A Brief History 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. By 1300 the town was important enough to send two members to the King’s Parliament but this proved to be a costly privilege and soon stopped.Much of Chard was destroyed in a devastating fire in 1577 but it was soon rebuilt and the wool trade continued to flourish.
The town was briefly affected by the Monmouth Rebellion of 1685 as the Duke’s army marched through on their way to their defeat at the Battle of Sedgemoor. Chard citizens escaped lightly in the retribution of Judge Jeffrey’s Bloody Assizes although twelve rebel strangers were brought to the town and hanged.
An agreement between workers and millowners led to the Yeomanry withdrawing from the town but an angry mob followed the soldiers throwing stones. The officer in charge later said that, had he known his troops were under attack, he would have ordered them to fire adding:
“it would have been poor consolation, in revenge for a pelting, which after all did no serious injury, to have left 50 or 60 of the mob dead in the street.”
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.