Wollaston Museum
Wollaston Museum
The Museum garden
About Wollaston Heritage

Wollaston Heritage Society

Wollaston Heritage Society was originally known as The Wollaston Society.  Since 1970 Society members had been collecting records and artefacts relating to Wollaston’s past – helped by the generosity of many residents – and their desire to see these records properly housed, led in 1976 to the marathon task of rebuilding, re-wiring and refurbishing the former chapel building in which the Museum is now housed, and which had all but been destroyed by fire.  This was possible only with considerable financial help from local companies.
Wollaston Heritage Society celebrated its 40th Anniversary in 2010.

Local attractions for the whole family to explore!

The work of the Wollaston Heritage Society is focussed in six main areas; Wollaston Museum, Curiosity Cottage, Beacon Hill, The Keep Family, The Museum Gardens and of course, the fantastic fund-raising Wollaston Open Gardens Day.

The Wollaston Heritage Society Management Committee currently consists of seven people. We have four Property Trustees who look after the interests of the site as well as dealing with everything from fundraising to weeding.
 

Things to see at Wollaston Heritage Society

We have visits by historical, heritage and community groups who have a great interest in Wollaston heritage and have enjoyed visiting us. Come & see the heritage of Wollaston, home to Doc Martens, collections of the shoe trade, lace making exhibits & more. If you would like to find out more about Wollaston history or want to arrange a group visit, please get in touch with us.
 
Wollaston Museum wall plaque

Wollaston Museum

Wollaston Museum is set in the picturesque village of Wollaston. The 18th Century chapel houses a collection of archaeological, farming, boot and shoe trade, lace making and locally focussed exhibits.
The new museum was opened in November 1979 by Mr Ray Griggs. Since then the number of items held by the Society (now the Wollaston Heritage Society) had almost trebled, and we are indebted to the many residents, past and present, who still bring mementoes, photographs and family records for display and safe keeping.

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Beacon Hill

Beacon Hill

A 12th century Norman Motte. Under the care of English Heritage, this is a Scheduled Ancient Monument. Beacon Hill was formerly called Mill Hill and anciently and correctly “The Bury”. It stands on two thirds of an acre and is twenty feet high, with a flat top eighty feet in diameter. Originally it was surrounded by a great ditch forty feet wide and fifteen feet deep, from which the earth was cast up to make the mound.

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Curiosity Cottage plaque

Curiosity Cottage

Curiosity Cottage is another place to visit at Wollaston Heritage Society, this village cottage has been renovated to highlight some of the periods of history in which the cottage has been lived. This cottage is part of a row of labourers’ dwellings built in the eighteenth century. The actual date of the building is unknown, but it is thought possible that the houses pre-date the Congregational Chapel (now the Museum) which was completed in 1752. One theory is that a cottage adjoining 104 may have been knocked down to provide access to the Chapel’s site.

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Keep House wall plaque

The Keep Family

Discover the story of The Keeps Family at the Wollaston Heritage Society. Wollaston Museum holds many paintings and artefacts relating to Miss Keep’s School.
In 1833, the Lord of the Manor in Wollaston died, and his estate was subsequently divided and sold.  The Keep family bought a portion, which included a good stone house (which continues to be known as Keep House) and outbuildings.  A garden was created, including the walled-garden, which now forms the Pocket Park. The family turned one of the farm buildings into a Sunday School for teenage boys, who used to wait inside the walled garden until Miss Keep called them in for class.  As an aside, the garden also contained a cat cemetery.  It is on this property that the Misses Keep had their private school.

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Wollaston Open Gardens

Wollaston Open Gardens

This is the Society’s main fund-raising activity. Taking place each year on Feast Day (in 2018, this will fall on Sunday, 8th July). Several villagers kindly open their gardens for visitors and tea and cakes are served at the Museum. This event is organised very capably by Jane Legge, Peter and Val Thomas and a small team, to raise funding for old buildings maintance.
From time to time, we need people to help us run the site, organise events and generally revitalise the Society. Ideally, people with time and enthusiasm who could grab the many funding, promotional and development opportunities we are offered. For example, stalls at heritage fairs around the county, attending volunteer fairs, or taking part in training. We realise that everyone is very busy, but the Wollaston Museum complex is a wonderful resource. Can you spare a few hours to help? Please get in touch if you are interested in becoming a volunteer.

Volunteer
 

Explore Wollaston Local Heritage

Come and visit Wollaston Museum and have a great day out with the family. What do people say about their visits? Read our amazing Facebook reviews!
 
Claire Lisa Smeathers reviewed Wollaston Museum – 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
24 April 2017

My partner & I visited yesterday for the first time & I must say how very impressed we both were. There was so much history from Titanic to Doc Martin's, WW2, History of Lace Making, etc, Curiosty Cottage was beautiful, & the view from Beacon Hill was amazing along with beautiful gardens as you walk back down. Fantastic experience will visit again

 
 
Deryn McIntosh reviewed Wollaston Museum – 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
30 April 2016

I know you may think me biased because I have just joined the committee but truth is I was so impressed by the efforts of the heritage society at the site - they really deserve the support! Wollaston Museum is a lovely place to spend a Sunday afternoon with lots of little surprises to discover. Wollaston has a rich history to be discovered, about villagers lost on the Titanic, Shoe-making and Lace-making industry, Roman Vineyards and Iron Age discoveries. And that's not all, there's a cottage where it's like stepping back in time, with period furnishings reflecting it's prior history. It was a sunny Spring afternoon when me and my daughter visited and we climbed to the top of Beacon Hill, it is a scheduled ancient monument where once stood a Motte & Bailey castle. The gardens were lovely and the top of the motte was covered in bluebells, daffodils and tulips (it was a wonderful time of year to visit and enjoy the view).

Remembrance Sunday - Museum Open
(posted 07/11/2018)
The Museum will be open on Remembrance Sunday this year. Read More