Ancient Monuments

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The Yarn Market

A Scheduled Monument in Dunster, Somerset

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Latitude: 51.1846 / 51°11'4"N

Longitude: -3.4442 / 3°26'39"W

OS Eastings: 299155.44532

OS Northings: 143810.790958

OS Grid: SS991438

Mapcode National: GBR LK.5R80

Mapcode Global: VH6GM.8H07

Entry Name: The Yarn Market

Scheduled Date: 30 November 1925

Last Amended: 14 February 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015706

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22092

County: Somerset

Civil Parish: Dunster

Built-Up Area: Dunster

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset


The monument includes an octagonal shaped building in the middle of the wide
High Street in Dunster, known as `The Yarn Market' or market cross.
The building is 9.4m in diameter and has a massive central octagonal based
stone pier from which spreads a heavy timber framework with verticals,
resting on a low rubble stone wall. A wide counter forms a sill to the
openings on each of the eight sides, some being stone, others oak. The floor
is cobbled. The timber framework carries a slate roof with a central wooden
lantern surmounted by a weather vane with the initials `GL' and the date 1647.
There are eight gabled dormers, each with three-light leaded wood casement
windows with moulded wood mullions. It has wide prehanging eaves on bracket
and pillar supports.
The Yarn Market was built in 1609 by George Luttrell, who then owned the
castle, and the date 1647 refers to repairs done by Francis Luttrell. Dunster
cloth and kerseymere were sold there. The monument is Listed Grade I and in
the care of the Secretary of State.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Markets were an important feature of many towns throughout the historic
period, and the sites of those markets can often be seen today in the layout
of streets or by the position of a cross or market hall. Crosses are an
earlier feature than halls, being characteristic of markets in the Middle
Ages, the cross serving to remind people of the morality of business, as well
as to provide a collecting point for tolls. Halls, with an upper room for
officials, appeared from the 15th century onwards, though the more elaborate
examples are of 17th and 18th century date. Most of these later examples had
an upper storey providing a suite of rooms and, as a consequence, shelter at
ground floor level.
Between the simple cross and market hall were various forms which combined
features of both: the focus of the market and a place to shelter from the
elements. Such covered crosses or simple shed-like structures were
commonplace, especially in the transitional period of the 15th and 16th
centuries. The Yarn Market in Dunster is a good example of such a structure,
as well as being rather unusual in its comparatively late date, at least for
the South West.

Source: Historic England


Weston, S. M., AM107,

Source: Historic England

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