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Curiosities & Features

millstone Millstone
A piece of neglected history...

The car park off Anchor Street is a rather desolate place, fit only for cars. Not a place to interest visitors. It need not be so.

In the middle, on the side close to the rear of buildings on Swain Street, a round stone sits in a raised island surrounded by dressed stones. Weed and rubbish collect in the space around the stone. What is it and why is it there?

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Fitzroy barometer Fitzroy Barometer
The Admiral Fitzroy barometer may be found set into the wall of the cottages immediately leaving Swain Street to the Esplanade.

A brass plaque somewhat difficult to read due to enthusiastic polishing states that it was the gift of Sir A.A. Hood. The barometer is set daily by Vernon Stone of Watchet and formerly by George Chidgey who took on this responsibility for many years.

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welshbrick01 Welsh Brick
Watchet vessels sailed for almost fifty years from the West Quay to Newport with iron ore from the Brendon Hills. However they made return voyages with cargoes other than south Wales coal.

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alabaster01 Alabaster
One of the most distinctive geological features of the cliffs at West Street are the seams of alabaster.

Alabaster is a translucent form of gypsum (see 'Watchet Geology' Eric Robinson). It is a soft material and can be carved easily and an impression can be made with a thumbnail. It is generally considered unsuitable as an exterior building material, it was however used by the ancient Egyptians as a decorative facing to the pyramids near Cairo. A little closer to home in Swain Street it has been used as a decorative keystone above the doors and windows of 'Boy o boy'.

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donifordcross Doniford Stone Cross
In the 1870's Charles Pooley set about recording the ancient stone crosses of Somerset. Many of his discoveries would have been undertaken on horseback and his completed project 'Old Crosses of Somerset' was published in 1877 and included the water cross at Doniford which is believed to date from the 15th or possibly 14th Century.

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