Taunton began as a Saxon village and was called Tone Tun. The Saxon word tun means farm or estate and the word ‘tone’ is Celtic and may mean” roaring river”. Taunton was a wool town with exports to France and later Africa. After its wool industry declined the town has been involved with: silk making, brewing, iron founding and the making of optical equipment, clothing, textiles and cider making.
In 1935 Taunton was made the county town for Somerset, instead of Weston super Mare, an indication that it was growing in size and importance. In 1974-75 the M5 motorway was built past Taunton which meant that there were better communications and transport routes leading to the town growing more rapidly. Taunton is also an important regional shopping centre and an important market town with a population of 102,000.
Dominating Taunton is the parish church of St Mary Magdalene with its superbly decorated tower, the highest in Somerset. Around the town centre is the Taunton Heritage Trail - a self-guided, circular walk illustrated by brass plaques showing information about its history are in the pavement. Taunton prides itself on its award winning floral displays and gardens and in Vivary park it hosts Taunton Flower Show, the 'Chelsea of the West', in early August.
Taunton has a variety of shops, including big high street names. Cider is the local West Country drink, and is widely produced in Somerset - those interested in cider production should head for Taunton. There are Farmers Markets, music in the park on Sundays and street entertainment at weekends. Taunton castle is currently closed to the public for a refit and will re-open as the Museum of Somerset in late summer 2010 Taunton has a range of cafes, restaurants, pubs, takeaways and sandwich bars and is in an excellent position to explore the rest of Somerset.
Along with its beautiful and varied coastline, Somerset is host to some amazing areas of countryside, including three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (the Quantock, Mendip and Blackdown Hills) and the Exmoor National Park. There are also plenty of historic towns and villages tucked away in the county for you to discover and explore, not to mention the world's finest County Cricket Club, resident in the county town of Taunton.
The links on the sidebar will take you to some useful websites outside of the Deanery's control. The Severn Deanery is not responsible for any of the information published by external websites.