Village life: South Petherton

The octagonal tower of the Church of St Peter and St Paul in the centre of the village is clearly vi

The octagonal tower of the Church of St Peter and St Paul in the centre of the village is clearly visible (c) Bob Mercer, South Petherton Camera Club - Credit: submitted

This month Andrea Cowan visits South Petherton – a village that ticks all the boxes

South Petherton is on the River Parrett in South Somerset. Granted a Market Charter by King John in 1213, it was historically considered a market town, but is now regarded as a village.

It’s a very well-catered-for village, enjoying the best of both worlds. The bustling high street boasts everything from an award-winning deli to a fishmonger.

There is also the Brewers Arms, a 17th century coaching inn with its lively village bar and just on the outskirts is the South Petherton Community Hospital.

The historic heart is centred around the market square and the 15th century Church of St Peter and St Paul, believed to have the tallest octagonal church tower in the UK.

Continuing the church theme, the nearby Coke Memorial Methodist Church was built in 1882 as a memorial to Dr Thomas Coke, curate of the village from 1772-76, known as Father of Methodist Missions.

It is such a pretty village with buildings constructed from honey-hued hamstone from the nearby Hall Hill quarry. Its prosperity came from industries including agriculture, cloth manufacture and later a thriving glove-making cottage industry, flourishing well into the 20th century.

Wander round the streets and you’ll find plenty of houses of note. Perhaps the most obvious is the grand King Ina’s Palace, a 14th-century manor house in Silver Street, so named because it was reputedly built on the site of a hunting lodge of King Ina of Wessex (688 to 726).

The village is one of the most active I have come across. There is a club for almost every interest you can think of: from flamenco to a camera club. Live performances are held at the David Hall, a social centre located in the old United Reformed Church. Its slogan is ‘the small hall with the BIG reputation’ and it is run by the Petherton Arts Trust, a charity.

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The hall is also home to the Petherton Picture Show, a monthly cinema club.

There are plenty of sports facilities including a recreation ground for football and cricket, tennis courts and bowls. There is even a polo club. The South Petherton Walking Group meets weekly, whilst for the adventurous hikers, the village is also on the 50 mile long River Parrett Trail.

Children in the village are catered for with the South Petherton Infants and Pre School, leading onto the Junior School. There are Brownies, Scouts, Beavers, Cubs and Explorers and a thriving weekly Youth Club.

If you’re looking for a village that really does tick all the boxes, I think South Petherton might just be the one.

Did you know...?

In the 2011 census, South Petherton had a population of 3,367 people .

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