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Village History

The Parish of Long Sutton has a history dating back to before the occupation by the Roman Empire and it was recorded in the Doomsday Book as Sutone. It lies at the junction of two ancient routes linking three towns of considerable importance in the early Middle Ages, Langport, Somerton, and Ilchester. The Parish includes the hamlets of Knole and Bineham in the east, and Upton to the northwest.

Traces of a medieval settlement have been found at Little Load and Load Bridge to the south and there is evidence of the Roman occupation including Roman coins, Samian Ware and burial places found in a field adjoining the road to Ilchester.  It is believed that the current name was given because of the size of the village and to differentiate this parish from others also named Sutton. Indeed we share our name with two other England villages; our namesakes being located in Lincolnshire and Wiltshire.

In the year of 852 AD King Alfred is said to have given the manor of Long Sutton to the Church of Athelney. Note that Athelney was once an island in the Somerset Levels and is best known for once being the fortress hiding place of King Alfred the Great, from where he went on to defeat the Danes at the Battle of Eddington in May 878.

Following the dissolution of the monasteries in 1539 the parish was bought by Sir John Spencer and later became part of the estates of the Duke of Devonshire who dispersed it in 1919.

In July 1645 the Civil War came to Long Sutton and its surrounds .Skirmishing took place in Upton, whilst the Parliamentary troops made their way along Tengore Lane.  Most of the fighting, known as the Battle of Langport, took place in and around High Ham, but Cromwell described the actions as the 'Long Sutton mercy' and compared it in importance with the Battle of Naseby. Long Sutton itself he found 'extremely wanting in provisions’!

The primary industry until the 1800s was farming, and this remains an important activity to this day. Various light industries have also been associated with the village. A textile mill was established in the parish in 1715, and cloth was made on a small scale. There was a silk-house here in 1798, and the manufacture of coarse linen and sailcloth employed many villagers. There was also a 'tobacco manufactory with a snuff mill', and gloving was done by women at home.

George Palmer, one half of the famous biscuit manufacturers Huntley & Palmer’s, was born in the parish in 1818 and it is reported  that Mrs Palmer  made her first biscuits and cakes in the village to help provide for her family. Greater things were to come when George established his factory in Reading.

Quarrying was also important with shallow workings for Blue Lias being used locally. Limited quarrying continues to the present day. Many of the cottages in Long Sutton have Blue Lias walls with Ham Stone dressing. Lime burning was carried on at Upton from the mid-18th century until the 1930’s and remembered with the name of a local a well-known local hostelry just north of the hamlet of at Knole and known as the Lime Kiln Inn!  

The importance of the village in the late 19th century was demonstrated by the number of shops. It included one retailer who described himself as draper and grocer who also sold patent medicines and kept a shoe warehouse! A post office was established by 1861 and the excellent village store continues this service today! The first garage was opened by 1923 and the increasing traffic along the Langport road was catered for at the Court House where meals were served in the 1930’s.

Harking back to the days of the Duke of Devonshire, the hostelry on the village green  was known as the Blue Ball in 1756  but  by 1787 it was renamed  the Buck's Head. It now trades as the Devonshire Arms after a brief, more recent incarnation!  The Hare and Hounds stood on the west side of the green from 1747 until around 1860. The Lime Kiln Inn, mentioned above, dates back to the 17th century, so villagers have never been short of ale or cider!

Long Sutton and Pitney Halt was established at Upton on the rail link between Langport and Castle Cary in 1906; it was sadly closed to passengers in 1962 and to goods in 1964 thanks to the ‘endeavours’ of Dr Beeching.

The parish of Long Sutton falls within the Non-Metropolitan District of South Somerset, which was formed on the 1st of April 1974 under the Local Government Act of 1972, having previously been part of Langport Rural District. Long Sutton is part of the Somerton and Frome constituency which has an electorate in excess of 80,000. The parish of Long Sutton has a population of around 850.

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