Village Life: Croscombe

PUBLISHED: 09:47 29 January 2019

The historic village of Croscombe (c) Mike Rossiter

The historic village of Croscombe (c) Mike Rossiter

Mike Rossiter

This month Andrea visits Croscombe

Croscombe is a small village with a population of approximately 600, nestling in the valley of the River Sheppey between Shepton Mallet and Wells.

Like so many of our villages, Croscombe is a historian’s delight. It was first recorded in 706 when King Ine of Wessex referred to it in his charter as Correges Cumb. The date is proudly displayed on the name sign as you enter the village.

The A371 meanders through, past attractive stone buildings. The historic core of the village dates back to the boom of the wool trade which brought prosperity in the 16th and 17th centuries. Meanwhile, a labyrinth of residential streets weave their way up the hills either side of the main road showcasing an interesting mix of house sizes and styles.

The beautiful medieval Church of St Mary the Virgin, is a Grade I-listed building. It has an unusual stone spire and six church bells, the earliest of which is dated 1613. The interior was largely refitted in the early 17th century and is considered a splendid example of Jacobean woodwork. It still retains many original features such as the beautiful panelled box pews.

A large stone cross in the village is a reminder of the markets and celebrations that would have taken place in Croscombe. Originally erected in the 14th century, the cross was the focus of an uprising in the late 19th century when the equivalent of today’s highway patrol tried to remove it, largely with crowbars and hammers. They didn’t bank on the reaction of Croscombe’s residents who joined forces to set up a vigil to protect the ancient landmark.

Opposite the cross is a bed and breakfast which was once the site of a 15th century public house. The remaining village pub is The George Inn, an award-winning, family-owned, 17th century freehouse. It now houses the Croscombe Stores micro-shop, following the recent closure of the village store.

A community-focused village, current residents can enjoy a host of activities and clubs, catering to the needs and interests of all ages. The village hall is the venue for many of these, including monthly film nights, an orchestra, frequent charter markets and a drama society, as well as the usual yoga classes and WI. For children, there is a thriving primary school complete with a forest school and kitchen gardens and there is a playground and sports field near the village hall. A cricket club, shared with nearby Dinder village, has been going since 1948 and there are plenty of additional sports clubs in both Shepton Mallet and Wells, easily accessible with the hourly bus service.

Did you know...? On June, 14 1936 a lightning strike damaged the church spire, but it was repairable, and the cockerel at the top remained intact.

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