Village Life: Milverton

The village of Milverton is based on the medieval street (c) David Leyland /

The village of Milverton is based on the medieval street (c) David Leyland / - Credit: Archant

In this edition of her special series taking a look at village life in Somerset, Andrea Cowan visits Milverton

Milverton is a large Somerset village with a population of 1,438 (* 2011 census). Set on the ridge of a hill, it is in a beautiful rural setting with good transport links, close to the M5 and Taunton’s mainline train station and a relatively regular bus route.

The name possibly comes from a nearby mill which is thought to have existed since Saxon times. The medieval street pattern still remains around the 13th century Church of St Michael, which was built on the site of an even earlier church.

Despite considerable building and expansion over the years, principally stretching into the orchards that once ringed the village, the heart has retained a Georgian character, a nod to its last period of commercial prosperity principally from the cloth and woollen trade.

Many of the properties are Grade II-listed, from the grand sandstone Georgian houses in North Street to the pretty painted cottages along Fore Street. But this certainly isn’t a living ‘museum’: it boasts a post office, village shop, hairdressers, doctor’s surgery, primary and pre-school and an excellent family-run pub, The Globe.

There is plenty going on. Victoria Rooms, a village hall built in 1887, is the venue for a thriving range of activities and associations from yoga to a regular music club. About 18 years ago a Polish lady, Vera Katuszonek, bequeathed a large sum of money in her will to the village, in gratitude for having been so welcomed and accepted. It was to be divided among the seven main clubs and societies: the amateur dramatic society, the gardening club, Milverton & Fitzhead Society, the recreation ground, the twinning society, the Women’s Institute and the Victoria Rooms. The village also benefits from the Milverton Trust, a charitable organisation that was set up in the early 90s. Its main event is the annual street fair that takes place on the first May bank holiday. With arts, crafts and food stalls, and street entertainment, this popular fair attracts 2,000 visitors. November is a busy month in Milverton. In addition to the regular activities there are performances by the drama society of Frankenfest. Written by the group, it marks the bicentenary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. There’s also the second in the new season of candlelit concerts held in St Michael’s Church: Milverton Concert Society manages to attract and present world class performers and this month welcomes pianist Steven Osborne.

Did you know...?

There’s a Tudor mural of Henry VII in The Old House, on Parsonage Lane. It is the only surviving wall painting of the king.

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