Local History: Galmington & Comeytrowe Timeline
With Nick Chipchase
Dick Whittington Performance at St Michael’s Church.
Dick Whittington Performance at St Michael’s Church.
Photo credit: Nick Chipchase (C)
The Parish Church of St Michael the Archangel, Galmington is built in 1986 at the same time as the Comeytrowe Centre.
Comeytrowe community hall is built and equipped with grants and extensive fundraising by the community. Today it houses a wide range of activities every day and is available for hire by the members of the community.
The Bishop Henderson primary school, named after the then Bishop of Bath and Wells, was built in the 1980s
Galmington Youth And Social Club.“One day we had a knock on the door maybe about 1973. A fellow called John who worked at the Co-op. Were we interested in helping start a new youth club? Well as we had a couple of children we said ” yes “. That lead to a family involvement for some 25 years at The Trident. My wife Liz and my mum Joan with some of the ladies’ skittle team at the Full Moon all got involved. The club grew to embrace many sports including netball, football, judo, darts,scouts, Cubs Brownies and Guides with short mat bowling for a while. To help with funds a small bar was opened at the back of the Trident which was run by a lovely old chap called Willie. This was expanded and Liz became licensee for over 20 years. The club became the social heart of Galmington. At one time we had to close the book at 800 members. We had some wonderful and strange characters at the club. Some outrageous ones too. I did a little bar work from time to time and learned a lot from various members ( even being taught to swim as I wanted to be a scuba diver ). The club dances were a riot. Many were in fancy dress whilst we had variety shows too. We had a hypnotist who had folk imitating chickens as well as magicians. We did regular functions as well including Van Heusen’s Christmas do. Ian Botham came and drank all the tequila. Also Viv Richards and Jocky Wilson for a darts tournament. We also ran 24 hours non stop skittles.”
“The youth club was a great success and I expect many readers will remember being members. We ran a carnival float over several years. HMS Trident and a Spaceship. One year they wanted a kissagram for a member’s birthday. I volunteered in a wig and fishnet tights. Well made up I think that I got away with it. Another time the netball girls decided that they would do a parachute jump. Foolishly I volunteered. We did the training and did a 2,000ft solo jump. The girls and I were terrified. I got horribly winded landing in a heap a long way from the drop spot. We did the marines assault course in eight minutes and won ‘Operation Moonraker’ two years running beating 60 other teams. For a while, my diving club met at the club. Two of us walked from St Audries to Beer to raise funds. I had swollen feet for a week. GYandSC gave us so much. Sadly those days are long gone. The community spirit has faded. People don’t want clubs and dances now. Maybe even characters have faded. Terry, Alan even John are no longer with us. A terrible accident killed Tony Porter a founder member and Sally Coggins on their way to Crufts. Pat Porter was horribly injured. The club’s saddest day. So many memories. Some bad but mostly good. Wonderful people of Galmington. We had the best of it. The club lingers on but the old days will never be rekindled. Thank you all of you people. You made our life so much more interesting.”
Written by Nick Chipchase (occasional barman and cellar operative. Liz was the boss but only in The Trident.)
Viv Richards moved to Taunton in 1974 in preparation for his professional debut with Somerset CCC where he was assigned living accommodation by the club; a flat-share with two other county players: Ian Botham and Dennis Breakwell. On 27 April 1974 Richards made his Benson & Hedges Cup debut for Somerset against Glamorgan in Swansea; after the game Somerset skipper Brian Close arranged a player’s ovation for Richards in recognition of his playing and contribution to the victory. Richards was awarded Man of the Match. (Source: Wikipedia)
Claremont Drive with Somerset Avenue in the distance
“The building is the old St Michael’s Church Hall in Hovelands Lane c 1967. When it was demolished Galmington Youth and Social Club were promised the prefabricated concrete sections and supports for a judo building. This was all duly delivered but was too badly damaged to be of any use.”
“The interior views might be older when the hall was corrugated iron like so many in the area. One such building still remains adjacent to the church at Staple Fitzpaine but it has been condemned for years.”
“This one shows the clay pit now Galmington Industrial estate. I remember clambering down in there as a boy”
“The cricket match is at Queens College and as far as I can see shows the farm buildings at the bottom of the lane from Trull Road. The actual farm would have been close to the junction at College Way where the electricity sub station is now. The track remains much the same.”
Queens College August 1934
New Barn Park gets its name from the New Barn on the road passing Somerset Avenue. The barn was converted into an imposing house around the later 1920s. Quite a novel feature back then but commonplace today. It had grand views over farmland as far as Hort’s Cottages and Queens College. All mostly built on now. We were horrified when it was demolished as we had assumed that it was a listed building. As far as I can remember bats roosted in the roof. You can see New Barn in the clump of trees adjacent to Claremont Drive in the air view.
After all of this farmland was developed we always thought that would be the end of housing between Galmington and Trull as it was supposedly ” Green Belt “. I rather think that that term is no longer appropriate having been replaced by ” Green Wedge ” That mostly flood plane along rivers.
Claremont Drive and subsidiary roads were built in the late 1960s This estate was one of the last in Taunton built as a branching tree design. A central trunk road with branching closes and crescents. The more popular design today is based on a village concept. Clusters of variously designed houses with open spaces between.
We now know that some 2,000 more houses will be built in the area between Rumwell and Trull. Work has already started at Rumwell. Having walked that area many times I have to say that there is little amenity value there. Most of the hedges and trees have long gone. Its a rather bland agricultural landscape with ill-defined footpaths. I must admit that the new planning proposal will mean a lot more trees and nicer walks. As for the traffic. I guess we shall have to wait and see. I hope to make a record of developments here.
The floral arch was erected at the end of Comeytrowe Lane to celebrate the wedding of Miss Dorothy Edwards, the local Sunday school teacher, to Mr Harry Thomas of Tangier House.
Miss Edwards trained the choir and acted as an organist. Upon marriage, she gave up her positions ( probably that was compulsory ) and was gifted a jug and spirit lamp on a stand by an appreciative party of parishioners and children including the vicar Rev. J. M. Bastard. Harry Thomas was gifted a solid copper table heater and kettle from the employees at his fathers’ posting establishment. The wedding took place on a Wednesday at Wilton Church. Jewell’s Farm in the background was subsequently replaced by modern houses. The Sunday school building was a short way along Comeytrowe Lane just behind the photographer’s standing point. John Jewell was listed as a haulier at Galmington in 1902 when the hamlet of Galmington was part of Bishop’s Hull parish.
GALMINGTON is a hamlet ecclesiastically in Wilton, but for civil purposes connected with Bishops Hull. (Source: Kelly’s Directory of Somerset 1902)
The little bridge is a sad sight now devoid of its former stream. Some records say its Roman but I rather doubt that. In earlier days the only route from Galmington up to Trull Road was through the ford at the end of Hoveland Lane.
On the map, you can see that the next bit is marked ” Old Roman Road “. The ford was along the river bed. We used to cycle along there calling it ” Watersplash “. All great fun of course. Hoveland Farm would be pretty close to where the road junction is now opposite the chip shop. The footpath ran back from there across the fields to end near The Shepherd’s Rest then known as The Galmington Inn. There have been no shepherds around here for many years.
The oblique view of the bridge shows Galmington Fields looking across to where Parkfield School is now. In 1900 Taunton ended at Park Street. The only building between Galmington and Park Street was Musgrove Farm. Taunton Gliding Club used the fields between the wars as it was flat land. There was even grand talk of a Taunton airport. Galmington stream ambled its way around Musgrove Farm to join the River Tone at Tangier. I guess it would have all looked very different here today if the airport had been built.
Other sources of interest include: