Wedmore, sometimes known as the Isle of Wedmore, sits on raised ground in the middle of the Somerset Levels. The village can trace its history as a settlement back to Iron Age and Roman periods. In Saxon times it lay at the heart of a large and important royal estate.
Wedmore has a strong trading history and has been a centre for shops and markets since 1500. This tradition continues today, and the village has an excellent range of clothing and food shops. The architecture is lovely too. The village combines cottages and grand houses from the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries and many excellent examples of Georgian and Victorian styles. There is a lovely 15th century church at the centre of the village called St Mary’s.
The Swan stands on a mediaeval burgage plot (i.e., a long thin plot of land owned by the king) first laid out in the late 12th or early 13th century. It has been an important landmark in the centre of the village ever since. Records show that The Swan was first noted as a ‘Beer House’ around 1841 when the occupier John Cook was described as the proprietor. At that stage the building was smaller than it is today and would have been a converted 18th century two story house. The front of the current building and the archway were then added when the pub became a hotel later in the 19th century, probably when it was owned by Frederick Knowles.
Bedrooms one to three and the front bar area sit in the 19th century part of the building and bedrooms four to seven and the snug sit in the older 18th century section. Frederick Knowles also added extensive stabling to the rear and this single-story section now contains the loos and garden bedrooms. We can track the ownership of The Swan back to the 1960s when it was run as a tenanted pub by Holt Brothers, who were a local brewery based in Burnham on Sea. It was then caught up in a series of takeovers by increasingly large pub groups until we bought it in a very dilapidated state in 2010. Holt Brothers were taken over by Starkey Knight & Ford who were taken over by Whitbread early in the 1960s. Whitbread subsequently sold The Swan in a tenanted portfolio to Punch Taverns before we stepped in and refurbished and rebuilt this fine building.