Somerford Keynes

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Somerford Keynes
Somerford Keynes church.JPG
All Saints parish church
Somerford Keynes is located in Gloucestershire
Somerford Keynes
Somerford Keynes
Location within Gloucestershire
OS grid referenceSU019952
Civil parish
  • Somerford Keynes
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtGL7
Dialling code01285
AmbulanceSouth Western
UK Parliament
List of places
51°39′20″N 1°58′26″W / 51.655585°N 1.9739324°W / 51.655585; -1.9739324

Somerford Keynes (grid reference SU019952, pronounced "summerford canes") is a village and civil parish in Gloucestershire, England, close to the River Thames and about 5 miles/8 km from its source. It lies on the boundary with Wiltshire, midway between Cirencester, Swindon and Malmesbury. The parish population at the 2011 census was 479.[1] A 2019 estimate put it at 558.[2]

Early history[edit]

A series of salvage excavations at Spratsgate Lane in 1986–1988 revealed part of an Iron Age and Roman settlement. The earliest finds were a series of curvilinear enclosures from the early 1st to the early 2nd century AD, which may have formed part of a farmstead. A religious focus is also suggested by an unusually large number of coins and brooches, which may have been votive offerings. Stone sculptural fragments were found of an eagle and a shield. These could belong to a representation of the Roman Capitoline triad of the gods Jupiter, Juno and Minerva), which again points to a formal religious presence.[1][2]

The village first appears in writing in AD 685, in a charter confirming a gift of 40 hides of land by King Ethelred's nephew Bertwald to St Aldhelm, first abbot of Malmesbury.[3] The manor was held in 1211 by William de Cahaignes, an ancestor of the Keynes family.


Somerford Keynes has a parish council.[3] It is represented by the county councillor for South Cerney Division and by the district councillor for Kemble ward on Cotswold District Council.

Manor house[edit]

The Manor House dates from the 15th century and is grade II listed.[4]

SOMERFORD KEYNES SOMERFORD KEYNES VILLAGE SU 09 NW 8/207 Manor House 4.6.52 GV II Large detached manor house. Core probably of late C15 or early C16, enlarged to east c1630s, with wing to north-west added in 1924. Random coursed rubble stone with flush quoins, stone slate roof, renewed stone stacks including flue to large partially external stack to main fireplace on north side. Originally a single range with through passage, gabled cross wing added to east and projecting wing to north-west forming 'L'-shape. Mostly 2 storeys and attic. Probably originally a hall with solar to east of screens passage, with 2-storey service wing to west. Roof raised at some stage, probably in early C17, requiring raking buttresses to be built against south wall to take extra weight, and some of the original smoke-blackened timbers may have been reused to form new roof structure. On north side, original external entrance with chamfered and stopped Tudor stone archway with initials "M" and "S" in spandrels (Strange family), covered over with long lean-to and original vertical battened plank door moved to outer entrance, recessed under cambered beam with carved stone heads to each side. External stack rises through this lean-to, which has mostly small leaded casements to left and C20 raised window to right. Cross wing of C17 has coped gables to both ends, with 3-light hollow-moulded leaded stone mullion and transoms with square hoodmould to ground and first floor, and 2-light stone mullion with square hoodmould to attic on north side and to angle wing linking it with main range to right. North-west wing of 1924 built in sympathetic style with leaded stone windows. South front has original service wing to west with 3 and 2-light stone mullion and transom with square hoodmould and relieving arch to first and ground floors. Original hall steps slightly forward with wide hipped porch with depressed Tudor arch with chamfered jambs and lintel whose original inner vertical battened plank door has been moved to original external north entrance. Three-light stone mullion and transom above and 2 similar to ground and first floors to right, raised to far right on ground floor for original dais. All fenestration leaded iron casements, including 2 small hipped dormers. Early C17 wing has large squared masonry on south gable end. Interior substantially altered in 1967 and in 1970s. Partitions in main hall have been moved, including removal of screens partition. Large C16 strapwork stone fireplace below external stack on original north wall; behind plaster on east wall is former fireplace for solar, also large stone fireplace carved with terms and Hungerford arms. C17 panelling survives in additional north entrance hall. There is reputed to have been a manor house on this site since the C14.

— (David Verey, Buildings of England – Gloucestershire: The Cotswolds, 1979; Geoffrey Gibbon, Through the Saxon Door – The Story of Somerford Keynes, 1969)

Parish church[edit]

The Church of England parish church of All Saints is a Grade II* listed building, which has Saxon foundations from about 685. It was largely rebuilt in the early 13th century, the tower being added in 1710–1713 and restored in 1875. The north aisle contains a large black-and-white marble monument with a reclining effigy of Robert Straung (Strange), who died in 1654.[5] Several monuments in the churchyard are also listed by Historic England. They commemorate the Ferrebec family,[6] William Hales (died 1806),[7] a member of the Harrison family, two members of the Davis family,[8] and others.[9]


The nearest railway station is at Kemble, 2 12 miles (4 km) from the village, where there are trains about once an hour to Gloucester, Cheltenham and Swindon. There are daytime, weekday buses to Malmesbury and Cirencester three or four times a day.

The Thames Path, a long-distance footpath, passes through the parish, which lies in the western section of the Cotswold Water Park.

Elemental Sculpture Park is an annual seasonal art exhibition in Somerford Keynes, which in 2016 featured about 140 works by 50 sculptors.[4]


The first beavers to be born in Britain for 400 years appeared at Lower Mill Estate in 2008.[5]

Literary allusion[edit]

Somerford Keynes is the name of a character in the series of Rutshire Chronicles books by Jilly Cooper.[6]


  1. ^ "Parish population 2011". Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  2. ^ City Population site. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
  3. ^ "Parish Council". Somerford Keynes. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  4. ^ yip, Ann (5 August 2016). "Elemental Sculpture Park in Somerford Keynes features 140 works of art by 50 sculptors". Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  5. ^ Christopher Winn: I Never Knew That about the River Thames (London: Ebury Press, 2010), p. 5.
  6. ^ Bertodano, Helena (30 April 2002). "How Jilly stays on top". Telegraph. Retrieved 3 July 2020.


  1. ^ "Somerford Keynes". Eagle in the Landscape: The archeology of the Cotswold Water Park. Archived from the original on 7 October 2007. Retrieved 29 May 2006.
  2. ^ "Spratsgate Lane, Somerford Keynes, Gloucestershire". English Heritage. Retrieved 29 May 2006.
  3. ^ "Somerford Keynes". Retrieved 29 May 2006.
  4. ^ "Manor House". Retrieved 29 May 2006.
  5. ^ "All Saints Church, Somerford Keynes". Retrieved 29 May 2006.
  6. ^ "Ferrebec family monument". Retrieved 29 May 2006.
  7. ^ "William Hales monument". Retrieved 29 May 2006.
  8. ^ "Harrison and two Davis monuments". Retrieved 29 May 2006.
  9. ^ "Group of three monuments". Retrieved 29 May 2006.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°39′22″N 1°58′26″W / 51.656°N 1.974°W / 51.656; -1.974