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Creech St Michael c 1910

Creech St Michael c 1910 Taunton Somerset

One of my favourite views which I have coloured. A lovely image of village life in the early 1900’s. Here we see the Bell Inn, Smithy and Post Office at Creech. The village postman in smart uniform (no shorts !) on his rounds.

William Francis ran the Post Office which also served as the village shop with a drapery and grocers. The smith is shoeing a horse. The smithy was run by the Stevens family until 1935. The smith also operated as a dentist as he could pull teeth with a special tool he had made. Perhaps the patient made a prior visit to the Bell Inn for suitable fortification. The inn dates to earlier than 1824. The Stogumber Brewery ran it before they were taken over by The West Somerset Brewery at Taunton. (Now the site of The Brewhouse). In 1897 Arnold and Sons took over the West Somerset Brewery later trading as Arnold and Hancock after merging with Hancock at Wiveliscombe. Ushers bought out Arnold and Hancock in 1955 thus ending the local brewery connections.

The name ‘Creech’ probably refers to a local creek on the River Tone. It’s an ancient parish dating as far back as 854.    The Domesday Book refers to Creech as ‘Crice’. It was mainly argricultural with a mill.

The 1327 Lay Subsidary Rolls list people in Creech by name. Here we see the connection with surnames to topography and trade. Names such as Hamme, Carpenter, Preest, Webbe, Fleke the latter relating to a trade as an arrow maker or archer. Some twenty Creech folk supported Monmouth in the Rebellion marching from Taunton to Bridgwater only to be routed at Sedgmoor. A number were not caught though a couple were hanged and some transported to the colonies.

Postcards of Creech come to us from William Brass, John Mitchell and Montague Cooper. The first two being village residents. In recent years Jim Cole published a set of seven modern views and a lovely book of village views in 2001. June Small’s ‘The Book of Creech St. Michael’ ( Halsgrove 2001 ) provides an extensive history of the parish.

Sadly the village has been subsumed into the ever expanding town of Taunton. My first home was there nearly 50 years ago. Its changed a fair bit since then.

By Nick Chipchase

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