An ancient town which became a borough before 1066.  It's hub is a spacious square, off which there are many small old streets;  the High Stree contains several historic buildings, including King John's Hunting Lodge, an Elizabethan building that has no connection with King John.  The museum in the town hall preserves the old stocks, a bull anchor used in bull-baiting until the 19th century, and a money-changer's table dating from 1627. 

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Compton Bishop

It was in this parish that 3 of our 5 pioneering Paynes were baptised together with 2 siblings that either died or remained in Somerset. The remaining 2 were baptised in Winscombe. The parish is situated in the Mendip Hills and contains the village of Cross

The parish, with its Church of St. Andrews, gets its suffix from the Bishop of Bath & Wells who possessed the manor at the time of the Norman Conquest. It is situated 2 miles west of Axbridge.

Sidcot Hamlet

These days Sidcot is most famous for the prestigous Quaker School located there. The hamlet is now considered to be part of Winscombe rather than a village in its own right. Unfortunately though Sidcot School existed in the 1800s, our pioneering forebears did not attend the school. They were illiterate.

Sidcot, . (Neg. s686008) © Copyright The Francis Frith Collection 2006. Reproduced courtesy of The Francis Frith Collection.


Winscombe is 2 miles NW of Axbridge on the Bristol-Bridgwater road. It is located on the North Eastern slopes of the Mendip Hills. The local soil is a light loam over clay in some places but other places have a lcayey soil resting on limestone. Sounds similar to the areas in Victoria which our pioneers chose doesn't it?? This suited it to the main economic pursuit of Somerset, the raising of lambs for wool.

Winscombe parish includes the hamlets of Woodborough, Barton, and Sandford. Our Paynes lived at Woodborough for some time although they moved to the nearby hamlet of Sidcot in adulthood. There are limestone quaries in the area which led of course to limekilns. at which last place calamine is found. There are limestone quarries and limekilns.