- Carhampton, Somerset
infobox UK place
country = England
population = 992cite web|url=http://www.somerset.gov.uk/media/58B/23/West_Somerset_Parishes_01.pdf|title=Parish Population Statistics|work=ONS Census 2001|publisher=Somerset County Council|accessdate=2008-07-03]
region= South West England
Carhampton is a village and
civil parishin West Somerset, four miles to the east of Minehead.
Iron Ageoccupation of the parish is evident from the remains of Bat's Castle hillfortand associated earthworks. Archaeological excavation in the mid-1990s suggested the existence of early Christian settlement and burial to the east of the village. Carhampton is thought to have been the centre for a Saxon royal estate. The king and his court would locate temporarily to Carhampton as part of a visiting circuit. One function was that officials of the royal court operated from Carhampton to collect taxes from surrounding estates. The village was subject to Vikingraids. The Anglo-Saxon Chroniclesstate that, in 836, King Egbert fought the crews of 35 ships at Carhampton. With the Danes in possession of the battlefield, the Chronicles recount a great slaughter.
Earl of Carhampton
The title of
Earl of Carhamptonwas created in the Peerage of Irelandin 1785, but became extinct upon the death of the 3rd Earl in 1829. The earls bore the subsidiary titles of "Viscount Carhampton" (1781) and "Baron Irnham" (1768), both in the Peerage of Ireland. The Lutrells arrived in England in 1066, with William the Conqueror's army at the Battle of Hastings, acquiring estates as reward for services to the Crown.
Carhampton is associated with the Arthurian legend of
Saint Carantoc. Carantoc is said to have slain a serpent that was terrorising the inhabitants of "Carrum" (Carhampton). On victory, Carantoc was granted by Arthur the right to build a monastery in the village.
Carhampton is famous for its
wassailingcelebration which was started in the 1930's by the Taunton Cider Company. Wassailing in Carhampton takes place on January 17in the orchard of the Butchers Arms Pub. This is preceded by a smaller event in the Community Orchard in the centre of the village next to the pub. The villagers from a circle around the largest apple tree, hang pieces of toast soaked in cider in the branches for the robins, who represent the 'good spirits' of the tree. A shotgun is fired overhead to scare away evil spirits (Christian 1972).
;Carhampton Wassailing Song
:Old apple tree, we wassail thee,:And hoping thou wilt bear:For the Lord doth know where we shall be:Till apples come another year.: :For to bear well, and to bear well:So merry let us be,:Let every man take off his hat,:::And shout to the old apple tree!:Old apple tree, we wassail thee,:And hoping thou wilt bear:Hatfuls, capfuls and three bushel bagfuls:And a little heap under the stairs,:Hip, Hip, Hooray!
* Christian, Roy (1972). Old English Customs. Pub. David & Charles. ISBN 0-7153-5741-7. P.113.
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