Axbridge Town seal


Axbridge and its history

The history of Axbridge can be traced back to the reign of King Alfred when it was part of the Saxons' defence system for Wessex against the Vikings.

Early inhabitants of the area almost certainly include the Romans, (who are known to have mined lead on the top of the Mendips) and earlier still, prehistoric man, (who lived in the local caves) whose flint tools have been found on the slopes of the local hills.

Axbridge appears in the Domesday survey of 1086 as part of the royal manor of Cheddar. It was granted a Royal Charter in 1202, when King John sold most of the royal manor of Cheddar to the Bishop of Bath and Wells.

Being a market town allowed Axbridge to prosper via the wool trade during the Medieval period. The much later decline of the cloth industry brought about the demise of Axbridge as an important trading centre.

Whilst there is much evidence of rebuilding and re-facing of buildings in Axbridge in the 18th and 19th centuries, the heart of Axbridge has changed little and it retains a number of early listed buildings in the Square and lining the main streets.

History Links

You can find more information on the history of Axbridge at the Somerset County Council's website, where they have "A brief history of Axbridge" or by following the "History" link on the King John's Hunting Lodge website.