Wellington Town Guide
...a lovely town set by the beautiful Blackdown Hills
An historical trading place for traffic between Bristol and Exeter, the town has links back to the Iron Duke victor of the Battle of Waterloo and the Monmouth Rebellion. Set with a backdrop of the delightful Blackdown Hills, Wellington has an important history in the woollen trade with its integrated woollen mills.
Noted in the Domesday book as Walintone it was owned by the Bishop of Wells. It was designated as a town by royal charter in 1215 and grew as a trading centre for traffic on route between Bristol and Exeter. By the end of the 16thcentury it had passed into the hands of John Popham, the Lord Chief Justice.
Following a major fire in 1731 the majority of the town was rebuilt and it became a centre for cloth making with the first woollen mill being opened by the Fox Brothers in 1772.
The town also has links to the Iron Duke Arthur Wellesley, who, as the first Duke of Wellington was the victor at the Battle of Waterloo. The Wellington Monument, a grade II listed building, stands nearby as a monument to him and his victory. The town was served by both canal and rail by the 19thcentury which enabled the growth of the woollen trade, although the train station was closed in 1964 and whilst the route still runs through the town no trains stop.
Wellington was also home to Fox, Fowler and Company who were the last commercial bank allowed to print their own sterling bank notes.
Set by the lovely Blackdown Hills and near the River Tone, Wellington is a pretty town which still hosts its regular farmers markets. It has a number of speciality shops from which you can buy a range of products including gifts, craft items, health foods and many other every day items.
Following its long and distinguished history in the woollen trade, Deborah Meaden, one of the entrepreneurs from the BBC’s Dragons Den, invested in the Fox Brothers Mills which saved them from going out of business and thus enabled the continued production of the best cloth used in places such as Savile Row.
Wellington Museum has fascinating information about the towns links to the Duke of Wellington, the wool trade and also has rural life displays so is well worth a visit.
The town has a delightful award winning park set over 4.9 acres which was a gift to the town by the Fox family in 1903. There is also a local nature reserve to the west of the town in the Wellington Basin which is home to a vast and varied array of flora, fauna and wildlife and a sightseeing wander here will be a relaxing way to spend an afternoon.
There are also a number of religious buildings in the town, notably a Quaker Meeting House and the 15thcentury church of St John the Baptist, which includes a monument to Sir John Popham, the Lord Chief Justice who was involved in the trials of Guy Fawkes, Mary Queen of Scots and Sir Walter Raleigh.
Things to see and do
Wellington Museum - open from Easter to the end of September: Monday to Friday 10.00a.m.-4p.m., Saturday 10.00a.m.-1.00 p.m. From October to mid December it is open on Saturdays only 10.00a.m.-1.00 p.m. Entry is free.
Farmers Markets – held on the first and third Saturdays every month
Riding, lessons and childrens fun days -
Heazle Riding Centre, Heazle Farm, Clayhidon, Wellington, Somerset
EX15 3TH 01823 680 280 Email: email@example.com
Fishing – Trout fishing is available in the River Tone for those with a rod and licence.
Local places of interest
Taunton – the county town of Somerset
Poundisford Park – 16thcentury grade I listed building and 17thcentury formal gardens
Taunton Racecourse – the youngest National hunt racecourse in England and one of the most beautifully located.
Last Updated: 28 Apr 2015