Today the hamlets present a diverse range of building styles, from the ancient with stone construction and mullioned windows to the modern houses with brick or stone facings. The overall sense, however, is one of mellowed buildings comfortable in their surroundings and many visitors have remarked on the continental or French feel of the hamlets.

As the surveys show the story is more complex; many of today’s dwellings have been repurposed from earlier industrial or farming usage, and many others have left only tantalising marks and occasional protuberances to show where they stood.

Like many other areas in Somerset and beyond ancient housing stock went through several periods of intense modernisation. Architectural features from earlier buildings which can be confusing to the casual visitor were often reused, as was the case with Cleevers (pictured above) which was constructed in the 1930s from an old plain-looking barn and stone features from other buildings. The SVBRG surveyors did their utmost to get to grips with this difficulty, cutting through possible confusion as to what is actually going on with any particular dwelling.

The principal chronicle of a house is however the document survey. These trace when the property was first recorded and for what purpose, its subsequent development, its owners and tenants. For some homes, this goes back many centuries and the earliest documented resident of the hamlets was a tenant of Glastonbury Abbey in Darshill in the 13th century. Of course, it’s likely there were residents before then and many others later whose documents simply no longer exist or remain to be uncovered.