Shepton Mallet in 1841
Shepton Mallet is in the hundred of Whitestone, 118 miles west by south of London through Andover, Amesbury, and Frome, and 32 miles east-north-east of Taunton. It is called Sepeton in Domesday ; but, becoming afterwards part of the territory of the the Malet family, took the additional designation of Mallet. The town is situated in a valley watered by a small feeder of the Brue, and consists of several streets, irregularly laid out ; the principal street, which is broad and well built, is paved and well lighted. The church is a large and handsome cross church on the east side of the market-place : it comprehends a nave, chancel, side aisles, transept, two chapel's, and a chantry, now used as a vestry-room. There is a tower at the west end crowned with a spire. There are Unitarian, Independent, and Methodist meeting-houses, a Catholic convent, and a nunnery. The county bridewell is in Shepton Mallet. In the market-place is an ancient market-cross.
The area of the parish is 3,770 acres ; the population in 1831 was 5,330. The principal manufacture's are of woollen-cloth, serge, sail-cloth, and silks, which employed in 1831
109 men, besides women and children. The markets are on Tuesday and Friday ; the latter is a considerable corn market; there are three yearly fairs.
The living is a rectory, of the clear yearly value of £553, with a glebe-house, in the archdeaconry of Wells in the diocese of Bath and Well's.
There were in the parish in 1833, twenty-seven day schools of all kinds (including four boarding-schools, a national school, and another school supported by subscription), with 236 boys, 216 girls, and 60 children of sex not stated ; one evening (national) school with 20 children ; and four Sunday-schools with 627 children. There is a foundation for a grammar-school, but the school was, in 1833, in abeyance.