Saturday, 16 July 2011

Ilminster, Somerset


Ilminster, being the nearest town (2 miles away) was the place we visited on Sunday morning. We usually spend the first day of a holiday getting to know the immediate locality while settling in.
We begin our walk in the market square


Up until 1857 , Ilminster was a peculiar town. Royal Peculiar, that is, a parish only answerable to the crown, not a local bishop or archdeacon. As such it held it's own church court, in  which wills were proved.


Today, perched on the side of a hill, with it's main street running round, not up and down the slope, Ilminster is one of the most charming Somerset towns. Once the High Street, with it's wonderfully names Strawberry Bank, took the main London-Exeter traffic. Today a 
by-pass has returned 1000 year old Ilminster to peaceful enjoyment of its unique atmosphere.

Seventeenth century Ilminster  was the fourth largest town in Somerset, it's cloth trade remarkably prosperous. Market Square is surrounded by handsome eighteenth century buildings.
The George Pub proudly sports a sign announcing that it was the first hotel that Queen Victoria stayed in. The date was 1819, when the newly born future queen was on her way with her parents to Sidmouth in Devon. The royal Kents were one small facet of the lucrative coach trade that came through Ilminster during the later eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. 



As we walk round the the minster church of St. Mary we see that it is surrounded by outstandingly attractive buildings






 

which includes the grammar school founded in 1549 and as we see on the plaque it was occupied by the boys school until 1878 before it became a girls grammar school



So for now back to our cottage for lunch before another local outing in the afternoon

15 comments:

Vee said...

Great history...how fun that they can claim Queen Victoria stayed at the hotel. I was wondering under what circumstances until I read further. The buildings are indeed charming and how nice to have the entrances softened and welcoming with flowers on either side in the seventh photo. Actually, I see lots of flowers about. I do love seeing them.

Julie Whitmore Pottery said...

The weather looks perfect.
And i didn't see a single person!
What a peaceful spot, are you going to Exeter?
julie

Winifred said...

Looks like you're having a lovely time and getting some great photos. Hope the weather is being kind to you. Was watching the Open in Kent today & it looked terrible. Was a little drizzly here but nothing like at the golf.

Trisha said...

Thanks Barbara, this tour is breathtaking.

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

I see by the blue skies you had some lovely weather that day. The George looks rather inviting with the pretty hanging baskets of flowers out front.

Needled Mom said...

Beautiful. Is the cloth trade still prosperous? I would love to go on these visits with you.

Martha said...

Looks like a great town -- I love all of your darling English villages.

Elizabethd said...

Ilminster is one of our favourite towns. So refreshing to find 'proper' shops rather than all big chains.

Balisha said...

Thankyou for telling a bit of English history. I have enjoyed "following" you on your various trips...Balisha

Jenny Woolf said...

Thanks for dropping by at my blog. Lovely photos of a lovely place. And it looks very peaceful and Sunday morning-ish in your pictures - plus you clearly had some good weather ... hm, how did you manage to do that? :)

Lori Zehr said...

I loved touring the beautiful churches and churchyards while in your country! So interesting!

Mike said...

Hi Barbara. Love the church, very impressive!

Gwendolyn said...

Fascinating tours! Thank you once again! You do such a great job of including the historical facts along with your amazing pictures. Almost feels like being there myself!

PatioPatch said...

Hi Barbara - am enjoying these tours so much. So much interesting history illustrated beautifully

Adrienne said...

I love visiting places around your area with you! Thank you for the photos - and the history. It's almost like being there with you!
~Adrienne~