Chard in 1841
Chard is in the hundred of East Kingsbury, 143 miles west-south-west of London, by Salisbury and Shaftesbury, and 13 miles south-east of Taunton. It is written Cerdre in Domesday, at the compilation of which the manor was held by the bishop of Wells. It is asserted to have been a borough by prescription ; it sent members to parliament in the reigns of Edward II and III, but not since.
The town stands on the high ground on the south border of the county, and consists of several streets irregularly laid out, and lighted with gas : the houses are generally well built. The church, which is on the south side of the town, is a large and handsome cross-church ; it comprehends a nave, chancel, side aisles, north and south transepts, and a low tower at the west end. The market-house, formerly used as the borough court-house, is an ancient building ; as is the present town-hall, formerly a chapel. There are meeting-houses for Baptists and Independents.
The area of the parish is 5,140 acres ; the population in 1831 was 5,141. The manufactures are chiefly of lace and woollen cloth, in which nearly 500 men are employed ; to the introduction of these manufactures the increasing importance of the town may be ascribed. The market is on Monday, it is noted for the sale of potatoes ; there are three yearly fairs.
The corporation of Chard, under the Municipal Reform Act, consists of four aldermen and twelve councillors. The borough is not to have a commission of the peace, except on petition and grant. The corporation never possessed any jurisdiction. The limits of the borough comprehend nearly the whole town; and it is proposed to enlarge them so as to comprehend the whole ; the borough is distinct from the rest of the parish, as respects the maintenance of the poor.
The living is a vicarage, of the clear yearly value of £436, with a glebe-house ; it is in the archdeaconry of Taunton, in the diocese of Bath and Wells.
There were in the parish, in 1833, eight day-schools, one endowed, with 15 boys, and seven others, with 110 boys and 105 girls ; and three Sunday-schools, with 745 children of both sexes.