Chard is a historic market town nestled within the glorious countryside of South Somerset, close to the Devon and Dorset borders.
Chard is the second largest town in South Somerset with a population of approximately 14,000. At 121 metres (397ft) above sea level it is both the southernmost and highest located town in Somerset.
People have been living in the Chard area since prehistoric times and villas nearby at Tatworth and Wadeford show that Romans lived here too, but the first written mention of the town was in 1065 just prior to the Norman invasion. A little over twenty years later the Doomsday Book recorded details of the settlement which was then a large, though not rich, manor.
In the middle of the 13th century the lord of the manor, the Bishop of Wells, drew up a charter founding a new borough of Chard. The site of the original village, now known as Old Town, was near St Mary’s Church but the new borough was created a little distance away on what is now the A30.
Like many towns in England Chard became closely involved in the wool trade. The rise of the woollen trade in the north of England badly affected the industry in Chard but in 1819 the manufacture of lace arrived. Soon there were mills in and around Chard producing bobbin lace net which was exported worldwide.
The industry continued throughout the rest of the 19th century and into the middle of the 20th century when the last mill in the town finally closed although net is still made in one of the nearby villages. A thriving engineering industry grew up alongside the lace mills and several of the firms which developed from this are still operating in Chard today.
You can discover more about our town’s history in Chard Museum located in Godworthy House, High Street, Chard or by visiting the Tourist Information Centre at The Guildhall.
Chard is easily accessible, situated on the main London –Exeter route, so why not stop off at one of the Cafes, Pubs or Restaurants, call in and visit the Antiques, Vintage, Collectables & Craft Market or relax by Chard Reservoir – just a few of the things Chard has to offer.