Ilminster in 1841
Ilminster is in the hundred of Abdick and Bulstone, 136 miles west by south of London by Ilchester, and 12 miles south-east of Taunton. It was a market-town at the time of the Domesday Survey, when it belonged to the Benedictine abbey of Micelenie, now Muchelney, near Langport and was called Ileminstre. The town is in a low but pleasant situation, about a mile distant from the river Isle or Ile, from which it derives its name : it consists principally of two streets forming a cross ; the longer of these extends nearly a mile from east to west : the houses are neat and well built. The church is a large cross church, in the centre of the town, and consists of nave, chancel, transept, north and south aisles, and porch ; at the east end is a small vestry, formerly a chantry chapel. There is a handsome tower at the intersection of the cross, of light and uncommon construction, crowned with twelve pinnacles. The general character of the architecture is perpendicular. There are meeting-houses for Wesleyans, Independents, and Unitarians ; and a neat market-house.
The area of the parish is 4,390 acres ; the population in 1831 was 2,957. The woollen-cloth and silk and lace manufactures are carried on in a small way, and there are some
tan-yards and a considerable malt-trade. The market is on Wednesday, and there is one yearly fair.
The living is a vicarage, in the archdeaconry of Taunton in the diocese of Bath and Wells, of the clear yearly value of £200, with a glebe-house.
There were in the parish, in 1833, one dame-school ; a well endowed grammar-school, with 20 boys on the foundation and about 100 others ; another school of 50 boys and 40 girls, supported from the same property as the grammar-school ; a third endowed school, with 27 children of both sexes ; and thirteen other day-schools, with 237 children of both sexes ; and four Sunday-schools, with 340 children.