Minehead is one of the go-to destinations when it comes to a perfect seaside holiday with family and friends. The town is considered to be Exmoor’s Northern Gateway. This is the area located north Devon in South West England and west of Somerset. This makes it a great place to explore the stunning Quantock Hills and even Exmoor.
Minehead is also the South West Coast Path National Trail’s starting point. This is the longest long-distance trail that portrays the best countryside scenery. As great as Minehead is, it is best to have an idea of the history behind the place. Here is a brief rundown of how the town was in the past which will give you a better appreciation of what it is now at present.
In the past, Minehead as referred to as the Mynydd which translates to “mountain” in Welsh. It was later on called Mynheafdon, Maneheve, Menehewed, Menedun which are common variations of Old English and Welsh language that refers to a hill. It was only later on that it was referred to as the town of Minehead.
Early owners of Minehead
In the early times, Minehead was part of the Carhampton hundred. It was at one point called a manor and belonged to William de Moyon sometime in 1086. It was later on sold to the family of royalty – sir George Luttrell.
Early developments in Minehead
One of the early developments in Minehead was a port constructed in 1380. However, the town had to wait for another four decades to be able to make improvements on it. The money came from Elizabeth I and after, the town had its very own Port Officer. Vessels started to dock in Minehead including the Trinite that took the route allowing it to trade between Bristol and Ireland. Other products that benefited from the port were salt, wool, and even cloth. This was then traded for coal coming in from South Wales.
A Charter of Incorporation which established a free Borough and even Parliamentary representation for Minehead was drafted in 1559. This charter had one condition though – the port needed to be improved. The sad part was that the harbor started to dry up and sand eventually replaced the water at the port. This led to the port being neglected to the point that repair was not an option. With this development, James I in 1604 withdrew the Charter of Minehead. The Luttrells regained control of Minehead and had a new harbor built further out to sea. As the 18th century came in, trade flourished between Minehead and Bristol, Ireland and even South Wales. The port also became a departure point for Santiago de Compostella pilgrims.