Symondsbury lies at the heart of an unusually large parish, extending down to the sea at Eype. The village sits in a hollow at the base of the famous landmark, Colmer’s Hill. The houses are mainly built with the local golden stone and a large proportion of them are thatched.
Many of the houses belong to the Symondsbury Estate and are rented out. There are some privately owned properties, a few of which are let as holiday accommodation.
The Ilchester Arms is a typical thatched country pub, usually very busy all year round and popular with locals, walkers and holiday makers. The landlords and bar manager are active in raising money for local projects and are very generous in their donations to the Church. The pub is the venue for the Symondsbury Flower and Produce Show, which was restarted after a long break, at the request of the villagers. The school is Church Aided and has approximately 100 pupils, most of whom come in from the surrounding area, as there are very few young children in the village itself. The school children attend the Church regularly for assemblies with the Incumbent.
The present day church was built in the early 14th century, although there is evidence to show that there was an earlier church on the same site. The building is cruciform in design, with a central tower, built in the local golden sandstone. There is a peal of 6 bells, the belfry being reached from outside by a narrow set of steps. The interior of the church was last restored in the 1920’s, when the local villagers helped to do the carvings in the choir. There is a small, but very faithful congregation at the Church. Many of the village people are not regular worshippers but view the Church as the centre of the village community and provide support as and when necessary.
Symondsbury is famous for its troupe of Mummers, who act out their traditional play in the Christmas season. They have appeared at the Festival Hall in London, on the TV and radio and have many local engagements every year.
There is a large Tithe Barn and yard undergoing renovation which will contain workshop areas for crafts and artists. Further small enterprises are accommodated at Crepe Business Park. The village shop and post office closed several years ago as it was not financially viable. There is no village hall so the church and pub are invaluable for accommodating events.
The adult age mix is roughly equal divided between the young, middle- aged and elderly groups. People are very neighbourly and support each other well if they are in trouble. Many younger people moved away from the village some years ago owing to lack of job opportunities and housing, although there has been a move lately to find suitable sites for affordable homes.
Symondsbury is a very quiet village, no clubs or night life, but people love it just as it is.