This description of Witham Friary, Somerset in 1891 was published in Somersetshire, part of the County Topographies series edited by E.R. Kelly.
WITHAM FRIARY is a village and parish, with a station on the Wilts and Somerset branch of the Great Western railway, 125½ miles from London, and is the point of junction of the line for Shepton Mallet and Wells, being 9 miles from Shepton Mallet, 14 from Wells, and 6 south from Frome (which is its market town), in the Eastern division of the hundred of Frome, East Somerset, Frome union, county court district and rural deanery, Wells archdeaconry, diocese of Bath and Wells, and Canterbury province.
The church of Mary the Virgin, St. John the Baptist, and All Saints, is the sole remaining building of the Priory established here by the Carthusians about the year 1181: it was erected by Bishop Hugh, celebrated as the restorer of Lincoln Cathedral: it is in the Early English style, and has a stone vaulted roof, but has been disfigured by a modern square tower, and slated exterior roof with parapet: it has only a nave with circular apse for chancel, and contains an organ, purchased hy subscription in 1859. The register dates frotn the year 1615. The living is a vicarage, yearly value £104, with residence, in the gift of the Duke of Somerset, and held by the Rev. Alexander D’Arblay Burney, M.A., of Trinity College, Cambridge. Here is a National school for boys and girls, supported by subscription, in which a Sunday school is also held.
The Duke of Somerset, who is lord of the manor, A. P. E. Powell, and J. Balch, esqrs., are the chief landowners. The soil and subsoil, are clay and stone brash. The land is used solely for dairy farms. The acreage is 5,497; gross estimated rental, £8,568; rateable value, £6,316; the population in 1871 was 547.
GAER HILL is a hamlet, a small portion of which only is in this parish. BELLERICA is about 2½ miles west. In addition, there are the small hamlets of ROUGH STUBBS, HIGHER and LOWER HOLT, and DREWLEY.