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Martock — Somerset, England

Martock is a large village and a parish on the edge of the Somerset Levels, close to the Blackdown Hills, the Mendips and the Quantocks; as well as having the River Parret Trail passing through Martock as this long-distance footpath proceeds through the village from the River Parret on its way to join the West Somerset Coast Path.

MartockThere does not appear to be any prehistoric archaeological reference to prehistory in Martock, however there were many other areas in close proximity to Martock, and in the surrounding areas, which evidence Palaeolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic peoples. Perhaps the winter flooding in the Somerset Levels kept various tribes from settling Martock early on, but lack of archaeological evidence does not predispose the fact that some ancient people were in the range of the Martock area. In the Domesday Book Martock is noted as a Saxon royal estate, owned by Queen Edith. As a large estate, it most probably included a minster church, and some settlement about the manor to serve the needs of the estate. A document dated 1302 describes the manor house with its garden and a surrounding moat, but it appears that by the early 1600's the manor is virtually in ruin. A medieval reference to the 1247 grant for a weekly market is recorded and once the market was in effect, it eventually made Martock a successful agricultural and trading centre.

All Saint's Church is thought to predate 1156, which is the first time the church is mentioned. A reference to the church in 1226 includes information regarding a parsonage, which scurvies today as the Treasurer's House; as it was acquired by the Treasurer of Wells Cathedral in 1227, becoming the rector of the church and he was also its patron. All Saint's Church is presumed to be of Saxon origin and may have originally been a minster church. This is the second largest church in Somerset; All Saint's church also has a tower dating from circa 1511, as well as carved statuary in the eaves, however the church is renowned for its carved tie beam roof in the nave and has been designated as a Grade I listed building.

There are a number of old buildings in Martock, some are Grade I and II listed buildings built in hamstone, giving them the golden hue which the village is known for. The hamstone is quarried in nearby Ham Hill, with the lovely Ham Hill Country Park having one of the largest Iron Age hill forts in Europe, with the park offering pathways to explore. The Romans may have set up a military camp in the hill fort, and there are still remains of a Roman villa to be seen. The present Market House in Martock, a designated Grade II structure built in the mid 1700's has seen many uses, even the stocks were located there until 1853; and Cary's Mill was mentioned in the Domesday book and is presently occupied by Parrett Works; while Bower Hinton Farm still has a portion of the original farmhouse dating to the 13th century, with 17th century additions; and the Treasurer's House that is the property of the National Trust, is the oldest inhabited house in Somerset, with the exception of the Bishop's Palace in Wells.

There are also many interesting homes and gardens in quite close proximity to the village of Martock, all of which offer delightful sights, and magnificent historical buildings. Martock itself has a marked route in their village to make your viewing of their long history more accessible. There is also a once a month informal music and poetry meeting that welcomes everyone; the Martock Players and Pantomime Society offers performances; and local concerts can also be enjoyed. For a panoramic view of South Somerset, go to the top of Burrow Hill and for a treat visit the cider farm at the base of the Hill, where you can see the age old traditional method of producing apple cider. The first written records of Cider Brandy were in 1678, and Somerset Cider Brandy is purported to be one of the best, and you are invited to sample the cider and Cider Brandy from among the vats during your visit.

Where is Martock?

Martock is located in Somerset near the A303. The nearest populated areas include Yeovil to the east and South Petherton to the west.

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