Gilmanton is a town in Belknap County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 3,777 at the 2010 census. Gilmanton includes the villages of Gilmanton Corners and Gilmanton Ironworks. The town became well known in the 1950s after it was rumored that the popular novel Peyton Place, written by resident Grace Metalious, was based on the town.
Gilmanton was incorporated in 1727. First known as Gilmantown, the town was home to the Gilman family, originally settled at Exeter. Twenty-four members of the Gilman family received land grants in the new town of Gilmanton. (Other families related to the Gilmans also received grants in the new town, including the Dudleys, the Leavitts, the Folsoms and the Coffins.) At one time it was the second-largest town in the state, following Portsmouth. The original town was larger than it is now, with villages and parishes including Belmont, Gunstock Parish (Gilford), Hurricane, Tioga, Factory Village and Lakeport. A parish first called Averytown, the site of an unprofitable iron-mining enterprise, is still known as Gilmanton Iron Works.
Gilmanton Academy was incorporated in 1794, "...one of the three academies first founded in the state..." In 1808 the original building burned; the second building also burned, in 1894, and was replaced with the current building, which now houses the town offices.
Gilmanton Theological Seminary was provided for by the terms of the original charter of Gilmanton Academy. Rev. Heman Rood, from New Milford, Connecticut, was the first professor in 1835. By 1841 a large, three-story brick building designed by Ammi B. Young was completed for the seminary's use.