Village Life: Hinton St George

The preaching cross marks the centre of the medieval village (c) Nick Chipchase

The preaching cross marks the centre of the medieval village (c) Nick Chipchase - Credit: Archant

In our special series Andrea Cowan takes a look at village life in Somerset

Hinton St George is a traditional South Somerset village perched on a hill overlooking the Fosse Way. Reached by narrow, rural roads, the north west approach brings you into the picture postcard village past Hinton House, flanked by the renowned pineapple finial gates. Hinton St George has a rich history, named in the Domesday Book as Hanstone and remaining a feudal village into the 20th century. It was under the control of the Poulett family from the 1400s until 1968 when the Hinton Estate was sold.

It’s a beautiful place and an architectural delight, with interesting buildings at every turn. The population of approximately 450 residents live, in the main, within a conservation area. The lanes are lined with warm hamstone cottages, some thatched. The medieval roots are evident, including the magnificent Priory, the 13th century Church of St George, and the Grade II listed preaching cross, which once marked the centre of the medieval village.

The wide High Street is a legacy of the cattle fairs that were regularly held in Hinton St George, designed for droving cattle through from the nearby farms. Most of the buildings there are now residential, with a couple of notable exceptions. The Lord Poulett Arms, a 17th century inn, just oozes character. It is the proud recipient of numerous prestigious national awards. There is also the thriving combined village shop and post office, both saved from closure by the village, and now a community venture.

Round the corner in West Street is Dorothy’s Tea Room, the original village post office. As the overall winner of the national Clipper Tea Shop Awards 2017, I knew a visit was essential. It was full of locals and, yes, judging by my piece of cake and the atmosphere, I can see what all the fuss is about.

Just down the road is Hinton St George Church of England First School, built in 1850 and catering for children from reception until year four. The majority then go to schools in Crewkerne. There is a youth club as well, held in the popular village hall.

St George’s Hall is widely used by residents for village events such as the monthly film show, Flix in the Stix, and theatrical productions, as well as a busy schedule of regular groups and societies. It also boasts an outside football and cricket pitch.

On May 28 the annual Oak Apple Day celebration will take place in Jubilee Wood, a beautiful wood established for the village in 2012 to commemorate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. I’ll be going and will hopefully squeeze in another visit to Dorothy’s Tea Rooms!

Did you know...?

In 1863 Hinton St George became the first gaslit village in England and Hinton St George Cricket Club, formed in 1827, is the second oldest cricket club in Somerset.

Hold on! Why not explore more of Somerset’s villages?

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