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National Gazetteer (1868) - Bruton

"BRUTON, a parish and market town in the hundred of Bruton, in the county of Somerset, 12 miles to the S.E. of Wells, and 126 miles to the S.W. of London. It is a station on the Wilts, Somerset, and Weymouth section of the Great Western railway. The parish includes the chapelries of Redlynch and Wyke-Champflower, and the tything of Discove. This place is mentioned in the Norman Survey by the name of Brumetone. The manor was a royal demesne before the Conquest, and was also held by William the Conqueror. About the year 1005 a monastery was founded here by Algar, Earl of Cornwall, for monks of the Benedictine order, which was subsequently converted into a Dominican priory by William do Mohun. Shortly before the Dissolution it was raised to the rank of an abbey, and had a revenue of £481.

The town is situated in a picturesque spot, on the hanks of the river Brue, which is here crossed by a stone bridge. The streets are paved and lighted with gas. At the intersection of the principal street by two smaller ones, is the townhall and market-house. There is also an elegant market cross, hexagonal in form, supported on pillars, and adorned with sculpture. Petty sessions are hold in the town. Various manufactures were formerly carried on here, but they are at present confined to silk and hosiery. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Bath and Wells, of the value of £168, in the gift of Sir II. 11. Hoare, Bart. The church is dedicated to St. Mary. It is a large and handsome edifice in the perpendicular style of architecture, with a fine embattled tower at the west end, with pinnacles and niches, and another tower, of more ancient date, on the north side. It contains monuments to Prior Gilbert and Prior Sheaves, William Godolphin and Captain Berkeley. Besides the parish church there are two district churches, one at Redlynch, and the other at Wyke-Champflower. The livings of both are perpetual curacies, in the gift of Sir H. H. Hoare, Bart.

There are chapels belonging to the Independents and Wesleyans; a free grammar school, founded and endowed in the reign of Edward VI., which has a revenue of about £300, and four exhibitions at the universities; and a hospital, or almshouse, for 14 men, 14 women, and 16 boys, founded about 1618 by Hugh Saxey, or Sexey, auditor to Queen Elizabeth and James I., the revenue of which is about £1,310 per annum. The buildings, which form a quadrangle, are in the Tudor style, and are adorned with a statue of the founder. The parsonage house was built of the remains of the abbey. Bruton was the birthplace of Hugh Saxey, founder of the hospital, and of Richard and John Fitz-James, founders of the grammar school. Redlynch Park, in this parish, is the seat of the Earl of Ilchester. Saturday is the market day. Fairs are held on the 23rd April and the 17th September."

"DISCOVE, (or Dischove), a tything in the parish and hundred of Bruton, in the county of Somerset, 1 mile S. of Bruton. It is written Dinescove in Domesday, at which time it belonged to Harding, the Saxon. In 1711 a Roman tesselated pavement was discovered here.

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

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