Milverton, Somerset

A home for the Milverton Archive

At last we have found a home for the Milverton Archive and are so looking forward to sharing the collections with you all. We intend opening to the village by the end of January 2024. We are indebted to the trustees of the Pavilion who have agreed the use of a room in the Pavillon.

There will be photos,maps, deeds and a library with an almost complete collection of the publications by SANHS starting with the first n 1851. Members will be able to borrow books from the library.

We will publicise our opening day after Christmas and look forward to welcoming you. This is a 6 month trial period of hire during which we hope to build up a membership to enable us to make it permanent.

For more information or if you would like to become a member of the MDA or join our group of volunteers please either contact Maggie on 01823 400142 or email

Milverton Local History Group September update

The Local History Group hope to meet up at the Victoria Rooms on 14 September at 2pm. A selection from the oral history section of the Archives will be shown. All welcome so please come along, there is a small entry fee.

One current theme which runs through the clips is just how well served the village was for shops and trades providing the everyday needs for the village. Even now, our last pub is under threat of closure, how times do change!

But we are lucky to still have one shop and a Post Office. Some things never change though, parked cars and traffic have been a problem since the ’50’s. Even the flooding is not new, with one resident in Sand Street remembering sweeping water through her house from the back door to the front road in the ’60’s. David Dowling is still creating these memories on video, so please get in touch if you too have memories of Milverton to share.

The church display features a celebration of the 90 years of the W.I. in Milverton.

Maggie Dinning
Phone: 01823 400142
Email: maggiedinning@gmail

History Group July update

The Milverton District Archives held its first AGM 29 June. Progress continues with creating a permanent home for the Archives. Among the latest additions are the old skittles from The Globe.

 You may have noticed up high on buildings in North Street and Sand Street old street signs. They seem high to us but in the early 1900’s when they were put up, if you were not just walking, folk went about on horseback or in a carriage! A Mr Young paid for them and had them put up. The Silver Street one is missing, rumour has it that it languishes in someone’s garden.

The next History Group meeting will be in September after the summer break.

Maggie Dinning

Wheeling in Wellington

Serra da Estrela
Serra da Estrela

Two of our most distinguished military leaders have been Admiral Lord Nelson of Battle of Trafalgar fame and , perhaps lesser known, but equally important, Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington. It was he who beat Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.(Hence the Wellington monument). He won his fighting spurs in commanding the forces, including both Portuguese and Spanish troops, which drove the French out of Portugal and Spain.

That campaign covered much of the Iberian Peninsula but Wellington’s offensive against the French began at Torres Vedras a town 30 miles north of Lisbon and finished in Toulouse, four years later. As the crow flies that’s a distance of 775 miles via the A62. In 1810, of course, there was no A62. The road system hardly existed. An army could march about 11 miles a day. Think of going on a walking holiday taking your food and water for several days as well as carrying a rifle and ammunition. And I nearly forgot – there were canon weighing about a ton with all their paraphernalia to get from a to b.. I hope you get the picture?

When a friend suggested let’s follow Wellington’s campaign by bicycle – why not? We could cycle more than 11 miles a day. And unlike Wellington’s infantry, we would stay at inexpensive hostelries en route – meals provided. What we hadn’t appreciated was the terrain, the weather and the state of a lot of the roads. Imagine cycling up many hills steeper than Cothelstone, on a gravel rutted surface into a stiff wind. Thank goodness for electricity! We were lucky. Wellington’s troops didn’t have electricity and at the end of an exhausting march they often had a battle to fight and frequently food and water to find.

Our efforts were rewarded. Averaging 12 mph one can get a much better feel of geography and place. Although the spring flowers were glorious, much of Spain is drying out. Even the weeds looked thirsty. The climb up the Serra da Estrela was rewarded with spectacular views and a nine mile free wheel into Mantegais. Similarly the views as we climbed up from Irutzun to Etxerri in the Basque Pyrenees were stunning. As were our stops in Salamanca, Burgos, Pau and Toulouse, not forgetting Lisbon. And Wellington’s battlefield sites. They are now under industrial parks or housing estates except Talavera. That is marked by a crumbling monument.

Many thanks to William Waddington who completed this epic cycle ride.

Heritage Day

Heritage Day 2023 display
Heritage Day display 2023

Milverton & District Archive a very successful Heritage Day on 1 May in the church with a constant stream of visitors.

The Broadmead display in particular drew people in to see the story of this important family to the village. The tithe map too proved of interest for people from far and wide. Far being someone from Nr Stawley !!

The First AGM of the MDA to be held 29 June at 7pm in the Pavillion in Buttsway.

Do come along to hear the Latest plans to Create a Venue so that all the interesting items held in the Archive may be on show and available to all visitors.

Maggie Dinning

Benchends tour and talk

Peter Hutchinson will be doing tours of the church bench ends in Milverton Church on Monday 1 May in conjunction with the heritage display. The tours will take place at:

  • 11am
  • 12.30pm
  • 2pm
  • 3.30pm

Each tour timed at something less than an hour. Maximum number 6 in each tour. No booking, but on a first come basis.

Milverton Heritage Day

The Archives will be staging a display during the Street Fair on 1 May, Bank Holiday Monday. The tithe map of 1840 will be on show and other old maps and photos of Milverton through time.

Come along and learn about the history of this interesting village. Entry is free.

If you can spare a few hours to help, please get in touch with Maggie. We hope to provide refreshments so offers of cakes would be very welcome.

Maggie Dinning
Email or phone 01823 400142.


Connection to Britain’s colonial past

Have you or you family lived, worked or perhaps been born in a place connected to our shared colonial history?

I am studying the links between rural Britain and past colonies, with the aim of mapping them. I am interested in hearing your stories from overseas. Many families have past or present connections across the world and I would be grateful for any information you have on the subject from your own family archives.

I can visit you or we can chat on the phone. All information will remain confidential unless specifically agreed by you. Call Nicky Saunter on 01823 400696 or email

A brief history of Milverton allotments

Allotments have been in existence for hundreds of years. The system we recognise today has its roots in the Nineteenth Century, when land was given over to the labouring poor for the provision of growing food.

In 1947 Milverton Parish Council took out a loan to purchase the land behind the Courtfield Estate for the provision of allotments for the villagers. The cost of the land was £250 with a supplement for the boundary fencing.

The original allotments consisted of 34 plots laid out much as we see them today, with a few amalgamations and sub divisions which have happened over the years.

The Parish Council has the original rent book for the allotments which covers the period from 1947 to 2003 when 37 plots are shown on the map. Currently the Trickey family are the longest standing plot holders and have held allotments since 1953. Recently, more plots have been subdivided and they now total 55, with the majority of potholders belonging to the Allotment Association.

There had never been provision for water until 2022 when a working party of plot holders volunteered to design and build 3 water catchment sites each with 2 x 1000 litre tanks to store rainwater.

Originally, rents were 10/- (50p) in 1947 for a full 10 yard plot increasing to a massive £3.50 in 2003. Currently, the charge is 12p per square metre, making a 250 square metres £30 per year.

Maggie Dinning