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National Gazetteer (1868) - Somerton

"SOMERTON, a parish, post and market town in the hundred of Somerton, county Somerset, 5 miles N.E. of Longport railway station, and 7 S. of Glastonbury. It is situated at the bridge over the river Carey, and on the high road from Wells to Taunton. The parish contains the townships of Somerton Borough, Somerton Earl, and Somerton Door, with the hamlets of Catsgrove, Highbrooks, and Midney. There was a castle here in the Saxon times, in which, subsequently, King John of France was confined by Edward III. In 877 the town was destroyed by the Danes, but being rebuilt, became the principal town of Somersetshire.

The town, consisting of about five narrow streets, has recently been considerably improved, and is now paved, and lighted with gas, and has a good supply of water. The public hall stands nearly in the centre of the town, and is used by the county magistrates, who hold their sessions on Monday. There are three banks and a police station of recent erection. The gaol is on the site of the old castle. Glove making is carried on to a considerable extent in connection with houses in Yeovil, ropes and twine are manufactured, there is also a brewery. The market cross, which is of great antiquity, is in good preservation. The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of Bath and Wells, value £259. The church, dedicated to-St. Michael, is an ancient stone edifice, with an octagonal tower containing a clock and six bells. The interior contains several brasses and effigies, including one of Edithe the Nun. The parochial charities produce about £139 per annum. There are an endowed free school for boys, a female school, supported by Col. Pinney, M.P., and Sunday-schools for both sexes. The Independents, Wesleyans, and Primitive Methodists have each a place of worship. A court-leet is held in October. The county court is held at Langport. Market day is on Tuesday. Fairs for cattle are held on the Tuesday in Passion week, every third Tuesday after for three months, and on Michaelmas day, 8th November, and on the last Monday in January."

"CATSGORE, a hamlet in the parish and hundred of Somerton, in the county of Somerset, 1 mile from Somerton."

"HIGHBROOKS, a hamlet in the parish of Somerton, county Somerset, 2 miles from Somerton."

"HURCOTT, a tything in the parish of Somerton, county Somerset, 1 mile N.E. of Somerton."

"MIDNEY, a hamlet in the parish and hundred of Somerton, county Somerset, 13 miles S.E. of Bridgwater. It is situated near the bridge over the river Carey."

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