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Street scene with white and pink buildings.
Wincanton High Street
Population 5,272 (2011)
OS grid reference ST712286
Shire county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district BA9
Dialling code 01963
Police Avon and Somerset
Fire Devon and Somerset
Ambulance South Western
EU Parliament South West England
UK Parliament
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SomersetCoordinates: 51°03′21″N 2°24′37″W / 51.0559°N 2.4102°W / 51.0559; -2.4102

Wincanton is a small town and electoral ward in South Somerset, southwest England. The town lies off the A303 road, a main route between London and South West England, and has some light industry. The town and electoral ward has a population of 5,272.


Windmill Hill was the site of a Bronze Age Beaker culture burial, and contemporary artefacts have been found on the Selwood Ridge.

Prior to the Norman Conquest Wincanton was frequently the scene of battles between the Britons, Danes and Saxons. During the reign of Edmund Ironside, the English, under his command, defeated the Danes, forcing them to leave England.

In the Domesday Book the name of the town was spelled as "Wincaleton", thought to mean "Pleasant town on the Cale". Cockroad Wood Castle, which is now in the parish of Charlton Musgrove, was a motte and bailey castle, probably built after the Norman conquest of England of 1066. The castle sits close to the contemporary Norman castles of Ballands and Castle Orchard, and may have been built as part of a system of fortifications to control the surrounding area. By 1086 the surrounding land was held by Walter of Douai, although no documentary evidence of the castle remains.

The parish of Wincanton was part of the Norton Ferris Hundred.

Wincanton was probably the site of a market in the medieval period but did not gain a market and fair charter until 1556.

The town was the scene of one of the few armed skirmishes in England during the Revolution of 1688. A troop of Horse Guards under Patrick Sarsfield, loyal to James II, defeated an advance party of troops fighting for William of Orange, on 20 November 1688. A great part of the town was destroyed by fires in the years 1707 and 1747.

In the early 19th century Wincanton was a depot for French officers, during the Napoleonic Wars.

By 2010 there had been an influx of foreign nationals, especially Portuguese and Polish citizens.


Wincanton Memorial Hall - - 475456
Memorial Hall
Wincanton fire station
Wincanton Fire Station

Wincanton Community Hospital in Dancing Lane was formerly known as Verrington Hospital and in March 2015 had 28 beds on two wards plus intermediate care unit. It opened as an Isolation Hospital in September 1910 for patients with Scarlet Fever.

The Balsam Centre is a Healthy Living Centre and also a Children's Centre for Wincanton and South East Somerset.

The (War) Memorial Hall, which opened on 9 January 1959, has a stage as well as facilities for dancing or for seating 250. It also has a separate committee room that can seat 50.

Fire, police and ambulance services are provided jointly with other authorities through the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, Avon and Somerset Constabulary and the South Western Ambulance Service.


Wincanton is situated on the northeast edge of Blackmore Vale, 12 miles (19 km) northeast of Yeovil, and 10 miles (16 km) northwest of Shaftesbury on the extreme southeast of Somerset close to the borders of Dorset and Wiltshire.


Along with the rest of South West England, Wincanton has a temperate climate which is generally wetter and milder than the rest of the country. The annual mean temperature is about 10 °C (50 °F); due to the modifying effect of the sea the range is less than in most other parts of the UK. January is the coldest month with mean minimum temperatures between 1 °C (34 °F) and 2 °C (36 °F). July and August are the warmest months in the region with mean daily maxima around 21 °C (70 °F).

The southwest of England has a favoured location with respect to the Azores high pressure when it extends its influence northeastwards towards the UK, particularly in summer. Convective cloud often forms inland however, especially near hills, reducing the number of hours of sunshine. The average annual sunshine totals around 1,600 hours.

Rainfall tends to be associated with Atlantic depressions or with convection. The Atlantic depressions are more vigorous in autumn and winter and most of the rain which falls in those seasons in the southwest is from this source. Average rainfall is about 725 millimetres (28.5 in). November to March have the highest mean wind speeds, with June to August having the lightest winds. The predominant wind direction is from the southwest.


The Dogs (also called The Old House) was built around 1650, and was reshaped internally by Nathaniel Ireson in 1740-50. It is a grade I listed building.


The town had a railway station on the Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway but this closed on 7 March 1966.

The town is north of the A303 road, one of the main routes between London and South West England.

The nearest railway station is in neighbouring Gillingham, Dorset. Trains run on the Exeter to Waterloo line.

Religious sites

Wincanton church
Church of St Peter and St Paul

The Church of St Peter and St Paul was almost totally rebuilt in 1887-91 by J. D. Sedding; however, parts of the tower may be remnants of an earlier church, dating from 1313, on the same site. In 1793 the tower was raised by 12 feet (4 m) making it 50 feet (15 m) high; five bells were cast and a sixth added. The additional carving and north porch were added in subsequent years. The churchyard includes a self-designed monument to the local architect Nathaniel Ireson who died in 1796. Because of the state of the roofs, which are under repair, the church is included on the Heritage at Risk register.

The Roman Catholic Church and Presbytery of St Luke and St Teresa was built in 1881 by the priest/architect A.J.C Scoles.

There are also places of worship for Pentecostals, Methodists, Baptists and Quakers in the town.


Wincanton Museum is a small local museum in the High Street which closed in 2010.

The cartoonist Tony Weare was born in Wincanton.


Ankhmorpork sign
The town sign of Wincanton, showing twinned towns.

Wincanton is unusual in that it was twinned in 2002 with a town which can only be found in fiction. As well as with Gennes / Les Rosiers in France and Lahnau in Germany, Wincanton is twinned with Ankh-Morpork, a fictional city state near the Circle Sea on Terry Pratchett's Discworld. On 5 April 2009, a number of roads were retitled with names taken from Ankh-Morpork, such as Peach Pie Street and Treacle Mine Road, after a short-list was voted upon by fans. There are shops in the town selling Discworld-related goods. In 2015 the Uncle Tom's Cabin pub unveiled a sign by Discworld illustrator Richard Kingston referencing The Mended Drum. Pratchett and Kingston were regulars.

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