Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for FROME

FROME, a town, a parish, a sub-district, a district, and a hundred, in Somerset. The town occupies abrupt hillocks and deep hollows, on the river Frome, on the Weymouth branch of the Great Western railway, and on the skirts of Selwood forest, 3 miles W of the boundary with Wilts, and 11 S of Bath. It sprang from a monastery, founded, in 705, by Aldhelm of Malmsbury, brother of King Ina; and it received accessions of importance from a subsequent priory, and a nunnery. The monastery stood in a part of the town called Lower Keyford; and some remains of it, or of renovations of it, still exist, and have been converted into habitations for the poor. The priory stood in Hill Lane, -the nunnery on Catherine Hill; and some traces of them were recently to be seen. Many other remains of ancient buildings stood within the remembrance of persons still living; but were removed on account of their being dangerously dilapidated. The town is seen, at a glance, to be ancient; for it presents an aspect widely different from that of a modern town. Two streets in it, formed about 1815, are wide and handsome; but many of the other streets are narrow, irregular, and steep. Yet great improvements have been made; and more may be expected. The local government of towns act was adopted in 1865. A five-arched bridge spans the river. The police station is a handsome edifice. The parish church is an ancient edifice, 160 feet long, with four chantry chapels attached to it; has a handsome tower and spire, 120 feet high; underwent restoration in 1862-5, at a cost of about £10, 000; and contains an early English font. One of the chantry chapels belonged to the Leversedges, passed to the Cork family and the parishioners, has been well restored, and contains a fine monument by Westmacott to the daughters of Lord Cork, and another monument by the junior Westmacott. Another of the chapels contains the tomb of Bishop Ken. St. Mary's chapel of ease was built in 1864, after designs by Mr. Giles; is in the early English style, with semi-octagonal chancel; and has, in its interior, rich carvings and other decorations. There are, in the town, or within the parish, three other churches, twelve dissenting chapels, a mechanics' hall, a workhouse with accommodation for 350 persons, a grammar school with £6 from endowment, a boys' charity school with £399, a suite of alms-houses, with £399, and a girls' asylum and men's hospital with £762. A public museum, with library and news-rooms, was built in 1868; and is in the Italian style. A Wesleyan school, with adjoining minister's and master's houses, was built in 1863. Direct railways go north and south, into Wiltshire and toward Dorset and Devon; and indirect railways, in connexion with the direct ones, give communication with all parts of the kingdom. The town has a head post office, ‡ a railway station with telegraph, two banking offices, and two chief inns; is the seat of a county court, and a polling-place; and publishes two weekly newspapers. Markets are held on Wednesdays and Saturdays; and cattle and cheese fairs on 24 Feb. and 25 Nov. The brewing of ale, the making of cards for tearing wool, and the manufacture of hats, gloves, broad cloth, silk, and edge tools are carried on. One suite of cloth mills, called Spring Gardens, forms a picturesque object, and employs upwards of 400 hands. The town is not incorporated, and is governed by two constables, chosen at the court-leet of the lord of the manor; but it was made a parliamentary borough by the act of 1832, and it sends one member to parliament. The constituency in 1868 was 414. The borough limits exclude a considerable part of Frome parish, but include a small part of Marston-Bigott parish. Pop. in 1861, 9, 522. Houses, 2, 066.

The parish bears the name of Frome-Selwood; and it includes East and West Woodlands. Acres, 7, 092. Real property, exclusive of the two Woodlands, £20, 402; of East Woodlands, £5, 954; of West Woodlands, £10, 787. Pop. of the whole, in 1851, 11, 916; in 1861, 11, 200. Houses, 2, 452. Pop. of the part within the borough, 9, 489. Houses, 2, 061. The manor belonged, at one time, to the Fitz-Bernards; passed to the Braunches, and the Leversedges; and went from the latter to the Earls of Cork and Orrery. Selwood forest, or Woodlands forest, formerly occupied a tract upwards of 15 miles long; but is now represented by only the woods of Longleat. The parish, however, is still rich in trees, and it presents much pleasing scenery, and is chiefly disposed in dairy farms. Many villas and mansions are near the town; a beautifully romantic small glen, called Vallis Bottom, is about a mile to the NW; and an old mansion there, now a farm-house, was the seat of the Leversedges. The livings of St. John, Christchurch, and Trinity are vicarages, and those of St. Mary and Woodlands are p. curacies in the dio. of Bath and Wells. St. John, St. Mary, and Woodlands are united. Value of these £720;* of Christchurch and Trinity, each £150.* Patron of St. Johns, with Woodlands, the Marquis of Bath; of Christ-church and Trinity, the Vicar of Frome.—The sub-district contains also Rodden parish, and part of Marston-Bigott. Pop., 11, 543. Houses, 2, 525. The district comprehends also the sub-district of Nunney, containing the parishes of Nunney, Witham-Friary, Wanstrow, Cloford, Leigh-upon-Mendip, Mells, Whatley, and parts of Elm and Marston-Bigott; the sub-district of Road, containing the parishes of Road, Berkley, Standerwick, Beckington, Tellisford, Farleigh-Hungerford, Norton-St. Philip, Woolverton, Laverton, Lullington, and Orchardleigh, and the extra-parochial tract of Chatley-Hill; and the sub-district of Kilmersdon, containing the parishes of Kilmersdon, Buckland-Dinham, Hardington, Hemington, Forscote, Writhlington, Babington, and part of Elm. Acres, 51, 239. Poor-rates in 1862, £13, 099. Pop. in 1851, 25, 325; in 1861, 23, 704. Houses, 5, 298. Marriages in 1860, 183; births, 720, -of which 42 were illegitimate; deaths, 487, -of which 121 were at ages under 5 years, and 19 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 1,855; births, 7, 478; deaths, 5, 331. The places of worship, in 1851, were 36 of the Church of England, with 9, 925 sittings; 5 of Independents, with 1, 726 s.; 10 of Baptists, with 3, 209 s.; 1 of Quakers, with 250 s.; 16 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 3, 772 s.; 11 of Primitive Methodists, with 1, 381 s.; and 5 of Wesleyan Reformers, with 405 s. The schools were 36 public day schools, with 2, 480 scholars; 62 private day schools, with 1, 095 s.; 55 Sunday schools, with 4, 718 s.; and 1 evening school for adults, with 8 s.--The hundred contains twenty parishes. Acres, 33, 374. Pop. in 1851, 18, 895; in 1861, 17, 674. Houses, 3, 934.

(John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72))

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a town, a parish, a sub-district, a district, and a hundred"   (ADL Feature Type: "cities")
Administrative units: Frome CP/AP       Frome Hundred       Frome SubD       Frome PLU/RegD       Somerset AncC
Place: Frome

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