Curry Mallet, Somerset
Click here for Curry Mallet’s Magna Carta baron William Malet
The Manor of Curry Mallet is a small village with a farming and residential community nestling in the beautiful Somerset countryside. It has far reaching views: Devon’s Blackdown Hills form a backdrop to the west and there is a panoramic vista of the Somerset Levels, a sparsely populated wetland area, to the north. Although it is not a classic West Country “chocolate-box” village, it is an area possessing abundant charm and character. There is a public house, post office/village stores with tea garden, village hall, primary school, church, thriving clubs, scout troop and youth club. There is always a full programme of entertainment and an annual summer fete. The village is rich with structures which have been listed by English Heritage as of special architectural and historic interest.
It is seven miles from the county town of Taunton. The attractive and genteel Dorset/East Devon coastal towns of Lyme Regis and Beer, North Somerset resorts of Minehead and Weston-Super-Mare and Exmoor National Park are all within an hour’s drive. There is easy access to the M5 and the A303 to London via Stonehenge is close by.
The village is thought to be about 2,000 years old and Roman coins found locally suggest a Roman villa in the area. Evidence of a medieval village has been established and the entry for Curry Mallet in the Domesday Book of 1086 shows that the village had a population of thirty-eight households. A deer park was probably in existence as early as 1285. In 1421 the estate became part of the Duchy of Cornwall, which still owns many parts of the village today including three farms; two mixed with large dairy herds and the third having a successful strawberry business growing chosen varieties for the main supermarkets.
The church upholds the medieval service of “Blessing the Plough” traditionally held on the Sunday after Epiphany. Farmers of the parish carry the seed corn to be blessed and the farm workers bring their tools of trade and process to the altar, followed by the plough which is carried in. The ancient plough is kept permanently in the church.
In June 2013 Curry Mallet held a successful three-day history festival which acted as a dress rehearsal for the 2015 Magna Carta celebrations.
With thanks to Curry Mallet Parish Council for its text and photographs.