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National Gazetteer (1868) - Wiveliscombe

"WIVELISCOMBE, a parish and market town in the hundred of Kingsbury West, county Somerset, 15 miles S.W. of Bridgwater, 11 W. of Taunton, and 6 N. of Wellington railway station. It is situated in a comb, or valley, from which circumstance it takes its name, under the Maundown hills, and includes the chapelry of Fitzhead, the town of Wiveliscombe, and the hamlets of Croford, Ford, Langley, West Town, and Whitfield. It was a place of importance under the Saxons, and had a palace in the 15th century, belonging to the Bishops of Wells, to whom the manor was originally given by Edward the Confessor. It is a polling place for the county elections, and is governed by a bailiff, portreeve, and other officers, but is under the jurisdiction of the county magistrates, who hold petty sessions on the third Tuesday in each month. The population is close upon 3,000. The town is lighted with gas, and contains a townhall, police station, dispensary, reading-rooms, and branch bank. Here is situated the largest brewery in the W. of England.

In the western part of the parish the underlying rock is slate, which is extensively quarried, and in the E. and S. Red sandstone. The soil is a mixture of Red sandstone and skillet. The land produces good crops of wheat and barley. The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of Bath and Wells, value £480, in the patronage of the prebendary of Wiveliscombe in Wells cathedral. The church, dedicated to St. Andrew, was rebuilt in 1829. The register commences in 1536. The Wesleyans and Independents have chapels. There are National, infant, and Sunday schools. The charities produce about £90 per annum. There are 8 almshouses, besides 19 cottages bequeathed by Jerome Brooks for reduced ratepayers. At Courtneys in this parish are traces of a Roman camp, and at Castle Hill of a Saxon one, near which Roman coins have been found. The market day is on Tuesday. Fairs are held on the 12th May and 25th September for cattle and sheep, and on the last Tuesdays of February and July. Lord Ashburton is lord of the manor."

"CROFORD, a tything in the parish of Wiveliscombe, in the county of Somerset, 2 miles E. of the village of Wiveliscombe, and 15 S.W. of Bridgwater. It is united with Nunnington."

"EAST WHITEFIELD, (and West Whitefield) tythings in the parish of Wiveliscombe, county Somerset, 1 mile N. of Wiveliscombe.

"LANGLEY, a tything in the parish of Wiveliscombe, hundred of West Kingsbury, county Somerset, 2 miles from Wiveliscombe, and 15 S.W. of Bridgwater."

"NUNNINGTON, a tything in the parish of Wiveliscombe, hundred of West Kingsbury, county Somerset, 14 miles S.W. of Bridgwater. It is situated in a valley, under the Manadown Hills."

"OKEHAMPTON, (or Oakhampton), a tything in the parish of Wiveliscombe, hundred of West Kingsbury, county Somerset, 1 mile N.E. of Wiveliscombe, and 15 S.W. of Bridgwater. It is situated in a comb or vale under the Manadown hills.

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