title="Winford Parish Council in Somerset">

History of Felton

There is evidence of habitation in the area we now know as Felton going back at least 4000 years.   Parts of Felton Common and the airport cover what has long been known as Broadfield Down and the burial barrows and other structures give indications of this habitation.   Part of a hand operated flour mill, a quern, has been unearthed on a property near Felton Common, and dated back to around 2000 BC. 

This would have been the top millstone part of a pair; the underside is concave and would have fitted to a matching convex lower stone.   The hole in the side may have been for a handle to help rotate the stone to grind the grain poured in through the big hole in the top.  

There are numerous documented sites around the area from the period of the Roman occupation of Britain, 45 AD to about 400 AD.   A Roman farm site near Row of Ashes Farm and the Temple site on Pagans Hill between Winford and Chew Magna are the nearest.  

Throughout early settlement times and right up to the present day mineral extraction of lead and red ochre and stone quarrying along with farming have provided local employment.  

In 1066 it is recorded that the Lord of the Manor of Winford was Alfwold, presumably one of Harold’s Saxons, as later that year the Lord is recorded as Geoffrey de Coutances.

It is not until the thirteenth centuary that any written evidence exists for the name Felton, seen in documented court records when in 1243 Roger de Felton took Simon Bilhok to court for striking Roger’s wife Agnes.

The present stone church was started in 1865 replacing an older wooden structure that was standing on land belonging to Freemans Farm.   These served the rather scattered community that had started to increase after 1817 with the designation and improvement of the main road we now know as the A38.    

A school had been started around 1847 by the A38 at Lulsgate Bottom but was eventually closed in 2010 when the remaining pupils were moved to Winford Primary School.

Felton Village Hall was built in 1931 when Mr. J. Falconar Fry of the Quaker chocolate family gave the land for the hall to the people of Downside & Felton.   It has been enlarged and improved over the years and remains a useful and popular village hall.

Early in the Second World War about 200 school children and staff from the East End of London were evacuated to Felton.   The school was overcrowded so the village hall was used as a temporary classroom until 1945, when the last few evacuees returned to their homes in London.   On the night of the 18th November 1941 a stray bomb hit the New Inn on the A38, now renamed the Airport Tavern.   The building was extensively damaged and two people were killed.   There were other stray bomb blasts in the village but no further civilian casualties.

An emergency aircraft landing ground was created on 14 acres belonging to Corner Pool Farm by the A38 in March 1940, and the runway was improved in 1941.   Early in the morning of the 14th July of that year the newly completed runway at RAF Lulsgate Bottom was first used by a Luftwaffe JU88 landing by mistake thinking they were in France.   The new operational airfield RAF Lulsgate Bottom became a flying training base until the end of the war.   The site did not become home to Bristol Airport until April 1957.

The village has continued to expand with the influx of people commuting to work in Bristol.

 

Many thanks to Beryl Moore and others for the material used to put this history together.