Bruton (/ˈbruːtən/ BROO-tən) is a small town, electoral ward, and
civil parish in Somerset, England, situated on the
River Brue along
the A359 between
Frome and Yeovil. It is 7 miles (11 km) south-east of
Shepton Mallet, just south of Snakelake Hill and Coombe Hill, 10 miles
(16 km) north-west of Gillingham and 12 miles (19 km) south-west of
Frome in the South
Somerset district. The town and electoral ward have
a population of 2,907. The parish includes the hamlets of Wyke
Champflower and Redlynch.
Bruton has a museum dedicated to the display of items from Bruton's
past from the Jurassic geology up to the present day. The museum
houses a table used by the author
John Steinbeck to write on during
his six-month stay in Bruton.
River Brue has a long history of flooding in Bruton. In 1768 the
river rose very rapidly and destroyed a stone bridge. On the 28
June 1917, 242.8 mm of rain fell in 24 hours at Bruton,
leaving a water mark on one pub twenty feet above the normal level of
the river. In 1984 a protective dam was built 1 km upstream
from the town.
8 External links
Church of St Mary, Bruton
Church of St Mary, Bruton was founded by
Ine of Wessex
Ine of Wessex in the 7th
Bruton was listed in the
Domesday Book of 1086 as Briuuetone, meaning
'Vigorously flowing river' from the
Old English tor and Celtic briw
meaning vigour. The river has been the site of several watermills
and in 2003 the South
Somerset Hydropower Group installed their first
hydroelectric turbine at
Gants Mill at nearby Pitcombe.
It was the site of
Bruton Abbey, a medieval
Augustinian priory from
which a wall remains in the Plox close to Bow Bridge. The priory was
sold after the dissolution of the monasteries to the courtier Sir
Maurice Berkeley (died 1581)
Maurice Berkeley (died 1581) whose
Bruton branch of the Berkeley
family converted it into a mansion which was demolished in the late
eighteenth century. The
Dovecote which overlooks
Bruton was built
in the sixteenth century. It was at one time used as a house, possibly
as a watchtower and as a dovecote. It is a Grade II* listed
building and ancient monument. It is managed by the
National Trust. The building was once within the deerpark of the Abbey
and was adapted by the monks from a gabled Tudor tower. The
conversion to be a dovecote took place around 1780. It has over
200 pigeon holes.
Bruton was part of the hundred of Bruton.
Bruton is referenced in a well-known English folk song, The Bramble
Briar. A very rare copy of an Inspeximus of
Magna Carta was discovered
Bruton in the 1950s and claimed by King's School, Bruton. The sale
of the school's copy to the Australian National Museum paid for a
great deal of the building work at the school.
Much of the town's history is exhibited at the
Bruton Museum. The
museum is housed in the
Dovecote Building, in the town's High Street.
The building also contains a tourist information office. The
Bruton Museum Society was formed in 1989 and involved the community
and local schools in the development of the collection of local
artefacts. It was initially housed in the basement of the
then in a disused Coach House owned by the National Westminster Bank.
The museum moved to its current location in 1999 after it was jointly
purchased by South
Somerset District Council and
Council. The time spent in the town by
John Steinbeck is
commemorated in the museum. They have also organised exhibitions at
King's School including one in 2008 of the work of Ernst
Blensdorf. In 2010 an anonymous donor agreed to pay the rent on
the building, removing earlier doubts about the future viability of
In December 2012 plans were announced by Hauser & Wirth to open a
new gallery and arts centre at a derelict farm on the outskirts on
Bruton. This opened to the public on 14 September 2014.
The town council has responsibility for local issues, including
setting an annual precept (local rate) to cover the council’s
operating costs and producing annual accounts for public scrutiny. The
town council evaluates local planning applications and works with the
local police, district council officers, and neighbourhood watch
groups on matters of crime, security, and traffic. The town council's
role also includes initiating projects for the maintenance and repair
of parish facilities, as well as consulting with the district council
on the maintenance, repair, and improvement of highways, drainage,
footpaths, public transport, and street cleaning. Conservation matters
(including trees and listed buildings) and environmental issues are
also the responsibility of the council.
The town falls within the
Non-metropolitan district of South Somerset,
which was formed on 1 April 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972,
having previously been part of
Wincanton Rural District. The
district council is responsible for local planning and building
control, local roads, council housing, environmental health, markets
and fairs, refuse collection and recycling, cemeteries and crematoria,
leisure services, parks, and tourism.
Somerset County Council is responsible for running the largest and
most expensive local services such as education, social services,
libraries, main roads, public transport, policing and fire services,
trading standards, waste disposal and strategic planning.
It is also part of the
Frome county constituency
represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United
Kingdom. It elects one
Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the
post system of election, and part of the South West England
constituency of the
European Parliament which elects six MEPs using
the d'Hondt method of party-list proportional representation.
Bruton station lies on the
Great Western Main Line
Great Western Main Line (in a section often
referred to as the Berks and Hants route) between Westbury and
Taunton. This route is the most direct between London (Paddington) and
the West Country (ending at Penzance), but is slower due to the
geographical nature of the route. The stretch between Westbury and
Castle Cary is also part of the
Heart of Wessex line served by Great
Western Railway services between Bristol Temple Meads and Weymouth.
Until 12 December 2015,
Bruton was served only by rail services
between Bristol and Weymouth. In December 2015, South West Trains
introduced a new rail service between London Waterloo, Salisbury and
Yeovil Pen Mill, giving
Bruton its first regular service direct from
London for some years. However, the service from London Waterloo is
only once a day, with the first of three return trains from
Mill terminating at London Waterloo (as of December 2016) and the
other two at Salisbury. These services currently only operate through
Bruton mid-afternoon/evening and only Monday–Friday.
Bus services are operated by South West Coaches: route 667
Monday–Saturday, route 1B Monday–Saturday, route 1C schooldays
only, route 19 Friday only, route 33 Wednesday only and route 34
Work to build the railway line at
Bruton Railway Cutting
Bruton Railway Cutting exposed
geology of the epoch of the Middle Jurassic. It is one of the best
England to demonstrate the stratigraphic distinction of
ammonites in the subcontractus zone and the morrisi zone.
Godminster Lane Quarry and Railway Cutting
Godminster Lane Quarry and Railway Cutting is another
geological Site of
Special Scientific Interest which is an important
locality for study of the Inferior
Oolite limestones, of Middle
Jurassic age, laid down in a warm shallow sea some 175 million years
ago. The site is unique in that the limestones seen here are much more
closely comparable with rocks of similar age found in the Cotswolds
than with rock sequences seen elsewhere in Somerset. However, the
rocks do contain the rich assemblage of fossil ammonites which are
typical of the north Dorset/south
Somerset area and it is this
feature, combined with the unusual limestone sequence, which makes
this site unique. It is also important as a reference site for three
sub-divisions (zones) of the Inferior Oolite — the laeviscula,
discites and concavum Zones.
Church of St Mary, Bruton
Both the 14th-century Church of St Mary, and the Church of the
Holy Trinity, in Wyke Champflower, which is dated at 1623, are
Grade I listed buildings.
John Wesley preached in
Bruton in 1776 and a Methodist chapel at West
End was opened in 1848. The congregation was served by the
Somerset Mission Circuit, and more recently by the expanded Somerset
Bruton is known for its three popular secondary schools - King's
Bruton (founded 1519); Sexey's School (founded 1889); and
Bruton School for Girls
Bruton School for Girls (Sunny Hill) (founded 1900). Each school has a
sixth form, and a tradition of boarding.
One of Bruton's notable historic characters was Hugh Sexey
(1556–1619), who was born in the local area, and attended Bruton
Grammar School. By the age of 43 he had been appointed as Royal
auditor of the
Exchequer to Queen Elizabeth I and later King James I.
After his death the trustees of his will established Sexey's Hospital
Bruton as an institution to care for the elderly. Sexey's trust was
mainly involved with educational causes. The politician behind the
Education Act 1902, Henry Hobhouse, MP (1854–1937), was involved in
the founding of Sexey's School and Sunny Hill.
^ a b "Statistics for Wards, LSOAs and Parishes — SUMMARY
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Gants Mill Archived 12 July 2007 at the Wayback
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Dovecote about 370 metres South of
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bruton.
British History Online -
Bruton Parish Detailed local history.
British History Online -
Bruton Hundred Detailed local history for the
Somerset Urban Archaeological Survey: Bruton, by Miranda
Bruton at Curlie (based on DMOZ)
Bruton Town Official town website.
Bruton Town Council
Ceremonial county of Somerset
Bath and North East Somerset
Boroughs or districts
See also: List of civil parishes in Somerset
Axe (Bristol Channel)
Axe (Lyme Bay)
Hoar Oak Water
Yeo (South Somerset)
Culture of Somerset
Economy of Somerset
Geography of Somerset
Geology of Somerset
Grade I listed buildings
Grade II* listed buildings
High Sheriff of Somerset
History of Somerset
Local nature reserves
Lord Lieutenant of Somerset
National nature reserves
Population of major settlements
Transport in Somerset
Geographic areas: Blackdown Hills
South West Coast Path
Somerset Coast Path
Towns, villages and hamlets in the South
Somerset district of
Abbas and Templecombe
Barton St David
Buckland St Mary
Combe St Nicholas
Cricket St Thomas
Hinton St George
Knowle St Giles
Seavington St Mary
Seavington St Michael