Copyright © The Ilchester Town Trust.  Registered Charity no 235579

Website by eddie at

...told by the Ilchester Museum

Ilchester Museum

Looking south along High Street, Ilchester, some-time in the early 20th century. The building on the very left is the part of the Town Hall where the museum is now  housed.

Ilchester Museum was established in 1989 shortly after the Ilchester Town Trust renovated the Town Hall.  

Ilchester Museum is situated in the Town Hall, with its entrance in High Street, and is open Thursdays and Saturdays from Easter to the end of September, from 10am to 4pm. If this is not convenient for you, contact us to make special arrangements.

The museum is dedicated to the memory of James Stephen Cox, an Ilchester resident and renowned historian, archaeologist and author.  The many artefacts on display allow the visitor a tantalising glimpse into the town's past. You can follow our story from the Iron Age settlement of 600 BC to the present day.  

Here you may touch and feel a Roman mosaic rescued from the ruins of one of the magnificent villas in Ilchester, handle pieces of pottery and have a chat with Faustina in her lead coffin!  

On show is the town mace or staff of office, bearing the insignia of Richard I, a crescent moon encircling a star, which is reproduced at the top of this page.

Ilchester was once famous for its notorious prison, and the museum houses an accurate scale model of the building. You may be surprised at the sheer size of the prison. The model is built from the 1821 plans, their last refurbishment before eventual closure in 1844. Now remnants of the building can be found all around the district, where the stone has been incorporated into later buildings.  

The Maundy Money on display was presented to Owen Masters by Her Majesty the Queen in 1993, and subsequently given to the Museum for display, with the leather purses.  On that very special occasion for them both Owen was accompanied by his wife Marjorie, who survived him by several years and attained her 100th birthday in April 2008, some 6 months before she died.

Historical walking tours of the town can be arranged through the museum, as can visits by schools or other interested organisations. The museum is staffed by a team of  unpaid but enthusiastic volunteers, who can answer most questions, or they can make up a convincing one!

Visitors with mobility problems can gain access to the museum by contacting the Caretaker on 01935 841247, and  disabled toilets are available.

Entrance to the museum is FREE (with donations always welcomed of course).

The Museum sells a range of publications and postcards about Ilchester.

There are plenty of places to sleep and eat in Ilchester - see the Links page for more detail.

More about the Ilchester Town Trust at the Charity Commission website