here for a comprehensive article about West Camel on the British History
Camel Life and History
the 10th century annals of Muchelney Abbey we learn that West Camel gets it
name from the narrow hill to the north, by slurring cantmeel
cant-ridge and mael-bare.
The remnant of a Saxon preaching cross dated
before 940 AD shows that a settlement existed at West Camel by the 10th century.
The manor passed into the hands of Muchelney Abbey c.995, and around that time
a timber church was built.
The population of West Camel today is not much higher
today than it was in the mid-19th century, although there have been fluctuations,
as revealed by the following census returns:
Until quite recently, West Camel was very much an agricultural
community. Most of the village belonged to the Digby Estate prior to 1921, when
individual farms and parcels of land were sold off. Less than 40 years ago there
were four livestock farms in the centre of the village.
1818 the village school was established. It closed in 1948, and primary
and junior children now attend Countess Gytha School at nearby Queen Camel.
The old school was purchased by the P.C.C. for £100 from the Digby
Estate, and was used for many church and village activities until the new
Davis Hall opened in 2001.
regularly wended their way along the roads at milking time,
and shiny milk-churns were seen on roadside stands awaiting collection by the
daily milk lorry. Now, new housing has replaced the barns and farmyards, and farm
animals are rarely seen within the village itself.
The Old Rectory (now a private house) has traces of 15th century work. In its
grounds are an old c.15th century tythe-barn and a circular dovecote (see
Recently, the old Village Pond in Church Path, which had been filled in some 4050
years ago, was restored.
Nothing remains of this Saxon structure, which was replaced by a stone building
c.1100. The nave and north chapel were added c.1200, this small Norman Church
becoming the chancel of the enlarged building now All
The field to the north of the Church was the site of the abbot's Manor Farm.
The successor Manor House was destroyed by fire in 1929, and remains of this
can still be seen. A painting of the house can be seen on the south wall of
near Camel Cross, 1950s
restored Village Pond
Village Fetes have been a regular feature of West Camel life. These events raise
much needed funds for the upkeep of the Parish Church, as well as providing
an enjoyable afternoon for people of all ages, with various side-shows, competitions
Church charabanc outing to Weymouth in 1924.
West Camel village centre has not changed a great deal over the years. The
photo on the left (1930s?) shows the former Village Stores on the left,
and the Globe Inn (now the Walnut Tree Hotel) over the bridge. The building
to the left of the Inn is the Old Bakery, long since demolished.
of the highlights of the village year were Church and Sunday School outings.
The forerunner of the modern coach was the charabanc, which was
open-topped, except when it rained. Then a hood was erected.
former Higher Mill is now known as The Old Mill (above), with the River Cam
still flowing alongside it.
Village Pond as it was formerly
were once two working water-mills in West Camel. The Higher Mill (above) was
near the Village Centre
in the Rectory grounds, June 16th. 1926