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Shepton Mallet, standing practically upon the Fosse Way, which here begins to take the hills, was given by Ine, as Croscombe was, to the Abbey of Glaston. At the Conquest it came to be held of the Abbot by Roger de Courcelle, but later it was held by the Mallets, from whom it takes its second name.

 For many years it was famous for the manufacture of woollen-cloth, in which, even in Collinson’s day, some four thousand persons were employed. But all this has come to nothing, and to-day, the “ Anglo-Bavarian” Brewery, I suppose, accounts for much of the “ industry ” here.

The church, with its very glorious triple windowed tower, the noblest of all towers of this type, is almost all that remains of old Shepton, and that, as I have said, has suffered much from villains and fools, both in the time of the change in religion and in our own day. What remains, however, in spite of this vandalism, is of very considerable interest and beauty.

 This consists of the ancient font, of the late Transition arcade of the nave, the thirteenth century chancel arch, with its fine responds, the beautiful double piscina, the glorious tower of the early Perpendicular period, perhaps the earliest Perpendicular tower in Somerset, the magnificent late fifteenth century oak roof, perhaps the finest in the county, consisting of three hundred and fifty carved panels, all of different design, with bosses and rosettes, and thirty-six angels, and the very lovely stone-pulpit.

The chancel is low, and no doubt over the chancel arch, where now the ugly and forbidding tables of the old law hang, there was originally a Rood, or perhaps a picture of the Last Judgment. Originally, of course, the church had no clerestory, hence the great height over the low chancel arch.

 The horrible galleries that now spoil the church should be done away with. From the church we proceed to the Market Place, where I suppose the rare old shambles now so ruinous, the last mediaeval shambles left in England, it is said, should certainly be examined. They date from the fifteenth century.

 Only about half of them is left; another row, a generation ago, ran along the other side of the market place. Here, of course, meat was sold. The Market Cross, the lower part of which, including the shelter, is ancient, was built in the year 1500. The upper part, which fell in the eighteenth century, was rebuilt in 1841.

The original brass remains, with the following inscription : “ Of your charyte pray for the soules of Walter Buklond and Agnes hys wyff with whoys goods thys Crosse was made in the yere of our Lord God 1500 whoys obbyt

Shepton Mallet. Market Cross.

shall be kepte for Ever in thys parisshe Churche of Shepion Mallett ye 28 day of November whoys soules Jesu pardon. With the Market Place it would seem one has done with Shepton, a singularly unfortunate town, very irregularly built, and with less visible antiquity about it than one would expect