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Taunton, Somerset

Taunton is the county town of Somerset, England.

The town name derives from Town on the river Tone - or Tone Town. It still holds a weekly market.


There was perhaps a Romano-British village near the suburb of Holway, and Taunton was a place of considerable importance in Saxon times. King Ine of Wessex threw up an earthen castle here about 700, and a monastery was founded before 904. The bishops of Winchester owned the manor, and obtained the first charter for their "men of Taunton" from King Edward in 904, freeing them from all royal and county tribute. At some time before the Domesday Survey Taunton had become a borough with very considerable privileges, governed by a portreeve appointed by the bishops. It did not obtain a charter of incorporation until that of 1627, which was renewed in 1677. The corporation existed until 1792, when the charter lapsed owing to vacancies in the number of the corporate body, and Taunton was not reincorporated until 1877. The medieval fairs and markets of Taunton were celebrated for the sale of woollen cloth called "Tauntons" made in the town. On the decline of the west of England woollen industry, silk-weaving was introduced at the end of the 18th century. From the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica

In the autumn of 1685 Judge Jeffreys was based in Taunton during the Bloody Assizes that followed the Battle of Sedgemoor.

In World War II the Bridgwater and Taunton Canal formed part of the Taunton Stop Line, designed to prevent the advance of a German invasion. Pilboxes can still be seen along its length.

See also: Siege of Taunton


"The Rumwell," a pub/restaurant just outside Taunton on Wellington road.

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