Yeovil - Encyclopedia

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YEOVIL, a market town and municipal borough in the S. parliamentary division of Somersetshire, England, on the Great Western and South-Western railways, 127 m. W. by S. of London. Pop. (1901) 9861. The town lies on the river Yeo, and is a thriving place, with a few old houses. The church of St John the Baptist is a perpendicular cruciform structure, consisting of chancel, nave of seven bays, aisles, transepts and lofty western tower. There are some 15thand 16th-century brasses, a dark cradle roof, and an early 13th-century crypt under the chancel. The town is famous for its manufacture of gloves (dating from 1565). Its agricultural trade is considerable. The town is governed by a mayor, 4 aldermen and 12 councillors. Area, 654 acres. Yeovil (Gyoele, Evill, Ivle, Yeoele) before the Conquest was part of the private domains of the Anglo-Saxon kings. The town owed its origin to trade, and became of some size in the 13th century. In 14th-century documents it is described as a town or borough governed by a portreeve, who frequently came into conflict with the parson of St John's church, who had become lord of the manor of Yeovil during the reign of Henry III. The corporation in the 18th century consisted of a portreeve and eleven burgesses, and was abolished when the town was reincorporated in 1853.

Fairs on the 17th of July and the 6th of November were held under grant of Henry VII., and were important for the sale of leather and of woollen cloth, both made in the town. The Friday market dates from 1215. There is a great market every other Friday and a monthly horse sale.

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