Hamstone Country

Ham Stone Country, Montacute, TA15

Hamstone Country


Hamstone Country

Cottages of hamstone and thatch line the village street to 16th century Barrington Court House and Gardens. The parish church dates from the 13th century.

Barwick and Stoford

The pretty Parish is made up of the two villages of Barwick and Stoford, although it is not clear nowadays where one ends and the other starts.

Situated 2 miles (3.2 km) south of Yeovil in the South Somerset district, right on the border with Dorset the Parish has a population of c.1,221 and is home to Yeovil Junction railway station, on the main London to Exeter line.

The earliest signs of habitation in the area were the relics of a Bronze Age burial which were found in 1826, a little to the north of the village of Stoford, which may be a Saxon name derived from Stow-Ford.  Learn more about the fabulous follies in Barwick Estate here: Barwick Park Follies

Buckland St Mary

Set high in the beautiful Blackdown Hills, the parish includes Neroche Forest, formerly medieval woodland and site of an ancient hillfort. Neighbouring villages in this designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty include Wambrook, Whitestaunton and Combe St Nicholas.


Chiselborough is a beautiful hamstone village located in a sheltered valley surrounded by five wonderfully named hills - Gawlers, Pease, Brympton, Pen and Balham. In Saxon times Chiselborough was called Ceoselbergon (gravel hill). 

To the east of the village is Fair Place, site of an October Fair that was held from 1529 to 1894 and lead to the Hinton St George Punkie Night Tradition.

Dowlish Wake

Home of Perry's Cider Mills and Rural Museum. The church contains the tomb of John Hanning Speke who discovered the source of the Nile.

East and West Coker

Picturesque 16th and 17th century houses cluster below the manor and church. The birthplace of explorer and buccaneer William Dampier, the first Englishman to set foot in Australia. Ancestors of the poet T S Eliot emigrated from here and his ashes are interred in the parish church. Down the lane are Sutton Bingham reservoir and church with its fine medieval wall paintings.

Nearby is West Coker, an attractive hamstone village made prosperous in bygone days by the growing of hemp and flax and the manufacture of rope and twine. Dawe's Twineworks are thought to be the most complete surviving example of a rural rope works. West Coker Fen, a Somerset Wildlife Trust nature reserve, is on the outskirts of the village.

Hinton St George

Beautiful hamstone village with cottages dating from the 14th century. In October children parade candlelit mangel-wurzels through the village to celebrate 'Punkie Night', recalling when village wives tried to frighten their drunken husbands who had outstayed their leave at Chiselborough Fair. It is also where Henry Fowler lived while compiling the Oxford English Dictionary. The Lord Poulett Arms is the fantastic local village pub and attracts customers far and wide, with their friendly welcome, superb accommodation and locally sourced menus. 

Huish Episcopi

Closely aligned with Langport, Huish Episcopi is an extensive rural parish.  St Mary's Church, built from local hamstone, has impressive architectural features.  Kelways Nursery, famous for peonies and irises, is based at Barrymore Farm on the Somerton Road and on the eastern side of the village is the thatched Rose and Crown pub, known locally as Eli's and famed for its traditional style and unusual bar arrangements!


The sails for Nelson's flagship 'Victory' were made here. Tennis courts, squash club and bowling green in village. The tenth largest mosaic in Britain, dating from 360 AD, was discovered at nearby Lopen. A replica panel of part of the mosaic is on view at Lopen Parish Church along with information about the find.


Medieval village of golden hamstone cottages, a Radio and TV museum and tearoom and National Trust's Montacute House and Gardens which featured in "Wolf Hall", "Sense and Sensibility" and "The Libertine" and has the longest long gallery in Britain. Ham Hill Country Park is only a short walk away.

North Perrott

A pretty village on the Dorset border with a 15th century church. Numerous Roman remains have been unearthed in the vicinity. The local farm shop also sells plants and has a cafe.


On the slopes of Ham Hill, built in the mellow golden stone still quarried on the hill today. This is excellent country for walking and horse-riding. Thomas Coryate who was born here in1577, walked to Rome and back - reputedly wearing the same pair of boots!

The Chinnocks

East Chinnock Church is famous for its windows made by a German prisoner-of-war. Bridge Farm Cider is nearby.  To the west of the village is an unusual salt spring, locally known as Salt Hole used for salt manufacture until the mid 19th century.

The parish Church of Saint Margaret in Middle Chinnock has 12th-century origins while the parish Church of Saint Mary in West Chinnock has later 13th-century origins but was totally rebuilt in the 19th century.

The Hamdons

Norton-sub-Hamdon is located to the west of Ham Hill which provided the stone for the lovely 16th century church, manor and houses. To the north is Stoke-sub-Hamdon, also with many fine stone houses, churches and the National Trust Priory.

Ham Hill is part of a 390 acre Country Park with large wildflower meadows, steeply sloping Iron Age ramparts, woods, interesting walks, panoramic views and quiet picnic spots. Starting point of the Liberty Trail and home of the Prince of Wales pub.


This village has attractive old houses and an ancient church and a National Trust garden designed by Phyllis Reiss in 1933.


Four miles from Chard, close to the Dorset border, Winsham is rural but well connected by road. The village is high up with beautiful views, great country walking and a shop/post office. A mile away is Forde Abbey, a Cistercian monastery with extensive gardens, a beautiful little church and a fruit farm. Nearby is Wayford Woods is lovely for a spring or summer stroll and a deer rescue centre.

Main image: Montacute village 


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Ham Stone Country, Montacute, Somerset , United Kingdom, TA15

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