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Parish Church of St Michael The Archangel - Mere
Parish Church of St Michael The Archangel – Mere A beautiful church with substantial remains of the C13 – C15. Mike Searle / Parish Church of St Michael The Archangel – Mere / CC BY-SA 2.0

Mere is an Ancient Parish and a market town in the county of Wiltshire.

Other places in the parish include: Woodlands, Charnage, Chadderwick, Chaddenwicke, and Chaddenwick.

Status: Ancient Parish

Parish church: St Michael

Parish registers begin:

  • Parish registers: 1561
  • Bishop’s Transcripts: 1591

Nonconformists include: Christians, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Independent/Congregational, Primitive Methodist, and Roman Catholic.

Parishes adjacent to Mere

Historical Descriptions

Interior of St Michael's Church - Mere
Interior of St Michael’s Church – Mere A view towards the nave and the west window of the tower. Mike Searle / Interior of St Michael’s Church – Mere / CC BY-SA 2.0

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

MERE, a town, a parish, a district, and a hundred, in Wilts. The town stands 1½ mile N of the boundary with Dorset, 1¾ SSE of the boundary with Somerset, 4 N of Gillingham r. station, and 21 S by E of Bath; took its name either from the Saxon word MÆra, signifying “limits,” and alluding to its position near the meeting point of three counties, or from its ancient owners the Meres, whose crest, a ship, is still the sign of the head inn; was once a place of considerable importance; had a castle of the Earls of Cornwall, now represented by only a mound; sent members to parliament in the times of Edward I. and Edward II., but lost its franchise on the ground of poverty; is now decayed and irregularly built: and has a post office under Bath, a banking office, two chief inns, an old market-house, a church, Independent and Primitive Methodist chapels, a public cemetery, a literary institute, a public reading-room, national and British schools, an alms house, and a workhouse. The church is ancient and handsome; has a beautifully carved oaken roof; includes two mortuary chapels; has an embattled tower, with lofty pinnacle’s; and contains a brass of Sir T. Beddiscombe of 1390. The public cemetery was opened in 1856; and an ancient earthen vessel was found at the forming of it, containing about 400 Roman coins. A weekly market is held on Tuesday; fairs are held on 17 May and 10 Oct.; and some industry in flax-spinning, silk-throwing, and the manufacture of bed-ticking is carried on. Lord Treasurer Cottington and F. Potter, the author of “Interpretations of the number 666,” were natives. Pop., 1,210. Houses, 268.

The parish contains also the tythings of Chadderwick, Woodlands, and Zeals. Acres, 7,400. Real property, with West Knoyle and Stourton, £16,885. Pop., 2,929. Houses, 668. The manor belongs to the duchy of Cornwall. Mere Park was anciently a royal residence. Mere-Woodlands was a manorial seat of the Doddingtons. Zeals House is the seat of Grove, Esq. Bonham House also is a chief residence, and has a Roman Catholic chapel. Ashfield water, a tributary of the Stour, rises on a chalk hill, and turns several mills. A Danish camp, called White-street, is on a hill to the NW of the town. Pen Pits, several thousand rudely circular holes in a marshy tract, are in the neighbourhood. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Salisbury. Value, £330. Patron, the Bishop of Salisbury. The rectory of Zeals-Green is a separate benefice. The district contains also the parishes of East Knoyle, West Knoyle, Upper Pertwoos, Monckton-Deverill, Kingston-Deverill, and Sedghill, electorally in Wilts; the parish of Silton and the chapelry of Bourton, electorally in Dorset; the parish of Kilmington, electorally in Somerset; and the parishes of Maiden-Bradley and Stourton, chiefly in Wilts, but partly in Somerset. Acres, 33,211. Poor rates in 1863, £5,280. Pop. in 1851, 8,433; in 1861, 8,057. Houses, 1,844. Marriages in 1863, 159; births, 255, of which 17 were illegitimate; deaths, 154, of which 51 were at ages under 5 years, and 5 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 560; births, 2,508; deaths, 1,726. The places of worship, in 1851, were 13 of the Church of England, with 3,384 sittings; 4 of Independents, with 815 s.; 1 of Baptists, with 200 s.; 3 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 304 s.; 5 of Primitive Methodists, with 447 s.; 1 undefined, with 100 s.; 1 of Roman Catholics, with 140 s.; and 1 of Latter Day Saints, with 19 attendants. The schools were 13 public day-schools, with 982 scholars; 13 private day-schools, with 210 s.; and 19 Sunday schools, with 1,462 s. The inmates of the workhouse at the census of 1861 amounted to 71. The hundred contains three parishes and parts of two others. Acres, 19,462. Pop. in 1851, 4,563; in 1861, 4,449. Houses, 1,008.

Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].

Parish Records

FamilySearch Historical Records

Parish Registers

Marriages at Mere 1561-1812 UK Genealogy Archives

Directories

Kelly’s Directory of Hampshire, Wiltshire, Dorsetshire and the Isle of Wight 1889

Maps

Vision of Britain historical maps

Administration

County: Wiltshire
Civil Registration District: Mere
Probate Court: Court of the Peculiar of the Dean of Salisbury
Diocese: Salisbury
Rural Deanery: Pre-1847 – None, Post-1846 – Wylye
Poor Law Union: Mere
Hundred: Mere
Province: Canterbury