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Chelwood church.jpg
St Leonard's church, Chelwood
Grid reference: ST634619
Location: 51°21’18"N, 2°31’30"W
Population: 153  (2001)
Post town: Bristol
Postcode: BS39
Dialling code: 01761
Local Government
Council: Bath & NE Somerset
North East Somerset

Chelwood is a small village within the Chew Valley in Somerset about 8 miles from each of Bristol and Bath. The parish had a recorded population of 153 in 2001.

The village appears in the Domesday Book as Cellwert (and in later records appears as Celeworda, Celleweit and Chelworth). The name if from Old English and may mean "well watered hill farm", or be from Ceorl weorþ ("countryman's land"), which may suggest common land. The first attested use of the form "Chelwood" dates from the 12th century.

Chelwood is one of the nine Thankful Villages in Somerset where all the men returned from the First World War; four went and four returned.

Parish church

St Leonard's church was nearly all built around 1850, but two corbel-heads of the nave arcade are said to be 13th-century. The font is Norman with tiny volutes at the edges and a top frieze of something like lambrequin]]s. The stained glass has various 16th-century Flemish bits in the south aisle window.

The tower contains a bell dating from 1773 and made by Abraham Bilbie of the Bilbie family.[1] It has been designated by English Heritage as a Grade II* listed building.[2]


The village formed part of two holdings, known as East and West Chelwood. Both sides were originally owned by the Earl of Warwick's estate, but East Chelwood passed to the Popham family, where it remained into the early 20th century.

Sights of the village

Chelwood House was built in the valley of the river Chew in 1681 as a Dower house, and sits in 1.3 acres of gardens. The property is a Grade II listed building.[3]

Chelwood includes several other Grade II listed buildings:

  • Church Farmhouse[4]
  • Malt House Farmhouse[5]
  • Old School House[6]
  • Park Farmhouse[7]
  • Wall and railings about 5 yards northeast of Old School House[8]
  • Withydale and attached house[9]

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Chelwood)


  1. Moore, James; Roy Rice & Ernest Hucker (1995). Bilbie and the Chew Valley clock makers. The authors. ISBN 0-9526702-0-8. 
  2. National Heritage List England no. 1017050: Church of St Leonard (Historic England)
  3. National Heritage List England no. 1019761: Chelwood House (Historic England)
  4. National Heritage List England no. 1017049: Church Farmhouse (Historic England)
  5. National Heritage List England no. 1019021: Malt House Farmhouse (Historic England)
  6. National Heritage List England no. 1020758: Old School House (Historic England)
  7. National Heritage List England no. 1019763: Park Farmhouse (Historic England)
  8. National Heritage List England no. 1017349: Wall and Railings, Chelwood (Historic England)
  9. National Heritage List England no. 1019941: Withydale (Historic England)