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Martock

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Martock is a large village and civil parish in Somerset, England, situated on the edge of the Somerset Levels 7mi north west of Yeovil in the South Somerset district. The parish includes Hurst, approximately one mile south of the village, and Bower Hinton, which is located at the western end of the village and bounded by Hurst and the A303. Martock has a population of 4,766 and was historically a market town.HistoryEtymologyMartock was known in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Mertoch. It means ‘Rising bright from the shining sea’ from the Old English ‘meretorht’. It was the property of Queen Edith (Eagdith), wife of Godwin and mother of Earl Harold (Harold II). By 1066 it was the property of Queen Edith, wife of Edward the Confessor. The word root ‘Mer-’ can also refer to ‘a boundary or shore line’ from the Old English ‘maere’. It is possible that the name included the Old English element ‘stoc’ meaning ‘by a lake’.An alternative theory to the origin of the name Martock comes from the Old English words "mart" meaning market and "ac" for oak. This might relate to an oak tree on the spot now occupied by the Market House or more precisely the column there. Ekwall suggested that the name derives from ‘merkestoc’ meaning ‘a place on a boundary’. However, Prebendary G.W. Saunders, vicar of Martock from 1917 to 1951, cites two more possibilities. Firstly, from Collinson, who wrote in 1790, that the name Martock is derived from ‘market oak’. But unfortunately Martock was not granted a market until 1247 and long before that it was called by this name. His second suggestion is that the name is derived from a Celtic personal name ‘Merti’, who gave his name to a settlement, hence Merti-oc, the settlement of Merti. Both of these seem to be flights of fancy.
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