History of Frome

Froome or Frome?

The name Frome, pronounced Froome, comes from the Old English word ‘ffraw’, meaning fair, fine or brisk, describing the flow of the river. The town can trace its history back to 685 when St Aldhelm founded a monastery here and a settlement grew up around the river crossing.


Frome Museum has a comprehensive collection of geological finds.

The local area of Vallis Vale, for example, is an ancient woodland site of national importance. Buried in the rock outcrops are several of the most easily demonstrated examples of angular unconformity in the country.


Frome has over 500 Grade 1 and Grade 2 listed buildings.

Surrounding villages

Frome is the natural centre of a number of outlying villages and hamlets. These include Beckington, Berkley, Buckland Dinham, Chantry, Chapmanslade,Cloford, Coleford, Corsley, Downhead, East & West Cranmore, East & West Woodlands, Great Elm, Hapsford, Holcombe, Laverton, Leigh on Mendip, Lullington, Marston Bigot, Mells, Nunney, Norton St Philip, Old Ford, Orchardleigh, Rodden, Rode (Road), Standerwick, Stoke St Michael, Trudoxhill, Tytherington, Vallis, Vobster, Wanstrow, Whatley, Witham Friary and Woolverton.

Information about many of these communities is available in our Library to view by appointment and in our online Collections catalogue.


Myths and ledgends abound concerning the numerous old tunnels in and around Frome.


The museum has a very extensive timeline mounted on the walls which shows significant events from 685AD to the present day.


Over the centuries the town has had many notable residents.

Frome Hoard

In 2010, Dave Crisp discovered 52,503 Roman coins in a ceramic pot – the Frome Hoard.

Arts & Theatre

Frome has a rich and thriving arts and theatre culture.

World War I & World War II

Frome people played vital roles in both the First and Second World Wars.

Wool trade

Cloth making was an important local industry using local sheep for wool and woad for cloth dyeing.


There have been many different industries in Frome over the years including wool, engineering and printing.

Singer’s foundry

The story of the J W Singer foundry and its extensive production of metalwork and statues stretches across the world.


The printing industry in Frome is long-established and is remains part of life in Frome today.

Garston Veterinary Practice

The Museum has a special section devoted to Garston Veterinary Practice.