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