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Weston-Super-Mare (St. John)

WESTON-SUPER-MARE (St. John), a parish, in the union of Axbridge, hundred of Winterstoke, E. division of Somerset, 9 miles (N. W.) from Cross; containing 2103 inhabitants. This parish, which is on the margin of Uphill bay, near the Bristol Channel, has within the last few years more than trebled its population, from the construction of a bathing establishment at Knightstone, since which it has become a fashionable and well-frequented watering-place. The town is beautifully situated under the shelter of Worlebury Hill, which commands an extensive view of the surrounding country, with the range of the Mendip hills: an act of parliament for its general improvement, and for paving, lighting, and watching the streets, was passed in 1842. The bathing-house contains commodious apartments for the residence of invalids, and contiguous to it are furnished lodging-houses for the reception of families, and several good inns; the establishment comprises a public reading-room, and may be heated to any required temperature by steam apparatus detached from the building. Weston is situated immediately opposite to Cardiff on the Welsh coast, and a few of the inhabitants are engaged in the sprat and herring fishery; cod, whiting, soles, and salmon are also taken in considerable numbers. Limestone is quarried for building, for burning into lime, and for the roads; and the making of bricks is carried on to some extent. A convenient market-house has been erected at the expense of Richard Parsley, Esq. The Bristol and Exeter railway runs near the parish; and a branch worked by horses diverges to this place, where a station has been established. An act for constructing a pier was passed in 1846. The powers of the county debt-court of Weston, established in 1847, extend over part of the registration-district of Axbridge. The living is a discharged rectory, valued in the king's books at £14. 17. 11., and in the patronage of the Bishop of Bath and Wells: the tithes have been commuted for £235, and there is a glebe of nearly 40 acres. The church is a neat edifice, partly rebuilt in 1824, and enlarged in 1837 by Archdeacon Law, the present rector, who also greatly improved and beautified the interior. An additional church, dedicated to Emmanuel, and situated near the railway station, at the entrance of the town, was consecrated in Oct. 1847: it consists of a nave, chancel, north and south aisles, and a western tower; the chancel is separated from the nave by carved oak screens, and the pulpit is of stone. There are places of worship for Independents and Wesleyans. At Worlebury is a rampart of stones, 20 feet high, with ditches, supposed to have been the last fortified camp of the Romans in this district. A well in the parish possesses the unusual property of being empty at high water, and full when the tide is at its ebb.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858.