Frome (/ˈfruːm/ ( listen) FROOM) is a town and civil
parish in eastern Somerset, England. Located at the eastern end of the
Mendip Hills, the town is built on uneven high ground, and centres on
the River Frome. The town is approximately 13 miles (21 km) south
of Bath, 43 miles (69 km) east of the county town,
107 miles (172 km) west of London. In the 2011 census, the
population was given as 26,203. The town is in the
Mendip district of
Somerset and is part of the parliamentary constituency of
In April 2010 a large hoard of third-century Roman coins was unearthed
in a field near the town.
Frome was one of the largest towns in
Somerset until the Industrial Revolution, and was larger than Bath
from AD 950 until 1650. The town originally grew due to the wool and
cloth industry. It later diversified into metal-working and printing,
although these have declined. The town was enlarged during the 20th
century but still retains a very large number of listed buildings, and
most of the centre falls within a conservation area.
The town has road and rail transport links and acts as an economic
centre for the surrounding area. It also provides a centre for
cultural and sporting activities, including the annual
Frome Museum. A number of notable individuals were born in, or
have lived in, the town. In 2014,
Frome was called the "sixth coolest
town" in Britain by
The Times newspaper.
Frome has recently been
shortlisted as one of three towns in the country for the 2016 Urbanism
Awards in the 'Great Town Award' category.
2 Governance and public services
3 Health care
9 Religious sites
12 Sport and leisure
13 Notable people – past & present
15 External links
There is some limited evidence of Roman settlement in the area. The
remains of a villa were found in the village of Whatley, 3 miles
(5 km) to the west of Frome. In April 2010, the
one of the largest-ever hoards of Roman coins discovered in Britain,
was found by a metal detectorist. The hoard of 52,500 coins dated from
the third century AD and was found buried in a field near the town, in
a jar 14 inches (36 cm) below the surface. The coins were
excavated by archaeologists from the Portable Antiquities Scheme,
and some are now on display in the British Museum. The find was the
subject of a
BBC TV programme Digging for Britain in August 2010.
Frome comes from the Brythonic word *frāmā (Modern Welsh
ffraw) meaning fair, fine or brisk and describing the flow of the
river. A monastery built by St.
Aldhelm in 685 is the earliest
evidence of Saxon occupation of Frome. The Saxon kings appear to
Frome as a base from which to hunt in
Selwood Forest and in
934 a witenagemot was held there, indicating that
Frome must already
have been a significant settlement. One of the first English Kings,
Eadred (son of Edward the Elder), died in
Frome on 23 November
"The Chapel of St Ffraw" (Welsh name for Frome), from A Tour in Wales
Thomas Pennant (1726-1798) that chronicle the three journeys he
made through Wales between 1773 and 1776.
At the time of the Domesday Survey, the manor was owned by King
William, and was the principal settlement of the largest and
wealthiest hundred in Somerset. Over the following years, parts of the
original manor were spun off as distinct manors; for example, one was
owned by the minster, later passing to the Abbey at Cirencester, which
others were leased by the Crown to important families. By the 13th
century, the Abbey had bought up some of the other manors (although it
did let them out again) and was exploiting the profits from market and
trade in the town. Local tradition asserts that
Frome was a
medieval borough, and the reeve of
Frome is occasionally mentioned in
documents after the reign of Edward I, but there is no direct evidence
Frome was a borough and no trace of any charter granted to it.
However, the Kyre Park Charters of Edward's reign note a Hugh, lord of
Parva (or little) Frome, as well as other witnesses. Additionally,
Henry VII did grant a charter to Edmund Leversedge, then lord of the
manor, giving him the right to hold fairs on 22 July and 21
September. The parish was part of the hundred of Frome.
Wool Drying House, now part of The Black Swan Arts Centre
Hales Castle was built, probably in the years immediately after the
Norman conquest of
England in 1066. The circular ringwork is 120
feet (37 m) in diameter and stands on the northern slope of
Roddenbury Hill, close to the
Iron Age Roddenbury Hillfort. It
comprises banks and outer ditches and has an unfinished bailey.
The manufacture of woollen cloth was established as the town's
principal industry in the 15th century, and
Frome remained the
Somerset town in which this staple industry flourished.
Families of clothiers gradually came to be the principal landowners in
the town, with the manor of
Frome itself finally passing into the
ownership of a cloth merchant in 1714. From 1665 to 1725 major
expansion, including the building of a new artisans' suburb to the
west of Trinity Street, occurred. In the 1720s Daniel Defoe
remarked that the town had grown in the previous few decades so that
it was "likely to be one of the greatest and wealthiest inland towns
On 12 April 1477, Ankarette Twynyho was taken from the manor house
that stands, known locally as the Old Nunnery, in Lower Keyford
George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence
George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence of the murder of
Isabel Neville, Duchess of Clarence. She was subsequently tried and
hanged. Ankarette's grandson Roger Twynyho received from Edward IV a
full retrospective pardon for Ankarette, and the petition he submitted
to the king in 1478 describes fully the circumstances of the case,
well illustrating the quasi-kingly high-handedness of Clarence which
was ultimately not tolerated by the king.
On 27 June 1685, the forces of the Duke of Monmouth camped in Frome,
following their defeat in a skirmish with the King's forces at Norton
St Philip. Large numbers of his army deserted during the few days he
stayed in the town before his eventual defeat at the Battle of
Sedgemoor. Following the putting down of the Monmouth Rebellion, 12
men were hanged in the town.
Poverty, the decline of the wool industry in the mid-18th century,
increased industrialisation, and rising food prices led to some unrest
amongst the inhabitants of Frome, and there were riots during the
century. By 1791, the town was described in less flattering terms than
those Defoe had used 70 years earlier. In the early 19th century,
plans were developed to reinvigorate the town and once again elevate
it to its former position as a more important town than Bath. These
plans, the idea of a local businessman, Thomas Bunn, mostly failed to
come to fruition, although some public buildings were erected and a
wide new approach road to the town centre from the south was cut
(named Bath Street after the landowner, Lord Bath of Longleat
The former (Butler & Tanner) Selwood Printing Works
Whilst wool remained an important part of the town's economy into the
19th (and even 20th) centuries, other industries were established in
the town. A bell-foundry started in 1684 by William Cockey grew to be
a major producer of components for the developing gas industry and
employer of 800 people. The J W Singer brass foundry and
bronze-casting works, was a major employer and produced bronze
statues. John Webb Singer was born in
Frome and established his
art metal work foundry in 1851. They made brass ornaments for local
churches and became known through the
Oxford Movement within the
England which led to increasing demand for church
ornaments. In addition to church ornaments the firm developed the
facilities and expertise to create large statues. One of the first
statues cast was a copy of
General Gordon riding a camel. The firm was
also responsible for the bronze statue of
Boudica with her daughters
in her war chariot (furnished with scythes after the Persian fashion),
which was commissioned by Prince Albert and executed by Thomas
Thornycroft. It was not cast in bronze until 1902, 17 years after
Thornycrofts death, and now stands next to
Westminster Bridge and the
Houses of Parliament, London. The statue of
Lady Justice on the
dome above the
Old Bailey was executed by the British sculptor, F. W.
Pomeroy and cast by Singers. She holds a sword in her right hand and a
pair of weighing scales in her left. The statue is popularly supposed
to show blind Justice; however, the figure is not blindfolded. The
Alfred the Great
Alfred the Great at
Winchester was a further commission.
The statues from Singers have also been exported around the world.
Printing was another major industry, with the Butler and Tanner
printworks being set up in the middle of the century.
Brewing was also
a source of employment.
During the 20th century the old wool industry in
although the last fabric mill at Wallsbridge did not close until
1965. As a result, the population fell and in the 1930s it was
slightly smaller than it had been in the mid 19th century. Other
industries such as printing, light engineering, metal casting,
carpeting and dairying continued, many taking old premises from
the cloth mills and others being sited at the new Marston Road Trading
Estate which led to growth after World War II, including the
construction of council houses.
Governance and public services
Frome is the largest town within the
district of Mendip, although the administrative centre is Shepton
Mallet. Prior to 1974 it was administered by
Frome Urban District.
The town elects three members to
Somerset County Council, each from a
separate county division. At the last election in May 2013, Liberal
Democrats were elected in
Frome West and
However, since then there has been one by-election in which the
Frome North and a defection of one Councillor to
Frome West. The next County elections will be held in 2017.
Frome also has eleven councillors on
Mendip District Council, two from
each of the town council wards except for Oakfield, which elects only
one. Following elections in 2015, five were Liberal Democrats, three
for the Conservatives and three for The Green Party.
The civil parish of
Frome has adopted the style of a town, and there
is a Town Council of 17 members. Reduced from 20 Councillors in
2005. Councillors are split between eight wards: three each for
the Berkley Down, College, Keyford, two each for Market, Oakfield and
Park Wards, and once each for the Highpoint and Innox Wards. The most
recent elections were in May 2015, following which the council is made
up of 17 members of the
Independents for Frome
Independents for Frome party (ifF).
Frome has three twin towns:
Château-Gontier in France,
Rabka-Zdrój in Poland.
There are 6 electoral wards in
Frome having the same total population
as that quoted above.
Frome Community Hospital
The town was not represented in Parliament until given one member in
the House of Commons by the Reform Act of 1832. Separate
representation was abolished for the 1950 general election, with Frome
itself being transferred to the Wells division, whilst most of the
remainder of the constituency formed the bulk of the new Somerset
North constituency. Further changes took place for the 1983 general
election when the current
Frome constituency was created.
The current representative is Conservative MP David Warburton. During
the general election of 2015, in which 72% of those eligible turned
out to vote,
David Warburton achieved a majority of 20,268 votes
(33.6% of the total),
Frome is within the South West England
European Parliamentary constituency which elects six MEPs using the
d'Hondt method of party-list proportional representation.
The town has a
National Health Service
National Health Service community hospital, originally
Somerset Primary Care Trust, located on the site of the
former Showground at Fromefield. The new hospital was opened in
2008, replacing the former
Frome Victoria Hospital in Park Road which
had been in use since 1901. The nearest general hospital is the Royal
United Hospital in Bath.
A project, Compassionate Frome, to combat loneliness in the town was
established by a local GP in 2013. It is claimed that it reduced
emergency hospital admissions by 17% over three years when in the rest
of the county they rose by 29%.
House on Bath Street
The town rests on
Forest Marble which dates back to the Middle
Jurassic, and has been used for local building. The area
surrounding the town is Cornbrash,
Oxford Clay and Greensand. Frome
is unevenly built on high ground above the River Frome, which is
crossed by the 16th century town bridge in the town centre. The town
centre is approximately 65 metres (213 ft) above sea-level,
whilst the outer parts of the town are between 90 metres (295 ft)
and 135 metres (443 ft) above sea-level.
The main areas of the town are (approximately clockwise from the
north-west): Innox Hill, Welshmill, Packsaddle, Fromefield,
Stonebridge, Clink, Berkley Down, Easthill, Wallbridge, The Mount,
Keyford and Lower Keyford, Marston Gate, The Butts, Critchill,
Trinity, and Gould's Ground.
Although the royal forest of Selwood no longer exists, the nearby
countryside is still richly wooded, for example on the Longleat,
Maiden Bradley and
Stourhead estates. To the west of the town, on the
edge of the
Mendip Hills, there are large active limestone quarries,
such as Whatley
Quarry and Merehead Quarry, along with disused
quarries. The working quarries are served by a dedicated railway line
which branches off the main line at Frome, passes through the town
centre and out through the Welshmill and Spring Gardens areas in the
north-west quadrant of the town.
Along with the rest of South West England,
Frome has a temperate
climate which is generally wetter and milder than the rest of England.
The annual mean temperature is about 10 °C (50 °F) with
seasonal and diurnal variations, but due to the modifying effect of
the sea, the range is less than in most other parts of the United
Kingdom. January is the coldest month with mean minimum temperatures
between 1 °C (34 °F) and 2 °C (36 °F). July
and August are the warmest months in the region with mean daily maxima
around 21 °C (70 °F). In general, December is the dullest
month and June the sunniest. The south west of
England enjoys a
favoured location, particularly in summer, when the Azores High
extends its influence north-eastwards towards the UK.
Cloud often forms inland, especially near hills, and reduces exposure
to sunshine. The average annual sunshine totals around 1600 hours.
Rainfall tends to be associated with
Atlantic depressions or with
convection. In summer, convection caused by solar surface heating
sometimes forms shower clouds and a large proportion of the annual
precipitation falls from showers and thunderstorms at this time of
year. Average rainfall is around 800–900 mm (31–35 in).
About 8–15 days of snowfall is typical. November to March have the
highest mean wind speeds, with June to August having the lightest. The
predominant wind direction is from the south west.
Argyll House, Gentle Street (Grade II* listed)
The population of
Frome was 12,240 in the 1831 census, however it then
declined to 11,057 in 1901 and remained between 11,000 and 12,000
until the 1970s. Since then, it has increased, nearly doubling to over
23,000 in 1991. In the 2011 census, the population was 26,203,
comprising 11,863 (48.4%) males and 12,647 (51.6%) females. 7,674
(31.3%) residents were aged 16 or below, 13,150 (63.3%) between 16 and
65, and 3,686 (15.0%) aged 65 or over.
In the 2001 census of the population aged between 16 and 74, 11,580
(67%) were in employment, with only 513 (3%) unemployed (the remainder
being otherwise economically inactive). About 68% of those in
employment were in service industries, with the remainder in
manufacturing. 4,323 people were employed in managerial or
professional occupations, 1,362 were self-employed, and 4,635 in
routine and semi-routine occupations. 10,198 households were
recorded in the town, of which 7,679 (75%) were owner-occupied, 981
(10%) rented from private landlords, and 1,538 (15%) rented from the
local authority or other social landlord. 10,122 (99.3%) heads of
households were white.
The metal-working and printing industries which replaced wool as
Frome's main industry have declined but not left the town. Singers
still has a presence in the town, as does Butler and Tanner, although
the latter (now named Butler Tanner and Dennis following a take-over)
hit major financial difficulties in 2008, and made two-thirds of its
Almost half of the economically active population of
Frome commute to
work outside the town (in Bath, Bristol, Warminster, Westbury or
further afield). About 2,700 people commute into the town. A
substantial part of the workforce has no formal qualifications and is
poorly skilled, leaving them vulnerable to a decline in manufacturing
work. There is no major local government employment in the town,
and the principal public sector employers are the Primary Care Trust
and the schools.
Frome town centre contains a considerable number of independent shops,
and a few chain stores. Retail is primarily aimed at serving the local
population's requirements for food (there are two large supermarkets
on opposite edges of the town, and three smaller supermarkets in the
town centre), basic clothing, health and beauty,
DIY and some
electrical goods. However studies show that only about a quarter of
the town's population do their non-food shopping in the town.
Banks and building societies have branches in the town centre.
Markets are held on Wednesdays and Saturdays in the town centre: some
in the Market Yard car park, and others in the former agricultural
warehouse, the Cheese and Grain. The Saturday cattle market was moved
from the centre of the town to nearby Standerwick in the 1980s. In
Frome was granted
Fairtrade Town status.
A Vision for
Frome 2008–2028 has been developed following a
consultation with local people in the spring of 2008 which received
over 3,000 responses.
Mendip District Council and
Partnership have consulted on a Community Strategy and Local
Development Framework for the period to 2026 which includes building
2,500–2,600 new homes, providing more employment and office space,
developing a new secondary school and two new primary schools,
remodelling the town centre and encouraging a wider range of retailers
and leisure providers into the town.
There have been a number of significant housing developments within
Frome, many on former industrial sites, and these are continuing with
plans for the redevelopment of a site at Saxonvale and Garsdale to
include several hundred dwellings, shops and a 'cultural quarter'
containing workshops for artists.
Frome Museum on North Parade
Frome has a thriving arts scene. The high-point is the annual
Frome Festival in July, which in recent years has included
more than 160 events held at various venues in and around the
town. The town is host to a number of artists, many of whom open
their studios to the public during the Festival. An Artisan Market
is held on Catherine Hill monthly between April and October.
There are two theatres in Frome: The Memorial Theatre was built in
1924 in memory of the fallen of the World War I, while the
240-seat Merlin Theatre is part of the
Frome Community College
Frome is also home to Somerset's first and only pub
theatre, with Nevertheless Productions promoting new dramas in small
venues around the town. The Cheese and Grain, a former farm
produce warehouse which was converted into a market and concert hall
in 1997, has a capacity of up to 800 and hosts regular pop
concerts. Locally based musicians include American saxophonist
Alfred "Pee Wee" Ellis
Alfred "Pee Wee" Ellis and Irish folk singer
Cara Dillon as well as
hardcore punk bands More Than Life, Ghost Of The Avalanche and
Landscapes. On Friday, 24 February 2017, the
Foo Fighters played a
secret intimate show at the Cheese and Grain venue to announce their
Glastonbury 2017 Pyramid Stage headlining slot on the Saturday night
of the festival.
Frome's only cinema, the Westway, is in Cork Street in the town
centre, which closed in March 2016 and re-opened February 2017, after
changing hands and undergoing extensive refurbishment. A fire
at the cinema in October 2016 was thought to have been started
deliberately. There is also an arts centre, The Black
Swan, and the town is part of the
West Country Carnival
West Country Carnival circuit.
Glastonbury Festival takes place only 15 miles southwest of Frome
at Worthy Farm, Pilton.
Frome also boasts two comedy clubs - the
Submarine Comedy Club at the Archangel and the Cheesy Grin Comedy
Club at the Cheese & Grain bar.
Frome & District Agricultural Society holds an annual
Agricultural & Cheese Show in September. This was formerly
held on the Showground at Fromefield, but in recent years has moved to
West Woodland, 2 miles (3.2 km) to the south of the town. The
Frome Society for Local Study was founded in 1958, and helped to
establish and run
Frome is served by two newspapers, the
Frome Times. In 2008, a 'not for profit' company called Frome
Community Productions was formed by members of the community in order
to develop and deliver FromeFM, an internet based community radio
station. The station broadcasts 24 hours per day and is completely
staffed by volunteers who produce features, interviews and music
shows. In 2009,
FromeFM commenced a service to stream the broadcasts
to mobile phones. In late 2011
FromeFM was granted a
broadcast licence and on 16 July 2012 began broadcast on 96.6FM in
Frome area. FromeTV, was another 'non-profit' organisation
running an online TV station.
Frome is also home to the
Frome Writers Collective - a not for profit
organization. Its patron is Barry Cunningham OBE.
Frome's Cheap Street is a location in episode six of the first series
BBC TV comedy The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin.
also provided the backdrop to historical dramas, such as Poldark,
broadcast in 2016 which has regular scenes shot in Gentle Street,
and Drover's Gold, filmed by
BBC Wales in 1996.
Frome restaurants include the Archangel on King Street, which received
a 9/10 rating in The Sunday Telegraph. The Archangel was formerly
The Angel Inn and is believed to date back to before the Protestant
Reformation, and is a Grade II listed building.
Stony Street, from Market Place to Catherine Hill
The older parts of Frome – for example, around Sheppard's
Barton and Catherine Hill – are picturesque, containing an
outstanding collection of small late-17th- and 18th-century houses.
The Trinity area, which was built in the latter half of the 17th
century and first half of the 18th century, is a fine (and rare)
example of early industrial housing. More than 300 houses were built
between 1660 and 1756 in a very unusual early example of a planned
grid pattern. Although about half the area was demolished in the 1960s
Slum Clearance Order, before its historical importance was
realised, the remainder was saved and was restored at a cost of £4
million between 1980 and 1984. Also in this area is the elaborate
former Selwood Printing Works. Stony Street, which leads into
Catherine Hill, is a steep, cobbled road climbing out of the town
centre. Also in the centre of the town, Cheap Street contains
buildings dating to the 16th and 17th centuries and has a stream
running down the middle fed by the spring at St John's Church. Cheap
Street has never been used for vehicular traffic and its layout is
based on land plots dating to approximately 1500. Despite a fire in
1923 the buildings have remained substantially unchanged since 1830
apart from shop-frontages.
The town bridge, originally built in the 14th century, was rebuilt in
the 17th century and widened in the 19th century, at which time
houses were built on it. The Tourist Information Centre in
Justice Lane is contained within a circular dye-house known to have
been in existence by 1813, one of two surviving in the town (the other
being in Willow Vale). It was restored in 1994. In the 1990s
and first few years of the 21st century
Frome benefited from
considerable investment in the restoration of its historic buildings
English Heritage Heritage Economic Regeneration Scheme and
the National Lottery Townscape Heritage Initiative.
The Blue House, a grade I listed building
Frome has more than 500 listed buildings, three of which (including
the parish church) are grade I listed. The Blue House, next to the
town bridge, is one of the grade I buildings; it was formerly the
Bluecoat School and Almshouses, named after the colour of the school
uniforms. Built in 1726 at a cost of £1,401 8s 9d, it replaced a
previous almshouse dating from 1461 and rebuilt in 1621. The Blue
House provided a home for twenty widows and schooling for twenty boys.
The front of the building is adorned by two statues, one of a man and
the other a woman, indicating the building's dual purpose. They are
colloquially known as "Billy Ball" and "Nancy Guy". The building's
role as a school came to an end in 1921 and it now provides studio and
one-bedroom flats for seventeen elderly residents.
Rook Lane Chapel
Rook Lane Chapel was a noncomformist chapel built between 1705 and
1707 by James Pope. The chapel had a gallery around three sides and
the centre of the ceiling was domed and supported by two Tuscan
columns. Rook Lane ceased to be used as a chapel in 1968 and there
followed twenty-five years of neglect. In the early 1990s the building
was compulsorily purchased by
Somerset County Council and transferred
Somerset Buildings Preservation Trust, which carried out
repairs and restorations. In 2001 it was converted by a firm of
architects, the ground floor becoming a community hall and arts centre
managed by Rook Lane Arts Trust and the galleried upper floor becoming
offices for the architectural firm NVB Architects.
Frome is reputed to have one or more systems of tunnels beneath the
streets of the older parts of the town. Some entrances are visible
above ground; for example in the wall at the top of Stony Street, with
other entrances in the cellars of shops and houses. Their purpose and
full extent remain unknown but they have been investigated in recent
years by at least one local group and a documentary has been made.
Church of St John the Baptist, Frome
The parish church of St John the Baptist, was built between the late
12th century and early 15th century replacing a 685 AD Saxon building.
Major restoration work was carried out in the 1860s, including the
construction of the Via Crucis, which is thought to be unique in an
Anglican church. Outside the east end of the church is the
tomb of Bishop Thomas Ken. The tower has eight bells, which bear
inscriptions indicating that they were cast at various points between
1622 and 1792. A daughter church of St John's, Christ Church, was
built in 1818 by George Allen Underwood, although considerable
changes were made throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. The
third Anglican Church, Holy Trinity, was built in 1837–38 by Henry
Goodridge in the style of Commissioners' Gothic. It is unusual in
that the altar is at the west end due to the position in which the
church was built. The stained glass windows are near-contemporary
copies of windows designed by Sir Edward Burne-Jones. Finally, St
Mary's at Innox Hill was built in 1863, by C.E. Giles, as another
Chapel of Ease to St John's. It is small with a decorated sanctuary
Irvingite Catholics (Catholic-Apostolic) began worshipping in
a building in the West End until the church was closed. The Roman
Catholic church began in
Frome after the building of a temporary
church in Park Road in 1928, and a new church, St Catharine's Catholic
Church, was finally built on the site in 1967 and 1968. Rook Lane
Chapel, a noncomformist chapel, was in use from 1707 until 1968. In
1773, a split in the congregation of Rook Lane led to the
establishment of another Zion
Congregational Church in Whittox Lane.
This building was replaced in 1810, and was extended in 1888 (a
separate, octagonal school room with a conical roof having been built
on the grounds in 1875). A
Quaker Meeting House existed in
Sheppards Barton, now South Parade, from 1675 to 1856. The original
building was replaced around 1730 with a simple unadorned stone
building comprising a single meeting room with wrought iron gallery
above. The building became a school, the town library, Red Cross
centre and, since 1999, the offices of a software company. The present
chapel-like appearance was created in a 1993 refurbishment by the Red
Baptists had been worshipping in the town since 1669, and had two
churches. One was built in Sheppards Barton (now South Parade) in
1708. This was demolished and replaced by a new building in 1850,
which was itself closed in 2001. Part of this building was converted
to residential use but the main church, with a baptism pool, remains
disused. A second Baptist Church was built in Badcox Lane (now
Catherine Street) in 1711. It was replaced with a new building in
1813, which was embellished with a Doric portico in 1845. It
closed in 1962 (later serving as a library, before being converted
into flats in the 1980s). The
Methodist church, built in 1812 at
Gorehedge, is still in use after considerable additions in 1863,
restoration in 1871 and major internal rearrangement in the 1980s.
Sun Street Chapel was erected by the Primitive Methodists in 1834, and
closed in 1982, although it was used by another religious group
afterwards. It is now used as a Community Centre. There is another
Methodist church on Portway, built in 1910. A Dissenters' Cemetery
with Chapel at Vallis Road, was founded in 1851 by Frome's 'Free
Churches', mainly Baptist, Congregational and
Methodist and has been
the site of over 6,000 burials.
View up Gentle Street
Frome is served by the
Bristol to Weymouth railway line which passes
the eastern edge of the town.
Frome station was opened in 1850 and is
one of the oldest railway stations still in operation in Britain, now
with direct services to London Paddington. Trains are operated by
First Great Western. A freight line, which branches off through the
town to serve the quarries on the
Mendip Hills, is mainly used by
Mendip Rail. A continuation of this line, which previously linked
Frome to Radstock, is now the route of National Cycle Route 24,
otherwise known as the Colliers Way.
Frome is also served by a number of bus routes, the busiest being the
267 First West of
England service to Bath, followed by the X67 and X34
services run by Faresaver of Chippenham. Other companies running bus
Frome Minibuses, Melksham Metro and Libra
The A361 bypasses the town around the southern and eastern edges,
while the A362 passes through the centre of the town from north-west
There is a public-access car club, operated by the social enterprise
Co-wheels. Electric cars are available from the Cheese and Grain,
Frome Medical Practice.
Frome has thirteen first schools for pupils aged between 4 and 9
years, including Berkley Church of
England First School, Christ Church
England First School, Hayesdown First School, St John's
England Voluntary Aided First School, St Louis Catholic
Primary School, Trinity Church of
England First School and Vallis
There are two middle schools for pupils between 9 and 13 years of age,
Oakfield Middle School and Selwood Anglican/
Methodist Middle School.
The town's main college,
Frome Community College, provides education
between ages 13 and 18, and has specialist "media arts" status.
There is also Critchill School which is a special school catering to
students who have special educational needs and Farleigh Further
Education College for special needs students going on to post 16, for
example because of learning difficulties or physical disabilities.
In 2012 the first publicly funded Steiner Academy in the UK opened in
Frome. Initially in a temporary location in Corsley, it moved to the
permanent location on Park Road in September 2014.
There are no further or higher education establishments in Frome, the
closest third-level institution being the University of Bath. A
vocational training facility opened in a temporary building in
Sport and leisure
Agricultural Showground cricket pitch
The Leisure Centre offers a wide range of activities including
swimming, indoor bowls, squash and a gym, originally opened in
1974, and refurbished through October 2015 to May 2016. There are also
water based sports including the
Warminster Dive Club,
and Canoe Club. There is an inland diving centre near
Victoria Park offers sports such as Bowls, Tennis, Putting, Skateboard
ramps and a Children's’ Playground. The Millennium Green has several
marked walks and a picnic area close to a semi wild open space for
local wildlife. The town is also at one end of the
which is a 80 kilometres (50 mi) long-distance footpath across
Mendip Hills from Weston-super-Mare.
Badgers Hill, currently known as the Blindmans Brewery Stadium, is the
Frome Town F.C., which in 2009 was promoted from the Western
Football League into the Southern Football League. The team were
promoted again in 2011 into the
Southern Football League
Southern Football League Premier
Frome Town ladies' team also play at Badgers Hill. Frome
Town F.C. also has Youth/Mini section, launched in the 2010/11 season.
This is part of the clubs move towards the FA Community Club Status.
The Youth section covers players of all abilities from under 6's to
Frome Cricket Club plays cricket at the Agricultural Showgrounds on
the Bath side of town. The club was formed in 1925 and, for the 2009
season, plays in the West of
England Premier League: Somerset
Somerset County Cricket Club used to use the ground and
Harold Gimblett made his debut at the venue in May 1935. The
club's most famed players are Colin Herbert Dredge, who played
county cricket 209 times for
Somerset from 1976 to 1988. Mark Harmon,
who played for both
Somerset and Kent. Alex Barrow, who plays for
Somerset and represented
England at under 19 level.
Formed in 1883,
Frome Rugby Club plays at Gypsy Lane. It has four
senior teams and a thriving mini and junior section. The First XV,
Second XV and Third XV all play in the English Rugby Union South West
Division Championship; the First XV play in Southern Counties South,
the Second XV in Dorset and Wilts One South and the Third XV in Dorset
and Wilts Three West. The Fourth XV, known as the Cavalry, play
friendly, social fixtures against other local sides.
Frome Cobble Wobble, is an individually timed bicycle hill climb
sprint. It was first organised by the local community and
Councillor Alvin Horsfall to celebrate the stage 5 of the 2009 Tour of
Britain, which started in Frome.
Notable people – past & present
See also: Category:People from Frome
Benjamin Baker, builder of the Forth Bridge, was born in
Charles Ball, founder of Ball & Welch department store chain in
Formula One racing driver and 2009 world champion Jenson Button
was born in
Frome in 1980. He went to Selwood Middle School in Frome,
and his mother still lives nearby. A street, Jenson Avenue, has been
named after him, as has a new bridge over the River
Jenson Button Bridge'. In May 2010, Button was awarded freedom of
Huey Morgan, American lead singer/guitarist from Fun Lovin Criminals
and radio presenter on
BBC Radio 6 Music &
BBC Radio 2 lives in
Cara Dillon, Irish folk singer, and her husband, musician and record
Sam Lakeman (brother of Seth Lakeman), have lived in Frome
Colin Dredge was born in
Frome in 1954.
Eadred (or Edred) (923–955), King of
England between 944 and 955,
Frome on 23 November of that year.
Alfred "Pee Wee" Ellis
Alfred "Pee Wee" Ellis (born 1941 in Bradenton, Florida), saxophonist,
composer and arranger, lives locally. He was an important member of
James Brown's band in the 1960s. He also worked closely with Van
Anna Friel, actress.
Joseph Glanvill was Vicar of
Frome from 1662 to
Guy Green, film director, screenwriter, and cinematographer, who won
an Oscar for Great Expectations in the last category, was born at 4
Frome in 1913.
Alice Seeley Harris, pioneering documentary photographer, missionary
and human rights activist, born in
Frome in 1870.
Charlie Higson of
The Fast Show
The Fast Show was born in
Frome in 1958.
James Laurenson lives in the town.
Lois Maxwell, who played
Miss Moneypenny in the
James Bond film series
from 1962 to 1985, lived in
Frome from 1994 to 2001.
Sir Charles Oatley, developer of one of the first commercial scanning
electron microscopes, was born at 5 Badcox in
Frome in 1904.
Anthony Powell, author, died in
Frome in 2000.
William Henry "Billy" Reed, violinist, composer and biographer of
Edward Elgar, was born in Christ Church Street in
Frome in 1875.
Kate Rew, author and wild swimmer.
Christina Rossetti (poet, and sister of Dante Gabriel Rossetti),
helped her mother run a day school in
Frome in 1853/4.
Elizabeth Singer Rowe
Elizabeth Singer Rowe (poet and devotional writer, first published by
Henry Thomas Ryall, royal engraver to Queen Victoria, was born in
Frome in 1811.
Richard Vranch of Whose Line Is It Anyway? was born in
Sir Charles Wilkins, the first translator of
Bhagavad Gita into
English, was born in
Frome around 1749.
Kerry Wilkinson, one of Amazon's top-10 best-selling authors worldwide
for 2011, went to Oakfield Middle School and
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