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Cricket ground in front of a church tower.
The tower of St James's Church rises over the County Ground
Taunton is located in Somerset
Population 60,479 (2011 census)
OS grid reference ST228250
  • Somerset West and Taunton
Shire county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town TAUNTON
Postcode district TA1, TA2, TA3
Dialling code 01823
Police Avon and Somerset
Fire Devon and Somerset
Ambulance South Western
EU Parliament South West England
UK Parliament
  • Taunton Deane
List of places
51°01′08″N 3°06′00″W / 51.019°N 3.100°W / 51.019; -3.100

Taunton is the county town of Somerset, England, with a 2011 population of 69,570. Its thousand-year history includes a 10th-century monastic foundation, Taunton Castle, which later became a priory. The Normans built a castle owned by the Bishops of Winchester. Parts of the inner ward house were turned into the Museum of Somerset and Somerset Military Museum. For the Second Cornish uprising of 1497, Perkin Warbeck brought an army of 6,000; most surrendered to Henry VII on 4 October 1497. On 20 June 1685 the Duke of Monmouth crowned himself King of England here in a rebellion defeated at the Battle of Sedgemoor. Judge Jeffreys led the Bloody Assizes in the Castle's Great Hall. The Grand Western Canal reached Taunton in 1839 and the Bristol and Exeter Railway in 1842. Today it hosts Musgrove Park Hospital, Somerset County Cricket Club, is the base of 40 Commando, Royal Marines, and is home to T he United Kingdom Hydrographic Office on Admiralty Way. The popular Taunton flower show has been held in Vivary Park since 1866, and on 13 March 2022, St Mary Magdalene parish church was elevated to the status of Taunton Minster.


The War Memorial and town centre, Taunton

The town name derives from "Town on the River Tone" — or Tone Town. Cambria Farm which is now the site of a Park and ride close to Junction 25 of the M5 motorway was the site of a Bronze and Iron Age settlement and Roman farm. There was a Romano-British village near the suburb of Holway, and Taunton was a place of considerable importance in Saxon times. The Saxon town was a burh with its own mint. King Ine of Wessex threw up an earthen castle here about 700, but it was destroyed by his queen Æthelburg of Wessex in 722, to prevent its seizure by rebels.

Taunton Cross
Taunton Cross c. 1770

A monastery was founded before 904. The bishops of Winchester owned the manor, and obtained the first charter for their "men of Taunton" from King Edward in 904, freeing them from all royal and county tribute. At some time before the Domesday Survey Taunton had become a borough with very considerable privileges, and a population of around 1,500 and 64 burgesses, governed by a portreeve appointed by the bishops. Somerton took over from Ilchester as the county town in the late thirteenth century, but it declined in importance and the status of county town transferred to Taunton about 1366. Between 1209 and 1311 the manor of Taunton, which was owned by the Bishop of Winchester, increased two and a half times. The parishes of Staplegrove, Wilton and Taunton itself were part of the Taunton Deane Hundred.

In 1451 during the Wars of the Roses Taunton was the scene of a skirmish between Thomas de Courtenay, 13th Earl of Devon, and Baron Bonville. Queen Margaret and her troops passed through in 1471 to defeat at the Battle of Tewkesbury. In the Second Cornish Uprising of 1497 most of the Cornish gentry supported Perkin Warbeck's cause and on 17 September a Cornish army some 6,000 strong entered Exeter before advancing on Taunton. Henry VII sent his chief general, Giles, Lord Daubeney, to attack the Cornish and when Warbeck heard that the King's scouts were at Glastonbury he panicked and deserted his army. Henry VII reached Taunton on 4 October 1497 where he received the surrender of the remaining Cornish army. The ringleaders were executed and others fined a total of £13,000.

Taunton Castle changed hands several times during the Civil War of 1642–45 but only along with the town. During the Siege of Taunton it was defended by Robert Blake, from July 1644 to July 1645, with the town suffering destruction of many of the medieval and Tudor buildings. After the war, in 1662, the keep was demolished and only the base remains. On 20 June 1685 the Duke of Monmouth crowned himself king of England at Taunton during the Monmouth Rebellion and in the autumn of that year Judge Jeffreys lived in the town during the Bloody Assizes that followed the Battle of Sedgemoor.

Taunton road map1948
A road map of Taunton from 1948

The town did not obtain a charter of incorporation until 1627, which was renewed in 1677. The charter lapsed in 1792 owing to vacancies for the members of the corporate body, and Taunton was not reincorporated until 1877. The medieval fairs and markets of Taunton (it still holds a weekly market today), were celebrated for the sale of woollen cloth called "Tauntons" made in the town. On the decline of the woollen industry in the west of England, silk-weaving was introduced at the end of the 18th century.

In 1839 the Grand Western Canal reached Taunton aiding trade to the south, which was further enhanced by the arrival of the railway in 1842.

A permanent military presence was established in the town with the completion of Jellalabad Barracks in 1881.

In World War II the Bridgwater and Taunton Canal formed part of the Taunton Stop Line, designed to prevent the advance of a German invasion. Pillboxes can still be seen along its length.


Taunton was named as a 'Strategically Important Town or City' in the government's Regional Spatial Strategy, allowing Somerset County Council to receive funding for large-scale regeneration projects. In 2006, the council revealed plans which it called "Project Taunton". This would see the regeneration of the areas of Firepool, Tangier, the Retail town centre, the cultural quarter, and the River Tone, aiming to sustain Taunton as a central hub for business in the South West.

New bridge Tangier Taunton
The new bridge under construction in the Tangier district. Taken in February 2011

The Firepool area on the northern edge of Taunton town centre, adjacent to the main line railway station, currently includes a high proportion of vacant or undeveloped land. The Council is promoting a sustainable, high quality, employment-led mixed-use development. The Firepool project is set to attract 3,000 new jobs and 500 new homes.

In Tangier, a brownfield area between Somerset College of Arts and Technology and the bus station, the project proposes to build small offices and more riverside housing.

The "Cultural Quarter" is the area along the river between Firepool and Tangier. The proposals have plans to extend riverside retail, an aim to attract more smaller, boutique businesses, such as those already found in the Riverside shopping centre.

Plans for the town centre include greater pedestrianisation and an increase in size and number of retail units.

Several sites along the River Tone are set to undergo renovation. Firepool Weir lock — long silted up — will be dredged during 2011 to allow boats to pass from the navigable section of the Tone through Taunton to the Bridgwater and Taunton Canal. Goodland Gardens has received a makeover and a new cafe, The Shed, has opened. Projects to develop Somerset Square (the paved area next to the Brewhouse Theatre) and Longrun Meadow (country park near to SCAT) have already been delivered.

The government sees Taunton's traffic congestion problems as a serious obstacle to its continuing economic growth. An important part of the government's growth strategy for the town is new road infrastructure consisting of a new link road (Taunton's Third Way) which was completed 27 September 2011 at a cost of £7.5 million. A second link road, (the Northern Inner Distributor Road) planned for completion by the end of 2014 at a cost of £21 million, is still unfinished in 2016, with no completion in the near future. The road would link Staplegrove Road with Priory Avenue, running across Station Road.


Taunton lies on the River Tone between the Quantock, Blackdown and Brendon hills in an area known as the Vale of Taunton.

It is surrounded by many other large towns and cities which can be seen on this directional compass:


In the Taunton area Permian (295–250 million years ago) red sandstones and breccia outcrop, while rocks of Triassic age (248–204 million years ago) underlie much of Somerset and form the solid geology to the Somerset Moors and Levels.

Nature reserves

There are several local nature reserves in and around Taunton, which are protected under a statutory designation in Section 21 of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949. South Taunton Streams is an urban wetland, and in the northern suburbs is the Children's Wood riverside reserve which provides a movement corridor for animals including otters along the banks of the River Tone. Birds occurring at the site include: kingfisher, dipper, grey wagtail, mute swan, grey heron and reed warbler. It is also home to butterflies such as the small and large skipper, marbled white, small heath and small copper, and to dragonflies and damselflies.

Weirfield Riverside is a linear nature reserve along the bank of the River Tone providing alder and willow woodland, bramble, scrub and rough grassland. The wetter areas which are sometimes flooded include hemlock water dropwort, and yellow flag. Silk Mills Park and Ride includes landscaping and ponds in three areas next to the River Tone created when the park and ride was created. The woodland and grassland supports aquatic and marginal vegetation. There are a variety of birds, bats, reptiles and invertebrates. Frieze Hill Community Orchard has been converted from allotments to rough grassland and an orchard. The kingston black and yarlington mill varieties of apples are among those grown.


Along with the rest of South West England, Taunton has a temperate climate which is generally wetter and milder than the rest of the country. The annual mean temperature is approximately 10 °C (50.0 °F). Seasonal temperature variation is less extreme than most of the United Kingdom because of the adjacent sea temperatures. The summer months of July and August are the warmest with mean daily maxima of approximately 21 °C (69.8 °F). In winter mean minimum temperatures of 1 °C (33.8 °F) or 2 °C (35.6 °F) are common. In the summer the Azores high pressure affects the south-west of England, however convective cloud sometimes forms inland, reducing the number of hours of sunshine. Annual sunshine rates are slightly less than the regional average of 1,600 hours. In December 1998 there were 20 days without sun recorded at Yeovilton. Most the rainfall in the south-west is caused by Atlantic depressions or by convection. Most of the rainfall in autumn and winter is caused by the Atlantic depressions, which is when they are most active. In summer, a large proportion of the rainfall is caused by sun heating the ground leading to convection and to showers and thunderstorms. Average rainfall is around 700 mm (28 in). About 8–15 days of snowfall is typical. November to March have the highest mean wind speeds, and June to August have the lightest winds. The predominant wind direction is from the south-west.


Population profile
UK Census 2001 Taunton Deane South West England England
Total population 102,299 4,928,434 49,138,831
Foreign born 4.1% 9.4% 9.2%
White 98.4% 97.7% 91%
Asian 0.4% 0.7% 4.6%
Black 0.2% 0.4% 2.3%
Christian 75.9% 74.0% 72%
Muslim 0.3% 0.5% 3.1%
Hindu 0.1% 0.2% 1.1%
No religion 15.7% 16.8% 15%
Over 75 years old 9.5% 9.3% 7.5%
Unemployed 2.4% 2.6% 3.3%

The town of Taunton (which for population estimates includes the unparished area or former municipal borough plus the neighbouring parishes of Bishop's Hull, Comeytrowe, Norton Fitzwarren, Staplegrove, Trull and West Monkton) had an estimated population of 61,400 in 2001. Taunton includes Holway, once a village in its own right as one of the Five Hundreds of Taunton Deane, the Infaring division or district of three districts that made up Taunton Deane.

Taunton is the largest town in the Somerset shire county and forms part of the larger borough of Taunton Deane, which includes the town of Wellington and surrounding villages. This had an estimated population of 109,883 in 2010.

The figures here are for the Taunton Deane area.

Taunton Deane population since 1801
Year Pop. ±%
1801 33,139 —    
1851 51,844 +56.4%
1901 53,759 +3.7%
1911 55,666 +3.5%
1921 56,161 +0.9%
1931 56,661 +0.9%
1941 62,745 +10.7%
1951 69,492 +10.8%
1961 75,320 +8.4%
1971 81,639 +8.4%
1981 84,795 +3.9%
1991 95,791 +13.0%
2001 102,304 +6.8%
2010 109,883 +7.4%
Source: A Vision of Britain through Time & Inform Somerset

In 2011, Taunton built-up area had a population of 60,479 and the surrounding borough of Taunton Deane one of 110,187. Of Taunton's residents 91.6 per cent were White British in 2011, compared with 93.4 per cent for Taunton Deane. Taunton's ethnic mix resembles that of South West England – 91.8 per cent White British in the same year. It is also matches other major regional centres like Poole and Plymouth. The larger urban area, extending to Monkton Heathfield, Norton Fitzwarren and Bathpool, had a 2011 population of 64,621.


Gray's Almshouses

Gray's Almshouses on East Street were founded by Robert Gray in 1615 for poor single women. The red brick buildings bear the arms of Robert Gray, dated 1635, and another arms of the Merchant Tailors. A small room is used as chapel and has original benches and a painted ceiling. It has been designated by English Heritage as a grade I listed building. St Margaret's Almshouses was founded as a leper colony in the 12th century. Glastonbury Abbey acquired the patronage of the hospital in the late 13th century and rebuilt it as almshouses in the early 16th century. From 1612 to 1938 the building continued to be used as almshouses, cared for by a local parish. In the late 1930s it was converted into a hall of offices for the Rural Community Council and accommodation for the Somerset Guild of Craftsmen. It later fell into disrepair until the Somerset Buildings Preservation Trust with Falcon Rural Housing purchased and restored it for use as four dwellings of social housing. It is a grade II* listed building.

The grounds of Taunton Castle include the Somerset County Museum and The Castle Hotel, which incorporates the Castle Bow archway. Together with the municipal buildings they form a three-sided group of buildings just beyond the Castle Bow archway from Fore Street. The centre of the square is used as a car park, and a plain brick edifice of Mecca Bingo hall makes up the west side of it.

The frontage of the Tudor Tavern (now a branch of Caffè Nero) in Fore Street dates from 1578 but the rest of the building is thought to date from the fourteenth century.

Fore Street Taunton
Tudor Buildings, Fore Street

The area by the river north of the centre is surrounded by Morrisons supermarket, retirement housing and the Brewhouse Theatre. Towards the centre, is the Dellers Wharf Nightclub, Bridge Street and Goodlands Gardens. Currently a regeneration programme is being executed, north of Bridge Street, which will include redeveloping the County Cricket Ground. The cricket ground has hosted large open-air music concerts for Elton John in 2006 and 2012; and for Rod Stewart in 2014.


Hankridge Farm is a retail park close to the M5 motorway, with large stores including PC World, Currys, Mothercare, Halfords, B&Q and Taunton's second Sainsbury's store. In addition, there is a 'Venue' on the park, with restaurants, the Odeon cinema and Hollywood Bowl bowling. Now known as Riverside Retail Park.

Taunton has three other retail parks. Belvedere Retail Park is situated close to the town centre and consists of retailers such as Bathstore, Laura Ashley and Johnsons Cleaners. St Johns Retail Park is just off Toneway, going towards the motorway and consists of two units. It is occupied by DFS and more recently joined by Go Outdoors, where two vacant units were amalgamated into one for their opening in April 2014. Taunton's second largest retail park is Priory Fields Retail Park, located on Priory Avenue. It consists of five units plus an anchor store, Wickes Extra. It was redeveloped in 2003 to modernise the rather worn out appearance of the retail park and also to increase retail floorspace.

The Old Market was a farmers market and took place on the Parade in front of Market House but this eventually moved to the Firepool area, although cattle trading on the site ceased in 2008. A large indoor shopping centre to the east of the Parade was built on a site which had, at one time been a pig market. Although its official name is now Orchard, and before that the Old Market Centre, locals still refer to it as "The Pig Market" as one operated on the site from 1614 to 1882.

County Walk is a small indoor shopping arcade in the town centre with an anchor supermarket, Sainsbury's, plus several other large national retailers such as Subway, Costa Coffee, Maplin and The Entertainer.

Public parks

Vivary fountain 3-2793
Victoria memorial water fountain, Vivary Park

There are a number of public parks around Taunton including Vivary Park, Goodlands Park and Victoria Park. The most notable is Vivary Park, located on land that was formerly a medieval fish farm, or vivarium, for Taunton Priory and Taunton Castle. Fronted by a pair of cast iron gates made by the Saracen Foundry of Glasgow, it contains the Sherford Stream, a tributary of the River Tone, which flows through the 7.5 hectares (19 acres) park, which is located near the centre of the town. It contains two main wide open spaces, as well as a war memorial dating from 1922, a miniature golf course, tennis courts, two children's playgrounds, a model railway track which was added in 1979, and an 18-hole, 4620-yards, par-63 golf course. The park includes trees, rose beds and herbaceous borders, with around 56,000 spring and summer bedding plants being used each year. The rose garden includes the Royal National Rose Society Provincial Trial Ground. Taunton Flower Show has been held annually in the park since the 19th century. It has been described as "The Chelsea of the West", and attracts around 24,000 visitors over its two days. Goodlands Gardens, located in the centre of the town, is behind the Debenhams department store and The Castle Hotel.



Taunton railway station is on the Bristol to Exeter line, the Reading to Taunton line, and the Cross Country Route. It is served and operated by Great Western Railway and served by CrossCountry, with services to Manchester Piccadilly, Birmingham New Street, Cardiff Central, Bristol Temple Meads, London Paddington, Exeter St Davids, Plymouth and Penzance. There is generally a fast and a slow train each hour to Bristol Temple Meads and Exeter St Davids and a train an hour to London Paddington.

The old rail route to Minehead is now a heritage West Somerset Railway with services between Bishops Lydeard and Minehead. The Buses of Somerset route 28 links the stations at Taunton and Bishops Lydeard.

In 2009, Project Taunton, the authority responsible for Taunton's regeneration project, revealed proposals for Taunton metro rail, under a transport sustainability plan. They were not implemented.


Taunton has road links with the M5 motorway junctions 25 (Taunton) and 26 (Wellington) close to the town, and other major roads such as the A38 and A358. The Taunton bypass section of the M5, between the two junctions, opened in April 1974 and relieved the town of heavy holiday traffic on the A38. Taunton Deane services use that motorway section.

A strong economy increases traffic; in 2011 the County Council foresaw a sharp rise from 2001 levels. Two major roads opened: the Third Way (A3807) linking Bridge Street and Castle Street in 2011, and the Northern Inner Distributor Road (A3087) between Staplegrove Road and Priory Avenue in July 2017.

2011 M5 crash

On the evening of 4 November 2011, 34 vehicles met with an accident near junction 25 of the M5 motorway northbound, on the north-eastern edge of the town at West Monkton. Seven people were killed and a further 51 injured.

Buses and coaches

Taunton bus station
Taunton bus station

Many local services are provided by The Buses of Somerset: town services and routes to Minehead, Bridgwater, Weston-Super-Mare and elsewhere. Other services are provided by Hatch Green Coaches. Services were also operated by Webberbus until the firm closed on 12 May 2016. Taunton bus station was in Tower Street from 1953 until 2020. Most services now terminate at stops on The Parade or Castle Way.

A park-and-ride service is run by The Buses of Somerset between the Taunton gateway near the M5 Motorway and Silk Mills on the north-west side of town.

Berrys Coaches, based in Taunton, operates several "Superfast Services" to London. National Express Coaches runs long-distance coach services to many destinations.


The nearest airports are Exeter and Bristol, both within 40 mi (64 km) of Taunton.


Taunton single deck tramcar 2 in Fore Street
A single-deck car in Fore Street, c.1910

Taunton Tramway opened on 21 August 1901. Six double-decker cars operated on a 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) gauge line between the railway station and the depot at East Reach. In 1905 the service was withdrawn for two months while the track was improved; the cars were replaced by six single-decker cars and the old double deckers sold to Leamington Spa. A short extension beyond the station to Rowbarton opened in 1909, making the line 1.66 miles (2.7 km) long. However, the price of its electricity was due to rise in 1928 to a level the firm refused to pay, and it offered to sell out, but this was not accepted. The electricity was cut off on 28 May 1921 and the system closed.


The Bridgwater and Taunton Canal is a navigable waterway that links Taunton with Bridgwater, opened in 1827. Having been closed to navigation in 1907, it re-opened after restoration in 1994.

Religious sites

The parish church of St. Mary Magdalene, built of sandstone more in the South Somerset style, preserves an attractive painted interior, but its most notable aspect is its 15th- and 16th-century tower (rebuilt in the mid-19th century), which is one of the best examples in the country and a 163 feet (50 m) tall landmark. It was described by Simon Jenkins, an acknowledged authority on English churches, as "the finest in England. It makes its peace with the sky not just with a coronet but with the entire crown jewels cast in red-brown stone." The tower itself has 12 bells and 3 bells "hung dead" for the clock mechanism.

The parish church of St. James is also located near the centre of Taunton quite close to St. Mary Magdalene. The oldest parts of St. James Church are early-14th-century, and there are fragments of 15th-century glass in the west end. Like St. Mary's it also has a sandstone tower but built to a much less impressive design. The tower was also, like St. Mary's, rebuilt in the 19th century – in this case thought to be due to building defects in the original tower. The church backs onto the County Ground and forms a familiar backdrop to the popular cricket ground.

St George's is the town's Roman Catholic church and dates from the mid-19th century. It was the second Catholic church to be built in Taunton after the Reformation, replacing the much smaller St George's Chapel. The main church building is designated by English Heritage as a Grade II* listed building, while the rectory is Grade II listed.

The Mary Street Unitarian Chapel, which dates from 1721, is located on Mary Street in Taunton. Samuel Taylor Coleridge, while living Nether Stowey 16 miles (26 km) away, came to the chapel to preach on several occasions. Dr. Malachi Blake, who founded the Taunton and Somerset Hospital in East Reach, Taunton, was also a preacher at the chapel, attending in 1809 in celebration of the fiftieth year of George the Third's reign. The Chapel still has the original interior including Flemish oak pillars in the Corinthian style. The pews and pulpit are also in oak, and there is an early-18th-century candelabra.

In the latter part of the 17th century, Taunton had two dissenting places of worship: "Paul's Meeting" and the Baptist Meeting. Paul's Meeting was built at the top of Paul Street soon after 1672 on part of a bowling green behind the Three Cups Inn, now The County Hotel, and rapidly became one of the largest congregations in the county. After Mayor Timewell sacked both Paul's Meeting and the Baptist Meeting in 1683, the dissenters were driven to worship in private houses on the outskirts of Taunton, where their assemblies were regularly raided by the Justices. Paul's Meeting survived attempts to turn it into a workhouse and, with the coming of William and Mary, followed by the Toleration Act 1688, was reopened. Hugh Willoughby, 15th Baron Willoughby of Parham, was educated in early life at Taunton Dissenters' Academy. The Baptist Meeting became the Baptist New Meeting was registered in 1691 and rebuilt in 1721 as Mary Street Chapel.


The theatre in Taunton town centre is the Brewhouse Theatre. This closed in February 2013 due to financial difficulties but was reopened in April 2014 by the Taunton Theatre Association (TTA) who were granted the lease from Taunton Deane Borough Council who had bought the 61-year lease of the site and its contents from administrator. Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre is a professional theatre based at Heathfield Community School hosting touring theatre, dance and comedy, as well as productions by South West schools and colleges. Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre also runs numerous community classes. The Creative Innovation Centre CIC has an arts and culture venue in the town centre.

Several concerts are held each year Taunton's largest church, St Mary Magdalene. In recent years The Sixteen, The Tallis Scholars and Gabrieli Consort have all performed to full capacity audiences. Taunton is also home to several choirs and orchestras who perform in the town's churches and independent schools' chapels. Many local musical and drama groups are members of the Taunton Association of Performing Arts (TAPA) which produces a diary and anti-clash calendar of performances in and around the town.

Three radio stations, BBC Somerset, Tone FM and Apple FM, broadcast from Taunton.


Taunton is twinned with Lisieux in France, Königslutter in Germany, and Taunton, Massachusetts in the US.


Taunton carnival 2009 Gemini CC To the Trees cart
The annual Taunton Carnival takes a route through the shopping district in the centre of the town.

Taunton Deane had low unemployment of 4.1 per cent compared with a national average of 5.0 per cent in 2005.

Taunton is home to the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO), a Ministry of Defence body responsible for providing navigational and other hydrographic information for national, civil and defence requirements. The UKHO is located on Admiralty Way and has a workforce of about 1100. At the start of the Second World War, chart printing moved to Taunton, but the main office did not follow until 1968. Taunton holds the head offices of Debenhams, Western Provident Association, Viridor and CANDAC. Other professional services are based at Blackbrook near the motorway junction.

The first store of the multinational New Look clothing retailer opened in Taunton in 1969. Taunton is also famed for cider.


County ground taunton somerset stand
Somerset playing Yorkshire at the County Ground

Taunton Rugby Football Club (RFC), based in Taunton, currently play in National League 1, having achieved back-to-back promotions in 2009 and 2010 and then again in 2020. It played at Priory Park Sports Ground from 1935 to 2001, before moving to the Commsplus Stadium.

The County Ground was originally home to Taunton Cricket Club, formed in 1829. It played at the County Ground until 1977, before moving to Moorfields, Taunton, in conjunction with Taunton Vale Hockey Club, since when the County Ground has been solely used by Somerset County Cricket Club (CCC). Somerset CCC was formed in 1875, but did not achieve first-class status until 1891. The County Ground has a capacity of 8,500; the ends are called the River End and the Marcus Trescothick Pavilion End. It is the current home of the England women's cricket team. The Somerset Cricket Museum is nearby.

Taunton Cricket Club has since 2002 been located at the new Taunton Vale Sports Club Ground in Staplegrove, which features two cricket fields. The Taunton Vale ground is also a regular home venue for Somerset's Second XI. Taunton Deane Cricket Club has a ground adjacent to Vivary Park, while Taunton St Andrews Cricket Club is based at the nearby Wyvern Sports and Social Club. All three clubs play in the West of England Premier League or one of its feeder leagues.

Taunton Town Football Club (FC) plays at Wordsworth Drive. An earlier Taunton Town FC played at Priory Park in the 1930s, however the current team was formed in 1947 by local businessmen as Taunton FC, changing to the current name in 1968, and played its first friendly fixture in 1948. For most of its history, Taunton belonged to the Western League. It spent a six-season spell in the Southern League from 1977, and after a further period in the Western League, returned to the Southern League in 2002, after winning the FA Vase in 2001. The club won the Division One South and West league title in 2017/18 and narrowly missed out on further promotion in 2018/19. The club went on to become the 2021/22 champions of the Southern League Premier Division South, securing promotion to the National League South for the first time in the Club’s history on 23 April 2022.

Somerset Vikings is a rugby league club formed in 2003 as part of the Rugby Football League's plans to develop the game beyond its traditional north-of-England areas. Initially the side was made up of a mixture of Royal Marines based in Taunton and Exeter with local rugby union players keen to try the 13-man code. It plays at Hyde Park, also home to Taunton RFC.

The Taunton Tigers is a semi-professional basketball team competing in the English Basketball League Men's Division 1. The team plays its home games at Wellsprings Leisure Centre, which seats 500.

Grandstand, Taunton racecourse - - 1196101
The Grandstand at the racecourse

Taunton Racecourse is close to the Blackdown Hills, about 2 miles (3 km) from the centre of Taunton. Although racing had been held in the area before, the first race at thi site was held on 21 September 1927. The Orchard Stand and Paddock Stand provide catering facilities and are used for meetings and conferences on days when racing is not taking place. Greyhound racing was held at the Priory Park Sports Ground and County Cricket ground in the past.


King's College

State secondary schools in Taunton include The Castle School, Heathfield Community School, Bishop Fox's School and The Taunton Academy. Further education is offered by Richard Huish College, The Taunton Academy (sponsored by Richard Huish College) and Bridgwater and Taunton College. Heathfield Community School has a post-16 further education college specialising in performing arts and technical theatre called The SPACE (The Somerset Performing Arts Centre for Education). Heathfield Community School is also a teaching school and the base of Taunton Teaching Alliance. The Taunton campus of Bridgwater and Taunton College is a partner of Plymouth University and includes University Centre Taunton. There are three co-educational independent schools: Queen's College, King's College and Taunton School.

In March 2009, it was found that Jim Knight, Minister of State for Schools and Families, had approved the closure of Ladymead Community School and the nearby St Augustine of Canterbury RC/CoE School in the Priorswood area of Taunton. They gave way in September 2010 to the Taunton Academy.

Young people with special educational needs are provided for by two special schools and one complex Pupil Referral Unit (PRU). Sky College caters for boys aged 10–18 who have social, emotional and mental-health difficulties. Selworthy School has pupils of 4–19 who have complex and multiple learning difficulties, while the Taunton Deane Partnership College is a complex PRU for children in Key Stages 2, 3 and 4, with a Medical Tuition Service, Outreach & Advisory Service and an Area Access Team.

Notable residents

The following were born or have lived in Taunton:

  • Colin Addison (born 1940), professional footballer and manager born in Taunton
  • Jenny Agutter (born 1952), actress born in Taunton
  • Joseph Alleine (1634–1668), Nonconformist pastor and author
  • William Larkins Bernard (1843–1922), architect born in Taunton
  • Pattie Boyd (born 1944), actress and model; former wife of George Harrison, then Eric Clapton
  • Jos Buttler (born 1990), England cricketer
  • Carole Cadwalladr (born 1969), author and Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist
  • Arthur C. Clarke (born 1917), author of 2001: A Space Odyssey, educated at Huish school
  • Matt Colton (born 1975), mastering engineer, studied in Taunton
  • Deborah Criddle (born 1966), a Taunton-born para-equestrian winner of three golds at the Athens 2004 Summer Paralympics and three medals at the London 2012 Summer Paralympics in London. She currently lives in nearby Trull.
  • John Crockford (c. 1823–1865), publisher
  • Stephen Daldry (born 1960), three times Academy Award nominee and Tony Award-winning stage and film director and producer
  • Samuel Daniel (1562–1619) a poet, playwright and historian, born "near Taunton".
  • Charles George Gordon (1833–1885), UK army general known as Gordon of Khartoum, attended the former Fullands School.
  • Sir Benjamin Hammet (c. 1736–1800), businessman, banker and Taunton native, served as its MP in 1782-1800, and as High Sheriff of London. He was elected Lord Mayor of London in 1797 but declined to serve
  • Antony Hewish (1924-2021), astronomer and Nobel Prize for Physics winner
  • Rebecca Huxtable (born 1981), Taunton-born radio personality and producer, formerly co-producing The Scott Mills Show on BBC Radio 1
  • Alexander William Kinglake (1809–1891), barrister, travel writer and historian, was born at Wilton House near Taunton.
  • Scott Laird (born 1988), footballer with Scunthorpe United
  • Jack Leach (born 1991), Somerset County Cricket Club and England cricketer
  • Lee Martin (born 1987), Taunton-born footballer with Millwall F.C.
  • Deborah Meaden (born 1959), Taunton-born business mogul, philanthropist and star of the TV series Dragons Den
  • William Ellis Metford (1824–1899), Taunton-born engineer known for the Metford rifling in the .303 Lee-Metford service rifle of the late 19th century
  • Ciara Michel (born 1985), member of Team GB Olympic volleyball squad, the first to play in the Olympic Games
  • John Mole (born 1941), poet and jazz musician born in Taunton
  • Frank Montague Moore (1877–1967), Taunton-born painter and first director of the Honolulu Museum of Art
  • Alfred B. Mullett (1834–1890), architect to Abraham Lincoln, born in Taunton
  • James Northcote (born 1987), actor and film producer, was a pupil of King's College, Taunton.
  • Justin Pipe (born 1971), professional darts player
  • James Purefoy (born 1964), Taunton-born actor, starred in the joint HBO/BBC series Rome.
  • Viv Richards (born 1952), Antiguan-born West Indies cricketer resident in Taunton while playing for Somerset, 1974–1986
  • Gary Rhodes (1960–2019), celebrated head chef at the Castle Hotel, Taunton, 1986–1990
  • Andy Robinson (born 1964), Taunton-born England rugby union international and head coach, now head coach of Scotland
  • Ivor Salter (1925-1991), actor, born in Taunton
  • Miranda Shearer (born 1982), author born in Taunton, since resident in Spaxton, Over Stowey and Taunton
  • Juno Temple (born 1989), actress
  • Hugh Trenchard, 1st Viscount Trenchard (1873–1956), Taunton-born military officer involved in founding the Royal Air Force
  • Marcus Trescothick (born 1975), England cricketer, recipient of the Taunton Deane Citizenship Award in 2005
  • Sir Charles Trevelyan, 1st Baronet (1807–1886), Governor of Madras, born in Taunton
  • James Turle (1802–1882) an organist and composer.
  • Phil Vickery (born 1961), celebrity chef
  • David Henry Wilson (born 1937), writer known for children's stories such as the Jeremy James series
  • Jeremy Wright (born 1972), born in Taunton and attending Taunton School, became Attorney General for England and Wales and a Conservative MP

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Taunton para niños

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