History of Mells

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Mells can trace its history from the Mesolithic flint workshops and Neolithic fortresses (6,000—2,500 BC), the British villas, Roman camps and Saxon settlements that surround the village. The name probably derives from the wool mills that from early mediaeval times were worked along the river. Roman coins and Saxon pottery, even a ceremonial Danish axe, have been found in its earth. 

King Edmund granted Mells to Count Athelstan in 942 who gave it to Glastonbury Abbey. The Tithe Barn, New Street and the oldest part of the Manor were built in the 15th century by Glastonbury, at the same time as the parish paid for the reconstruction of St Andrew’s Church. Sheep and cloth production made Mells wealthy.

Mells Manor

The Crown dissolved the Abbey in 1539 and the Horner family bought the Manor and other farms. In the 18th century the Horners built Mells Park but moved back to the Manor House in the early 20th century.  The Earl of Oxford & Asquith, whose grandmother was a Horner, continues to live in the house.

In the 19th century, Mells was an industrial village where coal mining and edge-tool making were predominant.  The quarrying industry came in the 1930s. Today Whatley Quarry is one of the chief employers but several smaller scale industrial and commercial operations abound and a number of residents work from home or nearby.

A Mells Village Trail leaflet detailing the many interesting limestone buildings to be seen in the village can be bought in Mells Village Shop.