A Timeline of Taunton

By Tim Lambert

904 The little market town of Taunton is given a charter (a document granting the people certain rights)

1086 Taunton has a population of about 1,500. It has 3 watermills.

1111 Taunton suffers a severe fire but it is rebuilt

C. 1125 A priory is built in Taunton

1138 The Bishop of Winchester (Lord of the Manor of Taunton) begins building a castle in the town

C. 1250 Taunton is famous for its wool industry. Taunton has two annual fairs.

C. 1450 Wool from Taunton is exported to France

1488-1514 The tower of the Church of St Mary Magdalene is built

1497 Rebels capture Taunton Castle but they flee when royal soldiers approach

1552 A grammar school is founded in Taunton. The wool industry continues to flourish.

1539 Henry VIII closes Taunton Priory

1627 Taunton is given a new charter. It is given a mayor and corporation.

1635 Grays Almshouses are built

1643 During the Civil War Royalists capture Taunton

1644 Parliamentary troops recapture Taunton but in October the Royalists come again. The parliamentarians retreat to the castle and the Royalists leave when they hear enemy reinforcements are coming.

April 1645 The Royalists return and capture Taunton town but they are unable to capture the castle. The Royalists flee in May.

1660 Charles II takes away the town charter (but it is restored in 1677). Charles II also destroys part of Taunton Castle.

1682 A new Market House is built

1685 The Duke of Monmouth leads a rebellion and the people of Taunton welcome him. However, after the rebellion fails Judge Jeffreys holds a court in Taunton Castle.

1711 A cannonade of bells is added to the tower of St Mary Magdalene

1772 A new Market House is built

1778 A museum opens in Taunton. Silk-making begins in the town as wool manufacture declines.

1788 Sir Benjamin Hammet builds Hammet Street and restores the castle.

1801 Taunton has a population of 5,794

1812 A hospital is built in Taunton

1821 Taunton gains gas street light

1842 Trinity Church is built. The railway reaches Taunton.

1843 Queens College is built. The County Court moves to Taunton.

1847 Taunton School opens

1863 The Church of St John the Evangelist is built

1880 Kings College opens

1881 St Andrews is built. Jellalabad Barracks are built.

1894 Corporation Street is laid out

1901 The population of Taunton is over 19,000. Electric trams begin running in Taunton.

1905 The first public library opens

1910 The first cinema opens

1922 Priory Bridge is built

1935 Taunton is made the county town of Somerset

1958 The museum is made the Somerset County Museum

1974-75 A motorway is built past Taunton

1982 Old Market Shopping Centre opens

1985 County Walk Centre opens

2001 The population of Taunton reaches 61,000