Known as Weolingtun in the Anglo-Saxon period, its name had changed to Walintone by the time of the Domesday Book of 1086. Wellington became a town under a royal charter of 1215 and during the medieval period it grew as a centre for trade on the road from Bristol to Exeter. Major rebuilding took place following a fire in the town in 1731, after which it became a centre for clothmaking. Wellington gave its name to the first Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley, who is commemorated by the nearby Wellington Monument. The Grand Western Canal reached the town in 1835 and then the Bristol and Exeter Railway in 1843. The town's own railway station survived until 1964. Wellington was home of Fox, Fowler and Company, which was the last commercial bank permitted to print their own sterling banknotes in England and Wales. In the 20th century closer links with Taunton meant that many of the residents of Wellington commuted there for work, and the M5 motorway enabled car journeys to be made more easily.
Local industries, which now include an aerosol factory and bed manufacturers, are celebrated at the Wellington Museum in Fore street. Wellington is home to the private Wellington School, and state run Court Fields Community School. It is also home to a range of cultural, sporting and religious sites including the 15th century Church of St John the Baptist.