County Town in 13th C.

In the 13th century, Somerton was the County Town. The Assizes were held here and the town prospered for a while. It was a royal town, the manor being part of the dower of the Queens of England. However, in 1366 the law courts were transferred to Ilchester, which was on the main road to London and on the Fosseway, and Somerton reverted to being a small market town.

 The parish church dates from this period (see separate entry under 'Churches'). There may also have been a small nunnery somewhere in the church grounds or possibly in the house in Broad Street called 'Medwyn', although nothing of this remains. It was suppressed by King Henry V to provide an endowment for the monastic house he founded at Syon in Middlesex in memory of King Richard II.

The plan of the main part of Somerton also dates from the thirteenth century. The plots behind the houses are typical burgage tenements, which originally stretched back to Behind Berry which was then a back lane between the private plots or 'tofts' of the townspeople and the open fields.

New Street was laid out at that time, and the New Inn was built on what was then the main road to London. It is now called The Somerton Hotel.

At one time, people claimed that Somerton had had a castle, said to be on the site of the present White Hart Inn. However, it is certain that the castle referred to was at Somerton in Lincolnshire, which still has castle ruins.

After the death of the widow of King Edward I, Somerton passed to her son, Edmund of Woodstock, and from then on it was owned by various members of the nobility until it was sold to Sir Edward Hext in 1592.