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Muchelney (Somerset)

Muchelney shown within Somerset
Population 210[1]
OS grid reference ST429249
District South Somerset
Shire county Somerset
Region South West
Constituent country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Dialling code 01458
Police Avon and Somerset
Fire Devon and Somerset
Ambulance South Western
European Parliament South West England
UK Parliament Somerton and Frome
List of places: UKEnglandSomerset

Coordinates: 51°01'16?N 2°48'55?W? / ?51.021075, -2.815183

Muchelney is a village and parish in Somerset, England, on the River Parrett, 1.5 miles south of Huish Episcopi and 5.5 miles southwest of Somerton in the South Somerset district. The village has a population of about 210.[1]

The village was recorded as Micelenie in the Domesday book meaning 'the increasingly great island' from the Old English miclian and from the Norsk Øe.[2]

It is best known as the site of Muchelney Abbey, a Benedictine abbey founded by King Athelstan in 939, and largely demolished in the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Architectural details of houses in the surrounding area are thought to incorporate fragments scavenged when the Abbey was destroyed [3].

The tower of St. Peter and St. Paul church rises above Muchelney, Somerset
The tower of St. Peter and St. Paul church rises above Muchelney, Somerset

Remains of Muchelney Abbey, including Tudor monks' quarters, and exhibits, are managed by English Heritage. Other tourist attractions in Muchelney include the parish church of St. Peter and St. Paul; the Priest's House (built in 1308 and now managed by the National Trust), and the pottery of artist John Leach. Adjacent to Muchelney are the hamlets of Thorney and Muchelney Ham.

The thatch-roofed Priest's House in Muchelney
The thatch-roofed Priest's House in Muchelney

The name Mucheln-ey means "big island". (The -ey or -y suffix is the old English designation for "island", and thus is common to many of the villages in this area of the Somerset Levels, which stood as islands just above the marshes, which have since been drained.)

St. Peter and St. Paul parish church, adjacent to Muchelney Abbey, has a ceiling enlivened with Jacobean paintings of bare-breasted angels, their nudity thought to symbolize innocent purity. It has a 3-stage tower supported by pairs of full-height corner buttresses. The south east octagonal stair turret leads to an outer door.[4]

A highlight of the summer in Muchelney is the village's Lowland Games, a light-hearted adaptation of the Highland games. Events include (hay) Bale racing, Raft racing, Ferret racing, Wellie tossing, a dog show, and a battle of the bands (with the winning act getting a gig at the Glastonbury Festival).

[edit] References

  1. , a b Somerset County Council, 2002. [1]
  2. , Robinson, Stephen (1992). Somerset Place Names. Dovecote Press. ISBN 1874336032. 
  3. , The buildings of England, South and West Somerset, by Nikolaus Pevsner. Penguin Books 1958; Reprinted by Yale Univ Press, 2003, page 251.
  4. , Church of SS Peter and Paul, Muchelney. Images of England. Retrieved on 2007-09-25.

[edit] External links

(Source: Wikipedia)
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