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Norton, Midsomer (St. John the Baptist)

NORTON, MIDSOMER (St. John the Baptist), a parish, in the union of Clutton, hundred of Chewton, E. division of Somerset, 9½ miles (S. W. by S.) from Bath; containing, with the tythings of Clapton, Downside, and Welton, 3509 inhabitants, of whom 1266 are in Midsomer-Norton tything. This place derives the prefix to its name from its situation between the two branches of the river Somer. The parish is bounded by the Roman Fosse-way, and comprises about 10,000 acres: the soil is various, in parts a rich red loam, and in others of inferior quality; the surface is boldly undulated, and the scenery pleasingly diversified. The district abounds with coal of superior quality, of which several mines are in operation. The village consists of one long street; a fair is held in it for cattle, pigs, and various articles of merchandise, on the 25th of April. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £10. 3. 4., and in the gift of the Dean and Chapter of Christ-Church, Oxford: a tithe rent-charge of £340 is paid to the vicar, one of £70 to the dean and chapter, and one of £25 to certain impropriators. The church is a large and handsome structure, with a modern tower having on the south side a recess containing a statue of Charles II. A neat district church has been erected at Downside, and another church at Clandown. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans. Ann Harris, in 1719, gave the residue of her personal estate, now producing about £45 per annum, for teaching children of the poor.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858.