Minehead in 1841
Minehead is in the hundred of Carhampton, 167 miles west by south of London, and 23 miles west-north-west of Taunton. It is written in Domesday Manheve, and was held by Willelmus de Moion. The town was incorporated by Queen Elizabeth, and returned two members to parliament, until disfranchised by the Reform Act. The corporation has fallen into disuse.
The town consists of three parts : the upper town, comprehending the church and some streets of mean houses, irregularly laid out, on the eastern slope of Greenaley Hill, which rises to the height of 600 feet, and is cultivated on the land side to the very top ; the lower town, which is the principal part, and has some respectable streets ; and the Quay-town along the shore. The church is large and handsome, with an embattled tower, 90 feet high, at the west end : it contains a monument with an effigy, but with the inscription obliterated, supposed to be that of the ancient law-writer, Henry de Bracton ; there is also an alabaster statue of Queen Anne. There are a Baptist meeting-house and an alms-house. At Quay-town is a quay, faced with masonry and with a parapet towards the sea : also a custom-house.
The area of the parish is 3,780 acres ; the population in 1831 was 1,481. The trade of the port a century ago consisted in the import of woollen-yarn, raw-wool, linens, and hides, chiefly from Ireland ; and in the export of coals and oak-bark to Ireland, and of herrings to the Mediterranean. At present only a few vessels belong to the port, which exports grain, malt, flour, and hides to Bristol and to Wales ; and import groceries and iron from the former, and coal and culm from the latter. The herring fishery is carried on along the coast. The market is on Wednesday, and there is one yearly fair. Minehead is sometimes resorted to by invalids on account of the mildness of the climate.
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, six day or boarding-schools, with 75 boys and 92 girls ; and two Sunday-schools, with 83 boys and 79 girls.