Babcary is a village and parish in Somerset, England, situated 5 miles (8.0 km) east of Somerton and 6 miles (9.7 km) south west of Castle Cary in the South Somerset district. The village has a population of 248.[1] It lies close to the River Cary and the A37.

History
The village was recorded in the Domesday Book as Babba Cari. The parish was part of the hundred of Catsash.[2]

Within the parish is Wimble Toot Castle, a castle built between 1067 and 1069.[3] Today the site forms a circular earthwork, 27.47 m across and 2.74 m high, with a ditch on the north-west and south-east sides, on the top of a ridge, overloking a brook which runs into the River Cary and the old Roman road of the Fosse Way.[4]

Sir John Stawell, the Baron Stawell, claimed to be the lord of the manor of Babcary in 1594 and his family continued these claims until 1691.

The Red Lion Inn has 17th-century origins and is a grade II listed building.[5]

The parish council, was concerned with the insanitary drainage system for the village, but rejected a mains water supply in 1931 as too expensive. Electricity was provided in 1947 but mains water was not supplied until the 1950s. Sewerage remained a serious problem in the 1970s and mains drainage was not provided until 1992.[6]

Governance
The parish council has responsibility for local issues, including setting an annual precept (local rate) to cover the council’s operating costs and producing annual accounts for public scrutiny. The parish council evaluates local planning applications and works with the local police, district council officers, and neighbourhood watch groups on matters of crime, security, and traffic. The parish council’s role also includes initiating projects for the maintenance and repair of parish facilities, as well as consulting with the district council on the maintenance, repair, and improvement of highways, drainage, footpaths, public transport, and street cleaning. Conservation matters (including trees and listed buildings) and environmental issues are also the responsibility of the council.

The village falls within the Non-metropolitan district of South Somerset, which was formed on 1 April 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972, having previously been part of Langport Rural District.[7] The district council is responsible for local planning and building control, local roads, council housing, environmental health, markets and fairs, refuse collection and recycling, cemeteries and crematoria, leisure services, parks, and tourism.

Somerset County Council is responsible for running the largest and most expensive local services such as education, social services, libraries, main roads, public transport, policing and fire services, trading standards, waste disposal and strategic planning.

It is also part of the Somerton and Frome county constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It elects one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system of election, and part of the South West England constituency of the European Parliament which elects seven MEPs using the d’Hondt method of party-list proportional representation.

Geography
Babcary Meadows to the north of the village is a biological Site of Special Scientific Interest because it is one of the last remaining areas of traditionally managed unimproved neutral grassland in south Somerset and contains a rich variety of herbs.[8] It is run as a nature reserve by the Somerset Wildlife Trust[9] after they purchased it with grant assistance from South Somerset Council.[10]

Religious sites
The Church of the Holy Cross had its origins before the Norman Conquest. The fabric dates from the 14th and 15th centuries with the chancel and north aisle being added in the 19th century by Benjamin Ferrey in 1875–76. The tower contains a bell dating from 1753 and made by Thomas Bilbie of the Bilbie family.[11] It has been designated by English Heritage as a Grade II* listed building.[12]