Bruton Digital Archive Project
Bruton Digital Heritage
At first glance, this small Somerset town, situated a few miles north of the A303 trunk road, and a few miles west of Stourhead, appears to have been forgotten by time. Yet down its medieval bartons, along its riverside walk and from the hill crowned by its 15th. century dovecote, visitors are surprised by a remarkable blend of the ancient and the modern.
This beautiful Saxon town near the Foss way has Celtic, Roman and Dark Ages sites in the surrounding heights of land. In the days of the Roman Empire there was certainly a Temple on Creech Hill, near the celtic Iron Age Fort, and a villa at Discove (birth place of Thomas Ludwell) to the South of the town. The medieval a monastery was founded here by Algar, Earl of Cornwall in the year 1005, which developed into an abbey which was dissolved by HenryV111, This is a site of national importance
About 5 miles to the Southwest of Bruton is Cadbury Castle, the reputed site of Camelot, to the Northwest is Glastonbury, the fabled Avalon, which would suggest that it is possible that Arthur, Duke of Battles who may have been the real origin of the King Arthur/ Merlin legend may have visited the town at some time in the 5th or 6th century. The Museum contains many artefacts and even a saxon sword discovered nearby
What’s more the town has connections with the founders of Williamsburg USA and the Ames family who were big investors in the Ohio transcontinental railway
A school was started by Henry V111’s auditor Hugh Sexey and a strong tradition of education remains, with five significant schools enjoying enviable reputations. Music, literature and visual expression thrive in Bruton, with bustling Festival of Arts
There appears to have been a church at Bruton since the at least the 7th century, when King Ine mentioned it, probably built by St Aldhelm. Extensively rebuilt in the 14th century, with many modifications over the next 400 years, the present layout dates from about 1743 when Sir Charles Berkeley built the chancel to commemorate his late father. Berkeley square in London was named after the same family
All this makes Bruton a town which has attracted royal visitors, authors and artists including John Steinbeck.
The sheer beauty of the surrounding landscape delights walkers who will wish to stay, lingering in the excellent local restaurants and bed and breakfasts.
The Bruton Heritage Project
The Bruton Heritage project aims to develop a digital archive of the economic and social history of Bruton including collected reminiscences from older Bruton residents. Interviews will be put together of selected stories, including the relevant local archives of the 20 th century. The Digital archive created will be a learning resource for 5 local schools and be accessed via websites by UK and USA families, libraries, museums and heritage centres to help get people talking about their own memories of living in a small but influential small town
- The project will create a resource for understanding life in the 20th century in this small but influential historic Somerset town
- Multimedia techniques will photograph, scan and store memories and artefacts.
- The original recordings, transcriptions and artefacts will be held as a permanent record in the digital archive. Without the project, these stories and materials might be lost.
- Participants will integrate information about the natural and man-made environment with the social and economic record of the Town by bringing together key documents currently distributed widely and accessed only by a few.
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