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Mendip Hospital

Mendip Hospital                                                                    Pat Hase

If you look though the burials listed on our web site under Milton Road Cemetery you will find over 200 burials where the death has occurred at the Mendip Hospital in Wells.  Many local parish churches also have burials from Wells so we are adding a section especially covering this Hospital.

When Mendip Hospital was opened in 1848 it was called the “Somerset and Bath Pauper Lunatic Asylum” and was built at Horrington, near Wells, serving the whole county of Somerset.


Its first patients came from Workhouses which were struggling to care for inmates with specific needs and sometimes challenging behaviour. Approved methods of treatment for the patients changed considerably over the years and the Hospital finally closed in 1991

A lecture was given in St. Thomas Church, Wells, on 20th October 2000, at the invitation of the Friends of Mendip Hospital Burial Ground, concentrating on the initial setting up of the hospital and the records of the Physician Superintendents of the Hospital.  It can be downloaded and gives an interesting insight into the history of the Hospital.


This event was prompted by the threatened disposal of the Cemetery used by the Hospital and was followed by the successful founding of the “Friends of Mendip Hospital Burial Ground” and the withdrawal of the offer for sale.  This group has helped many family historians to understand why members of their family were patients there.

If you visit their web site at  http://www.mendiphospitalcemetery.org.uk/ you can read more about the Friends and under contacts there is an email address for requests for information about known family members. The response in my experience has always been prompt and enlightening – donations to their charity are welcome. Their Facebook Group also sometimes  posts photographs and case notes of individual patients   https://www.facebook.com/mendiphospitalcemetery/ which are fascinating and moving.

There is to be an exhibition planned for June 2021 at Wells Museum which is a collaborative project between the museum and the Friends of the Mendip Hospital Cemetery to tell the story of the staff and patients at the Somerset and Bath County Lunatic Asylum 1850 to 1918.

The whole site since its closure, (with the exception of the Cemetery) has been converted into accommodation with the addition of new housing. http://www.asylumprojects.org/index.php?title=Mendip_Hospital

The Census entries which will be added to this site will contain those patients who have been identified as coming from the area covered by the Weston-super-Mare & District FHS. 

In 1851 and 1861 the patients were entered with initials only and those from North Somerset were checked against the case notes by the late Pat Jefferies, a member of the Somerset & Dorset FHS, who had worked at the hospital. On the 1851 census under “Place of Birth” it has been noted that the places are the places which were responsible for paying for that patient – not necessarily their place of birth.  

On later censuses patients have been extracted by using the place of birth entry BUT in many cases that is said not to be known and so many will be missing.  If you know of a patient from this area who should be included from these lists please let us know so that they can be added.

There are documents relating to this place.
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Mendip Hospital - 1851 Census - North Somerset Patients
Mendip Hospital - 1861 Census - North Somerset Patients
Mendip Hospital - 1871 Census - North Somerset Patients
Mendip Hospital - 1881 Census - North Somerset Patients
Mendip Hospital - 1891 Census - North Somerset Patients
Mendip Hospital deaths WsM only

Forthcoming Events

Workshop by Zoom: Guild of One-Name Studies
Wednesday, 24th July, 2024 19:30 - 21:30
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Saturday, 7th September, 2024 14:00 - 15:30
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Wednesday, 11th September, 2024 14:30 - 16:30
Library Help Session
Saturday, 5th October, 2024 14:00 - 15:30
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Wednesday, 9th October, 2024 14:30 - 17:00
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