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National Gazetteer (1868) - Axbridge

"AXBRIDGE, a parish, market town, and municipal borough in the hundred of Winterstoke, in the county of Somerset, 13 miles to the S.W. of Bristol, and 130 miles from London, or 136 miles by the Great Western railway. It is situated on a slope of the Mendip hills, in a fertile district watered by the river Axe. There are fine views from the top of the ridge above the town, in one direction over the Bristol Channel to South Wales, in another over beautiful country to the Quantocks and Bridgewater bay. Axbridge is a very old borough and sent members to parliament in the reigns of Edward I. and Edward III. The burgesses then prayed to be excused the exercise of the too expensive privilege, and Axbridge ceased to have a voice in the legislature. Its local government is vested, under a charter granted by Queen Elizabeth, in a mayor, councillors, and burgesses.

The corporation chest is particularly rich in old documents, some as far back as the times of the Edwards. The town is little more than one street, half a mile in length. A new townhall and market-house was built in 1830. Many of the houses are ancient. The living is a rectory* in the diocese of Bath and Wells, of the value of £158, in the patronage of the bishop. The church is a handsome structure in the form of a cress, and in the perpendicular style of architecture, with a fine tower, on two sides of which are niches, containing, the one a statue of a king, the other one of a bishop. The church contains several monuments and one brass of the year 1493. It stands on rising ground near the market-place, and is dedicated to St. John the Baptist. There is a chapel belonging to the Wesleyan Methodists.

The charitable endowments, including the revenue of some almshouses, are of the yearly value of £101. Axbridge is a polling place for the county elections, and petty sessions are held in it. It is the seat of a Poor-law Union, and the Union workhouse is situated in the adjoining parish of Compton. In the Roman times roads were formed connecting this place with Ilchester in the southern, and Portishead in the northern part of the county. The market day is Saturday. Fairs are held on the 2nd of February, the 25th of March, the 11th of June, and the 28th of October. The parish contains only 540 acres, part of which is valuable ground recovered from the river."

"CROSS, a village in the parish of Axbridge, hundred of Winterstoke, in the county of Somerset, 1 mile W. of Axbridge."

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)
Transcribed by Colin Hinson 2003]

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