Before it became a town, North Petherton was the largest village in England. It was an important settlement as far back as Saxon times and archaeologists have found plenty to interest them on the site of the current church, St Mary The Virgin, which has one of the tallest, most elaborate towers in the region.
North Petherton has a number of claims to fame including the fact that the poet and civil servant Geoffrey Chaucer was Deputy Forester at the royal estate of Petherton Park. A chance ‘find’ nearby centuries later brought the town more fame as it turned out to be one of the most important this country has unearthed. It was the Alfred Jewel – now in the Ashmolean Museum – which is thought to be the top of a ninth century pointing stick for reading, a skill King Alfred was keen to promote.
Source: Visit Somerset