A History of the County of Somerset: Volume 6, Andersfield, Cannington, and North Petherton Hundreds (Bridgwater and Neighbouring Parishes). Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1992.

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A P Baggs. M C Siraut, 'Otterhampton', A History of the County of Somerset: Volume 6, Andersfield, Cannington, and North Petherton Hundreds (Bridgwater and Neighbouring Parishes), (London, 1992), pp. 104-105. British History Online [accessed 12 June 2024].

A P Baggs. M C Siraut. "Otterhampton", in A History of the County of Somerset: Volume 6, Andersfield, Cannington, and North Petherton Hundreds (Bridgwater and Neighbouring Parishes), (London, 1992) 104-105. British History Online, accessed June 12, 2024,

Baggs, A P. Siraut, M C. "Otterhampton", A History of the County of Somerset: Volume 6, Andersfield, Cannington, and North Petherton Hundreds (Bridgwater and Neighbouring Parishes), (London, 1992). 104-105. British History Online. Web. 12 June 2024,


Cannington (Northern part), Otterhampton, and Stockland Bristol 1838-1839

The ancient parish of Otterhampton lay between Stockland Bristol and the river Parrett 2.5 km. north of Cannington village and 8 km. north-west of Bridgwater. (fn. 1) It included Otterhampton village, a small settlement at Hill, now centred on Hill House, and parts of Combwich. The eastern half of the parish beside the river interlocked with Cannington parish, the result of at least one division of holdings between the estates of Cannington and Otterhampton between 1066 and 1086 and of the common ownership of one of the Combwich estates and Otterhampton Rumsey manor. (fn. 2) The parish also interlocked with Stockland Bristol, upon the church of which it was formerly dependent. (fn. 3) Between Otterhampton and Stockland villages the boundary follows a footpath, a stream, and a road, and part of the south-western boundary followed South Moor Brook. (fn. 4) The ancient parish measured 983 a. (fn. 5) In 1886 Otterhampton acquired Steart and other detached areas from Stockland and exchanged lands with Cannington, bringing the whole of Combwich into Otterhampton civil parish which in 1891 was said to measure 2,026 a. (fn. 6) In 1933 the area of Huntspill parish west of the Parrett at Steart estimated at 218 a. was transferred to Otterhampton. (fn. 7) The present civil parish covers 934 ha. (2,308 a.). (fn. 8)

From Combwich village (7 m.) the land rises on marl and Blue Lias over sandstone to 38 m. at Hill House. The remainder of the parish is flat marshland, in the south-west on marl, alluvium, and valley gravels, and in the north and north-east on alluvium, all below the 7.5-m. contour. The higher ground was quarried for lime and building stone, and brick and tile were made from the alluvium. The southern part of the parish is drained by the Moxhill and Putnell rhynes and the marshlands to the north by the South and North brooks. The flat lands along the Parrett are protected by sea walls which have been moved as land has been lost or gained. (fn. 9)

The name Otterhampton may indicate the settlement of the people of the Otterham, the marshes. (fn. 10) Otterhampton village comprising the church, former rectory house, and one farm which was probably the capital messuage of the main Domesday estate, seems to have been larger, since there is evidence of former buildings around the church. (fn. 11) There was a small estate at Moxhill in the 11th century. (fn. 12) A settlement, known as Twye in 1348 and Twyhouse in 1620, came to be known as Hill. (fn. 13) Combwich, the largest settlement and a small port, was shared with Cannington until 1886. Its ancient chapel was in Cannington parish and the history of the village is included under Cannington. The school and village hall bore the name Otterhampton in 1989.

The main route through the parish took traffic to and from the port and ferry at Combwich westwards to Nether Stowey and Stogursey. A road from Cannington crossed this route west of Combwich and may have led directly to Hill before the later 18th century. This road continued through a scattered roadside settlement north of Otterhampton village to the Steart marshes. The road from Cannington has from 1957 led to Hinkley Point power station, and has therefore become the principal route through the parish. Otterhampton village lay on a road from Coultings in Spaxton to Steart, a route which was closed south of the rectory after 1887. (fn. 14)

Combwich Down, west of the village, was an arable field shared between Cannington and Otterhampton into the 19th century. The meadows of North and South moors were similarly shared. They were not inclosed until 1867, and parts of South moor remained divided in strips into the 20th century. (fn. 15) A park was laid out around Hill House in the late 18th century, possibly for deer, and was sheltered on the north by plantations. (fn. 16)

There was a licensed tippler in the parish in 1607 and possibly in 1630. Later public houses were in Combwich. (fn. 17) There was said to have been an Otterhampton club whose poles were converted into churchwardens staves. (fn. 18)

The population rose from 176 in 1801 to 221 in 1831 when there was a shortage of houses, only 32 for 46 households. (fn. 19) Thereafter it fluctuated between about 210 and 240; most people lived at Combwich. (fn. 20) The growth of Combwich during the 20th century and the inclusion of the whole village in the civil parish account for the increase in population to 422 in 1931, to 551 in 1971, and to 697 in 1981. (fn. 21)

Six men were fined for involvement in the 1497 rebellion, (fn. 22) and Thomas Charnock, the alchemist, was buried at Otterhampton. (fn. 23)


  • 1. This article was completed in 1989.
  • 2. Below, manors.
  • 3. Below, church.
  • 4. O.S. Map 1/25,000, ST 24 (1959 edn.).
  • 5. S.R.O., tithe award.
  • 6. Census, 1891.
  • 7. S.R.O., GP/D, box 19.
  • 8. Census, 1981.
  • 9. O.S. Map 1/25,000, ST 24 (1959 edn); Geol. Surv. Map 1/50,000, solid and drift, sheet 279 and parts of 263 and 295 (1980 edn.); Proc. Som. Arch. Soc. xxiii. 65-7; S.R.O., D/RA 1/6/1.
  • 10. Ekwall, Eng. Place-Names (1960), 336.
  • 11. Som. C.C., Sites and Mons. Rec.
  • 12. V.C.H. Som. i. 512.
  • 13. S.R.O., TS/EVD; DD/SAS (C/77) 29.
  • 14. S.R.S. lxxvi, maps 1782, 1822; S.R.O., tithe award; O.S. Map 6", Som. XXXVII. SE. (1887 edn.); O.S. Map 1/25,000, ST 24 (1959 edn.).
  • 15. S.R.O., Q/RDe 156; ibid. tithe award; O.S. Map 1/25,000, ST 24 (1959 edn.).
  • 16. Som. C.C., Sites and Mons. Rec.; S.R.O., tithe award.
  • 17. S.R.O., Q/SR 3/107; Q/RL; above, Cannington.
  • 18. Ch. guide.
  • 19. S.R.O., D/P/otn 2/1/2.
  • 20. Census; P.R.O., HO 107/1924.
  • 21. Census.
  • 22. Fines Imposed in 1497, ed. A. J. Howard, 14.
  • 23. D.N.B.; Som. Wills, ed. Brown, v. 56.