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National Gazetteer (1868) - Banwell

"BANWELL, a parish in the hundred of Winterstoke, in the county of Somerset, 4 miles to the N.W. of Axbridge. Weston-super-Mare is its post town. It is situated at the northern foot of the Mendip Hills, near the coast of the Bristol Channel, and is a station on the Bristol and Exeter railway. A monastery existed here in the Saxon period, and was destroyed by the Danes. The manor of Banwell has been hold since the time of Edward the Confessor by the bishops, of Bath and Wells, who had a palace here, which was erected by Bishop Beckington. Iron is obtained in the parish, and exported to South Wales. Two caverns discovered in the rock have excited some interest, and are named the Stalactite and the Bone Caverns. In the latter were many bones of animals mixed with gravel and stones. A small stream rises near the village, and flowing through the valley, falls into the Channel near Woodspring.

The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of Bath and Wells, of the value of £702, in the patronage of the Dean and Chapter of Bristol. The church is a handsome edifice in the perpendicular style, and contains a beautiful screen, a stone pulpit adorned with sculpture, an octagonal font, a rood-loft, and three monumental brasses, the earliest being of the year 1470. The church is dedicated to St. Andrew. There is a free school, with a small endowment. The Wesleyans have a chapel here. In the neighbourhood are remains of two ancient camps. Fairs are held on the 18th January and the 18th July."

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)
Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]