lower part.[10]


The bridge over the River Chew dates from the medieval period and was rebuilt and dated 1788 and 1810, and is Grade II listed.[11] The bridge developed a crack and showed other signs of potential weakness, which required extensive renovation work involving an unusual combination of cutting-edge engineering techniques and the use of traditional materials, complicated by the presence of two protected species: Daubenton's bats, which were roosting in cavities under the bridge, and white clawed crayfish in the river below. The renovation by Bath & North East Somerset Council's transportation team, and partner Mott MacDonald, working with experts from English Heritage and the Environment Agency, received a commendation at the Historic Bridge and Infrastructure Awards in London in November 2006, which were sponsored by the Institution of Civil Engineers.[12]

Grade II listed buildings[edit]


  1. ^ "Publow Parish". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
  2. ^ Janes, Rowland (2003). Pensford, Publow and Woollard: A Topographical History. Biografix. ISBN 0-9545125-0-2.
  3. ^ Robinson, Stephen (1992). Somerset Place Names. Wimborne, Dorset: The Dovecote Press Ltd. ISBN 1-874336-03-2.
  4. ^ Robinson, W.J. (1915). West Country Churches. Bristol: Bristol Times and Mirror Ltd. pp. 97–103.
  5. ^ "Somerset Hundreds". GENUKI. Retrieved 15 October 2011.
  6. ^ "The Avon (Structural Change) Order 1995". HMSO. Archived from the original on 30 January 2008. Retrieved 9 December 2007.
  7. ^ "Clutton RD". A vision of Britain Through Time. University of Portsmouth. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
  8. ^ "Neighbourhood Statistics LSOA Bath and North East Somerset 020D Publow and Whitchurch". Office for National Statistics 2001 Census. Retrieved 25 April 2006.
  9. ^ "All Saints' Church". Retrieved 24 November 2006.
  10. ^ Pevsner, Nikolaus (1958). The Buildings of England: North Somerset and Bristol. Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-071013-2.
  11. ^ Historic England. "Publow Bridge (1129485)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 24 November 2006.
  12. ^ "Award for bridge restoration team". BANES. Archived from the original on 21 July 2012. Retrieved 5 October 2010.


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