One-name Study


The village name is believed to originate from the form waþmor where waþ or wæþ means hunt. So the name probably derives from hunting moor.

Wedmore in in the County of Somerset in the south-west of England

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Wedmore Village

The village of Wedmore is situated about ten miles north and east of the centre of the county of Somerset.   The county being located very much to the south of England and to the west.   To the motorist Wedmore will be found on the B3139 about half way between Wells and Burnham-On-Sea, rather off the main routes and four miles south of the better known town of Cheddar.

The name dates back at least to Saxon times and probably reflects the moorland nature of the settlement, possibly a moor for hunting.   One of the first peace treaties recorded in English history was the "Peace of Wedmore" between King Alfred of Wessex and the captured Dane, Guthram in AD878.

Wedmore and the area around the village was once known as the Isle of Wedmore.   This confuses those not familiar with English place names in the same way that the better known Isle of Ely might, in the east of the country.   The usage of Isle in this context does not mean an island completely surrounded by water, like an island at sea or in a lake, though it nearly does.   It applies to a large low-lying area of land little above sea level which is marshy and waterlogged, particularly in the winter months.  

There are reed-beds and coarse grasses with the village on slightly higher ground, thus an island within the marshes.   Wedmore village is surrounded by moors; Blackford Moor to the west, Cheddar Moor to the north, Wedmore Moor to the east, Stalham, Mudgley, Westhay and other moors to the south.   This area lies to the north-west of Glastonbury Marshes.   Until the last quarter of the 18th century the whole area was one large tract of rough common grazing ground, but under water for the wetter parts of the year.   During the 17th and 18th centuries common and waste land such as this had been taken into private ownership or 'enclosed' either by local agreement or by Act of Parliament.   One such act lead to the 1778 Wedmore Enclosure Awards.   Enclosure lead to the creation of fields with boundary ditches and hedges and in turn drainage was improved by ditches and the larger dykes (or rhines), so that the moor was converted to rich pasture land.

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© Geoffrey Stone, Braintree   17-2-04   Last Update 15-5-2007