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Dunster's public houses

Dunster, Luttrell Arms street frontage

Dunster has always been well served with alehouses and inns. As a market and cloth town in the medieval and early modern periods there was much business for alehouses. The earliest named public houses were Jeollestavern and Trottstavern belonging to William Dodesham in 1436, the George in 1463 and the Wynseseller in the early 16th century. In 1555 William Edwards and his wife Elizabeth were licensed to keep a tavern and sell wines backdated to 1553.

There were many tipplers or alehousekeepers in Dunster in the early 17th century. The two aletasters presented several for not sending for them to check their ale or their measures or for selling short. George Prolle and his wife were accused of keeping entertainment and drinking at their alehouse in service time in 1606. In Lent 1620 nine victuallers undertook not to sell meat and several tipplers in the 1620s were also butchers, a few were weavers, probably their wives ran the alehouses, certainly several widows were tipplers. In 1630 there were 13 in Dunster and one at Alcombe.

Numbers of licences remained high well into the 18th century although many inns closed with the decline in trade. Tourism created new demands. Tourism came early to Dunster and the Luttrell Arms was created with tourists in mind in 1779. 

Content generated during research for Victoria County History Somerset Volume XII. More information is available on the VCH Somerset website

Content derived from research undertaken as part of the Victoria County History project