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Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Somerset: Selworthy

Right, a few more pictures from the return leg of my 'grand tour' of the south west:

As I left Lee Abbey Devon, I had time to visit the little village of Selworthy, in the care of the National Trust and situated near Minehead, in Somerset. It's chocolate-box pretty, especially on a hot, sunny day. The village forms part of the Holnicote estate and much of it was built in 1828 by Sir Thomas Acland as a 'model village' to provide housing for the aged and infirm of the estate. The limewashed cottages are mostly thatched, and it is quaint how the thatch is shaped around the windows and doors like a neat haircut. Some of the cottages are grouped around a green and one of them (below) is now a tea-shop. They have wonderful views across the valley to Dunkery Beacon, the highest point on Exmoor.

The whitewashed 15th century church of All Saints is quite pretty too, and has an unusual wooden balcony above the porch. Stairs originally led to a chamber - a parvise - over the porch, which was remodelled in 1804 to become a private pew for the lord of the manor and his family.


  1. I believe that the private pew was built because one of the Sir Thomas Aclands had the habit of calling on aged former estate workers on his way to church and was notoriously late arriving for services, much to the embarrassment of his family. The family used nearby Holnicote House as a summer retreat and had a network of paths constructed on Selworthy Beacon especially for their Sunday afternoon walks. The family's main home was at Killerton in S Devon. I remember this because I used to lead walks for HF Holidays who rent Holnicote from the NT.

    1. That's interesting John. The private pew was certainly an unusual feature, though there's also a balcony pew in Saltaire's church that was used by the Salt family when they attended.

  2. How beautiful! I have the same retain I had years ago to Marie Antoinette's 'Petite Hameau.' I want to live there.

  3. A beautiful place to live and visit. Are decendents of the original people living there?

  4. The church particularly stands out.

  5. I love seeing thatched houses. In the 21st century!