A TIMELINE OF TAUNTON HISTORY
By Tim Lambert
904 The little market town of Taunton is given a charter (a document granting the people certain rights)
1086 Taunton has a population of about 1,500. It has 3 watermills.
1111 Taunton suffers a severe fire but it is rebuilt
C. 1125 A priory is built in Taunton
1138 The Bishop of Winchester (Lord of the Manor of Taunton) begins building a castle in the town
C. 1250 Taunton is famous for its wool industry. Taunton has two annual fairs.
C. 1450 Wool from Taunton is exported to France
1488-1514 The tower of the Church of St Mary Magdalene is built
1497 Rebels capture Taunton Castle but they flee when royal soldiers approach
1552 A grammar school is founded in Taunton. The wool industry continues to flourish.
1539 Henry VIII closes Taunton Priory
1627 Taunton is given a new charter. It is given a mayor and corporation.
1635 Grays Almshouses are built
1643 During the Civil War Royalists capture Taunton
1644 Parliamentary troops recapture Taunton but in October the Royalists come again. The parliamentarians retreat to the castle and the Royalists leave when they hear enemy reinforcements are coming.
April 1645 The Royalist return and capture Taunton town but they are unable to capture the castle. The Royalists flee in May.
1660 Charles II takes away the town charter (but it is restored in 1677). Charles II also destroys part of Taunton Castle.
1682 A new Market House is built
1685 The Duke of Monmouth leads a rebellion and the people of Taunton welcome him. However after the rebellion fails Judge Jeffreys holds a court in Taunton Castle.
1711 A cannonade of bells is added to the tower of St Mary Magdalene
1772 A new Market House is built
1778 A museum opens in Taunton. Silk making begins in the town as wool manufacture declines.
1788 Sir Benjamin Hammet builds Hammet Street and restores the castle.
1801 Taunton has a population of 5,794
1812 A hospital is built in Taunton
1821 Taunton gains gas street light
1842 Trinity Church is built. The railway reaches Taunton.
1843 Queens College is built. The County Court moves to Taunton.
1847 Taunton School opens
1863 St John the Evangelist is built
1880 Kings College opens
1881 St Andrews is built. Jellalabad Barracks are built
1894 Corporation Street is laid out
Taunton Castle Gate
1901 The population of Taunton is over 19,000. Electric trams begin running in Taunton.
1905 The first public library opens
1910 The first cinema opens
1922 Priory Bridge is built
1935 Taunton is made the county town of Somerset
1958 The museum is made the Somerset County Museum
1974-75 A motorway is built past Taunton
1982 Old Market Shopping Centre opens
1985 County Walk Centre opens
2001 The population of Taunton reaches 61,000
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