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Mendip Hills, Somerset

Historical Description

Mendip Hills, a range of hills in Somerset, commencing near the coast in the vicinity of Weston-super-Mare, and extending about 20 miles in the direction of SE by E to the northern neighbourhood of Shepton Mallet. It is well developed over a distance of only about 12 miles, and there it has a breadth of from 3 to 6 miles, and lifts several summits to an altitude of upwards of 1000 feet above sea-level. It consists chiefly of mountain limestone and old red sandstone; and, in consequence of the prevalence and the positions of the former rock, it presents similar phenomena to those of the Derby hills, particularly caverns, subterranean streams, and veins of lead ore. Its sides, to a considerable extent, are steep and rugged, and at intervals are scored by rocky hollows or torn by romantic chasms. Its surface was long a royal forest, frequented by the Saxon and the Norman kings for hunting, but is now in large degree enclosed and cultivated. Lead mines were formerly worked. A Roman road from Old Sarurn to the Bristol Channel went along its summit, and many barrows are still upon its heights. Mendip Lodge, a seat on one of its slopes, 7 miles NE by N of Axbridge, was frequently visited by Mrs Siddons, stands beautifully embosomed in woods, and has grounds containing terrace walks with delight-iul views, and no fewer than fifty-two grottoes.

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

Church Records, in association with Somerset Archives & Local Studies, have images of the Parish Registers for Somerset online.


Online maps of Mendip Hills are available from a number of sites: