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Castle Cary is a relatively unspoilt town deep in the Somerset countryside, its narrow streets rich in high-quality late eighteenth and nineteenth-century buildings. Its most famous industry, horsehair weaving, still flourishes.
This volume explores its history from the original castle and its lords to its rebirth as an industrial town. It also covers many villages, among them Ansford, early home of Parson Woodforde; Kingweston, virtually recreated by the Dickinson family; Keinton Mandeville, once famous for its paving stone quarries and as the birthplace of Henry Irving; tiny Wheathill, almost obliterated by a golf course; and West Lydford, the family home of the early eighteenth-century diarist John Cannon. Other places of note include Barton St David, home of Henry Adams, the reputed ancestor of two American Presidents, and Lovington, whose small primary school traces its origins back to an eighteenth-century charity school.

M.C. Siraut is a historian and archivist; she is the county editor for the Victoria History of Somerset.


[B]eautifully produced.and meticulously researched [...] This is an exemplary volume, which demonstrates the worth of the Red Books [...] It is local history of high quality, an invaluable resource not only for those looking at any community in the area, but also for anybody researching more widely one of the many themes around which it is constructed. THE LOCAL HISTORIAN

For any parish historian who has embarked on the tedious task of trying to trace the descent of manorial title, this is a godsend... If you have an interest in the history of anywhere between Ansford and Castle Cary in the east and Barton St David and Kingweston in the west, this is a priceless book. Not cheap, but a very good investment. THE VISITOR (monthly magazine for South Somerset, North Somerset and West Wiltshire)


First Published: 23 Dec 2010
13 Digit ISBN: 9781904356356
60 black and white, 18 line drawing illustrations
Pages: 256
Size: 30.5 x 20.8
Binding: Hardback
Imprint: Victoria County History

Details updated on 05 Oct 2015


  • 1  Bibliography
  • 2  Introduction
  • 3  Catsash hundred
  • 4  Castle Cary
  • 5  Alford
  • 6  Ansford
  • 7  Babcary
  • 8  Barton St David
  • 9  Keinton Mandeville
  • 10  Kingweston
  • 11  Lovington
  • 12  West Lydford
  • 13  Wheathill [in Whitley hundred]