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Petherton, South (St. Peter and St. Paul)

PETHERTON, SOUTH (St. Peter and St. Paul), a market-town and parish, in the union of Yeovil, hundred of South Petherton, W. division of Somerset, 5½ miles (N. by W.) from Crewkerne, and 130 (W. S. W.) from London; containing, with the tythings of Compton-Durvill, South Harp, and Over Stratton, 2597 inhabitants. This place is stated by Camden to have been the residence of Ina, King of the West Saxons. It derives its name from the river Peder, or Parret, which passes the town on the east, and over which, on the old Roman fosse-way, is a stone bridge of three arches, formerly of wood, but rebuilt in its present state by the parents of two children who were drowned in the river, and whose effigies are placed upon it to commemorate the event. The parish comprises 3200 acres, and is intersected by the road from Exeter to London. The town has three principal streets, which, uniting, form a triangle; a few of the inhabitants are engaged in the manufacture of dowlas, sailcloth, and kid gloves, and on the river are several corn-mills. The markets, once considerable, but now on the decline, are on Thursday and Saturday; and a fair, chiefly for lambs, takes place on July 6th. Courts leet for the manor and hundred are held in October. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £24, and in the gift of the Dean and Chapter of Bristol; the impropriation belongs to Mrs. Quantock and others. The tithes have been commuted for £155 payable to the Dean and Chapter, £623 to the impropriators, and £550 to the vicar; the glebe comprises about 2 acres. The church is a spacious cruciform edifice, with an octangular tower surmounted by a spire. There are places of worship for Independents, Baptists, and Wesleyans. The free school was founded about 1732, by William Glandfield, who bequeathed to it £60, augmented by Mary Prowse in 1739 with £100, and by a further bequest from Thomas Musgrave, commuted for £100 in the four per cents. In 1720, a large earthen vessel, full of Roman coins, was dug up in a field near the bridge; and other Roman antiquities have at different times been discovered in the vicinity.

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