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Burnham, Somerset

Historical Description

Burnham, a watering-place and a parish in Somersetshire. The town stands on the coast, at the mouth of the rivers Brue and Parret, and is the terminus of the Somerset and Dorset railway, 145 miles from London, 2 NW of the Highbridge Junction, and 9 SW by W of Axbridge. It has a post, money order, and telegraph office (R.S.O.), and is much frequented as a watering-place. The beach at it is fine sand, but is left bare to the breadth of half a mile at low water. Steamers occasionally ply during the summer months to Ilfracombe, Minehead, Watchet, Cardiff, and round the Holmes. There is an excellent market-house, a town-hall, and two banks. There are two lighthouses to warn ships of the danger of the Gore Sands-one on the Borrow Road, intermittent, 91 feet high; the other, 23 feet high, 1500 feet away, constant; also a station of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, with a lifeboat. There is a very fine water supply from Mendips, and a thorough drainage system. The Esplanade is half a mile long. The town possesses great educational advantages. The parish includes also the tithing of Huish-juxta-Highbridge, and the hamlets of Edithmead and Highbridge. Acreage, 3907; population of the civil parish, 4200; of the ecclesiastical, 2431; acreage of urban sanitary district, 656; population, 2360. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Bath and Wells; net value, £346. Patrons, the Dean and Chapter of Wells. The church is an ancient building, 140 feet in length, with a lofty tower serving as a landmark, was well restored in 1878-79, and contains a magnificent altar-piece designed by Inigo Jones. There are also Wesleyan and Baptist chapels and a Roman Catholic church. The convent of the Retreat of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a brick building, known as " The Rookery."

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


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

Ancient CountySomersetshire 
Ecclesiastical parishBurnham St. Andrew 
Poor Law unionAxbridge 

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

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

Civil Registration

For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Burnham from the following:

Newspapers and Periodicals

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

Visitations Heraldic

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