1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Wiveliscombe

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WIVELISCOMBE (pronounced Wilscomb), a market town in the western parliamentary division of Somersetshire, England, 91/2 m. W. of Taunton by the Great Western railway. Pop. (1901), 2246. It stands on a picturesque sloping site in a hilly district, and has some agricultural trade and a brewing industry, while in the neighbourhood are slate quarries.

Traces of a large Roman camp may still be seen to the south-east of Wiveliscombe (Wellescombe, Wilscombe, Wiviscombe), which is near the line of a Roman road, and hoards of Roman coins have been discovered in the neighbourhood. The town probably owed its origin to the suitability of its position for defence, and it was the site of a Danish fort, later replaced by a Saxon settlement. The overlords were the bishops of Bath and Wells, who had a palace and park here. They obtained a grant of free warren in 1257. No charter granting self-government to Wiveliscombe has been found, and the only evidence for the traditional existence of a borough is that part of the town is called “the borough,” and that until the middle of the 19th century a bailiff and a portreeve were annually chosen by the court leet. A weekly market on Tuesdays, granted to the bishop of Bath and Wells in 1284, is still held. During the 17th and 18th centuries the town was a centre of the woollen manufacture.