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Congresbury is a village and civil parish in Somerset, England, which in 2011 had a population of 3,497.[1] It lies on the A370 between Junction 21 of the M5 and Bristol Airport, 13 miles (21 km) south of Bristol city centre, and 7 miles (11 km) east of Weston-super-Mare. The Congresbury Yeo river flows through the village. The parish includes the hamlet of Brinsea.

St Andrew's Church, Congresbury
Congresbury is located in Somerset
Location within Somerset
Population3,497 (2001)[1]
OS grid referenceST435635
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townBristol
Postcode districtBS49
Dialling code01934
PoliceAvon and Somerset
AmbulanceSouth Western
EU ParliamentSouth West England
UK Parliament
List of places
51°22′04″N 2°48′39″W / 51.3677°N 2.8109°W / 51.3677; -2.8109Coordinates: 51°22′04″N 2°48′39″W / 51.3677°N 2.8109°W / 51.3677; -2.8109

The nearest railway station is Yatton, with trains provided by First Great Western, although Congresbury once had its own railway station on the Cheddar Valley Line from Yatton to Wells. It was also the starting point for the Wrington Vale Light Railway which went to nearby Wrington and then on to Blagdon.


Sculpture of St Congar of Congresbury at the Museum of Somerset

Congresbury is named after St Congar, who is said to have performed three miracles in the area.[2] The second part of the name is thought to come from burh meaning fortified place.[3]

The remains of an Iron Age hill fort at Cadbury Hill have been discovered,[4] as well as a Roman villa, temple and hoard of coins.[5] Christian burial grounds have also been discovered on Cadbury Hill.[6]

The archaeologist Mick Aston identified an Anglo-Saxon sculpture of St Congar which is believed to have come from St Andrew's Church, and which is now in the Museum of Somerset in Taunton.[7] The parish was part of the Winterstoke Hundred.[8]

The village cross dates from the 15th century and is a Grade II* listed building and Scheduled monument.[9] A 2.5 metres (8 ft 2 in) high 15th century cross on an octagonal plinth. The head of the cross was replaced in the early 19th century.[10]

Urchinwood Manor is a Grade II* listed building, part of which was built around 1620 with additions being made in the 17th century.[11] The house and surrounding estate has been bought and sold many times over the centuries with the estate now being used as an equestrian centre.[12]

The Vicarage includes an early 19th-century vicarage and former Priest's House from around 1446. It has been designated as a Grade I listed building.[13]

The village had a school founded in the 1870s that was split into separate infant and junior schools in the early 1970s. In September 2009, the two schools were re-joined as one primary school.


The parish council has responsibility for local issues, including setting an annual precept (local rate) to cover the council’s operating costs and producing annual accounts for public scrutiny. The parish council evaluates local planning applications and works with the local police, district council officers, and neighbourhood watch groups on matters of crime, security, and traffic. The parish council's role also includes initiating projects for the maintenance and repair of parish facilities, such as the village hall or community centre, playing fields and playgrounds, as well as consulting with the district council on the maintenance, repair, and improvement of highways, drainage, footpaths, public transport, and street cleaning. Conservation matters (including trees and listed buildings) and environmental issues are also of interest to the council.

The parish falls within the unitary authority of North Somerset which was created in 1996, as established by the Local Government Act 1992. It provides a single tier of local government with responsibility for almost all local government functions within its area including local planning and building control, local roads, council housing, environmental health, markets and fairs, refuse collection, recycling, cemeteries, crematoria, leisure services, parks, and tourism. It is also responsible for education, social services, libraries, main roads, public transport, Trading Standards, waste disposal and strategic planning, although fire, police and ambulance services are provided jointly with other authorities through Avon Fire and Rescue Service, Avon and Somerset Constabulary and South Western Ambulance Service.

An aerial image of Congresbury

North Somerset's area covers part of the ceremonial county of Somerset but it is administered independently of the non-metropolitan county. Its administrative headquarters is in the town hall in Weston-super-Mare. Between 1 April 1974 and 1 April 1996, it was the Woodspring district of the county of Avon.[14] Before 1974 that the parish was part of the Axbridge Rural District.[15]

An electoral ward exists in Congresbury. The area and population are the same as shown above.

The parish is represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom as part of the Weston-super-Mare county constituency. It elects one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system of election. It is also part of the South West England constituency of the European Parliament which elects seven MEPs using the d'Hondt method of party-list proportional representation.


Congresbury is a large village and has several public houses. There is a wide variety of shops, many of them owned by individuals offering specialist products. In 2013, in the village precinct on Brinsea Road there is a Costcutter general store, baker and sandwich shop, butcher, post office, fish and chip shop, farmers' general store and, nearby, two small car dealerships. Near the village cross in the High Street there is a carpet shop, window shop, hairdresser/beauty shop and one of the public houses. Opposite these is Broad Street, an unusually wide street suggesting it was a planned arrangement for the weekly market and annual fair.[16] On Broad Street there is now (September 2013) an outdoors leisure wear shop, pharmacy, two Indian cuisine restaurants/takeaway, arts shop, barbers, hairdressers/beauty shop, charity shop and estate agent. On the other side of the A370 there is a piano shop, hairdresser, and several local businesses. Heading west out of the village towards Weston-super-Mare there is a convenience store, two large car dealerships, a Greek cuisine restaurant and a petrol station. Heading north out the village towards Bristol there is another petrol station and a Tesco Express built in 2011.


The local council responsible for education is North Somerset Council. Congresbury has a pre-school and St Andrews Primary School. Secondary education is not available in the village and so many of Congresbury's children commute daily to the nearby village of Churchill to attend Churchill Academy and Sixth Form.

Religious sitesEdit

The Anglican Church of St Andrew in Congresbury dates from the 13th century but was extensively altered in the 15th century[17] and has been designated as a Grade I listed building.[18]

There is a Methodist chapel on Brinsea Road (B3133) which was constructed in 1878 to seat 150 people.[16]

Sport and recreationEdit


Congresbury has a King George's Field in memorial to King George V. Sporting facilities for the football club,[19] tennis club,[20] and cricket club (formed in 1844),[21] are provided by the umbrella organisation, the Congresbury Recreation Club.[22] The Recreation Club is also home to several skittles teams and darts teams. The village also offers fishing in purpose built lakes and the River Yeo itself.

The hamlet of Brinsea is home to the Mendip Spring Country Club and Golf Course.

In the beginning of the 21st century, Congresbury opened a Millennium Green situated next to the River Yeo and a Millennium Bridge[23] spanning the river to join north and south Congresbury. As well as being a quiet sanctuary, the Millennium Green has also played host to a village music festival. Near to the Millennium Green there is a basketball court.

The village has many recreational groups,[24] including Cubs, Scouts and Brownies, a bell-ringing club, a youth club and the Congresbury Youth Partnership.[25]

In the heart of the village there is also a bowls club,[26] which has an annual competition open to all.

There is an annual village fete held at the primary school.

Congresbury lies next to the Strawberry Line,[27] an old railway line now converted to a pathway for walkers and cyclists to enjoy the countryside with views over the North Somerset Levels and reserves on the Congresbury Moors,[28] which is maintained by the local conservation group, YACWAG.[29]

Since late 2011, plans have been publicised for a skatepark to be built in the village.[30][31] Potential sites have been identified including the King George IV playing fields, Glebelands and the Millennium Green.[32] By December 2012 campaigners had raised £15,000 of the estimate £100,000 cost,[33] and in 2013 a further donation of £5,000 was made from a police fund.[34]

In 2013 Congresbury became the site for The North Somerset Butterfly House, a tropical butterfly house with a remit to work with the local community and authorities to benefit local conservation initiatives, conservation based education and the local economy.[35]

Other facilitiesEdit

Congresbury also has a medical practice, library and War Memorial Hall constructed in 1920.[16]


  1. ^ a b "2011 Census Profile". North Somerset Council. Archived from the original (Excel) on 4 January 2014. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
  2. ^ Scott, Shane (1995). The hidden places of Somerset. Aldermaston: Travel Publishing Ltd. p. 37. ISBN 1-902007-01-8.
  3. ^ Havinden, Michael. The Somerset Landscape. The making of the English landscape. London: Hodder and Stoughton. p. 84. ISBN 0-340-20116-9.
  4. ^ Alcock, Leslie (1971). Arthur's Britain. London: Allen Lane: The Penguin Press. ISBN 0-7139-0245-0.
  5. ^ Scarth, Harry. "Roman burial at Cadbury Hill, near Yatton". Wrington online. Archived from the original on 22 September 2009. Retrieved 12 June 2010.
  6. ^ "Yatton and Cadbury Hillfort Circular". Bristol City Council. Retrieved 17 October 2011.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ Eggington, Steve (January 2008). "The Time Team Prof". Mendip Times.
  8. ^ "Somerset Hundreds". GENUKI. Archived from the original on 19 January 2012. Retrieved 9 September 2011.
  9. ^ "Village Cross". Listed Buildings Online. English Heritage. Retrieved 2 January 2011.
  10. ^ Historic England. "Congresbury village cross (1015505)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
  11. ^ Historic England. "Urchinwood Manor (1129209)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 5 February 2017.
  12. ^ "Urchinwood Manor Equestrian Centre". British Horse Society. Archived from the original on 1 March 2017. Retrieved 5 February 2017.
  13. ^ Historic England. "The Vicarage and The Refectory (1129203)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 9 April 2009.
  14. ^ "The Avon (Structural Change) Order 1995". HMSO. Archived from the original on 30 January 2008. Retrieved 9 December 2007.
  15. ^ "Axbridge RD". A vision of Britain Through Time. University of Portsmouth. Archived from the original on 13 October 2013. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
  16. ^ a b c "Walk — Around The Village". Archived from the original on 25 April 2012. Retrieved 28 November 2011.
  17. ^ "St Andrew's church". Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  18. ^ Historic England. "Church of St. Andrew (1158046)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 17 October 2011.
  19. ^ "Congresbury Football Club". Archived from the original on 10 January 2012. Retrieved 17 October 2011.
  20. ^ "Congresbury Tennis Club". Archived from the original on 2 September 2011. Retrieved 17 October 2011.
  21. ^ "Congresbury Cricket Club". Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  22. ^ "Congresbury Recreation Club". Archived from the original on 25 November 2014. Retrieved 17 October 2011.
  23. ^ "Millennium bridge". Archived from the original on 25 April 2012. Retrieved 25 October 2011.
  24. ^ "List of clubs". Archived from the original on 25 April 2012. Retrieved 25 October 2011.
  25. ^ "Youth partnership". Archived from the original on 21 May 2013. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
  26. ^ "Congresbury Bowls Club". Archived from the original on 23 October 2011. Retrieved 17 October 2011.
  27. ^ "The Strawberry Line". Archived from the original on 11 October 2011. Retrieved 17 October 2011.
  28. ^ "Congresbury Moors". Archived from the original on 10 October 2010. Retrieved 17 October 2011.
  29. ^ "YACWAG". Archived from the original on 25 April 2012. Retrieved 17 October 2011.
  30. ^ "Youngsters need skatepark, say parents in Bristol village". This is Bristol. 17 March 2011. Archived from the original on 21 April 2013. Retrieved 31 December 2012.
  31. ^ Chambers, Pippa (27 March 2011). "Villagers unite for skatepark". Weston, Worle & Somerset Mercury. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 31 December 2012.
  32. ^ "Congresbury skate park campaign takes step forward". Bristol Evening Post. 22 June 2012. Archived from the original on 24 June 2012. Retrieved 31 December 2012.
  33. ^ "Welcome". Congresbury SkatePark. Archived from the original on 11 January 2013. Retrieved 31 December 2012.
  34. ^ "Police fund gives £20k grants to charities". Wseton, Worle & Somerset Mercury. 30 August 2013. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  35. ^ "North Somerset Butterfly House". North Somerset Butterfly House. Archived from the original on 6 May 2014. Retrieved 5 May 2014.

External linksEdit