A human fruit machine in Kilmersdon, Somerset


Kilmersdon is a tiny little village with a few hundred souls, actually about 550, which nevertheless has the requisite basic needs of a community namely a lively church, a pub and a village hall. It is just lacking a village shop. Not a million miles – a whole 7 minutes – by car  from Mells there is  the ideal post card – local ads – grocery – bakery – newspaper shop – post office – cafe all in one. If anyone wants an introduction to this part of the world with tea and cake of good quality then you can do no better than come to Mells (unintended plug) but Kilmersdon is a good second.

Kilmersdon is mentioned in the Domesday book so that makes it a least one thousand years old and when you walk down the handful of streets in the old centre you certainly get this impression. Once a year they have a Village Day and they happen to have picked a rainy day for the most part.

The old favourites are there, the locally produced sausage roll for three pounds, four for £10, home made cakes to die for, a bouncy castle and slide – alas sparsely patronised because of the rain. Plants for sale at 50p, car boot tables, the local concert band from Paulton, tea and cakes in the Village Hall, all the usual things you would expect. The most original item was the Human Fruit Machine where on payment of 50p, at the ring of a bell three people disguised as seafarers rotated oranges and apples with their arms. The person paying the money rings the bell again at what they think is an appropriate time and if the three people were holding up fruit of the same type the player gets a small prize. This was the most popular item to my great surprise and the success was considerably assisted by the lady compere who had a wonderful infectious laugh. No one cared that it was raining.

lush growth at this time of year

You can measure the community spirit of the place by the number and variety of activities and Kilmersdon scores well. It may score even better if a planned restaurant and sub post office is bought to being but that involves politics and money and committees so I’m not holding my breath. It’s a great idea though.

Anyway, I will let the pictures speak for themselves, they are not in any particular order but since each one speaks for itself I just need to put a brief caption in to give you some idea of the flavour of the day.


a rather macabre competition to guess the make and model of a car that has been totally crushed in an accident
spelling out the message loud and clear
sales of wonderfully fresh plants spreading out onto the street
two period pieces immaculately presented
oh but it was a rainy day
the church became a refreshment centre for the weary


three very jolly and brave people entering into the spirit of things
this was the most popular feature



Time to go home, mum
all stars start out in a small way like this
float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. This chap has a bit of a way to go but we all can dream
The Blind House – Lock Up originally built by the churchyard wall as a guardhouse in 1785. Rebuilt in its present position in 1835 on the site of the parish stocks. Restored by the parish council in 1992.







Leave a Reply