Crewkerne is a town and electoral ward in Somerset, England, situated south west of Yeovil and east of Chard in the South Somerset district close to the border with Dorset. The civil parish of West Crewkerne includes the hamlets of Woolminstone and Henley. The town lies on the River Parrett, A30 road and West of England Main Line railway.
The earliest written record of Crewkerne is in the 899 will of Alfred the Great. After the Norman conquest it was held by William the Conqueror and in the Domesday Survey of 1086 was described as a royal manor. Crewkerne Castle was possibly a Norman motte castle. The town grew up in the late mediaeval period around the textile industry, its wealth preserved in the fifteenth century Church of St Bartholomew. During the 18th and 19th centuries the main industry was cloth making, including webbing, and sails for the Royal Navy.
Local ecological sites include the Bincombe Beeches Local Nature Reserve and the Millwater biological Site of Special Scientific Interest. Crewkerne railway station is served by South West Trains on the main south western railway line. There are local supermarkets and local shops, and some local industry. The town is the birthplace of several notable people and has varied cultural and sporting facilities including those at Wadham Community School.
The name Crewkerne is thought to be derived from Cruc-aera; from the British cruc - a spur of a hill, and the Old English aera - a house, especially a storehouse. The town was known as Crocern, or Cruaern in the 899 will of Alfred the Great when he left it to his younger son Æthelweard, and by 1066 the manor was held by Edith Swanneck mistress of King Harold. After the Norman conquest is was held by William the Conqueror and the church estate was given to the Abbaye-aux-Hommes in Caen, Normandy. In the Domesday Survey of 1086 it was described as a royal manor.
Crewkerne Castle was possibly a Norman motte castle on a mound to the north-west of the town, which is known as Castle Hill. The town grew up in the late mediaeval period around the textile industry, its wealth preserved in its fifteenth century parish church. It later prospered as a coaching stop in the Georgian period.
The Manor Farmhouse in Henley was built from hamstone in the early 17th century, but possibly incorporates medieval fragments. The building is designated by English Heritage as a Grade II* listed building. During the 18th and 19th centuries the main industry was cloth making, including webbing, and sails for the Royal Navy.