Mere in 1843
Mere is in the hundred of Mere, 104 miles from the General Post-Office, London, by the South-Western Railway to Basingstoke, and from thence by Andover, Amesbury, and Hindon ; or 22 miles west of Salisbury through Barford and Hindon. The manor of Mere belonged in the reign of Henry III to the king’s brother, Richard, earl of Cornwall and king of the Romans, who built a castle here, the site of which may still be distinguished on the north-wvest side of the town.
The parish has an area of 7,400 acres, divided into three tythings, the town tything, Woodlands and Chaddenwicke (or Chaddenwych) tything, and Zeals tything : the town tything contained, in 1831, 304 houses ; namely, 300 inhabited and 4 uninhabited ; with a population of 300 families or 1,482 persons, rather more than one-third agricultural. The population of the whole parish, in 1831, was 2,708. The town consists chiefly of one street of indifferent houses, irregularly built along the road from London and Salisbury to Wincaunton and Exeter.
The church, which is on the south side of the town, is a handsome Gothic building, chiefly of perpendicular character, having a western tower, with battlements and pinnacles. The northern porch appears from its architecture to be more ancient than the body of the church. There is a market-cross, or market-house, in the centre of the town. The manufacture of woollen cloth and kerseymere is carried on in the parish, but to a very small extent, and that chiefly in the tything of Zeals : it employed, in 1831, 27 men in that tything, 7 in the town tything, and 4 in the tything of Woodlands and Chaddenwicke. The manufacture of dowlas and bed-ticking was carried on some years since. The market is on Thursday, and there are two large yearly fairs.
The living is a vicarage, of the clear yearly value of £200, with a glebe-house, in the rural deanery of Wylie, in the archdeaconry and diocese of Salisbury. The parish contained, in 1833, nine day-schools of all kinds, with 201 scholars ; namely, 130 boys and 71 girls ; and one Sunday-school, with 300 scholars ; namely, 100 boys and 200 girls ; giving between one in thirteen and one in fourteen of the population under daily instruction, and one in nine under instruction on Sunday. One of the day-schools, with 20 boys, had a small endowment.