A market town and parish, in the hundred of Ferris Norton, 34 miles from Taunton, and 108 miles from London, contained in 1831, 2,123 inhabitants, and was assessed to 9,105l. in 1815. It is pleasantly sistuated on the slope of an eminence on the banks of the river Cale, and consists chiefly of four regular and well built streets. The town has been of late lighted with gas, and pipes for the supply of water laid in the principal street. Linene and Bedtick manufactures are carried on here, but not to any great extent. The market day, for corn, butcher's meat, cheese, butter etc: is Wednesday, the fairs are held on Easter Tuesday and September 29th, for cattle etc: Two constables and a tything man are annually chosen by a court-leet.
The living is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of U. and G. Messiter, Esqrs. value 130l. in 1835. The present incumbent is Rev. Henry Collins. The church, dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul, has a neat square tower and six bells and is capable of accommodating 600 persons. It is at the west end of the town. Many improvements have lately been made in its interior. There are chapels for the Wesleyans, Baptists, and Independents. There are no charities of any note, except a large national school in North Street.
This town existed at a very early period, and was frequently the scene of contest between the Britons, Danes, and Saxons. The Britons, having collected a large army, engaged with the West Saxons near this town, but were totally defeated, and in the reign of Edmund Ironside, the English, under his command, defeated the Danes at this place, and obilged them to abandon the island. It is famous for being the point where the Prince of Orange gained his first advantage over King James II. In 1688. It is also noted for having been a depot for French Officers, prisoners on parade, during the last war; there were between three or four hundred here.
A great part of the town was destroyed by fire in the year 1747, but since rebuilt in a more elegant manner.
The principal seats in the vicinity are, Roundhill House, the residence of George Wyndham, Esq.; and Holbrook House, the mansion of Henry Hall, Esq. There is a beautiful and extensive view southward, over the vale of Blackmoor, uninterupted for upwards of twenty miles. Near the town exist some springs, which upon analysis, are found to approach very nearly to the chemical composition of the Cheltenham waters. They are frequented by the inhabitants for similar disorders, but have not yet been generally known and appreciated by the public. At Stour Head, the seat of Hugh Hoare, Esq. there is an excellent collection of paintings, which attract many amateurs, and are politely shown to all visitors........Robson's 1835 Directory
A source of information that is very valuable to those Family History Researchers with connections to Wincanton is George Sweetman's book - The history of Wincanton, Somerset, from earliest times to the year 1903 - This is a very rare book and when available is expensive to buy. The Good News is that this book is now available in a choice of download formats through "The Internet Archive" a non-profit organisation that was founded to build an Internet library to offer permanent access for researchers where many publications covering Somerset can also be found through a search. Please follow this link to obtain a copy of George Sweetman's book.