Mere (St. Michael)
The parish is situated at the south-west extremity of the Downs, and comprises by computation 8000 acres; the soil is chalk, alternated with clay. The living is a vicarage, in the patronage of the Bishop of Salisbury, valued in the king's books at £28. 4. 2.; net income, £200. The church is a spacious and handsome structure, partly Norman, and partly in the early English style, with an embattled tower crowned by lofty pinnacles; on each side of the chancel is a sepulchral chapel, and in the belfry is a beautifully carved oak ceiling. At Zeals is a separate incumbency. There is a place of worship for Independents; also a Roman Catholic chapel at Bonham House. A school is partly supported by a bequest of £10 per annum. The union of Mere comprises 12 parishes or places, of which 7 are in Wilts, 3 in Somerset, and 2 in Dorset, with a population altogether of 8498. To the north-west of the town are vestiges of a Danish encampment, called "White-street camp," from the hill on which it is situated. Francis, Lord Cottington, a celebrated statesman in the reign of Charles I.; and the Rev. Francis Potter, an ingenious mechanist, born about 1594; were natives of the place.
Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858.