Wednesday 23 May 2012

Olympic torch route - Day 4 Taunton

Taunton Old Grammar School
Taunton A municipal and parliamentary borough (one member) of Somerset, is upon the Tone, in the valley called Taunton Deane, 45 S.W. of Bristol. A fortress was erected here in 710, and a castle was built upon its site by a Bishop of Winchester in the 12th century. In times past Taunton was one of the West of England "clothing" towns, and still has some manufactures of shirts, collars, gloves, and silk, and is the centre of an important agricultural district. The church of St Mary Magdalen, built in 1500 and restored 1858-62, is renowned for its noble Perpendicular tower, 153 feet high. Other important buildings are the Elizabethan shire hall, the municipal buildings, the King's College, the Independent College, other schools and the barracks. The town is of much historic interest. In 1497 Perkin Warbeck was in it; in 1644 Blake; Monmouth made a triumphal entry, and in 1685 Judge Jeffreys held here the noted "Bloody Assizes".
From Cassell's Encyclopedia; a Storehouse of General Information (undated, but apparently early 1900s)

Taunton has two ancient parishes, St Mary Magdalen (1558) and St James (1573) in the diocese of Bath and Wells. Parish registers are held at Somerset Archives and Local Studies. Taunton was a registration district until 1974, and a Poor Law Union

There is more information about Taunton on Vision of Britain, and historic photographs on the English Heritage Archives site. Google Books has a History of Taunton by James Savage, published 1822.


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