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Baltonsborough: The historic village with a thriving community spirit

PUBLISHED: 11:26 10 August 2018 | UPDATED: 11:26 10 August 2018

The village is bordered by the River Brue and its tributaries (c) Gus Cowan

The village is bordered by the River Brue and its tributaries (c) Gus Cowan

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This month Andrea visits Baltonborough

Baltonsborough is an attractive village approximately four miles from Glastonbury, surrounded by open countryside and bordered by the River Brue. The earliest written evidence of the village is from a deed dated 744AD in which 10 ‘hides’ of land in ‘Baltunesberghe’ was given to the Abbot of Glastonbury. 800 acres of oak woodland in the area were mentioned in the Domesday Book and until the 17th century these provided timber, fuel and pasturage. The names Northwood and Southwood still hint at this past.

There are some beautiful old stone buildings, including the early 15th century church dedicated to St Dunstan, Abbot of Glastonbury, who eventually became the Archbishop of Canterbury. The site of his birth in 909AD, reputably in Ham Street, is acknowledged with a memorial stone. Further along from the church is the site of an old tannery, later used as a cider mill. There is the old water grist mill (or flour mill) and the 14th century Grade I listed Gatehouse, named after the Gatehouse family who lived there from 1699 until 1839. The Greyhound Inn, situated in the centre of the village, is Grade II listed and dates back to 1800 whilst Lubborn House, with parts dating to the 17th century, was used throughout the 1900s as a store for the county’s cheese before it was shipped to London.

These historic buildings are interspersed between new developments. The population (864 in the 2011 census) is steadily increasing which is great news for the thriving pre-school and Baltonsborough CofE Primary School. Sadly the village shop and post office closed last year but there are plans for the shop to be taken on as a community venture, unless it is bought as a private business.

It’s an active community: the village hall offers everything from Zumba dance to indoor bowls. The Baltonsborough Players stage regular productions, whilst there are a couple of choirs, including the popular Brue Boys. Making the most of the beautiful countryside, a walking group meets every Monday to Thursday, whilst possibly the prettiest allotments I’ve seen are on the outskirts of the village. The land is overseen by the Honeymead Society and there are 50 plots as well as communal plots of small fruits and an orchard. Apparently the same plot of land has been used for allotments off and on since St Dunstan’s time.

Did you know...?

A fan of the area, American actor Nicolas Cage has lived in the village since 2006.

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