Place:Axminster, Devon, England

Watchers
NameAxminster
Alt namesAlsemenistrasource: Domesday Book (1985) p 76
Alseministrasource: Domesday Book (1985) p 76
Alseminstresource: Domesday Book (1985) p 76
Axeministrasource: Domesday Book (1985) p 76
Axeministresource: Domesday Book (1985) p 76
TypeTown, Urban district
Coordinates50.783°N 3°W
Located inDevon, England     (1844 - )
Also located inDorset, England     ( - 1844)
See alsoAxminster Hundred, Devon, Englandhundred in which the town was located
Axminster Rural, Devon, Englandrural district in which the town was located 1894-1915 and 1953-1936
East Devon District, Devon, Englandcovering the area since 1974
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog
the following text is based on an article in Wikipedia

Axminster is a market town and civil parish on the eastern border of the county of Devon in England, some 28 miles (45 km) from the county town of Exeter. The town is built on a hill overlooking the River Axe which heads towards the English Channel at Axmouth, and is in the East Devon local government district. At the 2001 census, it had a population of 5,626, increasing to 5,761 by the 2011 census. The market is still held every Thursday.

Axminster was part of the Axminster Hundred. Part of the parish of Axminster was an exclave of Dorset until the Counties (Detached Parts) Act 1844, when it was fully incorporated into Devon.

Axminster was part of a Rural District of the same name from the creation of rural districts in 1894 until 1915 when the town became an Urban District. However in Axminster's case the districts were established in 1915. In 1953 Axminster gave up its urban district status and became part of Axminster Rural District again. In 1974, in the nationwide reorganization of municipalities, Axminster became part of the larger East Devon District.

During the period 1915-1953 the more rural parts of the original parish were renamed Axminster Hamlets and remained within the Rural District.

Contents

Registration Districts

Axminster and carpets

Axminster gave its name to a type of carpet. An Axminster-type power loom is capable of weaving high quality carpets with many varying colours and patterns. While Axminster carpet is made in the town by Axminster Carpets Ltd; this type of carpet is now manufactured all over the world.

The history of the town is very much linked to the carpet industry, started by Thomas Whitty at Court House near the church in 1755. The completion of the early hand tufted carpets was marked by a peal of bells from the parish church as it took a great amount of time and labour to complete them.

General History

the following text is based on an article in Wikipedia

Axminster lies on two major Roman roads: the Fosse Way from Lincoln to Seaton, and the Dorchester to Exeter road. There was a Roman fort on the crossroads at Woodbury Farm, just south of the present town.

Axminster was recorded in the late 9th century as Ascanmynster and in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Aixeministra. The name means "monastery or large church by the River Axe" and is a mixture of languages; the river name Axe has Celtic origins and mynster is an Old English word.

In 1210, a charter was granted to the town that included the right to hold a weekly cattle market which took place in the market square until it was moved to Trinity Square in 1834. It then moved in October 1912 to a site off South Street where it was held for 94 years.

The town was on the coaching route from London to Exeter. In 1760 a coaching inn named The George Hotel was opened on the corner of Lyme Street and Chard Street on the site of an old inn called the Cross Keys that was destroyed by fire in 1759. Over 16 coaches a day would stop at the hotel in its heyday for refreshments and to change horses, the building still stands but it is currently unoccupied. Axminster was also on the route of The Trafalgar Way which is the name given to the historic route used to carry dispatches with the news of the Battle of Trafalgar overland from Falmouth in Cornwall to the Admiralty in London in 1805.

Axminster is the southern starting point of the Taunton Stop Line, a World War II defensive line consisting of pillboxes and anti-tank obstacles, which runs north to the Somerset coast near Highbridge.

Research Tips

  • Ordnance Survey Maps of England and Wales - Revised: Devonshire Northand Devonshire South illustrate the parish boundaries of Devon when rural districts were still in existence. The maps publication year is 1931. The maps blow up to show all the parishes and many of the small villages and hamlets. These maps are now downloadable for personal use.
  • GENUKI has a new map feature on its individual Devon parish pages. Each parish page includes an outline map of parishes in the region of the one under inspection. By clicking on this map the user is taken to a blow-up of Historic Parishes of England and Wales: an Electronic Map of Boundaries before 1850 with a Gazetteer and Metadata [computer file] provided by R. J. P. Kain and R. R. Oliver of the History Data Service of Colchester, Essex (distributed by UK Data Archive).
  • Devon County Council's Record Offices and Local Studies Libraries are being reorganized and amalgamated to form the Devon Heritage Services, comprising the Devon Heritage Centre (Exeter) and the North Devon Record Office (Barnstaple). These developments, which are described in Historical Records: A New Future for Devon's Heritage, do not affect the other major Devon archive, the Plymouth & West Devon Record Office, or the Local Studies Library, which are located in Plymouth and come under the Plymouth City Council. (Devon FHS report that Plymouth Record Office has just aquired new premises.) There is a guide entitled Which heritage centre or record office should I visit? which is provided to explain the organization further.
  • Devon Family History Society Mailing address: PO Box 9, Exeter, EX2 6YP, United Kingdom. Specialized contacts for membership, publications, queries, etc. The society has branches in various parts of the county. It is the largest Family History Society in the United Kingdom.
  • Devon has a Online Parish Clerk (OPC) Project. Only about half of the parishes have a volunteer contributing local data. For more information, consult the website, especially the list at the bottom of the homepage.
  • GENUKI makes a great many suggestions as to other websites with worthwhile information about Devon as well as leading to a collection of 19th century descriptions of each of the ecclesiastical parishes. Devon is one of the counties on the GENUKI website that has recently (summer 2015) been updated. The maps described above are just one of the innovations.
  • The FamilySearch Wiki provides a similar information service to GENUKI which may be more up-to-date. An index of parishes leads to notes and references for each parish.
  • A Vision of Britain through Time has
  1. organization charts of the hierarchies of parishes within hundreds, registration districts and rural and urban districts of the 20th century
  2. excerpts from a gazetteer of circa 1870 outlining individual towns and parishes
  3. reviews of population through the time period 1800-1960
  • More local sources can often be found by referring to "What Links Here" in the column on the left.


This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Axminster. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.