Bishop Sutton
Bishop Sutton ( grid reference ST587597 ) is a small village within the Chew Valley in Somerset. It lies south of Chew Valley Lake and north of the Mendip Hills, approximately ten miles south of Bristol on the A368, Weston-super-Mare to Bath road. Bishop Sutton and the neighbouring village of Stowey form the civil parish of Stowey Sutton. The village has a large village hall, two public houses, The Red Lion and the Butchers Arms, several shops, including the post office, a tennis club and a campsite. Next to the village hall are sports pitches where Bishop Sutton F.C. play. The lake is a popular place for children, adults and the elderly alike with beautiful views and entertainment such as fishing and sailing. There is a museum and tea shop on one side of the lake and a restaurant on the other. The main industry in the village was a coal mine owned by J. Lovell & Sons from 1835 to 1929, which was part of the Somerset coalfield. There was also a large flour mill, part of which was converted into flats.


Coal mining
Much of the exploratory survey work which identified the geology of the area was carried out by William Smith, who became known as the "Father of English Geology", building on earlier work in the same area by John Strachey, who lived at Sutton Court. The Pensford coal basin lies in the northern area of the Somerset coalfield around Bishop Sutton, Pensford, Stanton Drew, Farmborough and Hunstrete. The date for the first pits around Bishop Sutton are uncertain but there was at least one before 1719. By 1824 a collection of four bell pits were identified in field tithe No 1409, and four shaft pits in field tithe No 1428, but they were no longer working. The Old Pit ( ST587597 ), which was also known as Sutton Top Pit or Upper Sutton Pit, was dug before 1799 and owned by Lieutenant Henry Fisher, who sold it in 1821 to Robert Blinman Dowling and several seams of coal were identified and exploited. After Dowling's death the Old Pit was sold to Mr. T.T. Hawkes in 1852, but he defaulted on the payments and it was sold in 1853 to William Rees-Mogg (an ancestor of William Rees-Mogg) and his associates. The shaft reached a depth of 304 feet (93 m), but went out of production by 1855, when the "New" Pit which had been sunk in the early 19th century but then closed, was reopened and deepened to exploit deeper seams. The New Pit ( ST587597 ) had two shafts of 4 feet (1.2 m) diameter, one for winding and one for pumping. In 1896 it was owned by F. Spencer, New Rock Colliery, and in 1908 by Jesse Lovell and Sons. The pit finally closed in 1929.

Government and politics
Bishop Sutton, along with Stowey, makes up the Stowey Sutton Parish council, which has some responsibility for local issues and is part of the Chew Valley South Ward. The ward is represented by one councillor on the Bath and North East Somerset Unitary Authority, which has wider responsibilities for services such as education, refuse, tourism etc. The village is a part of the North East Somerset constituency and part of the South West England constituency of the European Parliament.

According to the 2001 census, the Chew Valley South Ward (which includes Bishop Sutton and Stowey) had 1,222 residents, living in 476 households, with an average age of 40.3 years. Of these, 76% of residents described their health as 'good', 25% of 16-74 year olds had no qualifications; and the area had an unemployment rate of 1.9% of all economically-active people aged 16”“74. In the Index of Multiple Deprivation 2004, it was ranked at 28,854 out of 32,482 wards in England, where 1 was the most deprived LSOA and 32,482 the least deprived.

The Church of the Holy Trinity in Wick Road is the Anglican parish church. The building dates from 1848 and is a Grade II listed building. During 2006 a grant of £64,000 was received from English Heritage to replace the roof of the church. The village also possesses a Methodist Chapel that dates in part from the 1780s and it is thought that John Wesley the founder of Methodism may have preached there.

The Elms
The Elms on Sutton Hill Road is a detached house dating from the early 18th century which has Grade II listed building status.

The village school has 115 pupils aged 4”“11 years on the roll. It dates back to 1842 and was originally a school for pupils up to the age of 14. At one time it was a Church school but no longer has this status. The building today consists of the original Victorian school and three detached classrooms.

Burledge Hill
Burledge Hill is on the southern edge of the village of Bishop Sutton. The site comprises a mixture of flower rich grassland, scrub and mature hedgerows. Three fields are designated as a Site of Nature Conservation Interest (SNCI), and since November 2005 as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

Famous residents
  • Dr Liam Fox, a Conservative MP and member of the Shadow Cabinet, used to live in Bishop Sutton but sold his house in 2005/6.
  • The former professional footballer Andy Williams was brought up in Bishop Sutton.

Building Activity

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