Taunton, Somerset

Historical Description

Taunton, a town and a municipal and parliamentary borough in Somerset. The town stands on the river Tone, with an important station on the G.W.R., 159 miles from London, and 44½ SW of Bristol. It is supposed, from the discovery of Roman urns and coins in its neighbourhood, to occupy the site of a Roman station; was known to the Saxons as Tantun and Thonetun; took that name from its situation on the Tone; acquired a royal castle, and was the place of a great council in the time of Ina, king of Wessex; was a mint town at the time of the Norman Conquest; suffered capture by Perkin Warbeck in the time of Henry VII.; was held by the Parliamentarians in 1642, by the Royalists in 1643, and by Blake in 1645; sustained a famous siege of some months, under Blake, till relieved by Fairfax; was punished at the Restoration by complete razure of walls which had surrounded it; and took a prominent part in the rebellion of the Duke of Monmonth, and proclaimed him king. Judge Jeffries held his " bloody assize " here after the suppression of the rebellion under the Duke of Monmouth. Its castle dated from 680; was taken by Eadricht, king of the South Saxons; was retaken and nearly all pulled down by Queen Ethelburga in 722; went with the manor to the Bishops of Winchester; was rebuilt by one bishop in the time of Henry I., repaired and extended by another in 1496, and fitted with a great hall by a third in 1577; had, as a constable, a relative of the poet Chaucer; suffered injuries in the Civil Wars of Charles L, and curtailments of moat and drawbridge in 1785; and is now represented chiefly by a round tower, an embattled gateway, and the great hall. The hall is a noble room 119 feet by 30, was thoroughly repaired about the end of the 18th century, and was used till 1858 as the assize hall. The castle is now the property of the County Archaeological Society, and has been fitted up as a museum. Taunton numbers among its natives the historian Daniel, who died in 1619; the theologian Grove, who died in 1736; the theologian Dr. Amory, who died in 1774; and the distinguished writer A. W. Kinglake.

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


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

Ancient County Somersetshire
Hundred Taunton and Taunton-Dean
Poor Law union Taunton

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

Church Records

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

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Taunton from the following:


Online maps of Taunton 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.

DistrictTaunton Deane
RegionSouth West
Postal districtTA1
Post TownTaunton