Chiselborough Village Website
Chiselborough. The Village. The Community.
Chiselborough is a beautiful hamstone village located in a sheltered valley surrounded by five hills - Gawlers, Pease, Brympton, Pen and Balham. In Saxon times it was called Ceoselbergon (gravel hill). It is a small village with a population of 275 and has a traditional village pub, The Cat Head Inn, church and village hall. There are primary schools and a village shop in adjacent villages.
Much of the village was in the possession of the Earls of Ilchester until 1914, when it was sold off in lots by auction. The common was also owned by them, but is now in the possession of the parish. From the common the viewer gets a scenic panorama of the village and the countryside beyond.
Fairplace is aptly named, being the site of an October fair which was founded in 1257 and continued until 1894. Legend has it that the men of Hinton St George were, on one occasion, making merry at the fair. When they did not return home, their wives made 'punkies', that is candle lanterns made from hollowed-out mangolds with strange faces cut in them, and came looking for them. The men were terrified, and fled home, much to their wives' amusement. A Punky night continues to be held in Chiselborough at the end of October, when children make mangold lanterns and prizes are awarded for the best ones.
The parish church is dedicated to St Peter and St Paul, and has a low central tower between the nave and the chancel. An octagonal spire was added in the 16th century, one of only a few in Somerset. Many additions have been made over the centuries, and the Victorian nave ceiling was replaced in 1980-81. There are five bells, the oldest 14th century, and they are regularly rung, the ringers standing on the floor between nave and chancel.
The village hall, known as The Ilchester Hall, named after the Earls who once had possession of the village, was built in 1870, and was used formerly as the village school. Strapp farmhouse, built in 1576, is of interest with its mullioned windows and cambered door-head, although it is no longer a farmhouse.
The mill pond at Manor Farm originally fed a waterwheel which was constructed in 1861 to provide power to the farm buildings for rolling cattle feed, chaff cutting, sheep shearing etc. It was fed by springs rising at the top of the village at Brooksway. Unfortunately the wheel and most of the shafting was removed for scrap during the war and the pond silted up. This pond was subsequently renovated by the local farmer, whom stocked with fish and brought back to life. A picturesque orchard and the church lie beyond.