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Old Wiveliscombe

Here are two old descriptions of the town of Wiveliscombe. Both are taken from long out-of-print guidebooks.  The first dates back to 1870 and the second to 1909. Click on the 100 year old map of Wivey above to see the full-size scan.

WIVELISCOMBE, a parish and market town in the county Somerset, 15 miles south-west of Bridgwater, 11 west of Taunton, and 6 north of Wellington railway station. It is situated in a combe, or valley, from which circumstance it takes its name, under the Maundown hills, and includes the chapelry of Fitzhead, the town of Wiveliscombe, and the hamlets of Croford, Ford, Langley, West Town, and Whitfield. Wiveliscombe was a place of importance under the Saxons, and had a palace in the 15th century, belonging to the Bishops of Wells, to whom the manor was originally given by Edward the Confessor. The population of Wiveliscombe is close upon 3,000. The town is lighted with gas, and contains a town hall, police station, dispensary, reading-rooms, and branch bank. Here is situated the largest brewery in the West of England.


WIVELISCOMBE (pronounced Wilscomb), a market town in the western parliamentary division of Somersetshire, England, west of Taunton by the Great Western railway. Population (1901), 2246. Wiveliscombe stands on a picturesque sloping site in a hilly district, and has some agricultural trade and a brewing industry, while in the neighbourhood are slate quarries.

Traces of a large Roman camp may still be seen to the southeast of Wiveliscombe (Wellescombe, Wilscombe, Wiviscombe), which is near the line of a Roman road, and hoards of Roman coins have been discovered in the neighbourhood. The town probably owed its origin to the suitability of its position for defence, and it was the site of a Danish fort, later replaced by a Saxon settlement. The overlords were the bishops of Bath and Wells, who had a palace and park here. A weekly market is held on Tuesdays. During the 17th and 18th centuries the town was a centre of the woollen manufacture.


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images on this page: old map of wiveliscombe dating back to 1905. old photos of wiveliscombe, somerset