Thursday, 12 February 2015

Introduction

For as long as I can remember I have been interested in architecturally eccentric buildings, industrial archaeology, quirky museums, bizarre traditions and customs and other unusual monuments, shrines and sculptures.  Some of my most treasured books are the late John Timpson's Timpson's England: A Look Beyond the Obvious and its sequels Timpson's Other England: A Look at the Unusual and the Definitely Odd (1987) and Timpson's Towns of England and Wales: Oddities and Curiosities (1993).

I am an Information Librarian by profession but a geographer by inclination and training.  My favourite question word has always been where?  I spend much of my free time walking with various groups in Somerset and adjacent counties and more often than not in the course of a walk we pass by something unusual that we can't identify or don't know for what  purpose it was originally used.  As the Information Librarian in the group it is always me who gets asked, or who offers, to go away and do some research about it and then to report back to the group.  I thought that if my friends and acquaintances were interested in finding out more about such places and things, then probably so were other people and the idea for this blog was born.

The scope of this blog is the modern (post 1974) county of Somerset and so it does not cover the area currently covered by Bath and North East Somerset and North Somerset Councils.

Rather than do a separate blog post for every single thing, where there is more than one of a type of building I will do one post for each subject e.g. windmills, holy wells, stone circles, animal pounds etc.  As I visit more places and find out more information I will add to the earlier blog posts.  One exception to this is follies.  They often have such interesting histories that I think they deserve a separate blog post each.

One of my other hobbies is geocaching and this has over the last 12 years taken me to many interesting places, monuments, viewpoints etc that I would otherwise not have been aware of and which will feature in this blog.

Useful websites

Somerset Historic Environment Record:
http://www.somersetheritage.org.uk/

Exmoor's Past - Historic Environment Record for the area covered by Exmoor National Park:
http://www.exmoorher.co.uk/

Further Reading:

Somerset Curiosities: A Guide to Follies, Curious Takes, Unusual People and Architectural Eccentricities - by Enid Byford.  Published by Dovecote Press in 1987.
There are a few lending and reference copies of this book in stock in various Libraries West Libraries

The A-Z of Curious Somerset - Strange Stories of Mysteries, Crimes and Eccentrics - by Geoffrey Body.  Published by History Press in 2013
This book is currently in print - March 2015

Curious Somerset  by Derrick Warren.  Published by Sutton Publishing in 2005

Somerset Follies by Jonathan Holt. Published by Akeman Press in 2007

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