Monthly talks on building history and vernacular architecture, with a particular emphasis on Somerset.
Guests are always welcome. A suggested donation of £2 would be gratefully received by our treasurer for those that are not members.

All meetings are at the Parish Rooms in Somerton at 7.30pm, unless otherwise noted.

The Parish Rooms in Somerton

Mary is now co-ordinating the programme and would appreciate suggestions of speakers / subjects / visits from you. meetings

Summer Programme 2024!

Time TBA Wednesday 15th May

Visit to the Saxon hall house reconstruction at the Avalon Marshes Centre, BA6 9TT. This, together with an Iron Age roundhouse and a Roman dining room, have been built by volunteers under the direction of Richard Brunning who talked to us about them in 2022. They are really interesting and thoughtful reconstructions, the royal Saxon hall with earth floor and fully furnished for living in. A lot to see - Avalon Archaeology

£8.50 pp for the guided tour, which will also grant free entry for a year. Cafe on site. Please register your interest with Fergus as we need to advise on numbers.

2pm Wednesday 19th June

Visit to the “church in the field” at Low Ham, TA10 9DR. Built as a private chapel, completed in 1690 to resemble a church 200 years older, it was part of of a grand design of country house and landscape enrichment by Sir Edward Hext. The scheme foundered, Sir Edward died and the church is now stranded in a grass field. Today it is maintained by a bunch of loving volunteers who will show us around and give us tea. Emma Norris, who talked to us about the Cosmatesque pavement in Sherborne Abbey, waived her fee in favour of this church; we will be able to see her work on Charles II’s coat of arms.

Free admission to this hidden treasure; donations encouraged. Parking in the adjacent farmyard; share a car if you can.

2pm Wednesday 17th July

Marshwood Farm, Carhampton, TA24 6LA. A large and rambling 15th to 17th century manor house built by members of the Luttrell family. It has been tenanted for centuries, now in private ownership of people keen to know more. When surveyed by Williams and Gilson in 1983 the crucks and much else was covered over, including much plaster strapwork, which is now all coming to light. All welcome, contact Fergus if you would like a copy of the 1983 survey or directions.

Winter Season of Talks 2024

Wednesday 17th April 2024

Helen Aldhous and Adrian Wills, members of the Kingsbury Time Travellers, presented an overview of the Kingsbury Time Travellers project, a community project aimed at researching, documenting and disseminating local history through the engagement of those who live locally -

Wednesday 20th March

For two hundred years or so, from the latter part of sixteenth to the end of the eighteenth centuries, Gainsborough House and its associated buildings served as Dorset’s bridewell. For a hundred and fifty years before that, it had been part of Sherborne’s Benedictine monastery, and, for one hundred and fifty years after ceasing to be a bridewell, it served a wide variety of functions; a brewery; home to the Sherborne Journal; a Sherborne School boarding house; a dentist’s; a garage and an antiques business.

The early part of the building’s history has been pieced together during recent SVBRG surveys and the talk served to describe that history in the context of recent research; a modest but remarkable building that features distinctive collared trusses, dendro dated to the range 1404-1436.

Wednesday 21st February

Meriel O’Dowd and her colleague Rachel Whitty gave a talk on the work of the Churches Conservation Trust. Meriel is conservation projects manager for the South West region of the CCT and has overseen many sensitive projects that seek to conserve our historic churches through a programme of considered conservation with minimal intervention.

Wednesday 17th January

Taunton Deane Building Stones: a survey for the Somerset Heritage Trust

Garry Dawson gave a talk on his hugely impressive accomplishment of surveying almost every building in the Taunton Deane area in partnership with the late Peter Wright, recording the types of stone used and where they came from.

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Other local meeting & talks

Martock Local History Group
They meet in Martock each month at the Primary School in Elmleigh Road. The meetings are on the 4th Tuesday of each month. Our aim is to have lectures during the winter months and organise visits, field walking and more outdoor activities during the summer.

Tintinhull Local History Group
All evening meetings 7.30pm Tintinhull Village Hall. Vicarage Street.(Unless otherwise stated). NON MEMBERS WELCOME - £3 entrance fee. - Members entrance fee £1.