Village Life: Evercreech
PUBLISHED: 16:37 07 October 2019
In our special series Andrea Cowan takes a look at village life in Somerset. This time she visits Evercreech
Evercreech is a village and civil parish in the Mendip district, just three miles from Shepton Mallet, recorded in the Domesday Book as 'Evrecriz'.
With a population of 2,334 (2011 Census) the large village is spread out with a mix of house styles and periods. Although agriculture remains a key industry, plenty of blue lias stone cottages hint at the quarrying hey-day.
Brick making was also an important industry, and the prominence of silk grew through the 19th century until just after World War One, providing jobs for young women and girls. There were three mills: two produced high quality, spun silk thread whilst the third mill wove the thread into cloth.
A nod towards its propserity, Evercreech Junction railway station opened on the outskirts of the village in 1862, on the Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway line. The village station was eventually closed with the Beeches cuts following an appearance on a BBC documentary presented by John Betjeman in 1963. Evercreech Junction is now a mix of private houses and an industrial estate.
The Railway Inn, the stone pub built in 1862, is now the Natterjack Inn, one of three pubs within the village. The other two are more centrally located, traditional coaching inns: the Bell Inn and the Pickled Inn.
A major feature of the village is the Grade 1 listed Church of St Peter. Dating from the 14th century, it has a particularly impressive perpendicular tower. Architectural historian, Nikolaus Pevsner, called the tower the finest in Somerset and in a county noted for its medieval churches, this is quite a claim.
The market cross, dating from the 15th century, was originally situated in the church yard, but is now just outside the grounds.
Along the High Street is a local Co-op and a Post Office, a village bakery called Heathercreech Kitchen, a dog grooming parlour and a doctor's surgery. Meanwhile, a busy community hall is used regularly for various local classes, clubs and private events and on the outskirts of the village is a large sports field.
A well regarded Church of England primary school, with a 'good' Ofsted rating, incorporates a pre-school. Originally situated in a building constructed in 1854 opposite the church, the school was moved to its current location on the edge of the village in 1993.
Secondary schools can be found in the nearby towns of Shepton Mallet, Castle Cary and Bruton, with frequent bus services running. The village is also perfectly positioned for commuting, with the main line train service at Castle Cary just four miles away. This thriving village really does tick the boxes.
Did you know…?
Look at the church clock and you'll see that there is no number 10. Legend has it that the man who paid for the clock-face ensured that there was no 10 o'clock visible as his wife always insisted that he be home from the pub by 10pm.