Cheddar, a village and a parish in Somerset. The village stands near the Cheddar Cliffs, on the S side of the Mendip Hills, 2¼ miles ESE of Axbridge, and has a station on the G.W.R., 134 miles from London. It is an ancient place, irregularly built, and it has a post, money order, and telegraph office (R.S.O.), two inns, and an old market-cross restored in 1887, A considerable market was long held in it, and there still are fairs on 4 May and 29 Oct. Acreage, 7018; population, 1941. The manor was a seat of Alfred the Great, and belonged afterwards to the De Chedders, who long represented the county in Parliament. There were four manors carved out of this. The manor-houses of two are standing —those of Cheddar Hameam and Cheddar Fitz-Walter. Cheddar Cliffs are a narrow, winding, romantic ravine, nearly a mile long, faced with vertical cliffs, cut by fissures, festooned with shrubs, fashioned naturally into buttresses, towers, and pinnacles, and rising in some parts to a great altitude. A copious streamlet issues from the chasm; has power enough, after a few hundred yards, to drive paper and corn mills, and passes on to the Axe. A cavern accidentally discovered at the enlarging of a corn mill in 1839, possesses a singularly rich display of stalagmites and stalactites, in great variety, .of beautiful, grotesque, and fantastic forms. This cavern is small and narrow, but others exist of larger size —great gloomy vaults; and one-of them can be explored for about 300 feet. Another cave opposite the " lion rock " contains fossil remains of animals. Cheddar cheese has been famous from early times, and owes ita excellence in a main degree to the rich pasture of the grass farms. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Bath and Wells. Patrons, the Dean and Chapter of Wells. The church is Perpendicular English, with a square tower 100 feet high, and contains a sculptured stone pulpit, a rich oaken screen, and two brasses of 1443 and 1476. It was thoroughly restored in 1873. There are Baptist, Wesleyan, and private Independent chapels. St Michael's Home is an institution for consumptive patients who are members of the Church of England.
The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.
|Ecclesiastical parish||Chedder St. Andrew|
|Poor Law union||Axbridge|
Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.
Ancestry.co.uk, in association with Somerset Archives & Local Studies, have images of the Parish Registers for Somerset online.
For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.
Directories & Gazetteers
We have transcribed the entry for Cheddar from the following:
- Samuel Lewis' A Topographical Dictionary of England, 1848 (Chedder (St. Andrew))
Online maps of Cheddar are available from a number of sites:
- Bing (Current Ordnance Survey maps).
- Google Streetview.
- National Library of Scotland. (Old maps)
- old-maps.co.uk (Old Ordnance Survey maps to buy).
- Streetmap.co.uk (Current Ordnance Survey maps).
- A Vision of Britain through Time. (Old maps)
Newspapers and Periodicals
The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Somerset papers online:
- Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette
- Taunton Courier, and Western Advertiser
- Western Gazette
- Wells Journal
- Somerset County Gazette
The Visitation of Somersetshire, 1623 is available on the Heraldry page.