Place:Wiveliscombe, Somerset, England

Alt namesWilscombesource: Family History Library Catalog
Maundownsource: hamlet in parish
TypeAncient parish, Civil parish, Urban district
Coordinates51.05°N 3.317°W
Located inSomerset, England
See alsoKingsbury Hundred, Somerset, Englandhundred in which it was located
Wellington Rural, Somerset, Englandrural district 1933-1974
Taunton Deane District, Somerset, Englanddistrict municipality covering the area 1974-2019
Somerset West and Taunton District, Somerset, Englanddistrict municipality covering the area since 2019
the text in this section is based on an article in Wikipedia.

Wiveliscombe (#18 on map) is a civil parish and a small town in Somerset, England, situated 9 miles (14 km) west of Taunton. The town has a population of 2,893 as measured in the UK census of 2011. The parish includes the nearby hamlet of Maundown.

Between 1894 and 1933 Wiveliscombe was classified as an urban district. Because of its size it was demoted to being a member of Wellington Rural District from 1933 until 1974.

Wiveliscombe is a former borough, market and cloth making town, 5 miles (8 km) from the border between Devon and Somerset. It is situated at the foot of the Brendon Hills and acts as a gateway to Exmoor. At an altitude of 126 m (413 ft) Wiveliscombe is the highest town in Somerset.

The town used to have a station on the Devon and Somerset Railway which closed in 1966. Clatworthy Reservoir is nearby.

Image:Wellington Rural 1900 small.png


Wiveliscombe was a parish in the Kingsbury Hundred, one of the hundreds or early subdivisions of the county of Somerset. From 1894 until 1974 it was part of the Wellington 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. Wiveliscombe joined the non-metropolitan West Somerset District in 1974.

In May 2019, the districts of West Somerset and Taunton Deane merged into a single district named the Somerset West and Taunton District. The new district is not a unitary authority, and has not taken any county level functions from Somerset County Council. West Somerset covered a largely rural area, with a population of 35,300 in an area of 740 square kilometres (290 sq mi) and is the least populous non-unitary district in England. Taunton Deane's population was over 100,000, but it was still not considered a large enough district to be kept on its own.

Research Tips

  • GENUKI page on Wiveliscombe.
  • The Victoria History of the Counties of England – History of the County of Somerset, produced by The Institute of Historical Research, is not available for this part of Kingsbury Hundred.
  • 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 Wiveliscombe. 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.