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Woolsery through the ages

Winding back the clock on Woolfardisworthy's 700-year history

Uncovering the origins of Woolsery (AKA Woolfardisworthy) has been an exciting part of our regeneration project. The design team are not only dedicated to preserving the heritage of the village but also unlocking its potential for future generations of residents and visitors.

Wind back the clock 700 years and Woolsery probably wasn’t radically different to how it is now. Even then it would have been a settlement centred around a church, with a manor house and a community of people working the land.

The parish placename of ‘Woolfardisworthy’ is old English; the first half likely to be a personal name, and ‘worthy’ derived from ‘worflig’ — one of several terms used by Anglo-Saxons to denote a homestead or enclosure.

The Farmers Arm, Woolsery

The village is mentioned in the Domesday Book under the name Olverword, which dates the settlement to the early Medieval period (the Domesday Survey was published in 1086). Further evidence of its Medieval origins includes its Norman church and remnants of a Medieval field system to the north of the village. Original features discovered in Wulfheard Manor suggest the house is also of Medieval origin.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, Woolsery grew from a small settlement centred around the church into a village. No further housing development took place until the second half of the 20th century when the village was expanded to the north and west.

Evidence suggests The Farmers Arms pub was originally built in the 18th century to house builders who were working on the church; it only became a pub in the mid-19th century. We’ve found papers that reveal that, in 1857, the local magistrates’ court was held in an upper room of the pub.

Fast forward to the 21st century and the village is being re-envisioned for the next generation. Wulfheard Manor, The Farmers Arms, Woolsery Fish & Chips, J. Andrew Shop and Post Office, a new bakery and smart self-catered apartments will breathe new life into Woolsery for locals and visitors alike.