In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Wincanton like this:
WINCANTON, a small town, a parish, a sub-district, and a district, in Somerset. The town stands on the river Cale, and on the Dorset and Somerset railway, 5 miles SSE of Bruton; was known to the Saxons as Wyndcaleton; suffered great devastation by the plague in 1553; was the scene of a skirmish between the troops of the Prince of Orange and some dragoons of James II. in 1688; contains a house in which the Prince of Orange slept after the skirmish; is a seat of petty sessions and county courts, and a polling place; occupies steep ground at the head of the broad vale of Blackmoor; and has a post-office‡ under Bath, a r. ...
station with telegraph, two banking offices, two chief inns, a police station, a town hall, a reading room, a good church, Independent and Baptist chapels, a national school, a workhouse, charities £6, a brewery, a weekly market on Wednesday, and fairs on Easter Tuesday and 29th Sept.The parish comprises 4130 acres. Real property, £15,150. Pop., 2,450. Houses, 476. The manor was given, at the Norman Conquest, to W. de Douay; and passed to the Lovells, the Zouches, the Seymours, and the Daubenys. Marsh Court was the manor house, and is now occupied by a farmer. A priory was founded at Stavordale, by R. Lovell, in 1263; and has left some interesting remains, now incorporated with a farm stead. Mineral springs, similar to those of Cheltenham, are at Horwood. The site of an ancient British fort, called Kennewilkins Castle, is in the middle of a wood. Roman coins have been found. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Bath and Wells. Value, £130. Patrons, Messrs. G. and J. Messiter.The sub-district contains 12 parishes. Acres, 19,646. Pop., 6,007. Houses, 1,304.The district comprehends also Bruton, Milborne-Port, and Castle-Cary sub-districts; and comprises 66,120 acres. Poor rates in 1863, £11,320. Pop. in 1851, 21,311; in 1861, 21,500. Houses, 4,588. Marriages in 1866, 153; births, 629,-of which 43 were illegitimate; deaths, 399,-of which 118 were at ages under 5 years, and 10 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-61, 1,460; births, 6,613; deaths, 4,309. The places of worship, in 1851, were 41 of the Church of England, with 9,498 sittings; 10 of Independents, with 2,406 s.; 3 of Baptists, with 650 s.; 1 of Quakers, with 50 s.; 14 of Wesleyans, with 1.633 s.; 2 of Primitive Methodists, with 285 s.; 1 of Wesleyan Reformers, with 8 s.; 1 of Bible Christians, with 70 s.; and 1 of Latter Day Saints, with 300 s. The schools were 28 public day-schools, with 1,595 scholars; 48 private day-schools, with 852 s.; 46 Sunday schools, with 3,114 s.; and 1 evening school for adults, with 37 s.
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 Wincanton 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 Wincanton and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Wincanton in South Somerset | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 10th December 2013
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