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"ILMINSTER, a parish, post and market town, in the hundred of Abdick, county Somerset, 20 miles S.E. of Bridgwater, 12 S.E. of Taunton, and 5 N. of Chard railway station. It was a place of considerable importance in the Saxon times, and was formerly more extensive than at present, having been repeatedly damaged by conflagrations. It is situated on the Chard canal and the river Isle, which is crossed by a four-arched bridge. The parish contains the hamlets of Sea, Crock Street, Peasmarsh, Horton, Winterhay, Higher Horton, Ashwell, and Dillington. A railway is in course of construction, between Ilminster, Chard, and Taunton, thereby connecting, in the most direct way, the two channels from Watchett, through Taunton, Ilminster, and Chard, to Seaton and Axmouth. The inhabitants are employed in the cloth, flax, and silk mills malting, tanning, &c. The land is divided between arable and pasture with some orchards. The soil is a sandy loam, alternating with clay. The town is well paved and lighted with gas. It contains two banks, police station, and market-house. It is under the jurisdiction of the county magistrates, who hold a petty sessions for the division monthly, and constables or tything men are annually appointed at the court-leet of the lord of the manor. It is a polling-place for the western division of the county." From The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868) Transcribed by Colin Hinson © 2003
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