National Gazetteer (1868) - Weston Super Mare

"WESTON-SUPER-MARE, a parish, town, and watering place in the hundred of Winterstoke, county Somerset, 9 miles from Axbridge, 20 from Bristol, and 20 from Wells. It is connected by a short branch line with the Bristol and Exeter railway. This parish, which is situated on the margin of Uphill Bay, near the Bristol Channel, consists of the town of the same name, and the hamlet of Ashcombe. The town, which is of modern growth, is sheltered by Worlebury Hill, now dotted with crescents, terraces, villas, and marine mansions. It contains baths, lodging-houses, and numerous hotels, some fronting the sea and commanding a view of the channel, the Steep and Flat Holmes.

Its population at the commencement of the present century was 108, but in 1851 it had increased to 4,033, and in 1861 to 8,033, besides a fluctuating population of nearly 3,000 visitors in the season. It is governed by commissioners chosen under a local Act, and has lately been brought under the Health of Towns Act; is well paved, lighted with gas, and supplied with water from a reservoir in the Bristol road. The principal buildings are the townhall, erected at a cost of £3,000, and presented by the late rector, the Venerable Archdeacon Law, to the town; the market-house, built in 1845 and subsequently enlarged; assembly rooms, where balls and concerts are held, and lectures frequently delivered; a mechanics' institute, branch bank, two savings-banks, temperance hall, dispensary, and a hospital. The old townhall is now used as a place of worship by the United Brethren.

Petty sessions are held at the townhall, and a county-court monthly. There are two weekly newspapers, the Gazette and Clevedon Journal and the Weston Mercury, both published on Saturday. The living is a rectory* in the diocese of Bath and Wells, value £270, in the patronage of the bishop. The church, dedicated to St. John, was rebuilt in 1824. It contains several monuments and a chancel window of stained glass. There are also the churches of Emanuel, Holy Trinity, and Christ Church, the last erected in 1861. The Roman Catholics, Independents, Wesleyans, Baptists, and Society of Friends have chapels. There are National, British, infant, and Sunday schools. The neighbourhood abounds with objects of interest, including traces of a Roman camp on Worlebury Hill, Woodspring Priory, Brent Knoll, and the caves of Banwell and Cheddar. A market is held daily for provisions. A club, with reading-room, card-room, and billiard-room has lately been opened, and also a pier, both for promenading and the embarkation of passengers."

"ASHCOMBE, a hamlet in the parish of Weston-super-Mare, hundred of Winterstoke, in the county of Somerset, 8 miles to the N.W. of Axbridge. It is situated near the coast of the Bristol Channel, and not far from the Great Western railway."

"MILTON, a hamlet in the parish of Weston-super-Mare, county Somerset, 7 miles N.W. of Axbridge. It is situated near the line of the Great Western railway."

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