Pages 79 - 80

Wrington Village Records
Studies of the history of a Somerset Village

The village pump
Pages 79 - 80

Source: Bundle of papers in Wrington Parish Records.

The village pump was situated opposite what is now Farley's Stores in the High Street, outside the wall of the "Old Manor" (concerning which, see the paper The Manor and the Manor House). A large concrete slab now marks the position.

The water came from a shallow well under the pump, which was fed by numerous springs running under the hill, where Fryer and Bennett's office now is. The water can still be seen if the manhole on the village green in front of the Plough Inn is opened. Until recent years the stream could be seen running in front of the Bell Inn in Broad Street.

The pump was erected in or shortly before 1866, at a cost of £24; the money for this was raised by public subscription, the largest amount being £5, and the smallest 2s. 6d. The balance in hand, which amounted to £1 19s. 6d. was put towards a repair fund.

In the first account of the pump it was said that the balance was to be "towards finishing and adorning the pump", which was obviously not done, as the balance was transferred to the repair fund. This fund was first used in 1867 when blacksmith Bill Cook was paid 9s. plus 2s. 6d. for a chain and a ladle.

The Rev. W. de Moleyns seems to have been the treasurer, as he signed the first repair fund account, the balance of which came to 11s. 4d. in 1871. The fund was then handed to the Rev. H. M. Scarth who paid 10s. to Tutton, plumber, for repairs in 1873, leaving a balance of 1s. 4d.

In December 1875 a general appeal by Mr. Scarth to the users of the pump was issued, asking them to contribute to a repair fund. From this £1 5s. 3d. was raised, the subscriptions ranging from 5s. to 3d. Out of this fund repairs by Tutton amounted to 6s. and 1s. 6d. was paid to Wilkins for collecting - we do not know whether he collected the money, or the parts for repair !

In 1877 the balance in hand was £1 1s. 7d. Tutton charged 10s. leaving a balance in hand on November 2nd of 11s. 7d. What happened to this balance is not stated.

The reference to Bill Cook, blacksmith, is interesting as Mrs. Cook tells us that the shop now run by her husband as a grocery in Broad Street was once a blacksmith's shop.

The pump was in constant use until about 1934-35, when a piped water system was introduced. Even after this a great many houses were not connected up to the mains, and the pump continued to be used not only for drinking purposes but also for animals. The water was hauled away in churns, to places as far away as Wrington Hill. The pump was worked from early in the morning until late at night.

In the early days of the war the pump was removed for safe custody, to a yard at Axbridge. Mr. Parsley was concerned about this, but was assured that it would be taken great care of, and returned after the war. The Women's Institute wrote after the war to enquire whether the pump could be returned, but nobody knew where it was, and we now have only the slab outside the wall of the "Old Manor" to show us where it used to stand.