KEWSTOKE VILLAGE HISTORY
The history of Kewstoke is linked with that of Woodspring Priory on slopes of Middle Hope.
The Priory, owned by the Landmark Trust was founded in 1210 by William de Courtenay, a grandson of Reginald Fritz Urse, one of the murderers of Thomas a Becket.
Visitors can reach the Priory from the Queensway in Worle.
It was in Kewstoke Church, on the north facing slope of Worlebury Hill that the Reliquary was found in a wall in 1849. A stone on which was carved an effigy was found to have a hollow cavity at the back in which there were the remains of a wooden vessel.
It was believed to have belonged to the Priory and said to contain a layer of dark substance considered to be blood from the murdered Archbishop. This artifact is held in the Somerset County Museum at Taunton.
Opposite the Church is Monk’s Hill with the ancient St Kew’s Steps, which connected the sea below the village to the Worlebury Hill camp in Weston Woods.
Kewstoke Local History Group was started in 1982 by Edwin Wraight and some interested villagers. When Mr. Wraight moved away some years later the group disbanded leaving a large amount of information. This was taken over by Sue Ryall in 1989. She decided that an exhibition was the only way to show off all the valuable material. At this time there were no photographs so Sue started collecting them and the first of many exhibitions was laid on. The response to that first exhibition, which lasted a week, was fantastic and masses of information and photographs poured in.
Kewstoke Local History Group now has over 100 ledgers filled with irreplaceable material. For the millennium year every house in Kewstoke was photographed and matched with an old photo if there was one. All information concerning that property was collected, such as who built it, who has lived in it, old deeds, the price it has sold for over the years etc.
We have ledgers on the history of many of the old families who have lived in Kewstoke for generations, with family trees and photos.
A book was published for the millennium with the financial help of the Parish Council. It’s called ‘The Peoples Village’ and its taken from tape recordings made over the last ten years of local people talking about life in Kewstoke from before the 1st World War. (The book is on sale in local shops, or contact Sue Ryall direct.)
Evacuees who came to Kewstoke during the last War are sending in their memories and photos, one lady who now lives in Canada has been in touch, and we are always looking for more, so if you were sent to Kewstoke as a child in the War please let Sue know!
Need help with your family history research? Free advice is available from the Weston-super-Mare & District Family History Society to everyone, members or not.
You can contact Sue Ryall on 01934 633407 or Tony Horry on 01934 628383.