Town Centre 1806

This map shows the town centre in 1806 and is part of the Enclosure Act for Somerton.


The town centre at the time of the Enclosure Act of 1806. The general plan is just as today, but the picture is incomplete. The Buttercross is not shown, because it was not affected by the enclosure. The properties are shown some in red and some in black, depending on whether the owner or tenant was involved in the Enclosure, which affected mainly the lands belonging to the original Somerton Manor or to St Cleers. Both were in the hands of the Earls of Ilchester at the time, although some properties had already been sold off. The manors of Hurcott and Somerton Erleigh belonged to the Pinney family and had already been enclosed without the need for an Act of Parliament.

The church appears to be an inaccurate plan, with the chancel far narrower than now. It is possible that the restoration of 1885 included a rebuilding of the chancel, as it did of the porch. The south side of the churchyard is almost completely enclosed by buildings, some of which remain, but others were destroyed in 1902 to make space for the Parish Rooms and to open up the view of the church. One of those demolished was the Shambles, where animals were killed and butchered on market days. The land boundaries show the medieval burgage tenements, thought to have been laid out in the 13th century when the town was developed as the county town of Somerset. The long narrow holdings stretched right back to Behind Berry, which was in those days a back lane between gardens and the open fields.