The earliest settlers probably came for the clear spring water from “Bana`s Well” that flowed into the River, and over the years Saxons and Romans have made their homes here. It is described in the Domesday Book.
Banwell was also the Summer Palace of several Bishops as early as 1304 until Bishop Montague “repaired and beautified” it between 1608 and 1616. Since then it has been re-built and called “The Court” and now “The Abbey” by successive owners but is still a beautiful and stately building.
By 1800 the population was 1082, consisting mainly of farmers and agricultural workers, during the next 50 years the village grew to about 1720 inhabitants and the work force included paper-makers, watch makers, brick and tile makers and railway workers beside the usual labourers. During this time William Beard, a rather eccentric gentleman of Banwell, discovered the Bone Caves in 1824 and many learned scholars and visitors came to view the Caves and their contents.
The large Gothic Church in Banwell is dedicated to St Andrew, it has an elaborately carved wooden screen which dates to 1522 and a 100 foot high tower at the west end, complete with bells. The Registers date from 1568 and along with such documents like Lay Subsidy Returns, Dwelly’s Hearth Tax Exemption Certificates, Ordnance Survey Maps, Tithe Returns and Census Record you can build up a picture of Banwell and her inhabitants.
The documents mentioned can be found at Somerset Archives in Taunton and also at Weston-super-Mare Library in the Local Studies Library.
The priest in charge is Revd John Franks.
See location on open street map site.