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Frome is located in Somerset
 Frome shown within Somerset
Population 26,203 [1]
OS grid reference
District Mendip
Shire county Somerset
Region South West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town FROME
Postcode district BA11 0
Dialling code 01373
Police Avon and Somerset
Fire Devon and Somerset
Ambulance South Western
EU Parliament South West England
UK Parliament Somerton and Frome
List of places

Frome (Listen ) is a town and civil parish in eastern Somerset, England. Located at the eastern end of the Mendip Hills, the town is built on uneven high ground, and centres on the River Frome. The town is approximately 13 miles (21 km) south of Bath, 43 miles (69 km) east of the county town, Taunton and 107 miles (172 km) west of London. In the 2011 census, the population was given as 26,203. The town is in the Mendip district of Somerset and is part of the parliamentary constituency of Somerton and Frome.

In April 2010 a large hoard of third-century Roman coins was unearthed in a field near the town. From AD 950 to 1650, Frome was larger than Bath and originally grew due to the wool and cloth industry. It later diversified into metal-working and printing, although these have declined. The town was enlarged during the 20th century but still retains a very large number of listed buildings, and most of the centre falls within a conservation area.

The town has road and rail transport links and acts as an economic centre for the surrounding area. It also provides a centre for cultural and sporting activities, including the annual Frome Festival and Frome Museum. A number of notable individuals were born in, or have lived in, the town. In 2014, Frome was called the "sixth coolest town" in Britain by The Times newspaper.[2] Frome has recently been shortlisted as one of three towns in the country for the 2016 Urbanism Awards in the 'Great Town Award' category.


  • History 1
  • Governance and public services 2
  • Geography 3
  • Demography 4
  • Economy 5
  • Culture 6
  • Landmarks 7
  • Religious sites 8
  • Transport 9
  • Education 10
  • Sport and leisure 11
  • Notable people - Past & Present 12
  • References 13
  • External links 14


There is some limited evidence for Roman settlement of the area. The remains of a villa were found in the village of Whatley, 3 miles (5 km) to the west of Frome.[3] In April 2010, the Frome Hoard, one of the largest-ever hoards of Roman coins discovered in Britain, was found by a metal detectorist. The hoard of 52,500 coins dated from the third century AD and was found buried in a field near the town, in a jar 14 inches (36 cm) below the surface.[4] The coins were excavated by archaeologists from the Portable Antiquities Scheme,[5] and some are now on display in the British Museum. The find was the subject of a BBC TV programme Digging for Britain in August 2010.

The name Frome comes from the Brythonic word ffraw meaning fair, fine or brisk and describing the flow of the river.[6] A monastery built by St. Aldhelm in 685 is the earliest evidence of Saxon occupation of Frome.[6] The Saxon kings appear to have used Frome as a base from which to hunt in Selwood Forest and in 934 a witenagemot was held there, indicating that Frome must already have been a significant settlement. One of the first English Kings, Eadred (son of Edward the Elder), died in Frome on 23 November 955.[7][8]

At the time of the Domesday Survey, the manor was owned by King William, and was the principal settlement of the largest and wealthiest hundred in Somerset. Over the following years, parts of the original manor were spun off as distinct manors; for example, one was owned by the minster, later passing to the Abbey at Cirencester, which others were leased by the Crown to important families. By the 13th century, the Abbey had bought up some of the other manors (although it did let them out again) and was exploiting the profits from market and trade in the town.[7] Local tradition asserts that Frome was a medieval borough, and the reeve of Frome is occasionally mentioned in documents after the reign of Edward I, but there is no direct evidence that Frome was a borough and no trace of any charter granted to it. However, the Kyre Park Charters of Edward's reign note a Hugh, lord of Parva (or little) Frome, as well as other witnesses. Additionally, Henry VII did grant a charter to Edmund Leversedge, then lord of the manor, giving him the right to hold fairs on 22 July and 21 September.[7] The parish was part of the hundred of Frome.[9]

Circular stone building with slate roof.
Former Wool Drying House, now part of The Black Swan Arts Centre

Hales Castle was built, probably in the years immediately after the Norman conquest of England in 1066.[10] The circular ringwork is 120 feet (37 m) in diameter and stands on the northern slope of Roddenbury Hill, close to the Iron Age Roddenbury Hillfort. It comprises banks and outer ditches and has an unfinished bailey.[11]

The manufacture of woollen cloth was established as the town's principal industry in the 15th century,[7][12] and Frome remained the only Somerset town in which this staple industry flourished.[6] Families of clothiers gradually came to be the principal landowners in the town, with the manor of Frome itself finally passing into the ownership of a cloth merchant in 1714. From 1665 to 1725 major expansion, including the building of a new artisans' suburb to the west of Trinity Street, occurred.[13] In the 1720s Daniel Defoe remarked that the town had grown in the previous few decades so that it was "likely to be one of the greatest and wealthiest inland towns in England".[14]

On 12 April 1477, Ankarette Twynyho was taken from the manor house that stands, known locally as the Old Nunnery, in Lower Keyford accused by Isabel Neville, Duchess of Clarence. She was subsequently tried and hanged. Ankarette's grandson Roger Twynyho received from Edward IV a full retrospective pardon for Ankarette, and the petition he submitted to the king in 1478 describes fully the circumstances of the case, well illustrating the quasi-kingly high-handedness of Clarence which was ultimately not tolerated by the king.[15]

On 27 June 1685, the forces of the Duke of Monmouth camped in Frome, following their defeat in a skirmish with the King's forces at Norton St Philip. Large numbers of his army deserted during the few days he stayed in the town before his eventual defeat at the Battle of Sedgemoor.[6] Following the putting down of the Monmouth Rebellion, 12 men were hanged in the town.[16]

Poverty, the decline of the wool industry in the mid-18th century, increased industrialisation, and rising food prices led to some unrest amongst the inhabitants of Frome, and there were riots during the century. By 1791, the town was described in less flattering terms than those Defoe had used 70 years earlier.[7] In the early 19th century, plans were developed to reinvigorate the town and once again elevate it to its former position as a more important town than Bath. These plans, the idea of a local businessman, Thomas Bunn, mostly failed to come to fruition, although some public buildings were erected and a wide new approach road to the town centre from the south was cut (named Bath Street after the landowner, Lord Bath of Longleat House).[17]

Corner of four-storey building with multiple matching arched windows
The former (Butler & Tanner) Selwood Printing Works

Whilst wool remained an important part of the town's economy into the 19th (and even 20th) centuries, other industries were established in the town. A bell-foundry started in 1684 by William Cockey grew to be a major producer of components for the developing gas industry and employer of 800 people. The J W Singer brass foundry and bronze-casting works,[18] was a major employer and produced bronze statues.[19] John Webb Singer was born in Frome and established his art metal work foundry in 1851. They made brass ornaments for local churches and became known through the Oxford Movement within the Church of England which lead to increasing demand for church ornaments.[20] In addition to church ornaments the firm developed the facilities and expertise to create large statues. One of the first statues cast was a copy of General Gordon riding a camel. The firm was also responsible for the bronze statue of Boudica with her daughters in her war chariot (furnished with scythes after the Persian fashion), which was commissioned by Prince Albert and executed by Thomas Thornycroft. It was not cast in bronze until 1902, 17 years after Thornycrofts death, and now stands next to Westminster Bridge and the Houses of Parliament, London.[21] The statue of Lady Justice on the dome above the Old Bailey was executed by the British sculptor, F. W. Pomeroy and cast by Singers. She holds a sword in her right hand and a pair of weighing scales in her left. The statue is popularly supposed to show blind Justice; however, the figure is not blindfolded. The statue of Alfred the Great at Winchester was a further commission.[22] The statues from Singers have also been exported around the world.[23] Printing was another major industry, with the Butler and Tanner printworks being set up in the middle of the century. Brewing was also a source of employment.[17]

During the 20th century the old wool industry in Frome declined, although the last fabric mill at Wallsbridge did not close until 1965.[24] As a result the population fell and in the 1930s it was slightly smaller than it had been in the mid 19th century. Other industries such as printing, light engineering, metal casting, carpeting and dairying continued,[16] many taking old premises from the cloth mills and others being sited at the new Marston Road Trading Estate which led to growth after World War II, including the construction of council houses.[6]

Governance and public services

Frome is the largest town within the Somerset non-metropolitan district of Mendip, although the administrative centre is Shepton Mallet. Prior to 1974 it was administered by Frome Urban District.[25]

The town elects three members to Somerset County Council, each from a separate county division. At the last election in May 2013, Liberal Democrats were elected in Frome East, Frome West and Frome North. However, since then there has been one by-election in which the Conservatives took Frome North and a defection of one Councillor to UKIP in Frome West. The next County elections will be held in 2017.

Frome also has eleven councillors on Mendip District Council, two from each of the town council wards except for Oakfield, which elects only one. Following elections in 2015, five were Liberal Democrats, three for the Conservatives and three for The Green Party.[26]

The civil parish of Frome has adopted the style of a town, and there is a Town Council of 17 members. Reduced from 20 Councillors in 2005.[27] Councillors are split between eight wards: three each for the Berkley Down, College, Keyford, two each for Market, Oakfield and Park Wards, and once each for the Highpoint and Innox Wards. The most recent elections were in May 2015, following which the council is made up of 17 members of the Independents for Frome party (ifF).[28]

Frome has three twin towns: Château-Gontier in France, Murrhardt in Germany and Rabka-Zdrój in Poland.

There are 6 electoral wards in Frome having the same total population as that quoted above.

Frome Community Hospital

The town was not represented in Parliament until given one member in the House of Commons by the Reform Act of 1832. Separate representation was abolished for the 1950 general election, with Frome itself being transferred to the Wells division, whilst most of the remainder of the constituency formed the bulk of the new Somerset North constituency. Further changes took place for the 1983 general election when the current Somerton and Frome constituency was created. The current representative is Conservative MP David Warburton. During the general election of 2015, in which 72% of those eligible turned out to vote, David Warburton achieved a majority of 20,268 votes (33.6% of the total),[29] Frome is within the South West England European Parliamentary constituency which elects six MEPs using the d'Hondt method of party-list proportional representation.

The town has a new National Health Service community hospital, operated by Somerset Primary Care Trust, located on the site of the former Showground at Fromefield.[30] The new hospital was opened in 2008, replacing the former Frome Victoria Hospital in Park Road which had been in use since 1901. The nearest general hospital is the Royal United Hospital in Bath.


Two storey stone house with red roof. Partially obscured by vegetation
House on Bath Street

The town rests on Forest Marble which dates back to the Middle Jurassic,[31] and has been used for local building. The area surrounding the town is Cornbrash, Oxford Clay and Greensand.[6] Frome is unevenly built on high ground above the River Frome, which is crossed by the 16th century town bridge in the town centre. The town centre is approximately 65 metres (213 ft) above sea-level, whilst the outer parts of the town are between 90 metres (295 ft) and 135 metres (443 ft) above sea-level.[32]

The main areas of the town are (approximately clockwise from the north-west): Innox Hill, Welshmill, Packsaddle, Fromefield, Stonebridge, Clink, Berkley Down, Easthill, Wallbridge, The Mount, Keyford and Lower Keyford, Marston Gate, The Butts, Critchill, Trinity, and Gould's Ground.[32]

Although the royal forest of Selwood no longer exists, the nearby countryside is still richly wooded, for example on the Longleat, Maiden Bradley and Stourhead estates. To the west of the town, on the edge of the Mendip Hills, there are large active limestone quarries, such as Whatley Quarry and Merehead Quarry, along with disused quarries. The working quarries are served by a dedicated railway line which branches off the main line at Frome, passes through the town centre and out through the Welshmill and Spring Gardens areas in the north-west quadrant of the town.

Along with the rest of South West England, Frome has a temperate climate which is generally wetter and milder than the rest of England. The annual mean temperature is about 10 °C (50 °F) with seasonal and diurnal variations, but due to the modifying effect of the sea, the range is less than in most other parts of the United Kingdom. January is the coldest month with mean minimum temperatures between 1 °C (34 °F) and 2 °C (36 °F). July and August are the warmest months in the region with mean daily maxima around 21 °C (70 °F). In general, December is the dullest month and June the sunniest. The south west of England enjoys a favoured location, particularly in summer, when the Azores High extends its influence north-eastwards towards the UK.[33]

Cloud often forms inland, especially near hills, and reduces exposure to sunshine. The average annual sunshine totals around 1600 hours. Rainfall tends to be associated with Atlantic depressions or with convection. In summer, convection caused by solar surface heating sometimes forms shower clouds and a large proportion of the annual precipitation falls from showers and thunderstorms at this time of year. Average rainfall is around 800–900 mm (31–35 in). About 8–15 days of snowfall is typical. November to March have the highest mean wind speeds, with June to August having the lightest. The predominant wind direction is from the south west.[33]


Two-storey houses behind wall
Argyll House, Gentle Street (Grade II* listed)

The population of Frome was 12,240 in the 1831 census, however it then declined to 11,057 in 1901 and remained between 11,000 and 12,000 until the 1970s. Since then, it has increased, nearly doubling to over 23,000 in 1991.[7] In the 2011 census, the population was 26,203, comprising 11,863 (48.4%) males and 12,647 (51.6%) females. 7,674 (31.3%) residents were aged 16 or below, 13,150 (63.3%) between 16 and 65, and 3,686 (15.0%) aged 65 or over.[1]

In the 2001 census of the population aged between 16 and 74, 11,580 (67%) were in employment, with only 513 (3%) unemployed (the remainder being otherwise economically inactive). About 68% of those in employment were in service industries, with the remainder in manufacturing. 4,323 people were employed in managerial or professional occupations, 1,362 were self-employed, and 4,635 in routine and semi-routine occupations.[34] 10,198 households were recorded in the town, of which 7,679 (75%) were owner-occupied, 981 (10%) rented from private landlords, and 1,538 (15%) rented from the local authority or other social landlord.[35] 10,122 (99.3%) heads of households were white.[36]


Market Place

The metal-working and printing industries which replaced wool as Frome's main industry have declined but not left the town. Singers still has a presence in the town, as does Butler and Tanner, although the latter (now named Butler Tanner and Dennis following a take-over) hit major financial difficulties in 2008, and made two-thirds of its workforce redundant.[37][38]

Almost half of the economically active population of Frome commute to work outside the town (in Bath, Bristol, Warminster, Westbury or further afield). About 2,700 people commute into the town. A substantial part of the workforce has no formal qualifications and is poorly skilled, leaving them vulnerable to a decline in manufacturing work.[39] There is no major local government employment in the town, and the principal public sector employers are the Primary Care Trust and the schools.[40]

Frome town centre contains a considerable number of independent shops, and a few chain stores. Retail is primarily aimed at serving the local population's requirements for food (there are two large supermarkets on opposite edges of the town, and three smaller supermarkets in the town centre), basic clothing, health and beauty, DIY and some electrical goods. However studies show that only about a quarter of the town's population do their non-food shopping in the town.[41] Banks and building societies have branches in the town centre.[39][40]

Markets are held on Wednesdays and Saturdays in the town centre: some in the Market Yard car park, and others in the former agricultural warehouse, the Cheese and Grain. The Saturday cattle market was moved from the centre of the town to nearby Standerwick in the 1980s. In 2003, Frome was granted Fairtrade Town status.[42]

A Vision for Frome 2008–2028 has been developed following a consultation with local people in the spring of 2008 which received over 3,000 responses.[40] Mendip District Council and Mendip Strategic Partnership have consulted on a Community Strategy and Local Development Framework for the period to 2026 which includes building 2,500–2,600 new homes, providing more employment and office space, developing a new secondary school and two new primary schools, remodelling the town centre and encouraging a wider range of retailers and leisure providers into the town.[39]

There have been a number of significant housing developments within Frome, many on former industrial sites, and these are continuing with plans for the redevelopment of a site at Saxonvale and Garsdale to include several hundred dwellings, shops and a 'cultural quarter' containing workshops for artists.[40][43][44][45]


Italianate three-storey building, with entrance at the narrow end of the building nearest the camera
Frome Museum on North Parade

Frome has a thriving arts scene.[46] The high-point is the annual ten-day Frome Festival in July, which in recent years has included more than 160 events held at various venues in and around the town.[47] The town is host to a number of artists, many of whom open their studios to the public during the Festival.[48] An Artisan Market is held on Catherine Hill monthly between April and October.[49]

There are two theatres in Frome: The Memorial Theatre was built in 1924 in memory of the fallen of the World War I,[50] whilst the 240-seat Merlin Theatre is part of the Community College campus.[51] Frome is also home to Somerset's first and only pub theatre, with Nevertheless Productions promoting new dramas four times a year at The Cornerhouse pub. The Cheese and Grain, a former farm produce warehouse which was converted into a market and concert hall in 1997, has a capacity of up to 800 and hosts regular pop concerts.[52] Locally based musicians include American saxophonist Alfred "Pee Wee" Ellis and Irish folk singer Cara Dillon. Frome's only cinema, the Westway, is in Cork Street in the town centre.[53] There is also an arts centre, The Black Swan,[54] and the town is part of the West Country Carnival circuit. The Glastonbury Festival takes place only 15 miles southwest of Frome at Worthy Farm, Pilton. Frome also boasts two comedy clubs - the Submarine Comedy Club at the Archangel[55] and the Cheesy Grin Comedy Club at the Cheese & Grain bar.[56]

The Frome & District Agricultural Society holds an annual Agricultural & Cheese Show in September.[57] This was formerly held on the Showground at Fromefield, but in recent years has moved to West Woodland, 2 miles (3.2 km) to the south of the town. The Frome Society for Local Study was founded in 1958, and helped to establish and run Frome Museum.[58]

Frome is served by two newspapers, the

  • Frome History by D JSteward
  • Frome at DMOZ
  • Frome Town Council
  • Fairtrade Frome

External links

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  8. ^ Lowe, Jean (2014) A Survivor's Practical Travel Guide to Parish Councils. Earthscape Publishing, ISBN 978 0 9929988 0 6 e-book and 978 0 9929988 1 3 paperback.
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  10. ^ Prior, Stuart. (2006) The Norman Art of War: a Few Well-Positioned Castles. Stroud, UK: Tempus. ISBN 0-7524-3651-1. p.71.
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  21. ^ Mark Stocker, ‘Thornycroft, Thomas (1815–1885)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, September 2004 online edn, October 2006 [1], accessed 2 January 2009
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  27. ^ name"lowe"
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  30. ^ Frome Community Hospital, Somerset PCT
  31. ^ Weishampel, David B; et al. (2004). "Dinosaur distribution (Middle Jurassic, Europe)." In: Weishampel, David B.; Dodson, Peter; and Osmólska, Halszka (eds.): The Dinosauria, 2nd, Berkeley: University of California Press. Pp. 538–541. ISBN 0-520-24209-2.
  32. ^ a b Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 scale map, grid reference ST775475
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  73. ^ Rook Lane Chapel 1707–2007: a short history (2007). Rook Lane Arts Trust.
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  78. ^ Belham, Peter (1987). Guide to the Church of St John the Baptist, Frome Selwood. St John's Parish Church Council.
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See also Category:People from Frome

Notable people - Past & Present

The Tour of Britain,[103] which started in Frome.[104]

Formed in 1883, Frome Rugby Club plays at Gypsy Lane.[101] It has four senior teams and a thriving mini and junior section. The First XV, Second XV and Third XV all play in the English Rugby Union South West Division Championship; the First XV play in Southern Counties South, the Second XV in Dorset and Wilts One South and the Third XV in Dorset and Wilts Three West. The Fourth XV, known as the Cavalry, play friendly, social fixtures against other local sides.

Frome Cricket Club plays cricket at the Agricultural Showgrounds on the Bath side of town. The club was formed in 1925 and, for the 2009 season, plays in the West of England Premier League: Somerset Division.[98] Somerset County Cricket Club used to use the ground and Harold Gimblett made his debut at the venue in May 1935.[99] The club's most famed players are Colin Herbert Dredge,[100] who played county cricket 209 times for Somerset from 1976 to 1988 and Mark Harmon, who played for both Somerset and Kent.

Badgers Hill, currently known as the Blindmans Brewery Stadium, is the home of Frome Town F.C., which in 2009 was promoted from the Western Football League into the Southern Football League.[96] The team were promoted again in 2011 into the Southern Football League Premier Division. The Frome Town ladies' team also play at Badgers Hill. Frome Town F.C. also has Youth/Mini section, launched in the 2010/11 season. This is part of the clubs move towards the FA Community Club Status. The Youth section covers players of all abilities from under 6's to under 18's.[97]

Victoria Park offers sports such as Bowls, Tennis, Putting, Skateboard ramps and a Children's’ Playground. The Millennium Green has several marked walks and a picnic area close to a semi wild open space for local wildlife.[94] The town is also at one end of the Mendip Way which is a 80 kilometres (50 mi) long-distance footpath across the Mendip Hills from Weston-super-Mare.[95]

The Leisure Centre offers a wide range of activities including swimming, indoor bowls, squash and a gym.[90] There are also water based sports including the Frome and Warminster Dive Club,[91] and Canoe Club.[92] There is an inland diving centre near Frome at Vobster.[93]

Sport and leisure

There are no further or higher education establishments in Frome, the closest third-level institution being the University of Bath. A vocational training facility opened in a temporary building in 2008.[40]

In 2012 the first publicly funded Steiner Academy in the UK opened in Frome. Initially in a temporary location in Corsley, it moved to the permanent location on Park Road in September 2014.

There are two middle schools for pupils between 9 and 13 years of age, Oakfield Middle School and Selwood Anglican/Methodist Middle School. The town's main college, Frome Community College, provides education between ages 13 and 18, and has specialist "media arts" status.[87] There is also Critchill School which is a special school catering to students who have special educational needs[88] and Farleigh Further Education College for special needs students going on to post 16, for example because of learning difficulties or physical disabilities.[89]

Frome has thirteen first schools for pupils aged between 4 and 9 years, including Berkley Church of England First School, Christ Church Church of England First School, Hayesdown First School, St John's Church of England Voluntary Aided First School, St Louis Catholic Primary School, Trinity Church of England First School and Vallis First School.


There is a public-access car club, operated by the social enterprise Co-wheels.[86] Electric cars are available from the Cheese and Grain, and Frome Medical Practice.

The A361 bypasses the town around the southern and eastern edges, while the A362 passes through the centre of the town from north-west to south-east.

Frome is served by the Bristol to Weymouth railway line which passes the eastern edge of the town. Frome station was opened in 1850 and is one of the oldest railway stations still in operation in Britain, now with direct services to London Paddington.[85] Trains are operated by First Great Western. A freight line, which branches off through the town to serve the quarries on the Mendip Hills, is mainly used by Mendip Rail. A continuation of this line, which previously linked Frome to Radstock, is now the route of National Cycle Route 24, otherwise known as the Colliers Way.

Narrow street between stone walls and houses
View up Gentle Street


Baptists had been worshipping in the town since 1669, and had two churches. One was built in Sheppards Barton (now South Parade) in 1708. This was demolished and replaced by a new building in 1850, which was itself closed in 2001. Part of this building was converted to residential use but the main church, with a baptism pool, remains disused. A second Baptist Church was built in Badcox Lane (now Catherine Street) in 1711. It was replaced with a new building in 1813, which was embellished with a Doric portico in 1845.[82] It closed in 1962 (later serving as a library, before being converted into flats in the 1980s).[17] The Methodist church, built in 1812 at Gorehedge, is still in use after considerable additions in 1863, restoration in 1871 and major internal rearrangement in the 1980s.[83] Sun Street Chapel was erected by the Primitive Methodists in 1834, and closed in 1982, although it was used by another religious group afterwards. It is now used as a Community Centre. There is another Methodist church on Portway, built in 1910.[17] A Dissenters' Cemetery with Chapel at Vallis Road, was founded in 1851 by Frome's 'Free Churches', mainly Baptist, Congregational and Methodist and has been the site of over 6,000 burials.[84]

In 1853, Irvingite Catholics (Catholic-Apostolic) began worshipping in a building in the West End until the church was closed. The Roman Catholic church began in Frome after the building of a temporary church in Park Road in 1928, and a new church, St Catharine's Catholic Church, was finally built on the site in 1967 and 1968. Rook Lane Chapel, a noncomformist chapel, was in use from 1707 until 1968. In 1773, a split in the congregation of Rook Lane led to the establishment of another Zion Congregational Church in Whittox Lane. This building was replaced in 1810, and was extended in 1888 (a separate, octagonal school room with a conical roof having been built on the grounds in 1875).[17] A Quaker Meeting House existed in Sheppards Barton, now South Parade, from 1675 to 1856. The original building was replaced around 1730 with a simple unadorned stone building comprising a single meeting room with wrought iron gallery above. The building became a school, the town library, Red Cross centre and, since 1999, the offices of a software company. The present chapel-like appearance was created in a 1993 refurbishment by the Red Cross.

[17] as another Chapel of Ease to St John's. It is small with a decorated sanctuary ceiling.[81] Finally, St Mary's at Innox Hill was built in 1863, by C.E. Giles,[17].Edward Burne-Jones It is unusual in that the altar is at the west end due to the position in which the church was built. The stained glass windows are near-contemporary copies of windows designed by Sir [80] in the style of Commissioners' Gothic.Henry Goodridge The third Anglican Church, Holy Trinity, was built in 1837–38 by [17] although considerable changes were made throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.[79] The

Religious sites

Frome is reputed to have one or more systems of tunnels beneath the streets of the older parts of the town. Some entrances are visible above ground; for example, in the wall at the top of Stony Street, with other entrances in the cellars of shops and houses. Their purpose and full extent remains unknown, but they have been under investigation in recent years by at least one local group and a documentary has been made.[75]

Rook Lane Chapel was a noncomformist chapel built between 1705 and 1707 by James Pope. The chapel had a gallery around three sides, and the centre of the ceiling was domed and supported by two tuscan columns. Rook Lane ceased to be used as a chapel in 1968 and there followed twenty-five years of neglect. In the early 1990s the building was compulsorily purchased by Somerset County Council and transferred to the Somerset Buildings Preservation Trust who carried out repairs and restorations. In 2001 it was converted by a firm of architects, the ground floor becoming a community hall and arts centre, managed by Rook Lane Arts Trust, and the galleried upper floor becoming offices for the architectural firm, NVB Architects.[17][73][74]

Frome has over 500 listed buildings, three of which (including the parish church) are grade I listed. The Blue House, located adjacent to the town bridge, is one of the grade I buildings; it was formerly the Bluecoat School and Almshouses, so named due to the colour of the school uniforms. Built in 1726 at a cost of £1,401 8s 9d, it replaced a previous almshouse dating from 1461 and rebuilt in 1621. The Blue House provided a home for twenty widow women and schooling for twenty boys. The front of the building is adorned by two statues, one of a man and the other a woman, indicating the building's dual purpose. They are colloquially known as "Billy Ball" and "Nancy Guy". The building's role as a school came to an end in 1921, and it now provides studio and one-bedroom flats for seventeen elderly residents.[7][17][72]

Yellow stone building with central 2 storey block with arched windows, hipped roof and clock tower
The Blue House, a grade I listed building

The town bridge, which was originally built in the 14th century, was rebuilt in the 17th century and widened in the 19th century,[70] at which time houses were built on it.[7][17] The Tourist Information Centre in Justice Lane is contained within a circular dye-house, known to have been in existence by 1813, one of two surviving in the town (the other is in Willow Vale). It was restored in 1994.[7][17] In the 1990s and first few years of the 21st century, Frome benefited from considerable investment in the restoration of its historic buildings through the English Heritage Heritage Economic Regeneration Scheme and the National Lottery Townscape Heritage Initiative.[71]

The older parts of Frome – for example, around Sheppard's Barton and Catherine Hill – are picturesque, containing an outstanding collection of late 17th and 18th century small houses.[7] The Trinity area, which was built in the latter half of the 17th century and first half of the 18th century, is a fine (and rare) example of early industrial housing. Over 300 houses were built between 1660 and 1756 in a very unusual early example of a planned grid-pattern. Although about half the area was demolished in the 1960s under a Slum Clearance Order, before its historical importance was realised, the remainder was saved and was restored at a cost of £4 million between 1980 and 1984.[17] Also in this area is the elaborate former Selwood Printing Works. Stoney Street, which leads into Catherine Hill, is a steep, cobbled road climbing out of the town centre. Also in the centre of the town, Cheap Street contains buildings dating to the 16th and 17th centuries, and has a stream running down the middle, fed by the spring at St John's Church. Cheap Street has never been used for vehicular traffic and its layout is based on land plots dating to approximately 1500. Despite a fire in 1923, the buildings have remained substantially unchanged since 1830, apart from shop-frontages.[17]

Street scene showing narrow cobbled road past coloured shop fronts
Catherine Hill


Frome restaurants include the Archangel on King Street, which received a 9/10 rating in The Sunday Telegraph.[67] The Archangel was formerly The Angel Inn and is believed to date back to before the Protestant Reformation,[68] and is a Grade II listed building.[69]

Frome's Cheap Street is a location in episode six of the first series of BBC TV comedy The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin.[65] Frome has also provided the backdrop to historical dramas, such as Drover's Gold, filmed by BBC Wales in 1996.[66]

runs an online TV channel presenting Frome's own Question Time format program, interviews and short films relating to local current affairs. [64]

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