Paradise was the name of a hamlet on the main road between Burnham and Berrow in the area between what is now Rectory Road and Shelley Drive. The precise origin of the name is uncertain, however there is a legend about it.
Joseph of Arimathea, was believed to have been a wealthy metals miner and trader during the first century A.D. with interests in various metal mines in the West Country. It is also believed that he was exiled from Judea with a number of others who all fled to Gaul and some, subsequently, to England. Unfortunately history and legend have become very intertwined. It is said that Joseph made his way to ‘Avalon’, which in many accounts is equated with Glastonbury, and was a founder of the Christian Church there. One main route into this area was via the river Brue near what became Burnham. There is also a tradition that Joseph was the Virgin Mary’s uncle and it has been claimed that he brought the child Jesus with him on a trading trip to the area, that they landed at a point on the coast opposite what became known as ‘Paradise’ and that this marked their route inland. This route may have been along what was once the River Siger, a major drainage waterway for the levels.
The earliest print reference to Paradise that we have is the report of a land sale from the Taunton Courier in 1839:
This is also interesting for its promotion of Burnham in the heyday of the Spa.
The map below shows what later became ‘The Grove’ named as ‘Paradise House’ and also shows what became the Paradise Dairy buildings at top and Dodd’s cottages at left.
The Paradise Farm and Dairy (below) was a major feature of the hamlet (see Hawkings family)
The dairy eventually became Paradise Stores (picture at top of page and below – note same window arrangement as for dairy).
The stores had its own market garden on the opposite side of the road.
The dairy later had an outlet in Burnham itself in Abingdon St.
The stores were demolished in 1992. A commemorative plaque remains on the side of the newer building next door, on the corner of Shelley Drive (which can be seen in the picture below).
From The Daily Mirror 1949:
Return to ‘Around and About’ page.