This description of Norton St Philip, Somerset, England was published in 1929 by George Woosung Wade & Joseph Henry Wade in their book, Somerset. The drawing of the George Inn is by Sydney R. Jones and originally published in 1912.
Norton St Philip, a comely village equidistant (3 m.) from Midford (S. & D.) and Freshford (G.W.R.) Stations. It stands on high ground near the crossing of the roads from Frome to Bath, and from Radstock to Trowbridge. In mediaeval days Norton was the scene of a considerable cloth fair, the tolls of which were the perquisites of the prior of Hinton. At a later date it was the scene of a sharp skirmish between the Duke of Monmouth’s forces and a body of regulars under the Duke of Grafton.
The church has an extraordinary west tower, the eccentricities of which have led some to conclude that it was constructed out of odds and ends from the dismantled monastic buildings at Hinton. Note the singularly deep buttresses and the quasi-porch formed between them. The body of the church is likewise peculiar, but of more merit. It is one of Sir Gilbert Scott’s restorations. In the south wall of the nave is the recumbent effigy of a layman (cp. Cleeve). Beneath the tower is a tablet commemorating a local “freak”—, who appear to have been an early edition of the Siamese Twins. A neighbouring garden contains a good Elizabethan dovecot.
Norton St Philip claims to possess the oldest licensed house in England, the George, a stately 15th century hostelry standing at the top of the village. It is a fine old half-timbered building, with a small bay window in front and an octagonal projecting staircase and gallery at the back, and is well worthy of inspection within and without. It was probably built for the accommodation of the merchants of the staple in the old cloth fair-days.