The town of Clevedon, now part of the new Unitary Authority of North Somerset. Clevedon is a busy seaside town, yet it remains relatively quiet. Clevedon has grown enormously since building plots measured out along The Beach and Hill Road were first advertised in 1820. Until then, it had been a quiet, agricultural village, sprawling piecemeal across the levels. The three most important buildings for the villagers of two centuries ago would have been St Andrew's Church, Clevedon Court and Highdale Farm.
St Andrew's, perched on the cliffs at the West End of Old Church Road, is believed to have Saxon origins. To those interested in old carvings, a number of corbels on the outside of the south wall have distinctly Celtic roots, depicting ravens, two faced men, a "shiela- na gig" mother goddess and horses heads.
Highdale Farm, below Christ Church, dates back to 1297, when the Chantry Chapel there was first mentioned in ancient records. The Chapel vanished after the Dissolution of Tudor times, but the farm was from the time of Doomsday the home of the Stewards of the Clevedon Manor, whose duty it was to manage the farm and cottage lease and collect rents. The house has since been rebuilt.
The growth of the town brought great benefits for the local people Carpenters, tilers and masons were swift to buy plots on the pieces of agricultural waste land first used for the Regency houses. Their wives let rooms and apartments in these houses, providing work for large numbers of servants. Along Hill Road, owners were quick to build shops on to the fronts of their villas to supply the needs of the inhabitants of New Clevedon. Hotels vied with each other in providing the best service for visitors; coffee rooms with separate entrances for ladies so that gentlemen could play billiards in peace; regular services from the railway station; the very latest London journals; the list is endless. Private schools proliferated, educating the children of the upper middle classes employed abroad in the diplomatic service, by the East India Company, in the Navy and the Army.
Clubs and societies sprang up to entertain and provide for the townsfolk. Prominent doctors, solicitors and professional people appear repeatedly on their committees, and on the list of members of the Local Board of Health, set up in 1852 and destined to become the Urban District Council in 1894. The minutes kept by this august body give us a fascinating record of the work it took to make Clevedon a respectable place. The Board supervised the construction of houses and public buildings, the improvement of drains - fiercely resisted by slum landlords - and even inspected the donkeys at the Beach for fleas.
The Clevedon Mercury was set up in 1863 to communicate national news and local happenings, providing a directory of visitors invaluable to local historians. It continues to record the unfolding story of our town.
Walton Castle: A 17th Century hunting lodge, one of the landmarks of Clevedon on the hill top overlooking the golf course, was for a long time just a ruin, now it is a family home having been restored with meticulous care to resemble the original.