Curry Rivel Logo Link
 Curry Rivel – Above the Levels
Parish Council working online with the community

Your Parish; Curry Rivel

Back home  /  Latest News  /  Your Parish; Curry Rivel
parish boundaries

How well do you know your parish?

Is it just me? I doubt it, but I do find maps (specially old ones) quite fascinating. And living in this part of the country the way our parish boundaries meander and wrap around each other – and why – is something of a mystery. A mystery to me anyway – no doubt someone has the answer.

We in Curry Rivel are bounded by (clockwise from west)

  • Fivehead
  • Stoke St Gregory
  • Aller
  • Langport
  • Huish Episcopi
  • Drayton
  • Hambridge & Westport

Separation from Stoke St Gregory along one of the few straight lines at Middle Drain seems to make some sense. But how odd that coming down the A378 the boundary does a little dog leg to avoid a few houses at the lower end of Sandpits Hill, banishing them to Huish Episcopi, then back again to pick up a couple on the other side at Portway! Whatever did they do to deserve that?

It then carries on to reject Immaculata House (Huish Episcopi) and chooses instead to include Hurds Hill. Why?

And we can't be alone in that the parish boundary separates our house from our garden. We cross it regularly!

The Parrett is Curry Rivel's boundary with Langport at Westover, and again with Aller – until Aller nips across the road and under the railway line to capture Oath Hill! A little tongue of land along the railway line that Stoke St Gregory so desired stops us being neighbourly with Burrowbridge.

It is one hypothesis that parish boundaries could have been inherited from land holdings that date back to the Anglo-Saxon period or earlier. Where descriptions of Anglo-Saxon estates have been found, in some cases it has been possible to show that they correspond to boundaries of the later parish.

Alternatively (or perhaps as well) parish boundaries may be a legacy of the manorial system, where assembly of parishes rested on land ownership. Increasingly parishes were assembled by lords of the manor in tandem with local clergy and religious institutions.

And these parishes, however assembled, required administration. The Anglo Saxon's had their moot halls (town meeting places); the lords of the manor had their manorial courts which ultimately gave way to oversight by the clergy. The parish priest, usually considered the best educated of the parishioners, would supervise a parish meeting.

This meeting, known as a vestry, so called because it originally met in the vestry or sacristy of the parish church, was a committee of the parish ratepayers who were concerned with both the spiritual and physical welfare of parishioners and their parish amenities. It collected local taxes and took responsibility for functions such as the care of the poor, the maintenance of roads, minor law enforcement, maintenance of the church buildings etc.

At one time, vestries were the only form of local government in many rural areas, but during the 19th century they gradually lost their secular duties to local boards set up for specific purposes, such as boards of health created under the Public Health Act 1848. They were stripped of their secular functions entirely by the Local Government Act of 1894.

The Act finally separated secular and ecclesiastical duties and introduced a system of elected rural parish councils and urban district councils. This removed all secular matters from the parish vestries, and created parish councils or parish meetings to manage these.

The parish vestries were left to manage just church affairs and ultimately, in 1921, were abolished in favour of the parochial church councils that still exist today.

An extremely potted history that gets us to where we are now!

Where you vote is dictated by the parish in which you live, so if you vote at the Village Hall in Curry Rivel it's a shoe in that no matter what you put on your address, you are in the Parish of Curry Rivel.

An interactive OS map is available on line at if you want to see exactly where you are.

To find out more about your Curry Rivel Parish Council, its powers and obligations click here or visit the 'Parish Council' tab on this website.

Get In Touch

CurryRivelOnline is powered by our active community.

Please send us your news and views.

Village Map

© 2024 – CurryRivelOnline