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Milverton (St. Michael)

MILVERTON (St. Michael), a market-town and parish, in the union of Wellington, hundred of Milverton, W. division of Somerset, 151 miles (W. by S.) from London; containing 2154 inhabitants. This place, the name of which is probably a corruption of Millford-town is of very great antiquity, and was once a royal borough. The town is delightfully situated, amidst woodland scenery, upon an eminence just above the western extremity of the vale of Taunton-Dean, over the whole of which it commands an uninterrupted view; it consists of three irregular streets. The inhabitants are well supplied with water. Here was formerly an extensive manufacture of serges, druggets, and flannels, but at present the chief employment is silk-throwing, and this has much declined of late years: many of the cottagers are employed in weaving baize by handlooms. The market is on Friday; and a fair is held on Oct. 10th, for broad-cloth and pedlery. A portreeve and subordinate officers are appointed, but the town is under the jurisdiction of the county magistrates, who hold petty-sessions here. The parish comprises by computation 5000 acres: there are some quarries of conglomerate limestone, and also of sandstone.

The living is a vicarage, with that of Langford-Budville annexed, in the patronage of the Archdeacon of Taunton as Prebendary of Milverton in the Cathedral of Wells, valued in the king's books at £21. 19. 2.; net income, £449. The church is a spacious edifice, supposed to be one of the numerous churches in this county which were built in the reign of Henry VII. There are places of worship for the Society of Friends, Independents, and Bryanites. In 1721, Mary Lamb devised £300 for the education of children, and the funds having accumulated for several years, the present income is £54 per annum. Mrs. Morgan, of Shepton-Mallet, bequeathed £1500, the interest to be paid for a Sundayevening lecture in the church. An old house here, called the parsonage, is said to have been erected by Cardinal Wolsey, whose arms are still visible over the door, and who had considerable property in the town. John de Milverton, a Carmelite friar in the fifteenth century, who distinguished himself by writing against Wycliffe, was a native of the place.

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