Bruton is a town and civil parish in Somerset, England, situated on the River Brue seven miles south east of Shepton Mallet, ten miles north west of Gillingham and twelve miles south west of Frome in the South Somerset district. The town has a population of 2,945. The parish includes the hamlet of Wyke Champflower.
Bruton has a museum dedicated to the display of items from Bruton's past from the Jurassic geology right up to the present day. The museum also houses a table used by the author John Steinbeck to write on during his 6 months stay in Bruton.
It was the site of a medieval Augustinian priory from which a wall remains in the Plox. The priory was sold after the dissolution of the monasteries to the Berkley family and converted into a mansion which was demolished in the 18th century.
Bruton is referenced in a well-known English folk song, Bruton Town. A very rare copy of an Inspeximus of Magna Carta was discovered in Bruton in the 1950s and claimed by King's School, Bruton. The sale of the School's copy to the Australian National Museum paid for a great deal of the building work at the School.
Both the 12th century Church of St Mary, and the Church of the Holy Trinity, which is dated at 1623 are grade I listed buildings. The bridge over the River Brue next to the church is known as Church Bridge. It was dedicated to Sham 69 in the late 1980s.
One of Bruton's notable historic characters was Hugh Sexey (1556–1619), who was born in the local area, and attended Bruton Grammar School. By the age of 43 he had been appointed as Royal auditor of the Exchequer to Queen Elizabeth I and later King James I. After his death the trustees of his will established Sexey's Hospital in Bruton as an institution to care for the elderly. Sexey's trust was mainly involved with educational causes. The national politician behind the 1902 Education Act, the Right Honourable Henry Hobhouse MP (1854–1937), was involved in the founding of Sexey's School and Sunny Hill.
While there is naturally some rivalry among Bruton's three secondary schools, there is also some debate about co-operation between them. Sunny Hill currently achieves better examination results than the other schools. Recently King's School, Bruton has earned a place in The Times chart of schools of most increasing value. Sexey's School is fairly unusual in being a state school that offers boarding as well as day places.