Somerset Urban Archaeological Surveys (EUS) The Somerset EUS

Martock by Miranda Richardson

This is one of a series of reports on the archaeology of the urban (and formerly urban) areas of Somerset commissioned by English Heritage as part of its Extensive Urban Survey (EUS). The reports were prepared by Somerset County Council in 1994-98. There is a brief history of the town extracted from the report or you can download the whole report and maps in Portable Document Format (PDF).

Download Martock report

A brief history of Martock

The parish of Martock is situated on the low lying land between the Parrett and the Yeo rivers, bounded to the south by the Foss Way. Very little is known of the area in the prehistoric or Roman periods. The Domesday book records Martock as having been a royal estate, owned by Queen Edith until the conquest which probably also included Mulcheney and part of Tintinhull. As such it is likely to have had a minster church which administered to the population of the nine settlements in Martock Hundred (Martock, Hurst, Bower-Hinton, Milton, Witcombe, Ash, Coat, Stapleton and Load and Newton). The church is first mentioned in 1156 when it was in the possession of the Abbey of Mont St. Michel. A parsonage house and a dovecot are recorded in 1226, this building survives as the Treasurer's House. In addition a chantry chapel is mentioned in the early 14th century.

After the conquest the manor was granted to Eustace Count of Boulougne who conferred it on his daughter Maud, wife of Stephen who was made king of England in 1135. In 1302 the manor house, dovecot and garden are recorded as lying within a moated area but by 1633 it was described as "almost all let to ruin" and it is likely that the moated site was abandoned from this time. A new manor house was built on Church Street in the later 17th century.

In 1247 Ingram de Fiennes procured a grant for a weekly market and by the later period Martock was a lively trading and agricultural centre. As with many other South Somerset towns cloth production was the major industry but from from the 19th century this changed to glove production.