Back In Time: Old postcards show Shepton Mallet from bygone days

  Posted: 27.04.21 at 12:58 by Tim Lethaby

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Shepton Mallet is a place full of history, whether that be going back hundreds of years or a handful of decades.

Today we continue our Back In Time series, where Shepton Mallet Nub News looks at people, places and events that have shaped our town.

In this article we look at a series of five postcards that show the centre of Shepton Mallet from bygone days.

The centre of Shepton Mallet is always evolving, and this set of postcards highlights how things looked at various sites in the town many years ago.

The five pictures have been reproduced by kind permission of Andy Baillie, from the Baillie Vintage Instagram page.

First up is a postcard of the Market Cross and Post Office, while another shows a different view of the cross and the drinking fountain.

The fountain is Grade II listed and thought to have been constructed in 1868, while the Market Cross is a scheduled ancient monument.

The first market cross on the site is believed to have been built by 1500, and the plaque says this was funded at a cost of £20 by Walter Buckland and his wife Agnes.

In 1685 following the Monmouth Rebellion, 12 of the followers of James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth, were hanged, drawn and quartered at the cross.

In 1841 it was rebuilt by George Phillips Manners, and in 2012 the lead on the roof and surrounding Doulting stonework was restored.

Two of the other postcards show a different-looking Collett Park, including the pond that is naturally-fed.

The park was gifted to the town by John Kyte Collett in 1906. It is believed that, as a boy, John Collett was told off for playing in the fields that were privately owned at the time.

After many years the land started to be auctioned off and John Collett accumulated several lots of land and presented them as a gift to the town as the park that we now know and love.

Finally, there is a postcard of the Church of St Peter and St Paul, which is designated as a Grade I listed building.

There is evidence of a church on the site from before the Norman Conquest and the font may date from that time. The only other remains are the walls around the chancel arch.

The current building is largely from the 15th century, with further rebuilding in 1836 to 1837 when the chapels, aisles and transepts were demolished in order to enlarge them.

The timber roof includes 350 panels of different designs and 36 carved angels along the sides, which was described by historian Nikolaus Pevsner as "the finest 15th century carved oak wagon-roof in England". The stone pulpit dates from around 1550 and has six carved panels.

The four stage tower was built around 1423, and it was originally intended to have a spire but this was never built.

The Millennium Window was designed, constructed and installed by local stained glass artist John Yeo.

See our other Back In Time feature: The story of a Prisoner of War survivor from Shepton Mallet.

If you have any photographs you would like us to share as a Back In Time feature, please get in touch with editor Tim Lethaby on [email protected]

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