Wiveliscombe

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Wiveliscombe is a town and civil parish in Somerset, England, situated 9 miles (14 km) west of Taunton in the Taunton Deane district. The town has a population of 2,670. The parish includes the nearby hamlet of Maundown.

North west of the town are Clatworthy Camp an Iron age hill fort and Clatworthy Reservoir. Nearby is Elworthy Barrows an unfinished Iron Age hill fort rather than Bronze Age barrows. The Neolithic hillfort at King’s Castle is 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) east of the town.

The parish of Wiveliscombe was part of the Kilmersdon Hundred,

The Town Hall was built in 1840 by Richard Carver for Lord Ashburton. It housed a fish market, a butchers’ market and a pig market with an assembly room above them. It is a Grade II listed building. It was bought by The Cooperative Society in 1929 and converted to shops, with the hall being left unused. Plans have now been drawn up for the creation of an Arts, Media, Cultural and Heritage Venue.

In 2010 a new 10 Parishes Centre was announced which will provide a new community facility alongside the Children’s Centre being built at Croft Way.

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 town falls within the Non-metropolitan district of Taunton Deane, which was formed on April 1, 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972, having previously been part of Wellington Rural District; and Somerset County Council. It is also part of the Taunton Deane county constituency, and part of the South West England constituency of the European Parliament.

Wiveliscombe is a former borough, market and cloth making town just 5 miles (8 km) from the border between Devon and Somerset. It is situated at the foot of the Brendon Hills and acts as a gateway to Exmoor.

The town used to have a station on the Devon and Somerset Railway which closed in 1966.

While the population of 2,670 is small for a town, the shops and services meet the needs of a much larger population, spread through the western fifth of Taunton Deane, in scattered farms and villages.

A survey in 1997 revealed that there were at least 300 businesses within a 5 miles (8 km) mile radius of the town; 14 of these were trading internationally and a further 20 nationally. Wiveliscombe is also home to two breweries, Cotleigh Brewery and Exmoor Ales. It is also one of the first towns in the UK to set up a completely free goods and services exchange forum for the local ten parishes area.

The Church of St Andrew dates from 1827-9 and was built from red sandstone with Hamstone dressings, although the font is octagonal and originated in the 14th century. The architect was Richard Carver. The church has been designated by English Heritage as a grade II* listed building. Within the churchyard is a 14th century Sandstone cross.

The oldest place of worship in Wiveliscombe is the Congregational Chapel in Silver Street, built in 1708 as the Independent Chapel. It joined the Congregational Union of England and Wales in 1838, and today is home to the Wiveliscombe Evangelical Congregational Church. This chapel was built because the Independent Meeting House (built in 1689 after the Act of Toleration) had become too small.

Note: this page is partly based on a Wikipedia page. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. Where possible, text is being updated to original, fully referenced research. ‘Our photos’ means we took the photographs. The Street View and street map visuals are courtesy of Google.

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