In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Crewkerne like this:
CREWKERNE, a town, a parish, a sub-district, and a hundred in Somerset. The town stands in the valley of the river Parret, on the Yeovil and Exeter railway, surrounded by a wide amphitheatre of hills, 2¼ miles N of the boundary with Dorset, and 8½ SW by W of Yeovil. It dates from ancient times; was known to the Saxons as Crocern or Cruaern; is now a busy place; publishes a weekly newspaper; and has a head post office, ‡ a railway station with telegraph, a banking office, two chief inns, a market-house, two churches, four dissenting chapels, a free grammar school, another endowed school, two alms-houses, and other charities with a total of £524. ...
One of the churches succeeded a previous edifice, given by the Conqueror to Caen abbey; and is itself a beautiful cruciform structure of the 15th century, in perpendicular English, with richly-carved doors and windows, and with a lofty central tower, surmounted by turrets. The other church was built in 1853; is also in the English perpendicular style; and consists of nave, north aisle, chancel, and bell-turret. The grammar school was founded in 1499; has an endowed income of £320, with four exhibitions; and had for a pupil Mr. Justice Best, afterwards Lord Wyndford. Markets are held on Saturdays; and a fair on 4 Sept. Manufactures of sail-cloth, webbing, and girths are carried on. The father of Tom Paine, author of the "Rights of Man, " was a native. Pop., 3, 566. Houses, 725. -The parish includes also the tythings of Clapton, Coombe, Easthams, Furland, Hewish, Woolminstone, Laymore, Horn, Ash, Greenham, and part of Black Down. Acres, 5, 331. Real property, £22, 025. Pop., 4, 705. Houses, 942. The property is subdivided. The manor belonged, at Domesday, to the Crown; and passed, through the Redvers, the Courtenays, and others, to the Pouletts. Wulfric, the anchorite, who was visited by Henry I. and Stephen, lived in a cell at Hasilborough; and St. Ranns was buried in a chapel on Ranna-hill. The living is a vicarage, united with the p. curacy of Christ Church, in the diocese of Bath and Wells. Value, £300.* Patrons, the Dean and Chapter of Winchester. -The sub-district contains eight parishes; and is in the district of Chard. Acres, 13, 103-Pop., 8, 084. Houses, 1, 659. -The hundred contains six parishes. Acres, 12, 140. Pop., 7, 781. Houses, 1, 580.
Crewkerne is now part of South Somerset district. Click here for graphs and data of how South Somerset has changed over two centuries. For statistics about Crewkerne itself, go to Units and Statistics.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Crewkerne in South Somerset | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 26th April 2017
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