Weston Super Mare, Somerset

Historical Description

Weston-super-Mare, a town and a parish in Somerset. The town stands on the coast, with a station on the G.W.R., 137 miles from London, under the rocky fir-covered Worle Hill, 3 miles NE of Brean Down Point, and 20 SW by W of Bristol. It has a post, money order, and telegraph office. It was, so late as 1810, a small fishing hamlet; underwent great and rapid change on becoming a watering-place; rose to a population of nearly 4000 in 1851, and doubled that population before the end of 1861; acquired onward such increasingly great improvements as to have become a very handsome town and a first-rate sea-bathing resort. The town is governed by an urban district council of fifteen members. It comprises many fine streets, terraces, and crescents, together with numerous detached elegant residences; Includes a fine open space, called Ellenborough Park, lined along the sides with ornamental villas; enjoys a salubrious climate, a good bathing beach, and charming environs; is a seat of petty sessions and county courts, and publishes two weekly newspapers. It carries on fine pottery manufacture, and has a head post office, three banks, many hotels, a town-hall in the Venetian style, a band-some suite of assembly rooms, four gentlemen's club houses, a market-hall, a promenade pier, 1100 feet long and 20 wide, completed in 1867 at a cost of £20,000, a steamboat landing-stage beyond the pier, and harbour works at Brean Down. The Royal West of England Sanatorium, situated on the sea shore between Weston and Uphill, was established in 1868, stands in 3 acres of ground, and is used chiefly by convalescents requiring sea air and sea-bathing. Clarence Park, of 16 acres, was presented to the town by the late Rebecca Davies in 1886. The Recreation Grounds, 14 acres in extent, were opened in 1885, and are well adapted for outdoor sports and athletic meetings. In 1887 a new sea front was completed, forming a continuous broad promenade or esplanade, 2½ miles in length. A marine drive extends 4 miles through the woods to Kewstoke. The parish church of St John was rebuilt in 1824, and is a building of stone in the Early English style with an embattled western tower; the building was restored in 1878 and enlarged in 1891. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Bath and Wells; net value, £447 with residence. Patron, the Bishop of Bath and Wells. Christ Church was erected in 1855, and is a building of stone in the Gothic style. The living is a vicarage; gross value, £390 with residence. Emmanuel Church was erected in 1847, and is a stone structure in the Perpendicular style. The living is a vicarage; gross value, £250. Holy Trinity Church was built in 1861, and is a building of stone in the Early English style with tower and spire. There are Baptist, Wesleyan, Congregational, Bible Christian, and Roman Catholic chapels. The Hospital and Dispensary in Alfred Street was erected in 1886, and has siqce been enlarged. The town thrives principally from the number of visitors during the summer season, but being so sheltered from the north winds by Worlebury Hills, it is becoming also a favourite winter residence. Steep holme and Flat holme are rocky islets about 8 miles from the coast; there are batteries on both islands, and Flat holme has a lighthouse. The parish includes Ashcombe and Milton hamlets. Acreage, 1606; population, 15,520. Traces of ancient camps are on Worle Hill, and various objects interesting to antiquaries, geologists, and tourists are in the near vicinity.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5

Administration

The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient County Somersetshire
Ecclesiastical parish Weston-Super-Mare St. John
Hundred Winterstoke
Poor Law union Axbridge

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.


Church Records

The Phillimore transcript of Marriages at Weston-super-Mare 1682-1837, Somerset is available to browse online.

Ancestry.co.uk, in association with Somerset Archives & Local Studies, have images of the Parish Registers for Somerset online.


Directories & Gazetteers

Transcript of HUNT & CO.'S 1850 Directory and Topography of the town of Weston-Super-Mare.

We have transcribed the entry for Weston Super Mare from the following:


Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Somerset papers online:


Photographs

Postcard of Weston-Super-Mare Boulevard from the early 20th century.

Weston-Super-Mare Boulevard


Visitations Heraldic

The Visitation of Somersetshire, 1623 is available on the Heraldry page.