North Cadbury, together with South Cadbury, has been an estate village for most of its history. Recorded in the Doomsday Book (1086) as Cadeberia, it was by far the largest settlement in South East Somerset at that time. Shortly after the Norman Conquest the Manor formed part of the barony of Newmarch and later came to the Botreaux family. Elizabeth Lady Botreaux rebuilt the church in 1427, though there had probably been a church on the site from the 12th or 13th century. Cadbury Court, the kernel of manor, village and parish for over 400 years was built by Sir Francis Hastings in 1581. On his death in 1610 the estate was purchased by Richard Newman Esq, a major West Country landowner, and the High Steward of Westminster, who had the misfortune to be imprisoned by Oliver Cromwell for his services to King Charles I. Later he was granted an augmentation of the family Arms by Charles II, possibly a poor reward for all the support and gold provided for the king’s father, not to mention the years in a Roundhead gaol!
The Cadbury Estates remained in possession of the Newman family for 150 years when they were mortgaged to cover the debts of one Francis Newman in the late 18th century. They were then sold to the Bennett family who owned them for the next 100 years and were responsible for the addition of the imposing south facade in the Georgian style to Cadbury Court. In the 1890s the house was empty for a few years until it was bought by Sir Archibald Langman. Mrs Montgomery, the present owner, is Sir Archibald’s daughter.
North Cadbury was described some 140 years ago in the National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Northern Ireland as “.. a parish in the Hundred of Catash, in the County of Somerset, 5 miles to the W. of Wincanton, Castle Cary is its post town. It is situated in picturesque and fertile country,…” The description remains apt. Agriculture remains a most important local activity, with one very large farm and others of considerable size. As our local historian and antiquarian, Sam Miller, whose family has lived in the parish for eleven generations, points out, the village retains much of the feeling of an estate village, particularly in Woolston Road and High Street. But the 20th century has seen a great deal of building starting with Milchells Row, with much in-filling in the original village and along Cary Road. More recently the Close and Cox’s Close, on the former site of the Cox Sisters’ dairy business, and some individual houses have been added. Currently work is going ahead on an interesting mixed development al Home Farm which should do much to help rebalance a community that has become seriously short of younger people.
The village has moved on from being an agricultural community to an amalgam of many different sorts of people. Some live here and work elsewhere, some work from home. Some are weekly commuters. Many very able and highly qualified people are to be found in the community. A good number are retired. But we are fortunate. We have the components that make up a happy community. A church – a school - a pub – a village shop – a village hall and all sorts of thriving groups, clubs and associations, not least the Women’s Institute.