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WelcomeThe Town Of Wizard's ThatchThe Great Wizarding RailwayThe Ministry Of TimeWizard's Thatch AcademyAlice's HouseThe Rules BritanniaMagic AlleyHorizont AlleyRegent StreetMarket SquareBaker StreetBackwater LaneManor LaneThe High StreetThe BeachesFaithless Wives LaneCastle LaneAbbey Road

 

 

The Chronicles of Wizard's Thatch are a series of enchanting books by Dave Matthews and are published by STMO Media Group in Stratford upon Avon. This site explores the town behind the stories along with some of the more interesting buildings, organisations, myths and legends associated with the town.

 

Please bear with us as we upload all of the information to this website.  Thank you.

 

Where the Chronicles of Wizard's Thatch are set

(Not to be confused with our store, café and museum in Stratford upon Avon!)

 
 

The Chronicles of Wizard's Thatch are set in the town of Wizard's Thatch - a vibrant local community, with an easy going way of life and a picturesque setting in a beautiful Somerset valley near the Bristol Channel.

But whatever you do, don't make the mistake of calling Wizard's Thatch a village. Even though the entire parish boasts a population of fewer than 10,000, the locals will tell you that Wizard's Thatch is a thriving market town and has been since before the country was invaded by the Normans in 1066.

The earliest written record of Wizard’s Thatch is in the 899 will of Alfred the Great although there was a hamlet on the site that according to legend dates from round about 496. After the Norman Conquest it was held by William the Conqueror and in the Domesday Survey of 1086 was described as a royal manor.  Wizard’s Thatch Castle was possibly a Norman motte castle. The town grew up in the late mediaeval period around the textile industry, its wealth preserved in the fifteenth century Church of St Bartholomew. During the 18th and 19th centuries the main industry was cloth making, including webbing, and sails for the Royal Navy.

 

 

The town's first charter was granted by King Edward II in 1313, when he decreed that it should be one of four market towns in England licensed for magic and the collection of the Royal Wizarding Tax.  The charter established a Wizarding Parliament (later becoming the forerunner of what is now the Real Ministry of Magic) and a Wizarding Court providing the town with a remarkable degree of autonomy.
 
The traditions of independence and "specialness" was celebrated in 2013 with a 700th anniversary pageant that took place in the summer when the parish held the world Extreme Croquet Championships for the first time ever.  But, Wizard’s Thatch is not some sleepy backwater. Round the picturesque Market Square and 'pepper pot' market house, the town has more than 25 shops, four pubs, three restaurants, three churches a bank and is home to one of England’s top public schools.
 

Bustling, surprising and very friendly would be more apt descriptions of Wizard’s Thatch. At the top of the square, you’ll find Bob Black and Quentin Decker’s world famous ironmongers.  Inside you'll find a warren of little rooms piled high with treasures - worth a trip to the town just to see them. The word is that if they don't have what you're looking for, they'll get it - anything!

The local theatre busily hosts panto's, markets and concerts from surprisingly decent bands (Hayseed Dixie recently) organised by the towns very own impresario sisters, Phoebe and Philippa Marshall.

The town has a beautiful fresh open air swimming pool (open daily from May to September), fed by the sparkling waters of the River Elsworthy and solar heated.  The recently refurbished sports pitches and pavilion are widely regarded as some of the best and prettiest in the South West.

     

Legend has it that there's a secret passage from the Enchanted Manor, to the Golden Broomstick Tavern and a ghost is said to haunt The Bishop’s Room at the Manor and the upstairs corridors of the pub.  Other legends suggest that Wizard’s Thatch may have been a rather racy place in the past, so much so that novel methods were devised to deter wives from straying and to punish those that did.

The legend of the Faithless Wives of Wizard’s Thatch tells how unfaithful wives were made to trek across the neighbouring moor for several miles, washing their hair in Deepwater Lake on the way, to a stone circle called The Grey Sisters. There they had to lie in front of one of the stones and earnestly pray for forgiveness. If the stone remained erect, the lady was forgiven, but if it fell, she was not!

Wizard’s Thatch has always been an innovative place (needs must) and an 'early adopter' of much cutting edge technology. It was one of the first communities in the country to have electricity.  In 1891, a hydro power plant on the nearby River Elsworthy provided the town with its first public electricity supply, whilst many much larger places in the country still depended on gas.

The tradition continues to the present day; behind the narrow streets and in the surrounding countryside, quite unexpected businesses link themselves to the outside world via high speed internet connections.  And, while tourism plays a part in the local economy, it is most certainly not a 'museum community'.

Elsworthy Beach is located just over half a mile from the town, and has a beautiful harbour, known locally as Smugglers Haven, which was used for the export of wool from Saxon times; however, it was last used commercially in the 17th century.

With over 200 listed buildings Wizard’s Thatch is preserved so that generations to come can enjoy the historic qualities of this unique market town.  There is a wealth of historic buildings, from the 11th century Wizard’s Thatch Castle to the Old Market Square in the middle of the High Street, which was a focal point for the old Exmoor wool and cloth trade. 

Of course if it is quality shopping you are looking for then you will be spoilt for choice with an abundance of exclusive galleries, shops selling gifts, toys, hand-made confectionery, clothing, designer jewellery, antiques, second hand and new books, local arts and crafts, and much, much  more.  The town’s shops strive to achieve quality, offer the unusual and provide a truly unique shopping experience.

Just southwest of Wizard’s Thatch are the Iron Age hill forts of Bat's Castle and Black Ball Camp on Mannox Hill. The 15th-century Mannox Bridge was one of the main routes over the River Elsworthy on the southern outskirts of the town

During the English Civil War, Wizard’s Thatch was initially held as a garrison for the Royalists, but it fell to the Parliamentarians in 1645 and orders were sent out for the castle to be demolished. Luckily, however, these were not carried out, and the castle remained the garrison for Parliamentarian troops until 1650.

During the Second World War, considerable defences were built along the coast as a part of British anti-invasion preparations, though the north coast of Somerset was an unlikely invasion site. Some of the structures remain to this day. Most notable are the pillboxes on the foreshore of Elsworthy Beach. These are strong buildings made from pebbles taken from the beach and bonded together with concrete. From these, soldiers could have held their ground if the Germans ever invaded.

Wizard’s Thatch really does seems to have it all - a vibrant local community and economy, an easy-going way of life, a picturesque setting and great facilities. But the strongest impression visitors frequently get is how apparently friendly the place is and a morning browsing the shops around The Square offers a glimpse, perhaps of an earlier time, before cars, when communities were more isolated, more self-reliant and, as a result, more self-supporting.