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Shepton Mallet
Shepton Mallet
is a town and civil parish in the Mendip
Mendip
district of Somerset
Somerset
in South West England. Situated approximately 18 miles (29 km) south of Bristol
Bristol
and 5 miles (8.0 km) east of Wells, the town is estimated to have a population of 10,369.[1] It contains the administrative headquarters of Mendip
Mendip
District Council. The Mendip
Mendip
Hills lie to the north, and the River Sheppey
River Sheppey
runs through the town. Shepton Mallet
Shepton Mallet
lies on the route of the Fosse Way, the principal Roman road
Roman road
into the south west of England, and there is evidence of Roman settlement. The town contains a fine parish church and a considerable number of listed buildings. Shepton Mallet
Shepton Mallet
Prison was England's oldest prison still in use until its closure in March 2013.[2] In medieval times, the wool trade was important in the town's economy, although this declined in the 18th century to be replaced by other industries such as brewing; the town continues to be a major centre for the production of cider. Shepton Mallet
Shepton Mallet
is the closest town to the site of the Glastonbury
Glastonbury
Festival, the largest music festival in Europe. Also nearby is the Royal Bath and West of England
England
Society showground which hosts the Royal Bath and West Show, and other major shows and festivals.

Contents

1 History

1.1 Prehistoric settlement 1.2 Roman occupation 1.3 Saxon and Norman periods 1.4 Middle Ages 1.5 Civil War and the Monmouth Rebellion 1.6 18th–20th centuries

2 Governance and public services 3 Geography

3.1 Nearby cave systems 3.2 Surrounding countryside 3.3 River Sheppey 3.4 Areas of the town 3.5 Climate

4 Demography 5 Economy 6 Transport 7 Landmarks 8 Religious sites 9 Education 10 Culture 11 Sport and leisure 12 Notable people 13 Twin towns 14 References 15 External links

History[edit] The name Shepton derives from the Old English
Old English
scoep and tun, meaning 'sheep farm'; the Domesday Book
Domesday Book
of 1086 records a settlement known as Sceaptun.[3] The current spelling is recorded at least as far back as 1496, in a letter from Henry VII. The second part of the name derives from that of the Norman Malet family who took a lease from Glastonbury Abbey around 1100. The second 'L' appears to have been added in the 16th century.[4][5] Prehistoric settlement[edit]

The Market Cross

Archaeological
Archaeological
investigations have found evidence for prehistoric activity in the Shepton Mallet
Shepton Mallet
area, with substantial amounts of Neolithic
Neolithic
flint being found, as well as some pottery fragments from the late- Neolithic
Neolithic
period. The two barrows on Barren Down, to the north of the town centre contained cremation burials from the bronze age and another bronze age burial site contained a skeleton and some pottery. The remains of iron age roundhouses and artefacts such as quernstones and beads were found at Cannard's Grave
Cannard's Grave
and a probable iron age farm settlement enclosure has been identified at Field Farm.[6] In the countryside surrounding the town, there is evidence of iron age cave dwellings in Ham Woods, to the north-west, and a number of burial mounds have been identified at Beacon Hill, a short distance north of the town.[7] Roman occupation[edit] Shepton Mallet
Shepton Mallet
is approximately halfway between the Roman towns of Bath and Ilchester
Ilchester
on the Fosse Way, and although there are no visible remains (apart from the line of the Roman road), there is archaeological evidence for early military and later civilian settlement lasting into the 5th century. Domed pottery kilns, with pottery still in situ, were identified on the site of the Anglo-Bavarian Brewery
Anglo-Bavarian Brewery
in the mid-19th century, suggesting military activity in the 1st and 2nd centuries. Several hoards of Roman coins ranging from the 1st to 4th centuries have been found and more than 300 fibula brooches, potsherds and other artefacts. A few isolated burials near the route of the Fosse Way
Fosse Way
were found during the 19th century.[6] A lead coffin in a rock-cut grave was discovered at a site adjacent to the Fosse Way
Fosse Way
in 1988. This discovery, and the impending commercial development of the site by the landowner, Showerings, led archaeologists to undertake more extensive excavations in the 1990s. The grave was part of a larger cemetery which contained 17 burials lying on a rough east-west alignment, indicating probable Christian adherence. Two other, smaller, cemeteries contained graves aligned north-south, possibly signifying pagan religious practices. One burial was in a substantial stone coffin which had been positioned beneath a mausoleum, the foundations of which remained.[6][8] A notable find in the Fosse Way
Fosse Way
burials was a Chi-Rho amulet, at the time thought to be from the 5th century, and considered to be among the earliest definite evidence of Christianity in England.[8] A copy of the amulet was presented to the Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, by the churches of the Diocese of Bath and Wells. Although the amulet is in the Museum of Somerset, analysis by Liverpool University in 2008 using inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy demonstrated that it was a hoax, as its silver content dated to the 19th century or later.[9][10][11][12] Excavations in the 1990s confirmed the presence of a linear settlement, stretching along the Fosse Way
Fosse Way
for perhaps a kilometre, comprising cobbled streets, wooden and stone workshops and houses (some with two storeys) containing hearths and ovens, industrial areas, and a stone-lined well. A great many artefacts were found, including local and imported pottery (such as samian ware), items of jewellery such as brooches, rings and bracelets, toilet items including tweezers, ear scoops and nail cleaners, bronze and iron tools, and a lead ingot which probably originated from the Roman lead mines on the Mendip
Mendip
Hills. Coins minted across the Roman empire
Roman empire
were also found. The finds on the site indicate occupation from the late-1st or early-2nd centuries to the late-4th or early-5th centuries. As no public buildings were found, the settlement was probably not a town.[6][8] Saxon and Norman periods[edit] Evidence of Saxon settlement in the town includes some Saxon stonework in the parish church of St Peter and St Paul.[6] A charter of King Ine of Wessex, from 706, witnessed by nine bishops including the Archbishop of Canterbury, records the granting of the area in which Shepton Mallet
Shepton Mallet
is now situated to Abbot Berwald of Glastonbury Abbey.[13] According to some legends Indract of Glastonbury was buried in Shepton.[14] The town was in the Whitstone Hundred, and the hundred courts were held at Cannard's Grave, a short distance to the south of the town.[15][16] The Exeter Domesday Book
Domesday Book
records that, at the death of Edward the Confessor in 1066, the site was held (probably by lease from the Abbey) by one Uluert, and by Roger de Corcella at the time of the survey in 1086. When Roger de Corcella died, sometime before or around 1100, the land passed to the Malets, a prominent Norman family whose name was added to that of the settlement (and another of their holdings, Curi – now Curry Mallet).[16][17][18][19] Middle Ages[edit]

The historic marketplace, with the Market Cross

The Malets retained the estate until the reign of King John, when on the death of William Malet (fl. 1192–1215) (and on the payment by his sons-in-law of a fine of two thousand marks, due to his participation in a rebellion against the king) it passed through his daughter Mabel to her husband Hugh de Vivonne. Some generations later, the part of the estate containing Shepton Mallet
Shepton Mallet
was sold to a relative, Sir Thomas Gournay. His son, also called Thomas, participated in the murder of Edward II and his estates were confiscated by Edward III in 1337. The family regained favour with the king some years later and the lands were returned. When Mathew de Gournay died childless in 1406, the estate reverted to the Crown, before being granted to Sir John de Tiptoft. It was again confiscated from his son by Henry VI during the Wars of the Roses
Wars of the Roses
(when the family sided with Edward IV), but was restored to Sir John's grandson, Edward Tiptoft, when Edward IV regained the throne. He died without issue, and there followed a succession of grants and reversions until Glastonbury Abbey
Glastonbury Abbey
was dissolved by Henry VIII, and its lands, including Shepton Mallet, were granted to the Duchy of Cornwall
Duchy of Cornwall
in 1536.[17][20][21] Charters for holding markets and fairs were granted in 1235 (though this charter was revoked following objections by the Bishop of Wells because of the competition it represented to the market in that city), 1260 and 1318, and indicate that the town was developing and prospering in the 13th and early 14th centuries.[6][22][23] The Black Death struck the town in 1348, reducing the population to about 300.[24] In the late-14th and early-15th centuries, the population and economy were bolstered by the arrival of craftsmen and merchants from France and the Low Countries
Low Countries
who came to escape wars and religious persecution in their home countries. They introduced cloth-making which, together with the local wool trade, became a major industry in Shepton and other towns in Somerset
Somerset
and Wiltshire.[25][26] Wool
Wool
became such a source of riches for the town that when, in 1496, Henry VII needed to raise money to fight the Scots, he called on the wool-merchants of Shepton to contribute £10 to the cause:[27]

“ To our trusty and wellbeloved John Calycote of Shepton Malet ... ... because as we here ye be a man of good substaunce–we desire and pray you to makelone vnto us of the som of ten poundes whereof ye shal be vndoubtedly and assuredly repayd in our Receipt at the fest of Seynt Andrewe next coming... ”

— Henry VII, Letter under King's sign manual and Privy Seal, 1 December 1496

Civil War and the Monmouth Rebellion[edit] In 1625, a House of Correction was established in Shepton Mallet.[28][29] In the English Civil War
English Civil War
the town supported the parliamentary side, although Shepton appears to have mostly escaped conflict apart from a bloodless confrontation between supporters of the King, led by Sir Ralph Hopton, and Parliament, led by Colonel William Strode, in the market place on 1 August 1642.[30][31] In 1645 Sir Thomas Fairfax led the New Model Army
New Model Army
through the town on the way to capturing Bristol,[3] and in 1646 the church organ was apparently destroyed by Cromwellian soldiers.[32][33] During the Monmouth Rebellion
Monmouth Rebellion
in 1685, the Duke of Monmouth was welcomed when he passed through Shepton Mallet, staying in Longbridge House[34] in Cowl Street on the night of 23 June, with his men quartered throughout the town, before setting out for Bristol
Bristol
the following day. Many Shepton men joined the cause, but Monmouth failed to take Bath or Bristol
Bristol
and had to return to Shepton on 30 June. Following the Battle of Sedgemoor, the Duke fled and spent the night of 6 July at Downside, a mile north of Shepton, before continuing his flight for two more days before his capture. Following the Bloody Assizes, twelve local supporters of Monmouth were hanged and quartered in the Market Place of the town.[35][36][37][38] In 1699 Edward Strode built almshouses, close to the rectory his family had built to house the town's grammar school, which lasted until 1900.[3] 18th–20th centuries[edit] In the 17th and 18th centuries the wool and cloth industries continued to thrive, powered by the waters of the River Sheppey.[39] There were reputed to be 50 mills in the town and surrounding area in the early 18th century,[40] and a number of fine clothiers' houses survive, particularly in Bowlish, a hamlet on the western edge of Shepton Mallet.[41] Although these industries employed some 4,000 people towards the end of the century,[42] they were already beginning to decline by this time. Discontent at the mechanisation of the mills resulted in the deaths of two men in a riot in the town in 1775, an event which apparently discouraged the mill-owners from modernising further.[43][44] The decision resulted in Shepton's cloth trade losing out to the steam-powered mills in the north of England
England
in the early 19th century.[42] The manufacture of silk and crepe revived the town's fortunes somewhat,[45] and Shepton's mills manufactured the silk used in Queen Victoria's wedding dress.[46] However these industries also died out eventually.

The former Anglo-Bavarian Brewery

While wool, cloth and silk were declining, other industries were growing, and in the 19th and 20th centuries brewing, in particular, became one of the town's major industries. The Anglo-Bavarian Brewery,[47] built in 1864 and still a local landmark, was the first in England
England
to brew lager. At its height, the brewery was exporting 1.8 million bottles a year to Australia, New Zealand, India, South Africa, South America and the West Indies. It closed in 1921.[48] However the town, which is the home of Babycham, is still an important centre for cider production. For a period during World War II, Shepton Mallet
Shepton Mallet
Prison was used to store important national records from the Public Record Office, including Magna Carta, the Domesday Book, the logbooks of HMS Victory, dispatches from the Battle of Waterloo, and the "scrap of paper" signed by Hitler
Hitler
and Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain at the Munich Conference
Munich Conference
of September 1938. The prison also became a US Army
US Army
detention facility, and between 1943 and 1945, 18 American servicemen were executed within the prison walls, having been convicted by US court-martial of murder, rape or both.[29] In the 1960s and 1970s many historic buildings were demolished in order to build Hillmead council estate in the north of the town, and a retail development and theatre in the market place.[49] The population of Shepton Mallet
Shepton Mallet
was fairly stable through the 19th century and the first part of the 20th: in 1801, it was 5,104 and in 1851 only slightly more at 5,117, although by 1901 it had swelled to 5,446, before falling back to 5,260 in 1951.[50][51] By 2001, it had increased significantly to 8,981.[52] Governance and public services[edit]

The High Street shops

Shepton Mallet
Shepton Mallet
is in the Mendip
Mendip
local government district which is part of the county of Somerset. In the 80 years prior to 1974, the town had lain within Shepton Mallet
Shepton Mallet
Urban District.[53] The town elects one councillor to Somerset
Somerset
County Council; at the last election in 2012, a conservative was elected. Shepton Mallet
Shepton Mallet
has four councillors on Mendip
Mendip
District Council, two elected by each of the two wards that make up the town. After the elections in 2015 all were Conservatives. The civil parish of Shepton Mallet
Shepton Mallet
has adopted the style of a town, and there is a Town Council of 16 members. Councillors are split equally between the two wards: Shepton East and Shepton West. The most recent elections were in May 2015, following which the council is made up of five Conservatives, five Liberal Democrats, three members of the Labour Party and three independent councillors. Shepton Mallet
Shepton Mallet
falls within the Wells parliamentary constituency. Since the general election on 7 May 2015 the MP is James Heappey
James Heappey
of the Conservative Party. The town is within the South West England European Parliamentary constituency, which elects six MEPs. It is twinned with three European towns: Misburg in Germany,[54] Oissel
Oissel
sur Seine in France, and Bollnäs
Bollnäs
in Sweden. There are two doctors' surgeries in Shepton Mallet,[55] a National Health Service community hospital formerly operated by Somerset Primary Care Trust,[56] and an independent sector treatment centre, which carries out a range of surgical procedures.[57] The nearest general hospital is the Royal United Hospital
Royal United Hospital
in Bath. Devon and Somerset
Somerset
Fire and Rescue Service have a retained fire station in the town,[58] which is adjacent to the ambulance station operated by South Western Ambulance Service NHS Trust.[59] Avon and Somerset Constabulary closed the local police station in 2014 and the town falls within the Somerset
Somerset
East policing district.[60] Geography[edit] Shepton Mallet
Shepton Mallet
lies in the southern foothills of the Mendip
Mendip
Hills. The area is geologically founded on Forest Marble, Blue Lias
Blue Lias
and Oolitic limestone.[61] Nearby cave systems[edit] To the north of the town are several caves of the Mendip
Mendip
Hills, including Thrupe Lane Swallet which is a geological Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI),[62] and the St. Dunstan's Well Catchment which is an important cave system including a series of spectacularly-decorated caves which in total extend to about 4 miles (6.4 km) of mapped passage.[63] The caves at Fairy Cave Quarry were formed mainly by the erosive action of water flowing beneath the water-table at considerable pressure (so called 'phreatic' development), but as the water table has fallen many of the caves now lie well above it and the system now contains a variety of cave formations (stalagmites, stalactites and calcite curtains) which in their extent and preservation are amongst the best in Britain. Shatter Cave and Withyhill Cave are generally considered to be amongst the finest decorated caves in Britain in terms of their sheer abundance of pure white and translucent calcite deposits.[64][65] Small numbers of greater horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum), lesser horseshoe bat (R. hipposideros) and Natterer's bat
Natterer's bat
(Myotis nattereri) hibernate in the cave system. An area of nationally rare species-rich unimproved calcareous grassland of the Sheep's-fescue-Meadow Oat-grass type occurs in the field to the east of Stoke Lane Quarry.[63] Surrounding countryside[edit] The countryside surrounding the town is mostly given over to farming, although there are a few areas of nearby woodland. Approximately 1.8 mi (2.9 km) to the north-east of the town centre is Beacon Hill Wood (owned by the Woodland Trust),[66] which is at the junction of the Fosse Way
Fosse Way
and another Roman road
Roman road
that runs along the top of the Mendip
Mendip
Hills, and which contains a number of tumuli.[67] To the northwest of the town are Ham Woods,[68] within which are the Windsor Hill railway tunnels and a viaduct,[69] remnants of the Somerset
Somerset
and Dorset Joint Railway.[70] The East Mendip
Mendip
Way long-distance path passes around the northern edge of Shepton Mallet and through Ham Woods. South-west of the town is the Friar's Oven
Friar's Oven
SSSI which is the site of herb-rich calcareous grassland classified as the Upright Brome (Bromus erectus) type,[71] and north-east is the Windsor Hill Quarry geological SSSI, and also the Windsor Hill Marsh
Windsor Hill Marsh
biological SSSI, a marshy silted pond with adjacent damp, slightly acidic grassland of interest for its diverse flora, in large part down to the varied habitats present within the small area. Two species are present which are rare in Somerset: Flat-sedge (Blysmus compressus) and Slender Spike-rush (Eleocharis uniglumis). Other marshland plants found there include Purple Loosestrife, Yellow Flag (Iris pseudacorus), Hard Rush (Juncus inflexus), Soft Rush (J. effusus), Flowering Rush (Butomus umbellatus), Devil's-bit Scabious (Succisa pratensis), three species of Horsetail Equisetum
Equisetum
spp. and seven sedges Carex
Carex
spp.[72] River Sheppey[edit] The centre and oldest parts of Shepton Mallet
Shepton Mallet
are adjacent to the River Sheppey, and thus at the bottom of a valley, approximately 115 m (377 ft) above sea level. The edges of the town lie about 45 m (148 ft) higher up. The river has cut a narrow valley, and between Shepton Mallet
Shepton Mallet
and the village of Croscombe, to the west, it is bounded by steeply-sloping fields and woodland. However the river flows through much of Shepton Mallet
Shepton Mallet
itself in underground culverts.[61] The river occasionally floods after heavy rain, such as on 20 October 2006,[73] and again on 29 May 2008,[74] when rainfall was so heavy that the culverts were unable to cope with the volume of water, resulting in the flooding of some of the lower-lying parts of the town. Some houses around Leg Square, Lower Lane and Draycott Road were submerged to a depth of 1 metre (3 ft 3 in). A study by the Environment Agency
Environment Agency
identified that the current standard of flood protection in those parts of the town was insufficient, as it was of a 5–10-year event standard, whereas current guidelines require protection of a 50–200-year standard.[75] In the summer of 2010, the Agency began construction of a flood alleviation scheme at a cost of about £1.3 million.[76] Areas of the town[edit]

Kilver Court
Kilver Court
Gardens

Within Shepton Mallet
Shepton Mallet
there are several distinct areas which originated as separate communities around the central point of the church and Market Place.[77][78] The town centre is small, basically consisting of two streets: High Street, which runs south from the Market Place towards the Townsend Retail Park, and the pedestrianised Town Street which runs north from the Market Place to Waterloo Bridge. To the east, separated from the Market Place by the Academy complex, is the parish church of St Peter and St Paul. Lower Lane, which runs under Waterloo Bridge along the bottom of the river valley to the north of the town centre, is one of the few parts of the town where the River Sheppey
River Sheppey
runs above ground. At the eastern end is Leg Square, which is surrounded by three large houses originally built by owners of some of the town's mills.[79][80][81] Very close by is Cornhill, on which the former prison stands. Moving roughly eastwards, Garston Street, also in the valley-bottom, consists of a long row of weavers' and other artisans' cottages dating from the 17th century.[82] The eastern end of this area, adjacent to Kilver Street, is now occupied by the cider breweries. Across Kilver Street (the A37) is Kilver Court, which over the course of the 20th century has been a factory, the headquarters of the Showerings brewing business, and then the headquarters of a leather-goods manufacturer, Mulberry.[83] Behind are the Kilver Court
Kilver Court
Gardens, originally built by Showerings for the recreation of their staff[83] and set against the backdrop of part of the Charlton Viaduct. The gardens are now open to the public.[84] On the eastern edge of the town is Charlton where there are former breweries and mills, now converted into a trading estate,[83] and right on the edge of the town is to be found Charlton House, a luxury hotel and spa.[85]

Norah Fry
Norah Fry
Hospital, formerly the Shepton Mallet
Shepton Mallet
Union Workhouse

On the southern side of the town, on a triangle of land bounded on the east by the A37, on the north by the line of the former East Somerset Railway, and on the west by Cannard's Grave
Cannard's Grave
Road, is Tadley Acres, a modern housing development built on land partly belonging to the Duchy of Cornwall. The development has been praised for the quality of its design and the use of locally sourced natural building materials.[86] North of the former railway line is Collett Park. Across Cannard's Grave Road from Tadley Acres is the Mid- Somerset
Somerset
Showground. Immediately to the south-west of the town centre, on a site which at the start of the 20th century had been the grounds of the former Summerleaze House[87] and then a shoe-factory, is the Townsend Retail Park, built in 2006–7. West Shepton, which forms the south-west corner of the town, is dominated by the former Shepton Mallet
Shepton Mallet
Union Workhouse, a Grade II listed building originally constructed in 1848.[88] It later became the Norah Fry
Norah Fry
mental hospital and is now a housing development.[89] Nearby, on the western edge of the town, is the modern community hospital. Moving northwards, back down into the river valley, are two hamlets: Darshill, once the site of a number of mills,[90] and Bowlish, which contains several grand clothiers' houses.[41] The steeply-sloping fields adjoining the river between Bowlish
Bowlish
and the rest of the Shepton Mallet
Shepton Mallet
are known locally as The Meadows. To their east is Hillmead, a council housing estate built in the 1960s.[91] Climate[edit] Along with the rest of South West England, Shepton Mallet
Shepton Mallet
has a temperate climate that is generally wetter and milder than the rest of England. The annual mean temperature is about 10 °C (50 °F) with seasonal and diurnal variations, but due to the modifying effect of the sea, the range is less than in most other parts of the United Kingdom. January is the coldest month with mean minimum temperatures between 1 °C (34 °F) and 2 °C (36 °F). July and August are the warmest months in the region, with mean daily maxima around 21 °C (70 °F). In general, December is the dullest month and June the sunniest. South-west England
England
enjoys a favoured location, particularly in summer, when the Azores High
Azores High
extends its influence north-eastwards towards the UK.[92] Cloud often forms inland, especially near hills, and reduces exposure to sunshine. The average annual sunshine totals around 1600 hours. Rainfall tends to be associated with Atlantic depressions or with convection. In summer, convection caused by solar surface heating sometimes forms shower clouds and a large proportion of the annual precipitation falls from showers and thunderstorms at this time of year. Average rainfall is around 800–900 mm (31–35 in). About 8–15 days of snowfall is typical. November to March have the highest mean wind speeds, with June to August having the lightest. The predominant wind direction is from the south-west.[92] Demography[edit] In the 2001 census, the population was 8,981, comprising 4,482 (49.9%) males and 4,499 (50.1%) females; 1,976 (22%) residents were aged 16 or below, 5,781 (64.4%) between 16 and 65, and 1,224 (13.6%) aged 65 or over.[52] Of the population aged between 16 and 74, 4,200 (66%) were in employment, with only 224 (3.5%) unemployed, with the remainder being economically inactive. About 69% of those in employment were in service industries, with the remainder in manufacturing, while 1,459 people were employed in managerial or professional occupations, 522 were self-employed, and 1,888 worked in routine and semi-routine occupations.[52] A total of 3,714 households were recorded in the town, of which 2,621 (70.6%) were owner-occupied, 515 (13.9%) rented from private landlords, and 578 (15.6%) rented from the local authority or other social landlord; 3,688 (99.3%) heads of households were white.[52] In late 2008, Mendip
Mendip
District Council's estimate of the town's population was 9,700.[1] Economy[edit] There is a local perception that Shepton Mallet
Shepton Mallet
has been in economic decline for some time.[93] Some 350 manufacturing jobs were lost in the late 1990s and early years of the 21st century.[93] However, the District Council asserts that, despite the loss of the manufacturing jobs on which Shepton Mallet
Shepton Mallet
has been historically dependent, more jobs in distribution, business services and public administration, health, education, quarrying, construction and hi-tech services (from companies such as the ISP Easynet) have been created, thereby creating a more balanced economy. In 2001, there were slightly more jobs in the town than economically active people, resulting in a small in-flow of workers.[93] The town centre is fairly small with a high proportion of empty premises in Market Place and the north end of High Street adjacent to Market Place. However, the pedestrianised Town Street which runs north from the Market Place to Waterloo Bridge has had significant investment in its heritage in the last five years and now enjoys almost full occupancy of its shops. Since 2010 an 'artisan quarter' of independent shops is starting to emerge in Town Street and Market Place. Since 2004, Shepton Mallet's town centre buildings have benefited from two conservation schemes, the Heritage Economic Regeneration Scheme[94] and the Townscape Heritage Initiative Scheme,[95] which provided grants for the repair of buildings, reinstatement of architectural features and enhancement of public spaces, as well as community involvement, education and training. As the body which made the bid for the funding, Mendip
Mendip
District Council has administrated both schemes, but all decisions are made by a steering group comprising the main stakeholders in the town. For centuries there has been a general market held each Friday in the Market Place. The market has been in decline for some years and in 2010 attempts were made to revitalise it. However, after initial interest, the number of stallholders slowly decreased.[96] In recent months a number of suitcase traders have been supporting the market on a regular basis and this has attracted local interest. The furniture store Haskins, which originated in Shepton Mallet
Shepton Mallet
in 1938, has its principal showroom in the High Street within Haskins Retail Centre,[97] which also includes a number of others shops including Aldi
Aldi
supermarket, Edinburgh Woollen Mill, Ponden Home, Pavers Shoes and an outlet clothing store. Retail jobs in the town increased in number in 2006–7 when a new shopping development, including a large Tesco
Tesco
supermarket, a clothes store and other retailers, was constructed on a site just south of the town centre, which had once been a factory making Clarks shoes and later Doc Martens boots. This development attracted national media attention when protesters occupied the site to try to prevent the felling of an avenue of trees dating back to the 19th century.[98] It has also divided opinion in the town, between those who hoped it would help to revitalise the town, and others who feared that local traders would be unable to compete, leading to a further decline of Shepton Mallet's High Street.[99] There is also the Mulberry Factory Shop[100] located on Kilver Street, near to the former Mulberry headquarters.[83]

The Babycham
Babycham
fawn outside the brewery

Shepton Mallet
Shepton Mallet
is home to three international alcoholic drinks producers. The Gaymer Cider
Cider
Company, a subsidiary of C&C Group, produces Blackthorn and Gaymer's Olde English cider. However this producer is closing in 2016.[101][102] Constellation Brands, former owners of Gaymers, produces Babycham.[103] Family-run Brothers Drinks produces Brothers Cider[104] and runs a contract bottling operation for many other drinks companies. In October 2016 it was announced that the cider factory and bottling plant would be taken over by Brothers Drinks, makers of Brothers Cider.[105][106] As well as the annual Royal Bath and West Show
Royal Bath and West Show
and other agricultural shows, the Royal Bath & West Showground near Evercreech, 2.5 mi (4.0 km) south-east of the town, hosts events such as the New Wine
New Wine
and Soul Survivor Christian festivals and the National Adventure Sports Show, fairs and markets including the Shepton Mallet International Antiques & Collectors' Fair, and exhibitions and trade shows such as the National Amateur Gardening Show.[107] Transport[edit]

Charlton Viaduct
Charlton Viaduct
seen from Kilver Court
Kilver Court
Gardens

The A37 road
A37 road
runs north and south through Shepton Mallet, along the line of the Fosse Way
Fosse Way
between the south of the town and Ilchester. The A361 from Frome
Frome
skirts the eastern edge of Shepton Mallet
Shepton Mallet
on its way to Glastonbury, and the A371 from Castle Cary
Castle Cary
passes through the town on its way west to Wells; for some distance, both routes follow the line of the A37. Shepton Mallet
Shepton Mallet
had railway stations on two lines, both now closed. The first station, called Shepton Mallet
Shepton Mallet
(High Street) in British Railways days, was on the East Somerset
Somerset
Railway branch line from Witham and opened in 1859.[108] The line was extended to Wells in 1862 and later connected to the Cheddar Valley line
Cheddar Valley line
branch of the Bristol
Bristol
and Exeter Railway from Yatton
Yatton
to Wells via Cheddar. Through services between Yatton
Yatton
and Witham started in 1870. The line was absorbed into the Great Western Railway
Great Western Railway
in the 1870s. A second station, later called Shepton Mallet
Shepton Mallet
(Charlton Road), opened in 1874 with the building of the Bath extension of the Somerset
Somerset
and Dorset Joint Railway.[109] This station was some distance east of the centre of the town and was approached on the Charlton Viaduct.

The Somerset
Somerset
& Dorset Bath – Bournemouth line near Shepton Mallet in 1959

Both stations closed in the 1960s as part of the Beeching Axe. Shepton Mallet (High Street) closed with the withdrawal of passenger services on the Yatton
Yatton
to Witham line in 1963, though part of the former East Somerset
Somerset
line remains open for freight and as a heritage railway. Shepton Mallet
Shepton Mallet
(Charlton Road) closed in 1966 with the closure of the Somerset
Somerset
and Dorset line. Nowadays, the nearest Network Rail
Network Rail
station is Castle Cary, some eight miles south of Shepton Mallet. However, the nearest station on the East Somerset
Somerset
Railway is Mendip
Mendip
Vale, which is a mile and a half away. A bus service to the town is provided by First West of England. Landmarks[edit] There are 218 listed buildings in Shepton Mallet
Shepton Mallet
and the town is in receipt of funding for the restoration of chosen town-centre historic buildings from the English Heritage
English Heritage
Heritage Economic Regeneration Scheme and the National Lottery Townscape Heritage Initiative.[110] The town centre, and the Bowlish, Darshill and Charlton areas, form a conservation area.[111] The hexagonal market cross in the town centre, 50 ft (15 m) tall, dates back to a bequest of £20 by Walter Buckland in 1520,[3] and was rebuilt in 1841.[112] Also in the market place is The Shambles, a medieval market stall, although it has been much restored.[113] Former HM Prison Shepton Mallet sometimes known as Cornhill, was built in 1610,[114] is located close to the town centre, adjacent to the parish church. On 10 January 2013, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling announced that it was one of seven prisons in England to close.[2] On 24 December 2014 it was announced that the prison had been sold to the housing development company City and Country and public consultations are taking place to seek agreement on its future use.[115][116][117]

Old Bowlish
Bowlish
House (grade II*listed)

There are a number of fine houses in the older parts of the town around Lower Lane and Leg Square,[80] [81] [118] as well as in the outlying suburbs such as Charlton and Bowlish.[41] Old Bowlish
Bowlish
House, which now offers pre-arranged tours, dates from the first half of the 17th century and was remodelled in about 1720 in the Palladian style.[119] Bowlish
Bowlish
House, also in the Palladian style
Palladian style
and now a hotel and restaurant,[120] was built in 1732 by a prosperous local clothier;[121][122] a spring is reported to rise in the cellar. Park House in Forum Lane dates to about 1700 and was modified about 1750.[123] Others among the 19 grade II listed buildings in Bowlish include Coombe House, which was built c. 1820;[124] 14, 15 and 16 Combe Lane, which were built around 1700 with 18th-century alterations;[125] 26 to 29 Combe Lane, which is a former mill built around 1700 and enlarged in 1850;[126] and 30 and 31 Combe Lane, which are two weaver's cottages dating to about 1850.[127] What is now a stained glass studio in Ham Lane was formerly a coal store attached to a stable which belonged to the public house next door, The Butcher's Arms, which ceased trading in 1860. The studio has provided stained glass for, among others, the Roman Catholic Church of the Holy Ghost, Midsomer Norton.[128] As a consequence of its historic nature, Bowlish is included within Shepton Mallet's conservation area[129] and is a site of special archaeological interest.

Darshill Silk Mill

In the hamlet of Darshill, on the road from Shepton Mallet
Shepton Mallet
to Wells, there is a silk drying shed,[130] known locally as a handle house, three walls of which are full of holes to allow the passage of air to aid in the process of drying teasle heads, which were used to raise the nap on cloth in the textile process. The Anglo-Bavarian Brewery
Anglo-Bavarian Brewery
was built in the 1860s and still dominates the western parts of Shepton Mallet;[47] fairly nearby is a former workhouse and then hospital, the Norah Fry
Norah Fry
Hospital,[131] which was built in 1848[132] and has now been converted into housing.[133] Two now-disused railway viaducts are to be found in the town, including the Charlton Viaduct
Charlton Viaduct
which has 27 arches,[134] each spanning 28 feet (8.5 m). It is on a curve of 30 chains radius falling at 1 in 55 from each end to the midpoint.[135] The market cross, the prison and prison wall, The Merchants House (8 Market Place),[136] Anglo-Bavarian Brewery, Charlton Viaduct, the former St Michael's Roman Catholic Church at Townsend, and Bowlish House, Old Bowlish
Bowlish
House and Park House in Bowlish[41] are the town's nine grade II*listed buildings. The town centre was extensively remodelled in the 1970s, a scheme financed by the Showering family who owned the town's cider manufactories. The scheme included a new library (in a faithful copy of a former inn, The Bunch of Grapes, which had been demolished), and a new entertainment complex called The Centre, entirely in concrete, on the eastern side of the market square.[137] When the allegedly Roman Chi Rho
Chi Rho
amulet was found in the Fosse Lane excavations in the 1990s, the complex was renamed The Amulet
Amulet
in honour of the find. It has recently been renamed again as The Academy.[138][139] Shepton benefits from a sizeable park, a gift of land from a local man, John Kyte Collett. As a boy he was thrown out of the grounds of local estates for trespass so in later life he purchased and gave land to the town to provide a public space; this park, which opened in 1906, is called Collett Park in his honour.[140] Religious sites[edit]

Parish church of St Peter and St Paul

The Grade I listed parish church of St Peter and St Paul dates from the 12th century, but the current building is largely from the 15th century, with further rebuilding in 1836. The oak wagon roof, made up of 350 panels of different designs, separated by 396 carved foliage bosses (supposedly every one different) and with 36 carved angels along the sides, was described by British historian Nikolaus Pevsner as "the finest 15th century carved oak wagon-roof in England". It was restored, at a cost of £5,000, in 1953–54.[141][142][143] The former St Michael's Roman Catholic Church, which was built in 1804, is now a warehouse.[144] A modern Catholic Church, built in 1966, is located in Park Road.[145] There was also, between 1810 and 1831, a convent of the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary
Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary
(also known as the Salesian Sisters[146]) based in a mansion in Draycott Road.[147][148] The building, which is now known as Sales House,[149] was subsequently used as a Lodge by Shepton Mallet's freemasons,[150] and is now used as social housing. The Salvation Army
Salvation Army
has meeting rooms in the town,[151] whilst the local Methodists, who previously worshipped in their own Chapel in Paul Street (built in 1810; it is now a community centre),[152] have an agreement to share the parish church with the Anglican congregation.[153] The Baptist
Baptist
Chapel in Commercial Road was built in 1801 as a Congregational Church.[154] There were previously a number of other non-conformist chapels in Shepton, the most notable of which is the Unitarian Chapel on Cowl Street which was built in 1692 and enlarged in 1758; it is now a private dwelling.[155][156] Education[edit] There are three primary schools within Shepton Mallet. Shepton Mallet Infants School on Waterloo Road was rated as good by Ofsted
Ofsted
in 2013.[157] St Paul's Junior School on Commercial Road was assessed as good in 2008,[158] as was Bowlish
Bowlish
Primary School when it was last inspected in 2007.[159] Education for 11- to 16-year-olds is provided by Whitstone School, which is a Technology College.[160] In 2013, it was assessed by Ofsted as good.[161] For post-16 education, students travel to colleges in other local towns, for example Frome
Frome
Community College, Strode College in Street or Norton Radstock College
Norton Radstock College
in Midsomer Norton. Culture[edit]

Collett Park on Collett Day

During the summer of 2010, the television production company Wall to Wall filmed a series for BBC One
BBC One
in the town centre which was broadcast from 2 November 2010. Called Turn Back Time – The High Street, the series features a number of families running traditional bakers, butchers, grocers, and dressmakers shops, as well as a tea room, as they would have been during the Victorian and Edwardian eras, during World War II, and in the 1960s and 1970s.[162][163] A town fete called Collett Day is held in June in the town's Collett Park. A free one-day agricultural show, the Mid- Somerset
Somerset
Show, is held on fields on Shepton Mallet's southern edge in August.

The Academy (formerly The Amulet)

The Glastonbury
Glastonbury
Festival, the largest music festival in Europe, is held slightly west of the village of Pilton, approximately 3.5 miles (5.6 km) south-west of Shepton. The Bath Festival of Blues and Progressive Music was held at Shepton Mallet
Shepton Mallet
in 1970. The town also hosts the annual Shepton Mallet Digital Arts Festival which was founded in 2009.[164] In 2007, The Amulet
Amulet
complex in the town centre became the base for the Bristol
Bristol
Academy of Performing Arts (BAPA), and the complex was renamed The Academy.[139] In 2009, BAPA went into administration[165] and was briefly replaced by the Musical Theatre School, before that also failed.[166] The complex's auditorium has the only suspended seating system in the United Kingdom.[138] The town's weekly newspaper, part of the Mid Somerset
Somerset
Series, is called the Shepton Mallet
Shepton Mallet
Journal.[167] The town is also covered by the Fosse Way
Fosse Way
Magazine and Mendip
Mendip
Times. In 2007, Shepton Mallet
Shepton Mallet
came to international attention when Westcountry Farmhouse Cheesemakers broadcast the maturation of a round of Cheddar cheese
Cheddar cheese
called Wedginald, an event that attracted more than 1.5 million viewers.[168] Sport and leisure[edit] Shepton Mallet
Shepton Mallet
has a Non-League football
Non-League football
club, Shepton Mallet
Shepton Mallet
F.C., which plays at the Playing Fields.[169] It also has a hockey club, which play at the Leisure Centre.[170] The bowling green of the lawn bowls club is located in Frithfield Walk.[171] The club plays in the Wessex
Wessex
Mixed Friendly League, the Mid Somerset
Somerset
Men's League and the Mid Somerset
Somerset
Mixed League, and the ladies play in the Wild League. Shepton Mallet
Shepton Mallet
is also the home of a parkrun a free 5km event held weekly at 9am on Saturdays in the towns Collett Park.[172] Notable people[edit]

Edmund Adams (1915–2005), cricketer, was born in Shepton Mallet.[173] Simon Browne (1680–1732), a dissenting preacher and theologian, born in Shepton Mallet. He preached at Old Jewry
Old Jewry
in London
London
and in Portsmouth.[174][175] Christopher Cazenove
Christopher Cazenove
(1945–2010), cinema, television and stage actor, lived at Ham Manor in Bowlish, near Shepton Mallet, as a child.[176] William Henry Coombes (1767–1850), Catholic theologian, was a priest in Shepton Mallet
Shepton Mallet
from 1810 to 1849 and then retired to nearby Downside Abbey.[177] Herbert Foxwell (1849–1936), economist, was born in Shepton Mallet on 17 June 1849.[178] Sir Ronald Gould (1904–1986), general secretary of the National Union of Teachers from 1947 to 1970, was educated at Shepton Mallet Grammar School.[179][180] Madeleine Harris (born 2001), young actress who starred in Paddington (2014 film) and its sequel alongside Hugh Bonneville
Hugh Bonneville
and Ben Whishaw.[181] Racey Helps (1913–1970), children's writer and illustrator, lived in the town in the 1940s.[182] Hugh Inge
Hugh Inge
or Ynge (died 1528), Archbishop of Dublin and Lord Chancellor of Ireland, was a native of Shepton Mallet.[183] John Lewis (1836–1928), founder of the British department store John Lewis, was born in Town Street, Shepton Mallet, on 24 February 1836.[184] Francis Showering (1912–1995), drinks manufacturer and inventor of Babycham, was born in the town. Frank Tuohy (1925–1999), novelist and short-story writer, lived in Shepton Mallet
Shepton Mallet
after his retirement and died there on 11 April 1999.[185] Wallace Wyndham Waite MBE (1881–1971), one of the founders of Waitrose, attended Shepton Mallet
Shepton Mallet
Grammar School.[186]

Twin towns[edit] Shepton Mallet
Shepton Mallet
is twinned with: Misburg in Germany; Bollnäs
Bollnäs
in Gävleborg County, Sweden; and Oissel
Oissel
sur Seine in Haute-Normandie, France.[187][188] References[edit]

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External links[edit]

Somerset
Somerset
portal

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Shepton Mallet.

Shepton Mallet
Shepton Mallet
at Curlie (based on DMOZ) Shepton Mallet
Shepton Mallet
Town Council website [1]

v t e

Towns, villages and hamlets in the Mendip
Mendip
district of Somerset, England

Alhampton Ashwick Baltonsborough Batcombe Beckington Berkley Binegar Blatchbridge Buckland Dinham Chewton Mendip Chilcompton Coleford Cranmore Croscombe Ditcheat Doulting Downhead East Lydford East Pennard Emborough Evercreech Frome Glastonbury Godney Great Elm Hemington Holcombe Kilmersdon Lamyat Leigh-on-Mendip Litton Lullington Lydford-on-Fosse Meare Mells Milton Clevedon North Wootton Norton St Philip Nunney Pilton Priddy Pylle Rode Rodney Stoke Rudge Selwood Sharpham Shepton Mallet St Cuthbert Out Stoke St Michael Ston Easton Stratton-on-the-Fosse Street Tellisford Trudoxhill Upton Noble Walton Wanstrow Wells West Bradley West Lydford West Pennard Westbury-sub-Mendip Whatley Witham Friary Wookey Wookey
Wookey
Hole

v t e

Mendip
Mendip
Hills

Settlements

Ashwick Axbridge Banwell Bishop Sutton Blagdon Bleadon Burrington Charterhouse Cheddar Chewton Mendip Compton Bishop Compton Martin Cross Draycott East Harptree Easton Hinton Blewett Hutton Leigh-on-Mendip Litton Oakhill Priddy Rodney Stoke Rowberrow Sandford Shepton Mallet Shipham Ubley Webbington Wells West Harptree Westbury-sub-Mendip Winscombe Wookey
Wookey
Hole

Rivers and lakes

River Axe Cheddar Yeo River Chew River Yeo Lox Yeo River Blagdon
Blagdon
Lake Cheddar Reservoir Chew Valley
Chew Valley
Lake Litton Reservoirs

Hills

Axbridge
Axbridge
Hill Black Down Bleadon
Bleadon
Hill Burledge Hill Crook Peak Fry's Hill Pen Hill Purn Hill Shute Shelve Hill Wavering Down

Caves and gorges

Attborough Swallet Aveline's Hole Axbridge
Axbridge
Ochre Mine Banwell
Banwell
Caves Banwell
Banwell
Ochre Caves Burrington Combe Charterhouse Cave Cheddar Gorge Compton Martin
Compton Martin
Ochre Mine Cox's Cave Eastwater Cavern Ebbor Gorge Fairy Cave Quarry GB Cave Goatchurch Cavern Gough's Cave Hunter's Hole Lamb Leer Longwood Swallet Manor Farm Swallet Picken's Hole Pierre's Pot Priddy
Priddy
Caves Read's Cavern Reservoir Hole Rhino Rift Rod's Pot Shatter Cave Shute Shelve Cavern Sidcot Swallet St Cuthbert's Swallet St. Dunstan's Well Catchment Stoke Lane Slocker Swildon's Hole Thrupe Lane Swallet Tyning's Barrow Swallet Upper Flood Swallet W/L Cave Wookey
Wookey
Hole Caves

Quarries

Batts Combe Callow Rock Cloford Cloud Colemans Cook's Wood Doulting
Doulting
Stone Dulcote Emborough Fairy Cave Gurney Slade Halecombe Hobbs Holwell Moon's Hill Torr Works Viaduct Whatley Windsor Hill

SSSIs

Asham Wood Axbridge
Axbridge
Hill and Fry's Hill Banwell
Banwell
Caves Banwell
Banwell
Ochre Caves Barns Batch Spinney Blagdon
Blagdon
Lake Bleadon
Bleadon
Hill Brimble Pit and Cross Swallet Basins Burledge Hill Burrington Combe Chancellor's Farm Cheddar Complex Cheddar Reservoir Cheddar Wood Chew Valley
Chew Valley
Lake Cloford Quarry Compton Martin
Compton Martin
Ochre Mine Cook's Wood Quarry Crook Peak to Shute Shelve Hill Dolebury Warren Draycott Sleights Ebbor Gorge Emborough
Emborough
Quarries Harptree Combe Hobbs Quarry Holwell Quarries Kingdown and Middledown Lamb Leer Priddy
Priddy
Caves Priddy
Priddy
Pools Perch Rodney Stoke St. Dunstan's Well Catchment Sandpit Hole and Bishop's Lot Shiplate Slait Viaduct Quarry Windsor Hill Quarry Wurt Pit and Devil's Punchbowl

History

Priddy
Priddy
Circles Cheddar Man Drove Cottage Henge Dolebury Warren Charterhouse Roman Town Fosse Way King John's Hunting Lodge, Axbridge Priddy
Priddy
Mineries Somerset
Somerset
Coalfield Somerset
Somerset
Coal Canal Cheddar Valley line East Somerset
Somerset
Railway

Transport

Mendip
Mendip
Rail Mendip
Mendip
Way Monarch's Way National Cycle Route 24 A37 road A39 road A368 road A371 road

Councils

Bath and North East Somerset Mendip North Somerset Sedgemoor

Surrounding areas

Chew Valley Somerset
Somerset
Levels North Somerset
Somerset
Levels

v t e

Ceremonial county of Somerset

Somerset
Somerset
Portal

Unitary authorities

Bath and North East Somerset North Somerset

Boroughs or districts

Mendip Sedgemoor South Somerset Taunton
Taunton
Deane West Somerset

Major settlements

Axbridge Bath Bridgwater Bruton Burnham-on-Sea Castle Cary Chard Clevedon Crewkerne Dulverton Frome Glastonbury Highbridge Ilminster Keynsham Langport Midsomer Norton Minehead Nailsea North Petherton Portishead Radstock Shepton Mallet Somerton Taunton Watchet Wellington Wells Weston-super-Mare Wincanton Wiveliscombe Yeovil See also: List of civil parishes in Somerset

Rivers

Alham Aller Avill Avon Axe ( Bristol
Bristol
Channel) Axe (Lyme Bay) Badgworthy Water Banwell Barle Brue Cam Brook Cary Chew East Lyn Exe Fivehead Frome Haddeo Hoar Oak Water Holford Horner Huntspill Isle Land Yeo Mells Midford Brook Oare Water Parret Severn Estuary Sheppey Somer Sowy Tone Washford Wellow Brook West Lyn Whitelake Yeo (Congresbury) Yeo (South Somerset)

Topics

Country houses County Council Culture of Somerset Economy of Somerset Flag Geography of Somerset Geology of Somerset Grade I listed buildings Grade II* listed buildings High Sheriff of Somerset History of Somerset Local nature reserves Lord Lieutenant of Somerset Museums National nature reserves Parliamentary constituencies Places Population of major settlements Scheduled monuments Schools SSSIs Transport in Somerset Geographic areas: Blackdown Hills Brendon Hills Chew Valley Exmoor Mendip
Mendip
Hills Polden Hills Quantock Hills Somerset
Somerset
Levels South West Coast Path West S