Friaries: The Carmelites at Taunton

A History of the County of Somerset: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.

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'Friaries: The Carmelites at Taunton', in A History of the County of Somerset: Volume 2, (London, 1911) pp. 152. British History Online [accessed 12 April 2024]


A house of Carmelites or White Friars is said to have been founded at Taunton by Walter de Meriet, lord of the manor of Combe Florey. The local tradition asserts the site of their house to have been a short distance west of the castle in a place called Paul's field. This seems to warrant us in thinking that at least a beginning of such a house was made, but certainly it never got beyond its initial stage. The official history is as follows:—In 1341 (fn. 1) a licence was issued by the Crown for alienation in mortmain by Walter de Meriet to the prior provincial of the Carmelite Friars and the friars of that order of 9 acres of meadow in Taunton to build thereon a church in honour of the blessed Virgin and a house for the habitation of a prior and some friars of the order. Two years after, on 10 August 1343 (fn. 2) a grant was issued in mortmain to the Carmelite Friars of 9 acres of meadow called ' Cokkesmede ' in Taunton which Walter de Meriet, clerk, had lately granted to the king for a church and dwelling house to be built thereon.

Then on 25 November (fn. 3) it is stated that a grant was made for certain causes which cannot take effect for this time and at the request of Henry de Lancaster, Earl of Derby the king has regranted the same to the said Walter.

Walter de Meriet died 18 May 1345. (fn. 4)

It is clear therefore that whatever had been done between the years 1341 and 1343, the work was not continued and no house of Carmelites ever existed in Taunton.


  • 1. Cal. Pat. 1340–3, p. 227.
  • 2. Ibid. 1343–5, p. 102.
  • 3. Ibid. p. 142.
  • 4. Somers. Arch. Soc. Proc. ix, 40.