The village of Theale

My featured image is of the Church of St Mary, Wedmore, which dates back eight hundred years. which we went by today. We had passed through the village of Theale in Somerset. It looked a pretty and interesting little place, and maybe we’ll return to explore one day. We had driven through the Somerset Levels, through small and interesting villages such as Godney, Upper Godney, and Lower Godney. The Levels remind me so much of the Cambridgeshire Fens, similar but different – in Cambridgeshire there are no distant hills like the ones we could see. We headed out of the low lying landscape and climbed up to Theale which is in the parish of Wedmore. I wondered what this higher land was called, something hills, I guessed, except no, it’s the Isle of Wedmore. Wedmore has some signigficance in our country’s past, and is made up of Theale, Blackford and Wedmore itself, and  seventeen hamlets – Bagley, Blakeway, Clewer, Crickham, Cocklake, Heath House, Latcham, Little Ireland, Middle Stoughton, Mudgley, Panborough, Sand, Stoughton Cross, Washbrook, West End, West Ham and West Stoughton.

Back to Theale – I looked it up, intrigued by its name and never having been through it before, only having signs pointing its way. I found that there’s no Wikipedia entry for it, and was taken to another Theale, in Berkshire and no-one has any idea of the origin of its name, guessing it came from a pub ‘The Ale’ – sounds unlikely, or aa Saxon word for planks – ‘An alternative explanation is that the name comes from the Old English “þelu” meaning “planks”. As with the village of Theale in Somerset, this probably refers to planks used to create causeways on marshes or flood plains’. Theale in Somerset is on the elevated Isle of Wedmore – no need for planks! Maybe it’s just one of those names lost in the proverbial mists of time or has some now forgotten connection to someone or something!

Wedmore itself is significant in our history, and was once under Danish rule:

Centwine gained control of the area in 682 and named it ‘Vadomaer’ after one of the Saxon leaders Vado the famous. After winning the Battle of Ethandun (probably in Wiltshire), Alfred the Great caused the Viking leader Guthrum and his followers to be baptised at Aller(in Somerset) and then celebrated at Wedmore. After this the Vikings withdrew to East Anglia.
The Treaty of Wedmore is a term used by some historians inferred for the events in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, outlining how in 878 the Viking leader Guthrum was baptised and accepted Alfred the Great as his godfather. No such treaty still exists but there is a document that is not specifically linked to Wedmore that is a Treaty of Alfred and Guthrum. Alfred then left Wedmore in his will to his son Edward the Elder

Here’s a link:

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