Place:Dunster, Somerset, England

Alt namesAlcombesource: hamlet in parish until 1916
TypeParish (ancient), Civil parish
Coordinates51.2°N 3.45°W
Located inSomerset, England
See alsoCarhampton Hundred, Somerset, Englandhundred in which it was located
Williton Rural, Somerset, Englandrural district in which it was located 1894-1974
West Somerset District, Somerset, Englanddistrict municipality covering the area since 1974
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Dunster is a village and civil parish in west Somerset, England, in the United Kingdom. It lies on the Bristol Channel coast south-southeast of Minehead and northwest of Taunton. The British census recorded a parish population of 817 in 2011.[1]

West Street is the oldest; though quieter than the high street, it has three specialist shops: a Christmas shop, a kitchenware shop, and a gift shop. At the end of West Street is Dunster Working Watermill. The village has numerous restaurants and three pubs.

Dunster Beach, which includes the mouth of the River Avill, is located half a mile from the village, and used to have a significant harbour, known as Dunster Haven, which was used for the export of wool from Saxon times; however, it was last used in the 17th century and has now disappeared among the dykes, meadows and marshes near the shore. The beach site has a number of privately owned beach huts (or chalets as some owners call them) along with a small shop, a tennis court and a putting green. The chalets, measuring , can be let out for holidays; some owners live in them all the year round.

The hamlet or village of Alcombe was part of Dunster parish until 1916 when it was absorbed into Place:Minehead, Somerset, England.


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Just southwest of Dunster are Bat's Castle and Black Ball Camp on Gallox Hill, also known as British Camp. These were Iron Age hillforts. There was a similar earthwork on Grabbist Hill and another at Long Wood Enclosure.

Dunster is mentioned as a manor and castle belonging to William de Moyon in the 1086 Domesday Book. The 15th-century Gallox Bridge was one of the main routes over the River Avill on the southern outskirts. Dunster was part of the hundred of Carhampton, but St George's was the seat of the local deanery, overseeing the area's parish churches.

During the English Civil War, Dunster was initially held as a garrison for the Royalists. It fell to the Parliamentarians in 1645 and orders were sent out for the castle to be demolished.[2] However, these were not carried out, and the castle remained the garrison for Parliamentarian troops until 1650. Dunster is regularly home to Taunton Garrison who re-enact plays, battles, and life in the civil war.

Dunster was the birthplace of the song "All Things Bright and Beautiful" when Cecil Alexander was staying with Mary Martin, the daughter of one of the owners of Martins Bank. The nearby hill, Grabbist, was originally heather-covered before its reforestation and was described as the "Purple-headed mountain". Mary Martin was daughter of one of the owners of Martins Bank.

During the Second World War, considerable defences were built along the coast as a part of British anti-invasion preparations, though the north coast of Somerset was an unlikely invasion site. Some of the structures remain to this day. Most notable are the pillboxes on the foreshore of Dunster Beach. These are strong buildings made from pebbles taken from the beach and bonded together with concrete. From these, soldiers could have held their ground if the Germans had ever invaded.

Research Tips

  • The Somerset Heritage Centre (incorporating what was formerly the Somerset Record Office and the Somerset Local Studies Library) can be found at its new location at Langford Mead in Taunton. It has an online search facility leading to pages of interest, including maps from the First and Second Ordnance Survey (select "Maps and Postcards" from the list at the left, then enter the parish in the search box).
    The Heritage Centre has an email address:
  • Three maps on the A Vision of Britain through Time website illustrate the changes in political boundaries over the period 1830-1945. All have expanding scales and on the second and third this facility is sufficient that individual parishes can be inspected.
  • Somerset Hundreds as drawn in 1832. This map was prepared before The Great Reform Act of that year. Note the polling places and representation of the various parts of the county.
  • Somerset in 1900, an Ordnance Survey map showing rural districts, the boundaries of the larger towns, the smaller civil parishes of the time, and some hamlets and villages in each parish
  • Somerset in 1943, an Ordnance Survey map showing the rural districts after the changes to their structure in the 1930s
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Dunster. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.