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Ilchester Museum

Visiting

Opening hours

Thursdays and Saturdays from Easter to the end of September, from 10am to 4pm.

Contact

Tel. 01935 840 147

Postcode BA22 8NQ

Details

Ilchester Museum is maintained by The Ilchester Town Trust, and is situated in the Town Hall house, High Street, itself part of a two hundred and fifty year old building and is open Thursdays and Saturdays from Easter to the end of September, from 10am to 4pm.

The museum, set up by The Ilchester Town Trust and dedicated to the memory of James Stephen Cox, allows the visitor a tantalising glimpse into the town's past.

Follow the history of Ilchester from Iron Age Settlement of 600 BC to the present day. There is a glimpse of life in a major Roman town, with it's mosaics and the God 'Mercury'.

Here you may touch and feel a Roman mosaic, handle pieces of pottery and have a chat with Faustina in her lead coffin! "Cool" say the children!

At the end of the dark ages Ilchester had regained some status, and its stone walls, for a King's moneyer to reside in the town. On show is the town mace or staff of office, bearing the insignia of Richard I, a crescent moon encircling a star, "One who has been enlightened by the gracious aspect of His Sovereign " and the star "some divine quality bestowed from above, whereby men shine in virtue, learning and works of piety like bright stars on earth". Yes really, that's Ilchester!

Despite adopting this emblem and it's rather glowing meaning, the town went on to become one of the worst of the "rotten boroughs", eventually loosing its franchise to return two members of parliament, in 1832. In the 1740's Ilchester was described as "Poor and corrupt, without honour, morals or attachment to any man or party".

You may be surprised at the sheer size of the prison. The model is built from the 1821 plans, their last refurbishment before eventual closure in 1844. Now remnants of the building can be found all around the district, built into later buildings.

The Maundy Money on display was presented to Owen Masters by Her Majesty the Queen in 1993, and subsequently given to the Museum for display, with the leather purses. On that very special occasion for them both Owen was accompanied by his wife Marjorie, who survived him by several years and attained her 100th birthday in April 2008, some 6 months before she died.

High Street, Ilchester, Yeovil, Somerset. BA22 8NQ

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