Listed in the Domesday Book as Sipeham, meaning ‘sheep home,’ Shipham is a small Mendip village. Along with neighbouring Rowberrow, Shipham was once the centre of the zinc mining industry on Mendip; hence the naming of one of Shipham’s two hostelries as The Miners Arms (now sadly closed).
The discovery of zinc turned the village into a major mining centre and the remains of old mine workings and waste can still be seen south of the village. Social reformers William Wilberforce and Hannah Moore set up a Sunday school here to try and help the poverty-stricken people of the area. The people of Shipham were notorious for being rough and it is said that no constable would arrest them for fear of being thrown down a mine shaft!
Thankfully it’s a bit tamer today and the Penscott Inn right in the centre of the village provides the perfect overnight stop with good food, cider and atmosphere for the weary walker.
At the northern end of the village there is a nineteenth century tollhouse and next door to the Penscot is the parish church of St Leonards which is well worth a look over.