Zeals - Wiltshire, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Dragontree
N 51° 05.268 W 002° 18.268
30U E 548712 N 5659818
Quick Description: Zeals is a village on the Wiltshire/Dorset border in England.
Location: South West England, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 9/25/2010 1:32:01 PM
Waymark Code: WM9RJQ
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Lord Elwood
Views: 7

Long Description:
There are road welcome signs as you enter the village of Zeals and also a large stone displaying the name Zeals on the eastern approach. On the stone is a plaque detailing its origin:

'Donated from the book
A Tale of Two Manors
ZEALS
A Wiltshire Village
2006.'

Wikipedia describes the village: visit link

'Zeals is a village and civil parish in Wiltshire, England. The village is next to the A303 road between Wincanton and Mere, and adjoins the villages of Bourton, Dorset and Penselwood, Somerset.

Its name comes from the Old English sealh meaning a small willow or sallow.

History
There is archeological evidence of human activity in Zeals as far back as neolithic times. The village borders the western edge of Salisbury Plain, and is 23 miles (37 km) from Stonehenge. There are bowl barrows on Mappledine Hill in the south east corner of the parish, and early prehistoric activity at Pen Pits to the north which were quarried since Roman times for greensand querns for hand grinding corn.

In 1086 the Domesday Book recorded that the area of Zeals consisted of two estates: Lower Zeals (later the Manor of Zeals, or Clevedon) and Higher Zeals (later Zeals Aylesbury). Estimates suggest a population of 40 to 50 at Lower Zeals and 85-95 at Higher Zeals at that time.

The Church of England parish church of Saint Martin was built in 1842-44 to decorated gothic designs by the Gothic Revival architect George Gilbert Scott. It was consecrated on 14 October 1846 as a chapel of ease of the parish of Mere. On 27 June 1848 Zeals was made a separate ecclesiastical parish and St. Martin's became the parish church.

Zeals has a set of Tudor revival-style almshouses that were built in 1865.

Zeals airfield
North of Zeals village, next to the village of Stourton and the Stourhead estate is the site of the former RAF Zeals, also known as HMS Hummingbird and RNAS Zeals. The site operated between May 1942 and June 1946, and during this short time was used by the Royal Air Force, the United States Army Air Forces and the Royal Navy. Until August 1943 RAF Fighter Command used it as a base for Hurricanes and Spitfires. The site was transferred in August 1943 to the USAAF whose initial plan was to use the airfield to maintain C-47 Skytrain transport aircraft. However, the damp conditions prevented heavy loads so P-47 Thunderbolt fighter aircraft were flown from Zeals instead. From March 1944 the airfield reverted to the RAF who based Mosquito at it to intercept incoming German bombers. Following D-Day, the RAF used the airfield for glider training in preparation for action against Japan, and in April 1945 the airfield was taken over by the Royal Navy base at HMS Heron who used the airfield for aircraft carrier training.

The site was closed from January 1946 and in June it was returned to farmland. As of 2006, the control tower, now a private house, remains on Bells Lane in Zeals.

A memorial stands at nearby Beech Knoll in Stourton to mark the site where a Dakota transport plane crashed in February 1945, killing more than twenty people. The plane had taken off from Zeals airfield to return to Lincolnshire after two weeks of glider training and flew into some cloud-covered beech trees on the knoll.'

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little-leggs visited Zeals - Wiltshire, UK 2/3/2012 little-leggs visited it