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!
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.
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
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.
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.