High Ham in 1939

A pre-war record of the parish from Kelly’s Directory. My favourite line is the reference to the production of  “large quantities of cider.”

HIGH and LOW or NETHER HAM form a parish, 3.5 miles north from Langport West station on the Durston and Yeovil branch of the Great Western railway, and 3 miles north form Langport East station on the Castle Cary and Durston rail motor car service of the same line, and 5 west from Somerton, in the Yeovil parliamentary division, hundred of Whitley, petty sessional division of Somerton and Langport, rural district and county court district of Langport, rural deanery of Ilchester (Ilchester district), archdeaconry of Wells and diocese of Bath and Wells. The church of St. Andrew, originally erected by John Selwyn abbot of Glastonbury in 1476, is a building of stone in the Perpendicular style, containing a chancel, nave, aisles, south porch and an embattled western tower, with pinnacles, containing a clock placed in 1894 and 5 bells: the tower is much older than the rest of the building: there are several gargoyles round the church and tower, and on the latter is a small statue of the Virgin and Child in good preservation: the rood screen is remarkable for its beauty: there is a brass to John Dyer, who build the chancel, dated 1499: the stained east window is a memorial to John Dobin, of Aller, and there are others to Francis Gillett, late churchwarden, and his son: the font is Norman and the pulpit is of stone: the church was restored in 1870 and affords 350 sittings. The register dates from the year 1569, and contains many curious notes in Latin. There is also preserved here a description of the parish in Latin, made by Adrian Schael, who was rector of the parish in the reign of Elizabeth. The living is a rectory, net yearly value £550, including about 20 acres of glebe, with residence, in the gift of Worcester College, Oxford, and held since 1927 by the Rev. Edward Basil Armstrong Hughes M.A. of that college. There is a Methodist chapel at High Ham, a Congregational chapel at Low Ham, erected in 1860, with 100 sittings, and another at Henley, built in 1841, seating 80 persons. The old schoolhouse is the property of the parish; on the wall is an inscription, dated 1598. At Nether Ham is a chapel dating from about 1650, standing on a site of a much more ancient structure; it contains effigies of Sir Edward Hext, knighted at Whitehall, 12 May, 1604, and his wife; and also a monument to Lord Stawell, with a Latin inscription; there are 120 sittings. The living is a chaplaincy, net yearly value £24, in the gift of trustees, and held since 1927 by the Rev Edward Basil Armstrong Hughes M.A. of Worcester College, Oxford, who is also rector of High Ham (see above). The charities, which are of small yearly value, include an endowment left by Adrian Schael to found a school. The farmers are the principal landowners. The soil is stone brash and clay; and the subsoil is blue and white lias. The chief crops are wheat, beans, barley and apples. There are orchards in this parish producing large quantities of cider. The area is 5,017 acres of land and inland water; the population of the civil parish in 1931 was 766 and of the ecclesiastical parish 753.

By Local Government Board Order 17,645, March 25, 1886, parts of King’s Sedgemoor were amalgamated with High Ham from Long Sutton and Huish Episcopi parishes.

NETHER HAM is a tithing of Champton hundred, Wilton Free Manors. The villages of Henley, 1½ miles north, Picts Hill, 2 south, Beer, 1½ north-west, and Stout, 1 south-east, are in this parish.

Post, M. O. & T. Office, High Ham. Letters through Taunton



Bellot Hale
Carne-Hill Mrs. Ham court
Goode W. Winter, The Green
Gummer William H. Magnolia house
Hughes Rev. Edward Basil Armstrong M.A. (rector), Rectory
Manson Lieut.-Comdr. William R.N. (ret.), Lyneham cottage
Prince Col. P. E., D.S.O. Wearne Wyche
Reynolds Miss, Southend house
Rowsell Thomas William
Westover William John, The Grange


Barber Victor, farmer, Henley
Bartlett Harold, farmer, Henley
Bartlett Maurice W. farmer, Henley
Beddington Fred Hopkins, canine specialist
Coombes Wilson, farmer, Longstreet farm
Cox Wm. farmer, Henley
Crossman Arth. Luther, stone mason
England George, farmer
Fisher Bertie, thatcher
Ford Adolphus, cowkeeper
Gooding J. (Mrs.), nurse
Gould Herbt. John, farmer, New Road farm
Hodge Wm. farmer, Henley
Hodges Mrs. shopkpr
King’s Head Inn (Mrs. Eliz. A. Inder)
Lavis Fras. and Son, carpntrs
Lavis Albert Edward, wheelwright
Lawrence W. R. and Son, farmers, Bere (letters through Aller, Taunton)
Lloyd Fredk. Edgar, farmer, Henley
Lloyd George, farmer, Decoy farm
Lloyd Thos. farmer, Henley
Loader Bros. farmers, Henley
Lockyer Chas. baker
Meade Jesse Bailey, farmer, Bere (letters through Aller, Taunton)
Meaker Regnld. Jesse, farmer, Henley Corner farm, Henley
Mears and Hunt, grocers, stationers, outfitters and drapers, The Stores and post office.
T N Langport 900
Oram Herbt. farmer, Broadacre
Oram Jas. turf mer. Henley
Oram Jn. smallholder, Henley
Peppard Rt. Bere (letters through Aller, Taunton)
Pitman Saml. Wm. insur. agt. and clerk to Parish Council
Priddle Wltr. Jn. boot mkr
Prideaux (Langport) Ltd. egg and poultry packing station; dealers in pigs, calves & lambs; horse slaughterers, Ham Down house (letters through Langport). Langport 11
Shepherd F. and C. farmers, Cooksley farm, Henley
Sherrin Bros. farmers, Yew Tree farm, Henley
Sherrin Adam Geo. frmr. Manor frm
Spearing Simon, grocer
Tapscott Ernest, farmer, Howes frm
Tapscott Hy. farmer, Henley
Thyer Edwin, farmer, Townsend farm
Townsend Ernest, boot repr
Travis George, farmer, Henley
Vigar Bros. farmers, Bridge farm, Henley
Vigar Maurice, farmer, Henley farm
Webb Harold, farmer, Henley
Wilkins Douglas, farmer, Poole farm
Wilkins Ernest, farmer, Henley
Wilkins Wm. Dewdney, farmer, Whitehouse farm, Henley
Williams Herbt. farmer, Bere (letters through Aller, Taunton)
Williams Percy, farmer, Fir Tree farm, Henley



Marked thus * farm 150 acres or over.

Bassett Leonard, poultry farmer, Highlands
*Body Arth. Geo. poultry farmer, Mid-Somerset poultry farm. Langport 116
*Bonning H. H. and Son, poultry farmers, Pict’s hill. Langport 41
Clark Howard, farmer, Dairy House farm
*Cook H. T. and L. W. farmers, Old Manor farm. Langport 111
Gooding Austin E. farmer
Hill Marshall, farmer
Hurd William, farmer
Inder Harry, farmer
*Keevil Bros. farmers, New Manor farm. Langport 112
Lloyd Geo. Wallis, farmer, Bramwells farm
Lloyd Norman, farmer, Fir Tree frm
Mid-Somerset Golf Club (R. J. McEvoy, sec)
*Salway Jn. Thos. farmer, Ham Down
*Snell Geo. farmer, Pict’s hill
Stone Ralph, farmer
*Thresher Chas. & Son, farmers, Ham Down farm
Windsor Percival, farmer, ploughing contractor, and cars for hire, Perren’s farm.
Langport 99

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2 Responses to High Ham in 1939

  1. Doonhamer says:

    Thank you for that. We seem, or at least our country seems, to have changed more in this last century than in previous several centuries. And not all for the better.
    Somerset has some beautifully named villages.
    Reminds me of Flanders and Swann’s “The Slow Train”.
    Worked in Yeovil for few months in 1970s. Took advantage to see the area. Idylic.
    And always brought home a gallon plastic jar of scrumpy. The dregs were used to marinade and roast pork. Yum, dribble.

  2. Ian says:

    When I first read the page, it felt like something from Victorian times. The telephone numbers, and the names of people whom I knew marked it as mid-20th Century.

    Little remains the time of the directory that is recognizable today.

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