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Shepton Mallet, Somerset

Historical Description

Shepton Mallet (popularly Shepun), a town and a parish in Somerset. The town stands under the Mendip Hills, with stations on the G.W. and Somerset and Dorset Joint railways, 121 miles from London and 5 E of Wells, and has a post, money order, and telegraph office. It was known to the Saxons as Sepeton, figured as a place of considerable trade in the 14th century, was twice visited in 1685 by the Duke of Monmouth and his troops, witnessed the execution of twelve persons by order of Judge Jeffreys, and underwent great vicissitudes at various periods. It numbers among its natives Hugh Inge, who died in 1528; the physician Carlton, who died in 1709; the theologian S. Browne,who died in 1732; Professor Foxwell the bi-metallist; and J. H. F. Brabner, editor of the "National Encyclopaedia" and the " Comprehensive Gazetteer." It has a considerable market-place with a fine hexagonal Gothic market-cross erected in 1500 and restored in 1841, is a seat of petty sessions, publishes a weekly newspaper, and has two banks, two chief inns, a police station, H.M. prison for Somerset, excellent waterworks, Liberal and Conservative clubs, public offices which include a council hall and technical institute, an hospital, a cemetery (enlarged in 1895) with two mortuary chapels, an endowed grammar school founded in 1627, almshouses, a workhouse with capacity for more than 400 persons, and general charities. A weekly market is held on Friday, and silk and crape are manufactured. Rope, brick, and tile making are carried on in the neighbourhood, and there are extensive limestone quarries. The chief trade of the town, however, is in connection with the Anglo-Bavarian brewery. There is also another large brewery at Charlton, about a mile distant. The town is governed by a district council of fifteen members. Shepton Mallet is in the centre of the Cheddar cheese district, and at various times the local makers have carried off most of the leading prizes offered for that class of cheese.

The parish contains part of OAKHILL hamlet. Acreage of the civil parish, 3825; population, 5500; of the ecclesiastical, 5286. The manor belonged before the Norman Conquest to Glastonbury Abbey, went soon after the Conquest to Roger de Curcelle, passed to the Malletts till the time of King John, went then to the Crown, and was attached in 1536 to the Duchy of Cornwall. The living is a rectory id the diocese of Bath and Wells; net value, £350 with residence. The vicarage of Oakhill is a separate benefice. The parish church of St Peter and St Paul is a large and ancient building of stone in the Transition, Norman, and Perpendicular styles, and has been several times restored and enlarged. It has an unusually fine roof, and the tower contains a peal of eight bells. There are Congregational, Wesleyan, Baptist, Roman Catholic, and Unitarian 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 parishShepton-Mallet St. Peter and St. Paul 
Poor Law unionShepton-Mallet 

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 Shepton Mallet from the following:


Online maps of Shepton Mallet 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 districtBA4
Post TownShepton Mallet