Further sources of information on South Petherton (both online and books)
A brief general history of Somerset can be found on the Somerset Archive and record Service website. http://www.somerset.gov.uk/archives/ which also has online maps for the whole of Somerset and you can zoom in on maps of South Petherton c 1885 and c 1903.
The Parish website has a history at http://www.southpetherton.com/history.html This contains a map which shows how the village expanded from medieval times onwards.
More detailed information can be found in the Victoria County History for Somerset. South Petherton (both the Parish and the Hundred of South Petherton are covered in Volume 4). You might be able to pick up a second hand copy of the parish of South Petherton section which was reprinted as a slim A4 booklet for the Somerset County Library but is now out of print. Other sources of information include a book based on a 1879 lecture by the village doctor and antiquarian Dr Hugh Norris, South Petherton in the Olden Times.. This has been reprinted by the South Petherton Local History Group in 2000 and is available from the Somerset and Dorset Family History Society (and other genealogy online shopping websites such as The Parish Chest) together with a more recent book with lots of photos,South Petherton in the Twentieth Century: A Village Album. There are other books with a lot of old photographs from South Petherton and nearby villages such as Crewkerne and the Ham Stone Villages in Old Photographs and Around Yeovil.
Another useful booklet is another reprint by the South Petherton Local History Group: it a small booklet by Muriel Waldock called Exploring South Petherton which suggests walks and identifies some of the old buildings in South Petherton and tells you about previous occupants. The new version contains photographs and is available in local shops in South Petherton. The old version is still available from Somerset Libraries as is The Official Guide to the Parish of South Somerset from 1949.
For information on families who emigrated from South Petherton to Australia there is a fascinating book by Florence Chuk, The Somerset Years. It discusses 50 Assisted immigrants from Somerset and Bristol 1839-1854.and has a comprehensive index of passengers and vessels and detailed descriptions of Emigration schemes.
Peter Lawson-Clarke has written a very interesting book called "The Blakes of South Petherton, Throughout six generations.
For full references for the books mentioned above click here.
The Parish Church has a website with a history of the Church and photos http://www.southpethertonchurch.org.uk/
as does the Methodist Church
The history of the Roundwell Chapel (now the David Hall Arts Centre) is on this website.
Trade Directories are another useful source of information which are increasingly being made available to purchase on CD or the originals can be consulted in the Local Studies Library in Taunton. Many directories are also available on line via a website http://www.historicaldirectories.org/ which is a digital library of local and trade directories for England and Wales, from 1750 to 1919. It contains (as at August 2007) high quality images of 21 directories which mention South Petherton and include useful information on residents and business people as well as a description of the town. These include:
Slater's Directory of Berks,
Corn, Devon ..., 1852-53
Hunt & Co.'s Directory for Gloucester, Bristol & Welsh towns, 1849
Pigot & Co.'s Directory of Berks, Bucks ... , 1844. [Part 2: Hants to Wilts, & Wales]
Hunt & Co.'s Directory of Dorset, Hants, Wilts, Som, 1851
Kelly's Directory of Somerset, 1902
Kelly's Directory of Somerset, 1897
Kelly's Directory of Somerset, 1914
Slater's Directories of Important English Towns, 1847
Hunt & Co's Directory of Gloucester & Bristol, 1849
Pigot & Co.'s Directory of Derbys, Dorset ..., 1842
Kelly's Directory of Somerset, 1919
Kelly's Directory of Somerset, 1889
Kelly's Directory of Bristol, 1902