Ilminster

The Brief History of a small town known variously throughout the ages as:

YLEMINSTER  ILEMESTIR  ILEMINSTON  ILLEMINISTRE  ILMISTER  YLYMYSTRE  ILMUSTRE  ILEMENSTRE  ILMYNSTR  ISLEMYNSTRE  YLMISTER  ILEMESTER  ILEMINISTRE  ILMYNSTER  LUMINSTRE  YLEMINSTRE  ILEMYNISTRE  ILEMESTUR  ILMYSTER  HEMINISTR  YLEMINISTRE  ILEMYNSTRE  ILEMONSTRE  ILMYSTYR  ELMENISTRE  YLMYSTER  ILEMYNYSTRE  ILLMYSTER  ILMYSTRE  EVELMINSTER  ILIMINISTRE  ILEMINSTRE  ILLEMINSTRE  ILMENISTRE  ILEMYNISTER

ILMINSTER

500 (C) The romans left Britain and Saxon invaders gradually settled in the Ile Valley.

725 Ilminster is mentioned in early documents as being a possession of Mulchelney monastery.

995 Charter by King Ethelred confirms to the abbey of Muchelney an earlier grant of Ile Mynster.

1086 The Domesday survey shows Ilminster as a possession of Muchelney abbey. The population was about fifty working families on twenty hides (c.240 acres). It records 27 Oxen for ploughing, 40 Sheep, 33 Pigs, 3 Mills, a Market, Woodlands and 80 acres of Meadow.

1280 The abbot substantiated his right to hold a market on Saturdays in Ilminster and an annual fair.

1450 (C) St.Mary’s church and tower was built on the site of earlier Saxon structure.

1491 Disastrous fire destroyed much of the town in the time when dwellings were built of timber and thatch.

1500 (C) Arrival in the area of several noteworthy families who were to become important to the town.

1538 The Lordship of the Manor of Ilminster was granted to Edward Seymour the Earl of Hertfordshire.

1549 Ilminster Grammar School founded by Humprey Waldron and Henry Greenfield of Sea.

1609 Nicholas Wadham died. He and his wife founded Wadham College, Oxford. They are buried at the Minster.

1661 Yet again the town was devastated by another great fire started carelessly by a resident.

1670 Ilminster was the fourth largest town in Somerset according to records of the Hearth Tax.

1685 The Duke of Monmouth camped in the town on his way with his followers to the Battle of Sedgemoor.

1688 The start of a period of prosperity for Ilminster’s cloth mills and the development of other industries.

1689 Dissenters took advantage of the Toleration Act to start meetings for nonconformist worship.

1753 Anne Speke inherits Dillington and three years later marries Lord North who became Prime Minister in 1770.

1768 Turnpike trust roads with toll gates linked Ilminster with Taunton, Chard, Crewkerne, Yeovil and Langport. 

1771 Summerlands House and garden in Brewery Lane was bought to become a workhouse for Ilminster.

1809 Ilminster became an important coaching town after the opening of the new London to Exeter road.

1820 Ilminster’s first award saw common land at Hort meadow and Winterhay Green became enclosed.

1827 Birth of John Hanning Speke who discovered the source of the River Nile in Africa in 1862.

1839 Opening of a new road at the Beacon to replace ‘Old Road’ to Langport joining the original route at Ashwell.

1840 Ilminster workhouse was bought by Samuel Paull and part of the site was converted to become Paull’s Brewery.

1842 Opening of the Ilminster section of the canal linking the Bridgwater canal with Chard.

1853 National School for infants and girls in North Street erected by voluntary contribution.

1866 Closure of the canal and opening of the Taunton to Chard railway line.

1867 The Girls Grammar School established after new premises were built in Silver Street for the boys.

1899 Reform of local government saw the establishment of Ilminster Urban District Council.

1962 The railway line through Ilminster closed under reduction of route and restructuring of the railways.

1971 Both the Boys and Girls Grammar Schools closed due to restructuring of the education system.

1974 A merger of local councils saw Ilminster Urban District Council replaced by South Somerset District Council.

1988 Due to the increase in road traffic the A303 Ilminster bypass was opened taking large volumes of vehicles away from the town.

2000 onward has seen a number of residential developments mostly to the western outskirts of the town.