Cheddar  Somerset


In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Cheddar like this:

CHEDDAR, a village and a parish in Axbridge district, Somerset. The village stands near the Cheddar Cliffs, on the S side of the Mendip hills, 2½ miles ESE of Axbridge; and is near a station of the Cheddar Valley and Yatton railway, from Yatton to Wells, opened in 1869. It is an ancient but decayed place, irregularly built; and it has a post office‡ under Weston-super-Mare, two inns, and an old market-cross restored in 1834. ...

A considerable market was long held in it; and there still are fairs on 4 May and 29 Oct. The parish includes also part of Draycott hamlet. Acres, 6, 998. Real property, £12, 634. Pop., 2, 032. Houses, 457. The property is much subdivided. The manor was a seat of Alfred the Great; and belong. ed afterwards to the De Cheddars, who long represented the county in parliament. The manor-house stood near Axbridge; and is partly extant in a farm-house. Cheddar Cliffs are a narrow, winding, romantic ravine, nearly a mile long, faced with vertical cliffs, cut by fissures, festooned with shrubs, fashioned naturally into buttresses, towers, and pinnacles, and rising in one part to an altitude of 429 feet. A copious streamlet issues from the chasm; has power enough, after a few hundred yards, to drive paper and corn mills; and passes on to the Axe. A cavern, accidentally discovered at the enlarging of a corn mill in 1839, possesses a singularly rich display of stalagmites and stalactites, in great variety, of beautiful, grotesque, and fantastic forms. This cavern is small and narrow; but others exist of larger size, great gloomy vaults; and one of them can be explored for about 300 feet. Cheddar cheese has been famous from early times; and owes its excellence, in a main degree, to the rich pasture of the grass farms. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Bath and Wells. Value, £203.* Patrons, the Dean and Chapter of Wells. The church is perpendicular English, with a square tower 100 feet high; and contains a sculptured stone pulpit, a rich oaken screen, and two brasses of 1443. There are chapels for Baptists, Wesleyans, and Primitive Methodists. A school has £46 from endowment; and other charities have £152.

Cheddar through time

Cheddar is now part of Sedgemoor district. Click here for graphs and data of how Sedgemoor has changed over two centuries. For statistics about Cheddar itself, go to Units and Statistics.

How to reference this page:

GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Cheddar, in Sedgemoor and Somerset | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.


Date accessed: 09th May 2021

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