Bruton is a town of some 3,000 in the south-east corner of Somerset. Though smaller than some villages, it has a town council and mayor and is proud of its status as one of the smallest towns in England. Built in the valley of the River Brue, it is situated between Frome, Gillingham and Wincanton, with Castle Cary nearby. Bath and Bristol are within easy reach, by car or train (Bruton is on the Bristol to Weymouth line), and major attractions such as Stourhead Gardens and House are nearby.
The town has seven restaurants and three cafés, two pubs (with more in the villages around), a butcher, four mini-supermarkets, a petrol station, and shops of all kinds, selling antiques, organic foods, bespoke coffee, local cheese, hardware and pet supplies, gifts and flowers, with a pharmacy, a soft furnishings maker, hair and beauty salons and such necessities as a Post Office and a vet. There is a busy surgery, a dentist and even an estate agent.
The beautiful church of St Mary’s – cited in Pevsner as ‘one of the proudest churches in the county’ – is well worth a visit, as are the Sexey’s Hospital almshouses in the High Street. The exciting new Hauser & Wirth gallery at Durslade Farm is a newsworthy addition to the local amenities. Three highly regarded secondary schools and a primary school as well as Mill on the Brue outdoor activity centre and wedding venue, with Gants Mill too for weddings, complete the picture of a thriving, friendly place to live in or visit.
An interesting article by John Vallins appeared in the Guardian in April: the Facebook link is http://gu.com/p/47zh3/sfb. John used to teach at King’s, and his wife typed manuscripts for the American writer John Steinbeck when he lived at Discove in the 1950s.