Martock (All Saints)

MARTOCK (All Saints), a parish, and formerly a market-town, in the union of Yeovil, hundred of Martock, W. division of Somerset, 4½ miles (S. W. by W.) from Ilchester, and 130 (W.) from London; containing, with the hamlets of Ash, Bower-Hinton with Hurst, Coat, Milton, Stapleton, and Witcombe, and the chapelry of Long Load, 3025 inhabitants. The name of this place is said to be derived from mart and oak, the market having been formerly held under an oak-tree in the centre of the town, the site of which is now occupied by an elegant fluted column, in imitation of the pillar of Trajan at Rome. The manor was given by James I. to Lord Monteagle for his assistance in detecting the gunpowder plot; the site of the ancient manor-house is still called the Moat. The town consists principally of one street, about a mile and a half in length, and is intersected by a small stream tributary to the river Parret. The manufacture of fine gloves is carried on to a considerable extent, being the chief occupation of the females; and some hand-looms are employed in weaving sailcloth. There is a fair on Aug. 21st; and a court leet is held in October, by the lord of the manor. The parish comprises by measurement 7150 acres; the surface is pleasingly varied, and in many parts picturesque. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £15. 10., and in the gift of the Treasurer in the Cathedral of Wells: the vicarial tithes have been commuted for £316. The church is an elegant structure in the later English style, with a lofty square embattled tower, and the walls are surmounted by a handsomely perforated parapet; the roof of the nave is richly groined, and in the chancel is a beautiful window, partly concealed by an altar-piece of modern date. There is a chapel of ease at Load, and a church has been erected at Ash. The Independents have two places of worship. The old Roman Fosse-way skirts the south-east boundary of the parish; and there are some remains of ancient religious houses.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.

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