In 1887, John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles described Taunton like this:
Taunton, parl. and mun. bor., Somerset, on river Tone, 44½ miles SW. of Bristol and 163 W. of London by rail, 1249 ac., pop. 16,614; P.O., T.O., 3 Banks, 5 newspapers. Market-days, Wednesday and Saturday. Taunton, long celebrated for its woollen, and afterwards for its silk mfrs., is now mainly an agricultural town. Among its numerous public buildings are the churches of St Mary Magdalen and St James, built in the reign of Henry VII., and the Wesleyan and Independent colleges. ...
The Shire Hall is a fine new edifice. The castle, now fitted up as a museum, was occupied by Blake during the Civil War; by Monmouth, who here assumed the title of king; and by Judge Jeffreys, who here held his bloody assize. Taunton is a very ancient place, and was a favourite residence of the West Saxon kings. It returns 1 member to Parliament; it returned 2 members from the time of Edward I. until 1885.
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 Taunton has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of Taunton Deane. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Taunton and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Taunton, in Taunton Deane and Somerset | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 22nd September 2014
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