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Minehead, Somerset

Historical Description

Minehead, a small town and a parish in Somerset. The town stands on the coast, under Minehead Point, with a station on the G.W.R., 183 miles from London, 11 E of the boundary with Devonshire, and 26 W by N of Bridgwater. It has a post, money order, and telegraph office. Acreage of the parish, 4025; population, 2071. The town was known at Domesday as Maneheve, sent two members to Parliament from the time of Elizabeth till disfranchised in 1832, and carried on for some time a considerable export trade, particularly in woollen goods and in herrings to the Mediterranean. For a time it went into decay, but is now one of the most popular seaside resorts in the West of England. It has its charms of sea and landscape, and in the autumn it is one of the best centres for stag-hunting. It combines at once all the health-giving features of a watering-place with the romance of antiquity and the allurement of lovely pastoral scenery. The town consists of three parts called, Quay Town, Lower Town, and Upper Town. The Quay Town is the port, and consists of one long street running by the side of the harbour and the sea. The Lower Town connects with the Quay Town by an elm-shaded road called Blenheim Terrace. It includes the Parade and a row of houses called the Parks, and contains the principal shop& I and hotels, the market-house, a handsome building with a clock, and a large number of good lodging-houses. The-Upper Town stands on the eastern declivity of a steep and rugged hill, and contains many new residences and some old ones. The church is a handsome structure, 116 feet by 40,. consists of nave, N aisle, and chancel, with embattled tower, shows a figure of St Michael in a niche of the tower, and contains a curious old font and a monument supposed to ba to the memory of Henry de Bracton, judge in the time of Henry III.; it was thoroughly restored in 1887. The churchyard contains an ancient stone cross on steps. St Andrew's-Church was erected in 1880 at the sole expense of the wife-of the vicar, and is a stone building in the Early English style. A statue of Queen Anne was re-erected in 1894: under a canopy in Wellington Square. The town has a handsome town-hall, Baptist and Wesleyan chapels, a large-school, a free reading-room, almshouses, and charities. A weekly market is held on Wednesday.' The harbour can readily be entered in rough weather, and has only from 9 to 17 feet of water, yet is the best and safest within a long reach of iron-bound coast. There are a lighthouse and a coastguard station. The attractions of the town as a watering-place-are chiefly a very mild climate and a romantic circumjacent country. The best view-points and airing grounds are the-quay, the brow of Minehead Point, and a hill above tho½ Upper Town. The point rises 690 feet above sea-level, and is the eastern termination of a wild range of hills extending along the coast to Porlock. The parish includes the manor of Bratton and the hamlets of Periton, Vineford, and Wood-combe. The manor belonged anciently to the Mohuns, and belongs now to the Luttrell family. Bratton Court, about a mile W of the town, was the residence of the judge Henry de Bracton, and is an old quadrangular timber mansion,. partly modernized, now used as a farmhouse. A murex, which gives a crimson mark to linen, occurs on the coast, and submarine trees are found. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Bath and Wells; gross value, £220 with residence. Dr. Brocklesby, the friend of Johnson, was a native.

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 parishMinehead St. Michael 
Poor Law unionWilliton 

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.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Minehead from the following:


Online maps of Minehead are available from a number of sites:

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.

DistrictWest Somerset
RegionSouth West
Postal districtTA24
Post TownMinehead