Stunning South West: Sutton Bingham

Welcome to the charming village of Sutton Bingham.



Yes, that's it, right there. 

No, you can't see it? Well, alright, fair enough. You can't actually see the charming village of Sutton Bingham.... since it's under the water. It's like Somerset's own Atlantis, a village lost under the water- and I'm not talking about so- called localised flooding like we suffered a couple of years back there. No, this village was purposely lost. 



The story goes back to the 1950's when Wessex Water decided they needed to flood an area to supply the town, that'll be Yeovil, with drinking water. All that survives of the village is it's Norman church, and manor house. The reservoir that replaces the village is now home to Sutton Bingham Sailing Club and the District Canoe Club. Population of Sutton Bingham these days? 25.

All Saints Norman Church, Sutton Bingham
Little can be found on the internet about Sutton Bingham, except by church enthusiasts, but I'll get to that in a minute. Honestly, the story I am about to tell you may just be local folklore, but since I have yet to find anything to confirm or deny it, I thought it would entertain you on a Sunday afternoon. 

These days, Sutton Bingham is mostly forgotten and rarely visited unless you're part of the sailing or canoe club. However years ago, it was thriving village with a mill. Population was probably no more than a few hundred. Then the Mill shut down and worked dried up, and Yeovil was growing bigger and bigger, with several major glove factories, as well as the Westlands complex growing, there were more and more people. More people meant the need for a reservoir nearby. The farmland area was scoured, and with no one willing to sell up and loose trade a compulsory purchase order was made. Not on farmland, on the charming village of Sutton Bingham.

The villagers were told to leave their houses and the village was flooded. It is rumoured the village wasn't even knocked down, just flooded. And, apparently when we have dry spells, and the reservoir is low, you can see the tops of the highest houses that were once in the village. The reservoir makes for a lovely stop on the way home, tho' we found out that dogs aren't allowed, so since we had Tiger with us, we went and found somewhere else.

One of the broken gravestones 

As I said earlier, all that's left is the manor, and the 12th century church. The church itself was built by the Normans. It looks a little run down from the outside, some of the grave stones have broken and been lent against the rest of their stones. It is also tiny, and hidden up a track with just a small black sign on the road. Mum said that there used to be a book to sign, but it wasn't there last time we went. You should definitely venture inside, its worth the visit, as there are the most fabulous 14th century paintings. They were whitewashed during the Reformation and only rediscovered 150 years ago. The depictions include the Coronation of the Virgin, various Saints and Bishops and, as pictured below, the Death of the Virgin. The church is small, but it's belfry contains two bells one of which dates as far back as 1250 and the second is slightly "newer" dating 1685.

Death of a Virgin, All Saints Church Sutton Bingham c.14th century





Comments

  1. I can't imagine being told to move so that they can flood my house, my town and the area I called home for so many years. And yet it happened here and elsewhere to. :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right? Its one of those things, tho' it happens occasionally. Really sad, tho'

      Delete
  2. Flood my house? What the heck????? How sad. Thanks for linking up to the #SundayTraveler!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha, yep. Sad isn't it?! I think they were "relocated".

      Delete

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