Crewkerne, Somerset

Historical Description

Crewkerne, a town, a parish, and a hundred in Somerset. The town stands in the valley of the river Parret, with a station on the L. & S.W.R., 132 miles from London, surrounded by a wide amphitheatre of hills, 2½ 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 bank, two chief inns, a market-house, two churches, four dissenting chapels, an hospital, a free grammar school, another endowed school, two almshouses, and other charities. One of the churches succeeded a previous edifice, given by the Conqueror to Caen Abbey, and is itself a beautiful cruciform structure of the loth century in Perpendicular English, with richly-carved doors and windows, and with a lofty central tower surmounted by turrets. It was thoroughly restored in 1888. 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, with several exhibitions and scholarships, and had for a pupil Mr Justice Best, afterwards Lord Wyndford. A large swimming bath was built in 1888. Markets are held on Wednesday and Saturday, 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. The parish includes also the tithings of Clapton, Coombe, Easthams, Furland, Hewish, Woolminstone, and part of Black Down. Acreage, 6049; population of the civil parish, 4946; of the ecclesiastical, 5093. 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 in the diocese of Bath and Wells; value, £260. Patrons, the Dean and Chapter of Winchester.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England and Wales, 1894-5

Administration

The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient County Somersetshire
Ecclesiastical parish Crewkerne St. Bartholomew
Hundred Crewkerne
Poor Law union Chard

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.


Cemeteries

A public cemetery eight acres in extent is at the top of Mount Pleasant, about half a mile from the centre of the town, and was opened in 1874: it contains a superintendent's house and two mortuary chapels, connected by an arch supporting a bell turret and spire.


Church Records

The Phillimore transcript of Marriages at Crewkerne 1559-1812, Somerset is available to browse online.

The parish register dates from the year 1585.

Ancestry.co.uk, in association with Somerset Archives & Local Studies, have images of the Parish Registers for Somerset online.


Churches

Church of England

Christ Church, South Street

Christ Church, in South street, erected in 1854 as a chapel of ease, is a building of stone in the Perpendicular style, consisting of chancel, nave of four bays, north aisle, north porch and a turret containing one bell: the stained window was erected in 1886 by the late Major Sparks, in memory of his wife: the church was renovated in 1893, and affords 500 sittings: it is served by the clergy of St. Bartholomew's.

St. Bartholomew (parish church)

The church of St. Bartholomew is a handsome cruciform building of stone in the Perpendicular style, consisting of chancel, clerestoried nave of four bays, aisles, transepts, south porch and a lofty embattled central tower with angle turrets containing a clock with chimes, provided in 1902, at a cost of £250, and 8 bells, recast and rehung, and two new ones added in 1894, at a cost of £600, of which amount C. W. Haslock esq. and the late Messrs. W. Sparks and G. Joliff contributed £400: this church is believed to stand on the site of a church mentioned in "Domesday," and dedicated to St. Stephen; all traces of the Saxon church, and of any Norman building which may have succeeded it, are entirely gone, but evidences appear of a church of the 13th century, and from certain peculiarities of the place and arrangements it would seem probable that the present church has portions of that church incorporated with it: there are remains of ancient stained glass in some of the windows: the stained east window is a memorial to Mr. J. Hussey and his wife, and there are others to the Wills family, and to the Rev. H. T. Breay B.A. vicar 1877-80, and to Miss Ramsay: the church was generally restored, with the exception of the chancel, in 1887-9, at a cost of £3,3157, of which sum the late Major Sparks, of Crewkerne, contributed £700: in 1893, two readers' stalls and 24 bench ends, all of carved oak, were erected: the whole chancel was restored and decorated in 1899 by the Hussey family: in 1903 a reredos of stone was erected by Miss Hussey: in 1904 the carved oak fan vaulting in the tower lantern was presented by an anonymous donor, and in 1906 a new organ was presented at a cost of £2,000 by Miss Sparks: the church will seat 800 persons.

St. Bartholomew, CrewkerneNave of St. Bartholomew, Crewkerne

Baptist

Baptist Chapel, North Street

The Baptist chapel, North street, founded in 1820, will seat 500 persons.

Brethren

Brethren meeting house, East Street

The Brethren have a meeting room in East street, built in 1863, and seating 120 persons.

Methodist

United Methodist Chapel, Hermitage Street

The United Methodist chapel, Hermitage street, erected in 1890, will hold 250 persons.

Wesleyan Chapel, South Street

The Wesleyan chapel, South street, built in 1872, has 400 sittings.

Unitarian

Unitarian Chapel, Hermitage Street

The Unitarian chapel, Hermitage street, erected in 1733 and restored in 1811, has 150 sittings.


Civil Registration

For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.


Directories & Gazetteers

Transcript of HUNT & CO.'S 1850 Directory and Topography of the town of Crewkerne.

We have transcribed the entry for Crewkerne from the following:


Maps

Online maps of Crewkerne are available from a number of sites:


Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Somerset papers online:


Visitations Heraldic

The Visitation of Somersetshire, 1623 is available on the Heraldry page.