Paul, Kaye and staff would like to welcome you to The Dolphin Hotel, Formerly The Rainbow Inn, a popular Coaching Inn in 1774 the building was probably built by Nathaniel Ireson a potter, architect and mason who rebuilt the majority of the buildings in Wincanton following a devastating fire on 13th May 1707.
Today Wincanton is a pretty town in Somerset but it was once an important market town. It was once called Wincawel Tun. The word Wincawel is Celtic and means White Cawel (Cawel being the original name of the River Cale. Perhaps the water once rushed past and looked white.)
At the time of the Doomsday Book in 1086 Wincanton was a typical village but it soon grew into a larger and more important settlement. In 1235 the Lord of the Manor was granted the right to hold weekly markets in Wincanton. By the middle of the 14th century, it was a flourishing town. From 1556 Wincanton was also allowed two fairs. (Fairs were like markets but they were held only once a year and they attracted buyers and sellers from a wide area. People came from all over Somerset and Dorset to attend a Wincanton fair).
Like many Somerset towns, Wincanton prospered because of the wool industry. The cloth was woven in the town.
In 1685 the Duke of Monmouth led a rebellion in southwest England against King James II. The rebellion was crushed. Afterwards, 6 men were hanged, drawn and quartered in Wincanton.
Furthermore in 1688 Parliament declared that King James II was deposed and invited a Dutchman, William of Orange to come and take his place. However, some Irish troops stationed in England stayed loyal to King James. There were about 100 loyalist Irish soldiers stationed in Wincanton. William of Orange landed in Devon and marched towards London. A small number of his men were sent ahead to Wincanton to procure horses. They clashed with the Irish troops and 15 men were killed including the commanders of both sides.
In the 18th century, Wincanton continued to be an important market town. The main industry in Wincanton was making woollen cloth. There were also several clockmakers in the town. There were also pottery and brick making industries in Wincanton.
Wincanton was also on the stagecoach route from London to Exeter and many coaches called at the town. However, from the end of the 18th century, the wool industry moved to Yorkshire. The spread of railways across Britain in the 1840s ended the days of stagecoaches.
A famous architect, Nathaniel Ireson (1686-1769) lived in Wincanton from about 1726. He designed several local buildings.
In 1798 a body of men called Commissioners was formed in Wincanton. They had powers to pave, clean and light the streets.
By 1801 the population of Wincanton was 1,722. By the standards of the time it was a large village.
By 1851 the population of Wincanton peaked at almost 2,500. However like many towns in South Western England Wincanton suffered a drop in population in the late 19th century. By 1901 the population had fallen to less than 2,000.
During the Napoleonic Wars a large number of French prisoners of war were kept in Wincanton.
In 1837 a workhouse was built in Wincanton to house the destitute. However conditions in the workhouse were made as harsh as possible to deter 'idlers' from seeking help from the state.
Wincanton Rural District Council was formed in 1894 but it was dissolved in 1974.
Meanwhile a Carmelite Priory opened in Wincanton in 1889 and the Roman Catholic Church of Saints Luke and Teresa was built in 1908.
In the 1930s Unigate opened a milk factory south of the town.
In the 1970s the A303 was built around Wincanton and traffic now tends to bypass the town.
Terry Pratchett was born on 28 April 1948 he is an English novelist, known for his frequently comical work in the fantasy genre. He is best known for his popular and long-running Discworld series of comic fantasy novels. Pratchett's first novel, The Carpet People, was published in 1971, and since his first Discworld novel (The Colour of Magic) was published in 1983, he has written two books a year on average.
Pratchett was the UK's best-selling author of the 1990s, and as of August 2010 had sold over 65 million books worldwide in thirty-seven languages. He is currently the second most-read writer in the UK, and the seventh most-read non-US author in the US.
Pratchett was appointed Office or the Order of the British Empire (OBE) "for services to literature" in 1998. In addition, he was knighted in the 2009 New Year Honours. In 2001 he won the Carnegie Medal for his young adult novel The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents.
In December 2007, Pratchett publicly announced that he was suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, subsequently making a substantial public donation to the Alzheimer’s Research Trust, and filming a program chronicling his experiences with the disease for the BBC.
Terry Pratchett married his wife Lyn in 1968, and they moved to Rowberrow, Somerset in 1970. Their daughter Rhianna Pratchett, who is also a writer, was born there in 1976. In 1993 the family moved to a village north-west of Salisbury, Wiltshire, where they currently live. He lists his recreations as "writing, walking, computers, and life". He describes himself as a Humanist and is a Distinguished Supporter of the British Humanist Association and an Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society.
In this intriguing shop, little pieces of Discworld have been made for 20 years. As a small team headed by Bernard and Isobel Pearson and working closely with the great author himself, they provide the mementoes, keepsakes and artefacts after your mind has wandered through the mean streets of Ankh-Morpork and beyond.
Their shop in Wincanton, Somerset, offers some of the finest Discworld creations, a comprehensive range of Discworld books, and exclusive items not available on the web. They are an ideal starting point for holidays and a popular detour for Discworld fans.
At the Discworld Emporium, Discworld becomes real. In fact, they are also the official Ankh-Morpork Consulate, an official branch of the Ankh-Morpork Post Office, and Royal Ankh-Morpork Savings Bank branch - all in a town which in 2002, became officially twinned with Ankh-Morpork and now boasts a housing development full of Discworld street names.
As if that isn't fun enough, we organise events at least twice a year where Discworld fans can mingle with like-minded folk and do extremely silly things in the name of charity.
All this is just a few doors away; staff will be happy to help with directions or will take you to the shop to meet Bernard, Isobel, Ian and Rebecca.
— July 2021
Had a 5 night stay here. The staff are so friendly and helpful. The rooms are comfy and have tea/coffee/biscuits. Not fussy rooms but functional. There is parking at the rest of the pub which you access via the archway. We had the Sunday carvery which was lovely and the cooked breakfast each day was enough to keep us going until the evening meal. Was a great base for exploring the local area too. via Trip advisor. Thanks for a great few days!
— July 2021
The staff at the Dolphin are extremely kind, friendly and helpful. The Dolphin is a lovely old coaching Inn, with clean unfussy rooms and tea, coffee, TVs and en-suite. The food was a good hearty pub grub with a fantastic big delicious breakfast with local sausages. What really made the difference was the fantastic team who made us so welcome. Would definitely stay there again.
— June 2021
I spent 4 nights in this hotel on a business trip and it was a really good hotel. Paul & the staff made me feel very welcome from the moment I stepped inside the door. The food and drink were excellent and even the locals in the bar were all fantastic especially Nasher & Richie what a duo lol Definitely, I will call again but next time on holiday. Thank you for your hospitality
— June 2021
Nice b&b, comfy bed and friendly staff
— June 2021
Beautiful pub. Really friendly staff and very good service. I've been told that they have very comfortable rooms. Great place for a pint with mates or a meal with the family. Large outdoor space and even a grass patch with tables. Brilliant.
— June 2021
Wonderful place... very welcoming, relaxed atmosphere, friendly staff. The food is excellent. Can't fault anything. It's an authentic coaching inn, complete with a courtyard for eating and drinking! Will be back as soon as I can find an excuse to be back in this neck of the woods. Many thanks.
— June 2021
Excellent place! Decent staff and great food.
— May 2021
Good Morning, My boss Mr Licata has asked me to e-mail you regarding his stay the weekend just gone (Friday 21st May & Saturday 22nd May). Unfortunately, he had to leave another hotel due to the terrible conditions. When he came down to you it was an absolute breath of fresh air! He said that the staff were absolutely amazing and went above and beyond. His son Rio was made to feel so special and the rooms were great. We just wanted to say a massive thank you to all the staff working and commend you on such a wonderful place. We certainly know where we’ll be booking when we’re next in the area. Thank you again
— May 2021
Absolutely perfect for my needs. Liked · Perfect stay for my needs. Staff could not be more welcoming, friendly, helpful. Staff very aware of Covid rules. Everything kept very clean and masks are worn at all times and sanitisers available throughout. Very clean room and shower room. Comfortable bed. Very good working shower. Excellent wifi in my room.
— May 2021
Friendly, clean simple en suite rooms and good value Liked · Situated centrally in Wincanton the Hotel and car park are accessed through an old coaching inn entrance which is tight but opens up into a central courtyard and private car park. The hotel has a garden and a non-smoking patio area. The welcome is warm, staff are friendly and informative. The rooms are simple and clean, warm and have en suite facilities. The menu is home prepared and includes vegan and vegetarian versions of popular dishes and you can ask for any personal choices on how cooked etc., at each meal. A very pleasant experience and exceptional value. I would return.
— January 2021
Great staff- friendly place - brilliant buffet breakfast Liked · Good value. Yummy buffet breakfast with really tasty bacon and eggs. I liked that the downstairs pub was fairly busy, but it was soundproof with the windows closed in the bedroom. A lovely welcome tray with custard creams and plants of milk cartons. Soft towels and bedding. The bathroom had been done to a good spec. Looked sparkling. Great value I will return.
— September 2020
Lovely 18th-century inn, perfect stop for visiting the surrounding area. Staff were attentive and friendly.
— August 2020
It’s so nice to receive great service like this in these times. Well done The Dolphin Hotel!
— July 2020
Very friendly and attentive staff. The room was clean and tidy with a lovely double bed! Breakfast was fantastic!
— February 2020
This is the first time staying at The Dolphin and found it overall quite pleasant, with friendly staff. The room was clean and cosy, with a comfortable bed.
If you would like to make a reservation to dine or stay with us, please make a booking using the buttons below. For queries regarding a reservation, our menus or specific information about The Dolphin Hotel please contact us.