MSO9335 - Dulverton (Place)


Dulverton was a medieval town, first mentioned in 1306 when a market and three day fair were granted. In 1340, it was granted to the Augustinian priory at Taunton, but began a long process of decline.

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record .

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

Dulverton was a small medieval town. [1] Dulverton was a medieval town, first mentioned in 1306, when a market and three day fair were granted by Edward I. It is likely to have been a pre-existing agricultural settlement acquiring urban status. In 1340, it was granted to the Augustinian priory at Taunton, but began a long process of decline. The economy at this time was probably based on the wool trade. At the Dissolution of Taunton Priory in 1538 the town passed to the King. The town was still in decline in 1555 when Philip and Mary granted a new charter of a market and two annual fairs to John Sydenham; it was said that 'the town and borough of Dulverton (was) very populous and in decay and the poor inhabitants now in great want'. In 1568 a survey shows 6 mills, 6 dovecotes, 20 cottages and 20 crofts. The textile trade continued and in 1791 the town was engaged in the manufacture of coarse woollen cloth and blanketings.[3] The settlement existed before Domesday, in which Dulverton is recorded as a royal manor. Under the Turbervilles, to whom it was granted by William I, the manor remained intact until the late 12th century, when it entered a period of fragmentation until the mid 14th century, by which time Taunton Priory had gained control of the entire manor. In the mid 16th century inhabitants of Dulverton established a measure of self government in the form of a borough. [8] Dulverton had early importance as a fording place and as a centre for hunting in the Royal Forest of Exmoor. In 1086, Dulverton was a royal manor and during the medieval period came into the hands of Taunton Priory. At the Dissolution of the Monasteries, in the 1540s, possession reverted to the King. Under Philip and Mary, control of Dulverton's affairs was handed to ten local citizens, one of whom, a Sydenham, purchased the manor in 1568. The manor remained wholly in Sydenham hands until the later 18th century, but by 1818 was already largely broken up. In 1858 the Sydenhams sold their remaining holdings to the Earl of Carnarvon, who had a residence at the nearby Pixton Park. [9] Dulverton was originally 'dieglaford' - the hidden ford. Several ridgeways converge on Dulverton, where it provides a sheltered crossing over the River Barle. [10] Dulverton was recorded as 'Dolvertune' in Domesday records. The presence of six mills, recorded in 1568, suggests an active woollen industry. [11] Dulverton Conservation Area was designated in December 1994. The character appraisal prepared in the early 2000s discusses the origins of the village and its buildings in more detail. [12] The Black Death, in the 1340s, halved the population of Dulverton and its surrounding area. [13] Dulverton was struck by cholera in 1834, causing 46 deaths. [14] The historic core of Dulverton was deduced using historic mapping available to the HER. [2,15-16] Dulverton was sometimes written Dauerton. It has been suggested that the name may be Celtic in origin, including "Dol" (a bend in a stream or river), with "Dol-ford-ton" being "the ford-town at the bend of the river". [17] Information on individual sites around the settlement was collated for a guided walk leaflet in 1985. [18] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [20] An updated Conservation Area Appraisal for Dulverton was adopted in 2019. This included a boundary change to the area. [21] A map of Dulverton Parish dating from 1790 was created for St B Sydenham Esquire by W White Wedmore. It includes an enlarged plan of the town. [22]

Sources/Archives (22)

  • <1> Verbal communication: Various. 1900-. Somerset County Council / South West Heritage Trust staff comments. M Aston, 29 March 1976.
  • <2> Map: 1838. Dulverton Tithe Map and Apportionment.
  • <3> Monograph: Aston, M. and Leech, R.. 1977. Historic Towns in Somerset. Committee for Rescue Archaeology in Avon, Gloucestershire and Somerset. Survey Number 2. P.42-44, Maps.
  • <4> Article in serial: Green, E.. 1883. Notes on the history of Dulverton. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. 29. 69-82.
  • <5> Monograph: Shell, F.J.. 1924. Dulverton and District.
  • <6> Photograph: 1984. Slide 3.009.0032.
  • <7> Aerial photograph: Griffith, F.. 1980s-1990s. Oblique aerial photographs of the Devon part of Exmoor National Park. DAP OY2-4. 1989.
  • <8> Report: Juleff, G.. 1997. Dulverton High Street Archaeological Watching Brief Report. Gill Juleff. P.1.
  • <9> Report: Green, T., Humphreys, C. + Waterhouse, R.. Woodliving, Dulverton, Somerset: Results of an Archaeological Building Survey and Desk-Based Study. P.5.
  • <10> Monograph: Binding, H. + Bonham-Carter, V.. 1986. Old Dulverton and Around: Dulverton - Bury - Brushford - Exebridge. The Exmoor Press. Inside font cover map. P.5.
  • <11> Article in monograph: Gathercole, C.. 2003. English Heritage Extensive Urban Survey: An Archaeological Assessment of Dulverton. The Somerset Urban Archaeological Survey. English Heritage. P.3, 4, 8.
  • <12> Unpublished document: Fisher, J.. c.2003. Dulverton Conservation Area Appraisal.
  • <13> Monograph: Dulverton and District Civic Society. 2002. The Book of Dulverton, Brushford, Bury and Exebridge. Halsgrove. P.9.
  • <14> Monograph: Siraut, M.. 2009. Exmoor: The Making of an English Upland. Phillimore & Co. Ltd. 1st Edition. P.26, 35-39, 46, 56, 63, 73, 82, 94-97, 99-101, 117-118, 136, 156, Map.
  • <15> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1854-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500.
  • <16> Map: Ordnance Survey. 2013. MasterMap.
  • <17> Article in serial: Unknown. 1883. Thursday's Excursion. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Nat. 29. Part 1, 58-80. pp 67-70.
  • <18> Unpublished document: Exmoor National Park Authority. 1985. A walk through Dulverton.
  • <19> Monograph: Anonymous. 1086. Domesday Book / Liber de Wintonia / The Great Survey. N/A.
  • <20> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 900084, Extant 11 April 2022.
  • <21> Map: White Wedmore, W.. 1790. A Map of the Manor of Dulverton in the County of Somerset belonging to St. B. Sydenham Esqr.. 10 inches to 1 mile. Pen and Ink.
  • <21> Report: Pratt, N. and Thurlow, T.. 2019. Dulverton Conservation Area: appraisal document. Exmoor National Park Authority.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11211
  • Local Heritage List Status (Unassessed)
  • Local Plan - Historic Core
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 92 NW17
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 900084
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 33543



Grid reference Centred SS 913 281 (745m by 1101m)
Map sheet SS92NW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

Related Events/Activities (2)

Related Articles (5)

Record last edited

Oct 31 2022 2:15PM


Your feedback is welcome. If you can provide any new information about this record, please contact us.