Place:Wincanton, Somerset, England

TypeAncient parish, Civil parish
Coordinates51.067°N 2.417°W
Located inSomerset, England
See alsoNorton Ferris Hundred, Somerset, Englandhundred in which it was located
Wincanton Rural, Somerset, Englandrural district 1894-1974
South Somerset District, Somerset, Englandnon-metropolitan district covering the area since 1974
the text in this section is based on an article in Wikipedia

Wincanton (#37 on map) is a civil parish and a small town in Somerset, England. The town lies off the A303 major road, a main route between London and southwest England, and has some light industry. The town had a population of 5,272 in the UK census of 2011.

Wincanton is situated on the northeast edge of Blackmore Vale close to the borders of Dorset and Wiltshire. It is 12 miles (19 km) northeast of Yeovil, and 10 miles (16 km) northwest of Shaftesbury, Dorset on the extreme southeast of Somerset.

The Anglican Church of St Peter and St Paul was almost totally rebuilt in 1887-91; however, parts of the tower may be remnants of an earlier church, dating from 1313, on the same site. In 1793 the tower was raised by 12 feet (4 m) making it 50 feet (15 m) high; five bells were cast and a sixth added. The Roman Catholic Church and Presbytery of St Luke and St Teresa was built in 1881. There are also places of worship for Pentecostals, Methodists, Baptists and Quakers in the town.

Image:Wincanton Rural 1900 small.png


Prior to the Norman Conquest of 1066, Wincanton was frequently the scene of battles between the Britons, Danes and Saxons. During the reign of Edmund Ironside, the English, under his command, defeated the Danes, forcing them to leave England. By 1086 the surrounding land was held by Walter of Douai, a supporter of Robert de Mortain, half-brother of William the Conqueror. Walter of Douai was feudal baron of Bampton in Devon and of Castle Cary in Somerset. {{moreinfo wikipedia|Walter of Douai]].

Wincanton was probably the site of a market in the medieval period but did not gain a market and fair charter until 1556.

The town was the scene of one of the few armed skirmishes in England during the Revolution of 1688. In the "Wincanton Skirmish" a troop of Horse Guards, loyal to King James II, defeated an advance party of troops fighting for William of Orange, on 20 November 1688. A great part of the town was destroyed by fires in the years 1707 and 1747.

Wincanton was the original home of Cow & Gate, established in 1908, whose chief product was a dried milk baby powder. The company formed a dedicated logistics arm in 1920. As of 2002 Wincanton PLC is the UK's second largest logistics company.


Wincanton was originally a parish in the Norton Ferris Hundred, one of the hundreds or early subdivisions of the county of Somerset. From 1894 until 1974 it was part of the Wincanton Rural District.

In 1974, under the Local Government Act 1972, all urban and rural districts across England were abolished and counties were reorganized into metropolitan and non-metropolitan districts. Wincanton joined the non-metropolitan South Somerset District.

Research Tips

  • GENUKI page on Wincanton.
  • An article on Wincanton from the Victoria History of the Counties of EnglandHistory of the County of Somerset, produced by The Institute of Historical Research.
  • 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 Wincanton. 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.