East and West Harptree were probably once a large Saxon estate but by 1084 they had become two.
The first references to these villages appear in about the last quarter of the 12th century and it has
been suggested that East Harptree was a deliberately planned village because of its layout and
position. It’s possible that the name derives from the old English word ‘Hartreg’ meaning grey
hollow. But in the 1086 Doomsday Book it is referred to as ‘Harpetreu’, meaning ‘The military road
by the wood.’
Harptree Court is one of the most eye-catching locations in the parish and was the setting for the
Great British Bake Off in series three and four. The parish also contains the ruins of Richmont Castle,
which lie in Harptree Combe, a Site of Special Scientific Interest, which was visited in 2019 by Clare
Balding for her Ramblings radio programme. The castle was besieged in 1138, visited by King John in
1205 and later demolished by Sir Henry Newton during the reign of Henry VIII. Nearby is Eastwood
Manor and Farm, St Lawrence’s Church, and the Clock Tower, gifted to the village in 1897 by Mr W
W Kettlewell to mark the 60-year reign of Queen Victoria.
Today, East Harptree is a village and parish with a population of approximately 650 people and is a
vibrant, friendly community. It nestles in the Chew Valley, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Within the parish there is a primary school, church, community shop, hairdresser, theatre and village
hall, village club, pre-school nursery, transport business, sports field and clubhouse, playground and
public house. There are also a number of small businesses and self-employed practitioners as well as
many community interest groups.
Councillor and Ward
East Harptree, along with West Harptree and Hinton Blewitt, form the Mendip ward of Bath and North East Somerset District Council. The elected councillor is currently David Wood.
The sitting MP is Jacob Rees-Mogg who represents the constituency of North East Somerset.