History of Wedmore Somerset


History of Wedmore Somerset


                                              Alfred the Great

  • statue is in Winchester

History of Wedmore Somerset

10 historical Facts to ponder on.
1. The name Wedmore means “Hunting Lodge” or “Hunting Moor” in Anglo Saxon.

2. ln 1853, 200 Saxon silver coins were dug up in the churchyard.

3. ln the Domesday Book, Wedmore belongs to the Bishop of Wells.

4. It was then worth €20 4. The Market Cross in The Borough is nearly 700 years old.
Judge Jeffreys is believed to have used it as a “gallows”
5. 60 Wedmore men died in the First World War. 6. In the 14th Century, the Lerburne was a river 30m wide.

7. ln 1553, The Manor of Wedmore was sold by Queen Mary for the princely sum of €585 8. 500 years ago, Wedmore had 6 pubs, of these, only The George remains.

9. There has been a school in Wedmore since ‘1707
10. Wedmore has 127 listed buildings and monuments of which St. Mary’s is listed Grade 1


As stated by the author: “The title of this article is “A Brief History of Wedmore” and is by W. MARSTON ACRES F.R.Hist.S. is actually not brief but a comprehensive and rich description of our wonderful past.”
Brief History of Wedmore


Read the following for an excellent background to Wedmore’s history from middle age to today!

Iron Age remains have been found in the area, and there are a number of Roman sites in the district.

The name Wedmore in Old English probably means hunting lodge and there was a Saxon royal estate in the area. Centwine gained control of the area in 682 and named it ‘Vadomaer’ after one of the Saxon leaders Vado the famous. After winning the Battle of Ethandun, Alfred the Great caused the Viking leader Guthrum and his followers to be baptised at Aller and then celebrated at Wedmore. After this the Vikings withdrew to East Anglia.

The Treaty of Wedmore is a term used by historians for an event referred to by the monk Asser in his Life of Alfred, outlining how in 878 the Viking leader Guthrum accepted Alfred the Great as his adoptive father.  No such treaty still exists but there is a document that is not specifically linked to Wedmore that is a Treaty of Alfred and Guthrum. Alfred then left Wedmore to his son Edward the Elder.


Sherborne Abbey – Sherborne, Dorset

Plaque reads: Near this spot were interned the mortal remains of Ethelbald and of Ethelbert his brother.

Each of whom in his turn succeeded to the throne of Ethelwilf their father, King of the West Saxons  and were succeeded in the kingdom by their youngest brother King Alfred the Great.


Alfred the Great (Old English: Ælfrēd, Ælfrǣd, “elf counsel”; 849 – 26 October 899) was King of Wessex from 871 to 899.

Alfred successfully defended his kingdom against the Viking attempt at conquest, and by his death had become the dominant ruler in England. He is the only English monarch to be accorded the epithet “the Great”.  Alfred was the first King of the West Saxons to style himself “King of the Anglo-Saxons”. Details of his life are described in a work by the 10th century Welsh scholar and bishop Asser. Alfred was a learned and merciful man who encouraged education and improved his kingdom’s legal system and military structure.

For a recent article (Jan 2014) from The UK Daily Telegraph about discoveries of Alfred the Great  click here.


For a very comprehensive archeological assessment presented by Claire Gathercole, which is an excellent paper that describes Wedmore’s development over the ages, provided by a Somerset County Council urban survey initiative – More about Wedmore History.


Wedmore was part of the Hundred of Bempstone.

In 1853 a hoard of 200 silver coins dating from the Saxon period was found in the churchyard. In 1998 a Saxon ring, made of copper alloy with a unique knot design, dating from the 6th or 7th century was found in the village by Tim Purnell. It has been authenticated by the British Museum and a modern copy made by local jeweller Erica Sharpe.]

According to Domesday Book, Wedmore was one of the holdings of the Bishop of Wells with 18 cottages, woodlands, pasture and two fisheries.

In the medieval period Wedmore was the centre for the surrounding agricultural area, with weekly markets as well as a larger annual one. The market cross dates from the 14th century.

In the 17th century Dr John Westover built a mental hospital to which patients came from all over the West Country.  This is believed to have been England’s first private lunatic asylum. Apparently, the doctor treated his patients compassionately, ensuring that they had luxuries such as playing cards and tobacco. He kept a record of the ailments of Wedmore people over a period of 15 years.


The George Inn

The (Old) Post Office dates from Georgian times, while the Old Vicarage was built at the end of the 15th century.  The George Hotel was a 16th-century coaching inn.  John Tonkin built a fashionable house, in the Italianate style, which is now the pharmacy.

The pharmacy

In 1799 Hannah More established a Sunday School for children in Wedmore in the face of opposition from the vicar and local gentry.

Between 1881 and 1898 the Rev Hervey produced the Wedmore Chronicle which gives a picture of the people and area at the time.

……… some of the above extract information is from Wikipedia with thanks

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