The Yarn Market


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


Ordnance survey map of The Yarn Market
© Crown Copyright and database right 2020. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 24-Feb-2020 at 15:17:52.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

West Somerset (District Authority)
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
SS 99155 43811

Reasons for Designation

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.


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.

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


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Weston, S. M., AM107,


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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