Watchet in 1841
Watchet is in the parish of St. Decuman, in the hundred of Williton and Freemanners, 159 or 160 miles west by south of London by Shepton Mallet and Bridgewater, and 19 miles north-west of Taunton. It was attacked, but in vain, by the Danes in their war with Edward the Elder, but was twice taken, and the last time entirely ruined, by them in their war with Ethelred II.
The town stands on the coast of the Bristol Channel, and is at the foot of a small rivulet : cliffs extend along the coast on both sides of the town, which consists of four streets, mostly paved. The parish church of St. Decuman's is in the village of that name, about a mile south of the town, and is a large handsome church, consisting of a nave, two side aisles, and a chancel, with an embattled western tower 80 feet high. There is a chapel at the village of Williton in the parish, and four ancient stone crosses in the same village. There are in the town of Watchet meeting-houses for Baptist's and Wesleyans.
The area of the parish is 3,250 acres ; the population in 1831 was 2,120. There is a small harbour, formed by a pier, and some coasting trade is carried on ; coals are imported from Wales, and lime and alabaster are (at least were) exported. There is a market on Saturday, and one yearly fair.
The living of St. Decuman's is a vicarage, of the clear yearly value of £134, in the archdeaconry of Taunton, in the diocese of Bath and Wells.
There were in the parish in 1833 eight day-schools, with 103 boys and 97 girls ; and four Sunday-schools, with 175 boys and 160 girls.