The North Petherton & South Petherton Conumdrum

There are plenty of places around called North, South, West or East something or other. For example in East Devon there are the villages of Southleigh and Northleigh, and in South Somerset the village of West Chinnock is west of East Chinnock, and Middle Chinnock is between the two. All of these are very close to their similarly named neighbour.

And then there are the two Pethertons of Somerset!

North Petherton is just south of Bridgwater. South Petherton is miles away, just off the A303, west of Yeovil and north of Crewkerne, as can be seen on Google Maps.

So how come two villages named North and South end up so far apart, what is the story behind that? If anyone can enlighten me I would love to know the reason.

An Imagined Solution

In the meantime not knowing the real reason I like to imagine in the distant past the settlements of North Petherton and South Petherton were much closer together, perhaps somewhere near Curry Rivel. Then, at some point, there was a major falling out between the two communities over something long forgotten. The peoples decided they could no longer tolerate being neighbours an so upped sticks and both moved far enough away from each other that they stood very little chance of meeting.

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