24. THE CARMELITES AT TAUNTON
A house of Carmelites or White Friars is said
to have been founded at Taunton by Walter
de Meriet, lord of the manor of Combe Florey.
The local tradition asserts the site of their house
to have been a short distance west of the castle
in a place called Paul's field. This seems to
warrant us in thinking that at least a beginning
of such a house was made, but certainly it never
got beyond its initial stage. The official history
is as follows:—In 1341 (fn. 28) a licence was issued
by the Crown for alienation in mortmain by
Walter de Meriet to the prior provincial of
the Carmelite Friars and the friars of that order
of 9 acres of meadow in Taunton to build
thereon a church in honour of the blessed Virgin
and a house for the habitation of a prior and
some friars of the order. Two years after, on
10 August 1343 (fn. 29) a grant was issued in mortmain
to the Carmelite Friars of 9 acres of meadow
called ' Cokkesmede ' in Taunton which Walter
de Meriet, clerk, had lately granted to the king
for a church and dwelling house to be built
Then on 25 November (fn. 30) it is stated that a
grant was made for certain causes which cannot
take effect for this time and at the request of
Henry de Lancaster, Earl of Derby the king has
regranted the same to the said Walter.
Walter de Meriet died 18 May 1345. (fn. 31)
It is clear therefore that whatever had been
done between the years 1341 and 1343, the work
was not continued and no house of Carmelites
ever existed in Taunton.
Cal. Pat. 1340–3, p. 227.
||Ibid. 1343–5, p. 102.
||Ibid. p. 142.
Somers. Arch. Soc. Proc. ix, 40.