Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for MEARE

MEARE, a village and a parish in Wells district, Somerset. The village stands on a quondam island, near the river Brue, and near the Highbridge and Glastonbury railway, 2½ miles WNW of Glastonbury; dates from ancient times; was long approachable only by water; could be approached, so late as about 1808, only by a horsepath; and has a post office under Glastonbury. The parish comprises 8,269 acres. Real property, £18,257. Pop., 1,640. Houses, 344. There are three manors, Meare, Godney, and Westhay; and all were given by Kerelwach, King of the West Saxons, to Glastonbury abbey. The manor of Meare went, at the dissolution, to the Duke of Somerset; passed afterwards through many hands; and now is much subdivided. The manorhouse was built in the middle of the 14th century by Adam de Sodbury; was a frequent residence of the abbots of Glastonbury; retains, particularly in its hall and its kitchen, very distinct marks of ancient grandeur; was surrounded by high walls, much of which still remain; and is now used as a farm-house. The abbots came to it by water; they had a sort of wharf, at a spot now called Pool-reed, where their boats were moored; and they used what was long a lake of about 400 acres for abundant fishing. A cottage, traditionally known as the Fish-house, stands a little E of the manor house; was built in the time of Edward III.; presents unique and interesting features, with a roof of open timber-work; and is kept in repair by its present proprietor, Sir Charles Taylor. The quondam lake has been completely drained; and all the bottom of it is now prime land. Much of the adjacent surface is marsh or turbary.: and stacks of peat, cut for fuel, dot it in all directions. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Bath and Wells. Value, £340.* Patron, W. T. H. Phelps, Esq. The church is mainly of the time of Edward II., but partly of the times of Edward III. and Henry VI; was much mutilated, by tasteless alterations, after the Reformation; has, in recent times, been much improved; and contains a richly-sculptured pulpit. Very near the church is an old stone cross. The p. curacy of Godney is a separate benefice. There are chapels for Independents, Baptists, and Primitive Methodists, and a national school. The Rev. W. Phelps, author of a "History of Somerset,'' was vicar.

(John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72))

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a village and a parish"   (ADL Feature Type: "populated places")
Administrative units: Meare AP/CP       Wells PLU/RegD       Somerset AncC
Place: Meare

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