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Meare, Somerset

Historical Description

Meare, a village and a parish in Somerset. The village stands on a quondam island, near the river Brue, and has a station on the Somerset and Dorset railway, called Ashcott and Meare, 134 miles from London and 2¾ WNW of Glastonbury. The village dates from ancient times, was long approachable only by water, could be approached so late as about 1808 only by a horsepath, and has a post and money order office under Glastonbury; telegraph office, Shapwick (R.S.O.) Acreage of civil parish, 8333; population, 1391; of the ecclesiastical, 1014. There are two manors-Meare and Westhay-and both were given by Kerelwach, king of the West Saxons, to Glastonbury Abbey. The manor of Meare went at the dissolution to the Duke of Somerset, passed. afterwards through many hands, and now is much subdivided. The manor house was built in the middle of the 14th century by Adam de Sodbury; was a frequent residence of the abbots of Glastonbury; retains, particularly in its hall and its kitchen, very distinct marks of ancient grandeur; was surrounded by high walls, much of which still remain; and is now used as a farmhouse. The abbots came to it by water; they had a sort of wharf, at a spot now called Meare Pool, where then" boats were moored; and they used what was long a lake of about 400 acres for abundant fishing. This lake has been drained, and is now a piece of valuable land. A cottage, traditionally known as the Fish House, stands a little E of the manor house; it was built in the time of Edward III., presents unique and interesting features, and is kept in. repair by the Somerset Archaeological Society. The roof, of open timber work, was burnt in 1881. Much of the adjacent surface is marsh or turbary, and stacks of peat, cut for fuel, dot it in all directions. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Bath and Wells; gross value, £230 with residence. The church is mainly of the time of Edward II., but partly of the times of Edward III. and Henry VI.; was much mutilated by tasteless alterations after the Reformation; has in recent times been much improved; and contains a richly-sculptured pulpit. There are Methodist and Congregational chapels.

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 CountySomersetshire 
Ecclesiastical parishMeare St. Mary 
Poor Law unionWells 

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

Church Records, in association with Somerset Archives & Local Studies, have images of the Parish Registers for Somerset online.

Civil Registration

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

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Meare from the following:


Online maps of Meare 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.

RegionSouth West
Postal districtBA6
Post TownGlastonbury