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Chew Down

Chew DownChew Down is one of the most distinctive natural features in Chewton Mendip. It is a ridge that overlooks the village from the north east. The main village or Town tithing is to the left of this extract of the 1794 map. The right of the map is sometimes called Chew Plain and leads to Ston Easton. The area in the bottom right hand corner was called Maltmead.
The map shows there was a track running across the middle of Chew Down and it is still a footpath today. It is believed that this was once an important route that could have connected Stone Henge with Stanton Drew and one theory for the origins of Chewton Mendip was that it was a ‘watering hole’ on that path.
There are bronze age burial mounds just off the top left hand corner of the map and in the field marked 173. The top left of the map is Chew Hill which is the steep hill that is encountered when approaching from Bristol.
A building can be seen at the Chew Hill end which may have been a farm and is one possibility for the Loxton’s farm  of the 17th century. It may have been a cowshed or cottage associated with the nearby Barrow Farm. The 1740 and 1766 list of Waldegrave tenants  suggest it was the New Inn.
The 18th century poor law includes a few references to Chew Down which held special status. It was not Mendip Forest but it may have been part of the former parkland and is shown in the 1800 map which showed the recently enclosed land.
The HippisleysKingsmills and other families owned land in or near Chew Down and  Anstees  owned one of the fields on the left of the picture.
 What the map does not show is that the left had side of Chew Down is very steep and creates a natural grandstand. There are unconfirmed accounts of horse racing being held in valley so references to the ‘race ground’ could apply to this part of the village. The land on the southern side of Chew Down was called Whitemead.
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