Nether Stowey,Quantock Hills near Exmoor
Nether Stowey’s history begins with the building of the Norman Mott and Bailey castle in the 11C although it is believed the area itself was inhabited long before this time. To the west of the village there is certainly a high density of pre-historic sites which facinate the local historians. To the west of Nether Stowey also lies the iron age hill fort of Dowsborough.
The name Stowey, was recorded as Stawei in 1086 and was derived from the old English stan weg, or paved road. Many of the cobbled pavements today remain very old in origin. Even in the post medieval period there was still a lane known as Stow Here Path leading onto the Quantocks west of Nether Stowey.
The village of Nether Stowey has always focused around the church and manor, the market place and the castle. These buildings represent the relics of the four separate estates of Saxon origin first recorded at the time of Domesday.
Records suggest that an early castle at Over Stowey was abandoned in favour of the one above Nether Stowey, dating around 1154 or possibly earlier. The settlement below the castle showed no signs of deliberate planning although at the time would have been the early Nether Stowey .
This ancient village of Nether Stowey had a textiles and pottery based economy. Records also confirm that Nether Stowey held an annual fair after 1300 and weekly markets until at least 1791. The alternative name of Market Stowey comes to light in in 1795 and at the end of the 18th century the town/village was to become the home to the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge from 1797 to 1800.
Modern Nether Stowey
Nether Stowey now hosts three public houses, two village stores and a post office. There is also a family butcher who sells not only local meats but also a wide range of delicious fresh fish. Should the need arise there is a medical centre only yards away.
From the village there is easy access to the Quantock Hills by bike, car or on foot. In contrast, you turn towards the North Somerset Jurassic coast. This can be reached within four miles and is especially famous for its beautiful coastal walks.