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Wincanton, in South Somerset, is uniquely twinned with a fictional town: Ankh-Morpork, a city state in Terry Pratchett’s “Discworld” novels. At least someone on the local council had a sense of humour – but I don’t know whether anyone has been on exchange trips! A shop in the High Street is called “The Cunning Artificer”, after a street in Ankh-Morpork, and sells Discworld souvenirs.

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The town has a long history and witnessed various confrontations between the Ancient Britons, Vikings and Saxons. The Britons were totally defeated by the West Saxons near this town and, in the time of Edmund Ironside, the English defeated the Danes here, forcing them to abandon Britain. In the Domesday Book, Wincanton is described as “Wincaletone”.

Some of the earliest skirmishes of the English Civil War are known to have taken place in the immediate vicinity of the town. In addition, in his “History of his Own Time”, Burnet states that the first blood shed in the Prince of Orange’s revolution of 1688 by was spilt here, although other sources say this happened at Cirencester.

The town was once an important coaching stop. Much of Wincanton was destroyed by fire in the mid 18th century, but was later elegantly rebuilt by the cloth makers, who were then the main industry. Many of these Georgian houses may still be seen today as may the coaching inns.

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