1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Shepton Mallet

SHEPTON MALLET, a market town in the eastern parliamentary division of Somersetshire, England, 22 m. S.W. of Bath, on the Somerset & Dorset and the Great Western railways. Pop. of urban district (1901), 5238. The old town extends in a narrow line along the river Sheppey, while the newer town has for its main street a viaduct across the river valley. The church of St Peter and St Paul is especially noteworthy. Consisting of a chancel, clerestories nave, and aisles, it is Early English and Perpendicular in style, and contains a beautiful 13th-century oak roof of 350 panels, each with a different design; a 15th-century pulpit of carved stone; and some interesting old monuments of the Strode, Mallet and Gournay families. The market cross, over 50 ft. high, and one of the finest in Somerset, was erected by Walter and Agnes Buckland in 1500. Shepton possesses a grammar school of the 17th century, and a science and art school. The once flourishing cloth and woollen trades have declined, but there are large breweries, roperies, potteries, and, in the neighbourhood, marble, granite, asphalt and lime works.

Shepton, before the conquest called Sepeton, was in the possession of the abbots of Glastonbury for four hundred years, and then passed to a Norman, Roger de Courcelle. Afterwards it came into the possession of the Norman barons Malet or Mallet, one of whom was fined for rebellion in the reign of King John. From the Mallets it went to the Gournays, but in 1536 it reverted to the crown, and it is now included in the duchy of Cornwall. The town received the grant of a market from Edward II. Monmouth and the rebel army passed through Shepton twice in 1685, and twelve of the rebels were hanged here by Judge Jeffreys.