The Heritage Project
Through the History Group - Pam Earnshaw and Jan Culverhouse recognised how much of a diverse and fascinating history we have in Bawdrip, for such a small village there are many historic points of interest.
They had the idea of having an Interpretation board on the Green to highlight the six listed building in the vicinity, as many walkers and cyclists come through the village because of the Sustrans cycle path that was once the railway track.
It was then decided to add another board near the railway line to highlight the history of the railway that ran through the village and a further one by the Environment Agency depot to describe the history of the King Sedgemoor Drain and The Battle of Sedgemoor.
The three boards would be linked with walking trails and a leaflet to highlight more points of interest around the village.
To provide the funding it was decided to apply for Heritage Lottery Funding. With the backing of the Parish Council, a steering group of five and support of the Village, the application was submitted which was successful in January 2018. Planning permission for the boards was granted in March 2018.
A Bawdrip Trail will be created to cover the main historic features of our village. The focus will be three interpretation boards.
Board 1 Village Green (Click to see site)
Board 2 Environment Agency Kings Sedgemoor Drain (Click to see site)
Board 3 Sustrans Path – Former Railway (Click to see site)
The Group was delighted to receive the news on 16th January that their application for £7,600 of National Lottery funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) had been successful. (Press Release)
Walks and talks will be held to share stories about where the Romans landed, traded and travelled, where Sedgemoor rebels marched, when trains came, went and stopped, where cows grazed,where owls, hares and skylarks still live, where the tall man worked in the smallest house and the blind willow weaver weaved and where man left its mark.
The Environment Agency will be helping with research into the changes in drainage patterns and how it has affected this community. There will be conducted tours of the X1Vth church to see where Eleanor Lovell might have hid and the resting place of Sir Simon de Bradney who was a crusader. Finding the story of Bawdrip, through its history, its buildings and its landscape and engaging everyone in sharing and researching the facts through organised talks, walks, visits and workshops.
A Heritage Day was held in August 2017, when people attended an exhibition of photographs, shared stories and had an early preview of the interpretation boards. A summary leaflet is being created as well as further develop of this website. The leaflet will cover the main historic features of the village and also be available an App containing details of the wider Parish. Thus information will be available in print and digital format thereby leaving a legacy for others to follow.
The First two interpretation boards are now being printed
These are the final designs of the village and railway boards
Click to enlarge
Interactive Maps show the Heritage trails around Bawdrip village and the surrounding area.
The three are coloured as follows:
Blue starting at the Village Green for a description of this trail (click here)
Green starting at the King Sedgemoor Drain for a description of this trail (click here)
Red starting on the former Bridgwater Railway for a description of this trail(click here)
Click on the pins on the maps to see some basic details. Further details are available a click away in most cases by clicking the opened box.
Click on the icon on the map for more details of each of the interpretation boards
Printed copies of the trails are also available at the following locations; Bawdrip Church, Parish Hall, Knowle Inn and Bawdrip Garage
The trails shown are entirely on public rights of way or within areas that are open for public access.
We are therefore not responsible for the routes or for your safety if you follow them.
If you find any problems with the route please contact the relevant local authority rights of way section
The Interpretation board on the Village Green marks the starting point of the village trail designed to highlight the six listed building and other interesting places in the vicinity. The route is coloured blue and you are at the board located at the Green where the Village Trail begins.
The notable properties (which are numbered on the map) are listed below for you to note as you progress
Enter the Churchyard by the gate on your left and follow around the path to the entrance.
1 BAWDRIP CHURCH St Michael & All Angels
Bawdrip has been a worshipping community from at least the13th Century. The present church was built as a ‘cross church’ in the 14th Century. Significant restoration was completed in 1867. In the North Aisle is an effigy of Sir Simon de Bradney in full armour. Two of the four bells date from the 15th Century. The ringing chamber is reached via an external door leading to a cantilevered staircase. A small Madonna and Child are preserved in the chancel. The 1681 death of Eleanor Lovell inspired the ‘Mistletoe Bough’ and is recalled in a 17th Century Latin memorial behind the altar. The church is open during daylight hours and a leaflet on the history of the church and
the village is available there. The church is part of a wider Benefice with Woolavington and Cossington.
On leaving the Church turn right and leave through the gate into Church Path
2 CHURCH VILLA
The rear of the building is on Church Path and is of red brick construction with a portico front porch, recently restored. In 1835 Thomas Crocker was the owner but the house could be much older. In 1857 it is described as a dwelling house, turf house and a garden of 10 perches. The outbuilding at the side was the tailor.
Crocker sold land and Linham Cottage was built, now St Michael’s Cottage (No 6). On the Tithe Map land opposite was farm buildings including a slaughter house, later converted to a a wash house by the side of the now 12a Church Path. At various times the cottage at the end of Church Path has been a butcher and a bakery.
At the end of Church Path turn left into Church Road and follow the road around until you reach
3 THE LITTLE HOUSE
Built early 19th Century. Possibly the smallest, detached period house in Britain! With a doorway of 4’8” (1.43m) and a footprint of 36.74 square feet (11.2m²), it is a tiny one-up, one-down with a steep ladder stair and hob-grate fireplace. In 1836 it was used as a shop by cobblers Richard and Charles Crocker. Alongside the Little House was the Old Smithy; John Staples was the blacksmith here between 1871 and 1901. The Smithy was demolished in 1976.
Bear left following Church Road and on your right will be
4 THE OLD RECTORY AND ROADSIDE WALL
The first reference to the building is in 1330 when Sir Simon de Bradney “endowed the priest with a house to live in and 18 acres of land in Bawdrip”. In 1606 the buildings included a bake house, barn, stables and cattle stalls. The Mistletoe Bough legend of the demise of Eleanor Lovell, who tragically died in 1681, is said to have originated here. It has a principally Georgian facade. Alterations and additions were made in 1848. The Rectory is now 2 dwellings.
Continue along Church and turn right into Eastside Lane. After a short distance on the right you will reach.
5 TUDOR COURT FARMHOUSE
This is the old Manorial House dating back to 1532 where the Manor Courts were held every 3 weeks; records for this still survive (1550-1634). The house stands on the site of a 12th century medieval manor and is a beautiful atmospheric house of high-status origin, with much 16th century painted plaster.
A short distance further on the right-hand side will be
6 BARKER’S FARM
This farmhouse has a painted plaster panel with decorative wreath, inset with the date 1705. It is thought the house may be much older and 1705 could relate to the date of alterations by John and Mary Barker. The wreath was viewed from the train by June White as she travelled to school in the 1950s; little did she realise that one day she would be living there as the farmer’s wife. During that time the lean-to on the
left was used as a shop selling meat from their farm. Note the old stand where the milk churns waited to be collected.
Retrace your steps to the village green which is the site of the former
7 CHURCH FARM
Church Farm dates from the reign of Elizabeth I, being a Glebe farmhouse, belonging to the Church. Its early history cannot be traced as there were no copyhold tenants. At one time it was a Cider House. In 1902 Walter and Ella Crane were the occupiers and, along with their son, Jack, they built up the farm purchasing it in 1936. It remained in the family until Jack died in November 1998. The farmhouse was subsequently demolished in 2001 to make way for redevelopment of the site and the creation of a village green.
8 UPLANDS (not shown on Map)
The first known recording of the property Uplands House in Bawdrip Lane was in 1822. It was rebuilt as a vicarage in the late 1850s and had ten bedrooms and a large service wing. From 1901 successive Vicars lived in the Rectory. Uplands was later known as Bawdrip House and was leased in the 1940s by Somerset County Council for use as a ‘sick bay’ and for evacuees. In October 1944 it was used as a residential nursery and in 1988 as a family residential centre. It was sold in 2010 and is now a private house again.
9 SHAW’S ORCHARD
Shaw’s Orchard, which was part of the Grange Cottage holding, has been documented as an orchard since 1575. The modern housing development takes its name from the owner of Grange Cottage. Apple trees were planted when the houses were built in the publicly owned land as a link to the past. A rare Saxon comb was found in an archaeological investigation prior to building.
The King Sedgemoor Drain trail
The Interpretation board at the King Sedgemoor Drain is sited on the fence of the Environmental Agency Depot marks the starting point of the rural trail designed to highlight the beauty of the area and the nearby battle of Sedgemoor. The route is coloured GREEN.
THE KING’S SEDGEMOOR DRAIN Completed in 1795 is the main drainage channel for a wide area, including King’s Sedgemoor, West Moor, Lang Moor and Aller Moor. It relies on gravity to transport water from the River Cary to the tidal River Parrett. Recent changes have been made to improve control of water flow and increase capacity of the Drain. It is now maintained by the Environment Agency.
It is a wonderful wildlife corridor. Kingfishers, herons, water voles and otters can all be seen. The KSD is a popular fishing destination with roach, rudd, pike, tench, bream, carp and perch. One remarkable creature that shares these waters is the eel; starting life in the Sargasso Sea.
Try to visualise where Plumb Tree cottage once stood, and the other footbridge was located. Imagine the landscape before the Drain and the bridge was widened. The Drain plays a key role in trying to prevent flooding in Bridgwater and Taunton with fields upstream used as water harvesters in the winter and times of heavy rain.
This is where rebel army passed in 1685 at the time of the Monmouth Rebellion. There is more information on the board.
THE BATTLE OF SEDGEMOOR In 1685 the Rebel Army (3600 strong), led by the Duke of Monmouth, marched past here on a misty moonlit night enroot to the Bussex Rhyne, near Westonzoyland where the army of King James II (3000 strong) was encamped. For further information visit Blake Museum or Westonzoyland Church Visitor Centre.
To begin the trail towards Bawdrip taking care as you walk up Bradney Lane as there is no pavement.
Turn right into Stone Drove. Follow the path until you reach a stile on the left.
You could extend the walk here into Skylark Meadow by going straight ahead.
SKYLARK MEADOW is an example of former farming methods with its rhynes and pollarded willow. In midsummer, the meadow is alive with wild flowers and a wide variety of grasses. The herb-rich hay is cut in late summer to protect ground-nesting skylarks. The reserve is surrounded by arable fields and agriculturally “improved” grassland in keeping with modern farming methods.
To continue along the trail, turn left over the bridge and follow the footpath keeping right alongside the rhyne reflecting on the changes in agriculture over the years, with dairying being replaced by arable and beef.
Cross the footbridge over a rhyne to go through King’s Farm and on to Eastside Lane.
KING’S FARM is named after the King family which can be traced back to 1609. The building has a datestone of 1650; however, it could be older as the fireplace appears to be of the Tudor period. An extension was made to the farmhouse around the year 2000, giving it a west wing. It is said that soldiers from the Battle of Sedgemoor rested here.
Turn left and continue along Eastside Lane a short distance, then turn right up to the old railway line passing the interpretation board at the Kings Seats.
Go straight ahead and down the other side of the embankment.
At the bottom go through the gate and straight ahead to another one. Go through this, turn left and follow the field until you reach the path that leads back to Eastside Lane.
At the end of the path turn right and again at the end of Eastside Lane into Church Road.
Pass by the railway bridge and bear right into Shaws Orchard following the road to the far end.
Apple trees have been planted in the development as a historic link to the orchards grown here for centuries. It is named Shaw’s Orchard after the previous landowner.
Take the path through the open area up to the old railway embankment and down the steps on the far side. There is no hand rail so take great care. It is at your own risk.
Follow the path from the bottom of the steps to the left.
Continue until you reach a stile on your left.
Cross this and go straight ahead through the field to a further one.
Cross this and proceed until you reach King’s Sedgemoor drain. Turn left and follow parallel to the water to another stile and a footbridge.
As you cross, look right to try to pick out the spot where the railway bridge crossed – marked black on the map.Look out too for cormorants, kingfisher, swans and herons. Cranes do fly over the village too! If you are very lucky you might see an otter.
Turn left at the end of the bridge. Go through the gate and follow the path to the road. You have now reached the end of the KSD Trail