The Story of Keinton Mandeville
The Name of the Village
The name of the village - Cyne-tun, meaning the King's Manor - has its origins in Old English. It was spelt variously between the Domesday Book of 1086 and tithe maps of 1834. The Mandeville bit relates to a family coming from Normandy with William. In 1295, a brother holding lands south west of Yeovil regularised the arrangement for another brother, Geoffrey, to hold Kyngton. From this time Mandeville was added to the name, although family ties were brief: by 1275 grandson John was deemed to be 'of unsound mind' and the lands given to St John's Hospice in Wells.
But the village origins go back even earlier for, being near the Fosse Way, this area was settled by scattered Roman villas, often lands given to retired soldiers. The foundations of a Roman villa, as well as metal-lined tombs, have been found within the village boundaries.
The origins are typically agricultural: cider and cider mills played their parts. Two inns once had an important role along the main road, as well as the many (less salubrious) drinking outlets which served quarrymen's needs! Teazles were grown commercially for the cloth trade in nearby Shepton. Gloving, cobbling and straw-hat making were also to be found. Pigs, chickens, sheep and cows are still reared.
Flour was ground in water mills at the bottom of Combe Hill, from the C14th, and a windmill stood proud on the road to Somerton, on Windmilll Hill.
The Mid 19th Century
The village 'took off' in the mid-C19th when Keinton blue lias stone became highly sought after. The houses seem to have migrated from around the church towards the cross roads, to catch the passing trade.
During the C19th, Keinton had its share of village businesses: the butcher, the baker, (no candlestick-maker), but a blacksmith, ironmonger, wheelwright, carpenter, carrier, draper, hats and haberdashery, grocer, garage, even two banks, as well as a post office.
We had a school, a church, at least two chapels, a policeman, railway,
social club, a swimming pool (a flooded quarry!) and, at one time, 18 different stone quarries in which over half
the population worked in many different jobs. A very busy community in which everything you needed could be
found.... right up until the 1960s.
Well, Henry Irving - who was knighted for his contribution to acting - was born here, under the name of John Brodribb. He seems to have left the village early, left school at 13, never to return. But we have a blue plaque to show he was a son of Keinton. However, long-time residents - the Chalker family - played a greater part, through quarry and chapel, though are less fussed over.
Download the Full History?
This site also includes a downloadable book about the village (200 A5 pages) which gives photos and details of all these business and activities and much more besides. You may find your family in its pages and you are welcome to use any pages which interest you. To guide you, the following index is provided:
Enjoy Times Past in Keinton Mandeville!
The Village Archivist
The village archivist, and co-ordinator of 'Times Past in Keinton Mandeville' is Sarah Villiers. If you have any contributions to make to the archive she can be contacted on 01458 223416