Concept

Montacute

Summary
Montacute is a village and civil parish in Somerset, England, west of Yeovil. The village has a population of 831 (2011 census). The name Montacute is thought by some to derive from the Latin "Mons Acutus", referring to the conically acute St Michael's Hill dominating the village to the west. An alternative view is that it is named after Drogo de Montagu, whose family originated from Montaigu-les-Bois, in the arrondissement of Coutances. Mortain held Montacute after 1066, Drogo was a close associate. The village is built almost entirely of the local hamstone. From the 15th century until the beginning of the 20th century it formed the heart of the estate of the Phelips family of Montacute House. The village has a fine medieval church, and was the site of a Cluniac priory, the gatehouse of which is now a private house. At the centre of the village is a large square known as the 'Borough' around which are grouped picturesque cottages and a pub, the Phelips Arms; there is a second public house and hotel situated in the village, called the King's Arms. The summit of the Iron Age hill fort of Ham Hill, a fort of the Durotriges tribe, is situated 620 metres south-west of the present Montacute House. It became known at some time before 1086 by the Latin name of Mons Acutus, meaning "Sharp Mountain", being referred to in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Montagud", within the manor of Biscopestone (Bishopstone): Ipse Comes (Moriton) tenet in dominio Biscopestone et ibi est castellum eius quod vocatur Montagud. ("The Count of Mortain himself holds Bishopstone in demesne and there is his castle which is called Montagud"). One of the Count's tenants at Biscopestone is named in the Domesday Book as "Drogo", believed to be Drogo (Drew) de Montagu, the earliest English-resident ancestor of the prominent Anglo-Norman de Montagu family (also known as "Montague" and "Montacute", later Earls of Salisbury, which came over from Normandy with William the Conqueror.
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