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Two articles on Mark Bullen's talk to BLHS on 10th April 2024 by Jacky Kerly and Mike Adams 

Wrington Curiosities -a talk by Mark Bullen to Blagdon Local History Society on the 10th April - article by Jacky Kerly for Blagdon Parish Magazine


There is so much to see and wonder about when you walk around a village. Mark Bullen has been doing just that in Wrington for 30 years, still spotting things he had not seen before and being prompted into finding out about them. He shared his notable curiosities with the Local History Society on 10th April, prompting many of us to look more closely, and to question what we observe, as we walk around Blagdon. Some guided walks are planned – see separate article in this magazine.


Wrington was the 1632 birthplace of famous philosopher John Locke, although he left his grandmother's cottage and the village after three days! The parish room was named after him and a commemorative stone was refurbished in 2004. Well known philanthropist Hannah More, who lived for a time at Barley Wood, is buried with her sisters in Wrington churchyard. But there is far more to question than famous past residents. Mark illustrated his talk with the blocked-in window in Glaisters to recall the window and hearth taxes. The recent rebuilding of the Old Lock Up, formerly called the Watch House, prompted talk about village justice including the use of The Golden Lion for petty session court hearings. We heard about the restoration of the large fire bell to the old fire station and buildings with intriguing names such as The Coffin Shop. But beware what you think you have discovered – the Edward VII post box apparently dating the old post office was actually bought at auction by a previous post-master.If you would like to see the talk it is available on our YouTube channel by by following link:

Wrington Curiosities’ with Mark Bullen - by Mike Adams            

Wednesday, 10th April 2024


Mark has lived in Wrington for 33 years. He gained an appreciation of buildings and their features during his work for Customs & Excise when one of his responsibilities was old customs houses. He has written a number of booklets about the village and I refer you to ‘Wrington Curiosities’ if you wish to learn more.  Here I have selected a few aspects of his talk, choosing mostly those things which are not quite what they seem at first sight.

The Village pump  

The pump was installed in 1866 and was in constant use until around 1935 when piped water arrived in the village. The pump was removed for safe custody at the start of WW2, possibly to avoid being scrapped.  It went to a yard at Axbridge District Council.  But when enquiries were made post-war, it could not be found. There was therefore no pump to be seen—until 1985. Close inspection reveals a brass plaque, ‘DONATED BY MR. & MRS. M. G. THORNE, GOLDEN LION, 1985.’ (1)

1. Village Pump.jpg

The Village Lock-up .

  The story goes back to the early nineteenth century when the Rector suffered a burglary and he instigated the provision of a lock-up in the village. It was a very small building with two cells and an office 

2. Village Lockup floor plan.jpg

In latter times it had fallen into disrepair and would have to be demolished or repaired for some use. A young couple bought the premises and converted it to a home, which they named ‘The Watch House’ (3).  A mezzanine floor has been installed and lime rendering used on the outside. The name was commented on but research in the Vestry minutes discovered that ‘Watch House’ was in fact its original description.  A member of the audience, no doubt a visitor from Wrington, made an interesting comment, “My great great grandfather built the original lock-up!”


This is one of a number of houses having three floors. There have always been rumours of shirts being made in the village and there may be a connection. The third floor could have been added to accommodate the manufacture or the workers engaged in manufacturing or both .

4. Glaisters, Church Walk.jpg

A reference to shirt manufacturing has been discovered in the school records.

The Old Rectory  

The building did have three storeys but now reduced to two. A member of the audience believed the roof was previously flat and leaked.

The building has Tudor-age cellars from a previous building on the site.

Defunct post box   The box has been put out of use and painted black. Mark’s interest was aroused by finding a mark to Edward VII, which is uncommon. However he was brought down to Earth when he learned the box had been purchased at an auction and installed to be an interesting feature but of course entirely bogus!


A recording of Mark’s talk is at:

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