In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Bruton like this:
BRUTON, a small town, a parish, a subdistrict, and a hundred in Somerset. The town stands on the river Brue, adjacent to the East Somerset railway, among a cluster of hills, 10½ miles SSW of Frome. It is a place of considerable antiquity. A Benedictine monastery was founded at it, in 1005, by Algar, Earl of Cornwall; changed into a priory of black canons, in 1142, by William de Mohun, Earl of Somerset; raised to the dignity of an Abbey, in the time of Henry VIII., at the instance of the then prior, who was coadjutor to the Bishop of Bath and Wells; and given, at the dissolution, to Sir Maurice Berkeley. ...
The town consists of three streets; and has a post office‡ under Bath, a railway station, a banking office, an interesting market cross, a town hall, a parish church, an Independent chapel, a Wesleyan chapel, a free grammar school, and an hospital. The market cross is an ancient hexagonal structure resting on pillars, and elegantly sculptured. The church is later English and large; has two quadrangular towers, one at the west end, the other at the north aisle, the former richly ornamented; and contains a fine tomb of Sir Maurice Berkeley and his two wives, and some other good monuments. The parsonage, adjoining the church, was built in 1822 from the ruins of the Abbey. The Independent chapel was repaired in 1862. The grammar school was founded, in the time of Edward VI., by Fitz-James, bishop of London; has £350 a year from endowment; and holds four exhibitions at the universities. The hospital was founded in 1618, by Hugh Saxey, said to have been a waiter in an inn of the town; has an income of £1,313 from endowment; gives support to aged men and women; and is a handsome quadrangular Tudor structure. A weekly market is held on Saturday; and fairs on 23 April and 17 Sept. Brewing and manufactures of silk are carried on. Dampier, the navigator, was a native.
The parish includes also the tythings of Discover and Redlynch, and the chapelry of Wyke-Champflower. Acres, 3,631. Real property, £11,284. Pop., 2,232. Houses, 448. The property is subdivided. The manor belongs to Sir H. H. Hoare, Bart. Redlynch Park is a seat of the Earl of Ilchester. A Roman pavement was found, in 1711, at Discove. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Bath and Wells. Value, £168. Patron, Sir H. A. Hoare, Bart. The p. curacies of Redlynch and Wyke-Champflower are separate benefices.-The subdistrict contains five parishes and two extra-parochial tracts; and is in the district of Wincanton. Acres 11,962. Pop., 3,968. Houses, 822.-The hundred contains eight parishes. Acres, 12,643. Pop., 4,209. Houses, 882.
A Vision of Britain through Time includes a large library of local statistics for administrative units. For the best overall sense of how the area containing Bruton has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of South Somerset. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Bruton and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Bruton in South Somerset | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 25th May 2013
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