Langford’s Inns

Until recently our research into the Inns of Langford had concluded that both The Langford Inn, formerly The White Hart Inn, and the Green Dragon Inn (located close by Richmond House)  were flourishing in the late 1600’s as revealed by the accommodation entry in the Inns and Alehouses ledger of 1686 ( see Gallery ).

We now have evidence that both Inns were in existence even earlier from entries in a Langford Manor village survey dated 1636!   A  page from this survey is reproduced in the Gallery section, which amongst others, details the entry for The Green Dragon.

We are in the process of transcribing the surveys, and hope to publish these in the near future as we believe these documents will be a valuable aid for family history studies.

The entry for the Green Dragon Inn shows that the tenant was John Phippen age 35 years, and that in addition to the Inn, the holding included a “backside”, a tennis court, two gardens, two very good orchards in 20 acres of well wooded grounds. It is quite probable that this holding embraced part of the grounds of Langford House.

John Young, age 55,  and his wife, age 46, were tenants of The White Hart Inn ( now known as The Langford ) which included a “backside”, a garden, a very good orchard in well wooded 18 acres of land.

The Green Dragon ceased to trade around 1740, but The Langford is still going strong today, and once again can offer hospitality and accommodation to the weary traveller!

There are records of a third inn at Langford, which appears to have started at the end of the 18th Century as The Mendip Volunteer with a Thomas Reed as the landlord. It is possible that the inn was set up by John Hiley Addington as an alehouse for his volunteers recruited to fight off Napoleon.

Although the precise location of the inn is not certain, it was most likely located opposite Langford Place. The 1841 Census shows a Robert Hacker as a publican occupying  plot 142,  which is opposite the end of Saxon Street. From a study of the recognizances for this inn, it appears to have briefly changed its name to The Volunteer in 1822, and The Valiant Soldier a year later, before reverting to its original name. By the 1851 Census there is only one publican listed for Langford (Thomas Fenwick at The Langford Inn), so it is most likely the The Mendip Volunteer had ceased trading by this time.


LANCET  (Langford and Churchill Environs Team) was formed in 2008 as a result of an initiative by Vince Russet, the County Archaeologist, to establish local community archaeology based groups to tackle local projects.

During 2008, the group met on several occasions to survey an old enclosure in Dolebury Woods close to the Iron Age fort at Dolebury Warren. See Gallery section “Dolebury Woods Survey”.

As a result of the discovery of a Bronze Age axe head by metal detectorists Dave and Bob Whalley at Stepstones Farm, the group turned its attention in 2009 to an unusual feature appearing in one of the fields at Stepstones, an annular crop circle. Although this had been recorded as a HER (historic environment record) site no. 414, no research had been carried out to assess its significance.

Having obtained permission from the Alvis Bros. to carry out some geophysical surveys, a date was set after the crop harvest to carry out a preliminary resistivity survey. This technique measures the electrical resistance of the soil typically to a depth of some 18 inches. It can show the presence of banks and ditches,  buried stone work, and post holes A more sophisticated technique “pseudosectioning” was used, with some success, to measure the resisitivity to much greater depths through a section of the surveyed area.

The results of the survey which was carried out by Jill Polak and her helpers from Clevedon, on 22 August 2009 are shown in the Gallery section see “Stepstones Resistivity Survey”.  Also included here in the Research topics section are Jill’s notes on her preliminary observations, which speculated that the ring might possibly have been a Type 1 (single opening) henge. 

As the field was shortly due to be ploughed, it was decided to follow up the resistivity survey with a field walk, and also to enlist the help of the Congresbury group YCCART to carry out a magnetometry survey.

On a rather wet and windy 3 September 2009, over 30 volunteers turned out to conduct a field walk over several acres in the vicinity of the crop circle. Some 44 grids of 25metre x 25metre were measured out, and volunteers collected  from the surface any foreign objects that were not felt to be indigenous to the field. An interesting challenge, resulting in copious amounts of terracotta and the odd machinery part!  The finds from each square were then placed in a labelled bag for future analysis.

A detailed magnetometry survey was carried out by Chris Short and his team on  14 September 2009. This technique which measures variations in the earth’s magnetic field can detect magnetic hot spots in the earth which can arise from hearth, pits or kiln fires. It can also detect other magnetic anomalies that could indicate buried buildings or earthworks. The results of this survey are also shown in the Gallery section. see “Stepstones Magnetometry Survey”.  However, the survey appears to have been somewhat inconclusive!

The analysis of the field finds was completed on 9 October 2009, and a photographic record of the more significant finds taken. See Gallery section “Stepstones Field Finds” to view the finds by each grid.  Once again, we are indebted to Jill Polak for her help and guidance with this part of the project. Of particular interest were the flint tools, a scraper(B7) and a blade (C5), which were possibly Mesolithic in origin.

In the summer of 2010, we are hoping that it might be possible to do some excavation work to see if we can uncover more clues as to the origin of the ring.

Jill Polak – Notes on Resistivity Survey

Stepstones Notes    Jill Polak     22/08/2009     

 TR/CIA resistivity kit (CBA South West)20 x 20 metre grids, with readings at 1 metre intervals

Top of grids is north and first traverses made from SW corners facing north. The base line was along the northern boundary of the field, at least 40 metres north of the edge of the grids.

The weather was dry and sunny, following a little rain during previous week. The field contained short stubble from a recently harvested wheat crop but had not been ploughed since harvesting.

 Site name & location:

SMR & SHER refs: 00414

National Grid Reference: 

Site Scheduled:

Landowner & occupier:  Alvis Bros

 Grids 1 -14 were downloaded under TR/CIA software. Grids 1 & 2 & 3 were already on the meter so were deleted after download.


Produced by Bob Smisson with Res2Dinv software and saved as bitmaps. Grid 14 is a pseudosection west to east crossing the eastern edge of the ring once near the centre of Grids 08 and 09.  Zero is at the west end.  Grid 10 is a pseudosection north to south, taken one metre to the east of the junction of Grids 08 & 09 and was intended to cross the ring at both ends. Unfortunately the line chosen was too far east and so it only touched the outside edge of the ring near the middle.  Zero is at the north end.

 The Grid 14 pseudosection crosses the ring at a right angle and is therefore more informative than Grid 10, which nearly misses the ring altogether. In both pseudosections the yellow/green=soft=low readings of the ring can be seen near the surface towards the middle. The third (bottom) version of each set of three is the significant one to study.  


Grids 04-07 and 11-13  are the usual sort of resistivity grids of measurements  in ohms up to 75 centimetres below the ground surface. They have been put together as raw data under TR/CIA software according to the grid plan below.

11 12 13
07 08 09
04 05 06

 The raw data ohms on this site have too wide a range to distinguish features (it appears uniformly black) but as almost all came within a narrow band from 15 to 50 ohms, these adjusted levels were used as a basis for the bitmap.

 All remote probe positions (15 metres from the nearest working positions) were adjusted to within 0.3 ohms of the initial reading of 25 ohms at a point on the west side of the junction of Grids 4 and 7. This was close enough to avoid any need to edge match the individual grids.

 The bitmap is uninverted so black=soft=low and white=hard=high readings.

 (Bob Smisson used Snuffler software to produce alternatives including a 3d version which was rather more informative but was not saved as a bitmap). 

 The ring is low resistance indicating soft ground, possibly a ditch. There is a hint of some contrasting high resistance, or hard ground, just inside the ring. There also seems to be an almost regular pattern of activity covering most of the inside of the ring. (Which might indicate postholes? jp).

 There appears to be an entrance gap on the south side, possibly ‘blocked’ in such a way as to reduce the view of the inside from a distance. (Which might explain why the initial three grids downloaded showed little sign of the ring. jp)  A line shows north to south to the east of the ring, which may be a recently trampled path. The old field boundary to the west is not within the 9 grid area.