Bruton in 1841
Bruton is in Bruton hundred, on the river Brue, from which it gets its name, 112 miles west by south from London, by Andover and Amesbury, and 32 miles east by north from Taunton. The manor of Bruton (or, as it is written in Domesday, Brumetone) was held by the kings Edward the Confessor and William the Conqueror ; and was granted by the latter to Sir William de Mohun, whose descendants founded here a priory for black canons, on the ruins of a more ancient Benedictine monastery. This priory, at the suppression, just before which it was made an abbey, had a yearly revenue of £480, 17 shillings and 2 pence gross, or £439, 6 shillings and 8 pence clear. The town stands on the right bank of the Brue, which is here a small stream crossed by a stone bridge, and comprehends one main street, clean and well paved, with neatly built houses, and several smaller streets. The church, which is on the left bank of the river, is large ; it comprehends a nave, chancel, side aisles, vestry, and two porches, partly of decorated English, partly of perpendicular architecture, with a pinnacled tower at the west end. Dr. Matton (Observations on the Western Counties) and Collinson (History of Somersetshire) notice a second and more ancient on one side of the north aisle. There are no remains of the priory, which was near the church : some parts of it were incorporated into a mansion occupied by the Berkeley family, now pulled down. The town-hall contains a court-room, used for petty sessions ; the lower part is used as a market house. There are an Independent meeting-house, and a well endowed and commodious hospital or almshouse, founded by Hugh Saxey, or Sexey, auditor to Queen Elizabeth ; the buildings of this hospital form a spacious quadrangle decorated with a statue of the founder in a niche on the south side.
The area of the parish is 3,520 acres ; the population in 1831 was 2,223 of which 2,031 belonged to the town. The principal manufactures are of stockings and silk : in Leland’s time the townsmen were 'much occupied with make of clothe.' The market is on Saturday, and there are two yearly fairs.
The living is a perpetual curacy, of the clear yearly value of £138, with a glebe-house : it is in the archdeaconry of Wells, in the diocese of Bath and Wells.
There were, in 1833, an endowed free grammar-school, founded by Edward VI, with 11 boys on the foundation and 30 others ; Sexey's hospital-school, with 15 boys ; and eight other day-schools, with 97 boys and 108 girls ; and two Sunday-schools, with 99 boys and 110 girls.