Wedmore Genealogy Pages
THE LAND OWNERS OF THE 18TH CENTURY-1700 TO 1800.
I said in the Preface to Vol. I. of this Magazine that the history of the Ownership of the Soil of this Parish during the last 1,000 years might be writ very short. It might be writ in four words, with a numeral or two added to each. King, 200 years; Church, 500; Duke, 50; Yeoman, 250. Add these numerals together, and they make a thousand. A thousand years ago Wedmore belonged to the King. After 200 years' ownership by the King, A.D. 860 to 1600, it passed to the Church. After 500 years' ownership by the Church, 1060 to 1550 it passed to the Duke and a courtier or two. After 50 years' ownership by them, 1550 to 1600, the manors were broken up into fragments and came into the hands of more or less substantial yeomen. And there they be now, wondering what will happen to them next. And I should like to be able to expand each of those four words into a long chapter. I should like to be able to go into details, and tell how the land was held and how it was cultivated, and by what manner of men during all that time; and how they lived, and where they lived, and all about them.
Properly I ought to begin at King Alfred, and work onwards through Church and Duke to the Yeomen. But the materials to enable me to do that are not at my door. Those materials exist in great abundance, but they are not at my door. So I leave out King, Church, and Duke and begin with the Yeomen. And at present I cannot even begin at the beginning of their Innings. Speaking roundly their innings, in this place, began with the 17th century, i.e., 1600. But the parish books now before me do not begin till the year 1700. So I am now only going to deal with the 18th century, i.e., the century that lies between 1700 and 1800. That last date will be a sort of barrier which it will not be necessary to cross. Now and then I shall make an excursion backwards of a hundred years. The 18th century takes in the reign of Queen Anne and the first three Georges. During that century two rates had to be paid, viz., Church-rate and Poor-rate. Amongst the parish books kept over the Church porch there is a volume called Church Book No. 1, which contains all the Church-rates from 1701 to 1735. Church Book No. 2 is missing. There should be also a series of 8 books containing all the Poor-rates from 1689 to 1783. But the first volume of this series is missing and there are only the seven volumes containing the Poor-rate from 1709 to 1783. From these rate-books I have made out a complete list of the ratepayers of the last century. And a list of the ratepayers of the last century means a list of the houseowners and landowners. A list of the ratepayers of to-day would only show the occupiers, and would not show an owner unless he were likewise the occupier of what he owned. But the old rates were levied upon the owners and not upon the occupiers. So I presume that in the above lists we have the name of every man who owned house or land in the parish from 1700 to 1783. I leave off at 1783 for this reason. At that time began the enclosure of the moors, and in consequence of the change and confusion which that caused there are no rate lists till 1793, when they are made out in a different way altogether.
These rate-books, which show not only what was paid, but also how it was spent, are full of information. They tell what they really mean to tell, and they tell a lot more besides. One can learn from them how the land was distributed in the last century and a number of other facts. In fact it would take several volumes of the Wedmore Chronicle to pump out all the information that is in them, and leave them quite dry. In this number, having given a list of the names, I shall content myself with identifying a few of the non-residents, and with making a few remarks upon some of the Christian names and surnames.
Nothing ever seems to pass away without leaving some trace, or some relic, or some consequence behind it; and when you stare hard at things, you may see not merely the things at which you are staring, but likewise some traces of earlier things which are left in them. I have heard how that a few years ago there was a lonely spot in the middle of one of the royal parks in Germany which was always carefully guarded by a sentinel. There in that lonely spot a sentinel was daily set to pace up and down. No man knew why. The sentinel himself did not know why; they who sent him there did not know why; no man knew why. They said that it always had been so, but none of them knew why. And one curious man determined that he would know why. So he set to work to search the State papers, and at last he found the reason why. About 200 years before, the king had been fond of going to that spot, and sitting on a bench there for hours together. So a sentry was put there. Time went on; the king was gathered to his fathers, the bench went to daddocks; but the order to put the sentry there still remained on the books, and was still obeyed. So when you looked at that sentry, you saw the sentry and you saw something else besides. You saw in him a trace or consequence of the old king who had gone to dust sitting on a bench which had gone to daddocks. I believe that there were some radicals who proposed that the sentinel should no longer be put there; but it was very properly answered that to move him would be altogether contrary to the constitution, and would cause the complete ruin of the country and the utter destruction of religion. So he paced on, and I dare say paces on still.
When once we can get to see how things leave traces and consequences behind them after they are gone, we shall see such traces and consequences wherever we look. Only it is not enough to look; one must stare hard.
The men in the first of the two lists were all grown up men paying rates between 1701 and 1750. I had thought that possibly their Christian names might contain some trace of the political questions and political feelings of that day; and though I do not now think that any such trace can be seen, yet there is no harm in asking two questions
1. What were the political questions of that day?
2. How might any trace of them be seen in the Christian names?
The men who paid rates between 1700 and 1750 had many of them been born whilst the Civil War in England was yet raging. They, or at any rate their fathers, had been born whilst the fierce strife between King and Parliament, between Royalists and Puritans, was at its hottest, whilst England had no king, whilst Cromwell was in power. Their fathers and their godfathers who gave them their names may have taken some actual part in that strife; and shed some blood in it. They must have been either followers of the king's cause, or followers of the opposite cause. And if I had found amongst their names a great increase of Olivers, or if I had found many of the strange Scriptural names which the Puritans were fond of taking; or if on the other hand I had found a great increase of Charleses over what there had been before, then I should have seen in such names traces of political feelings; such names would have been witnesses showing with which side there was most sympathy.
Or again. Cromwell died in 1658. The monarchy was restored in 1660. Within 50 years another great political question arose, viz., Who shall be king? Three years after the battle of Sedgemoor, whose memory and traditions are yet living, and exactly 200 years from this year, viz., in 1688, King James II. was turned off the throne because he was too much inclined to Popery. They would not have his son, James, for the same reason. They put his daughter Mary on the throne; she was married to a Dutch prince, William, of whom I think some trace is to be found in Dutch Road, in the parish of Mark. William and Mary died without children, and then they put Anne on the throne, another daughter of old King James. I lately dug up a mug in the Vicarage garden with Queen Anne's initials, A.R., upon it. I think Mr. Castleman must have quenched his thirst from that mug. Queen Anne died without children in 1714, and then arose the question, Who shall be king? Some were for James, son of old King James II. But the majority would have a Protestant king; and the nearest Protestant heir to the throne was a German prince, George of Hanover. He could scarcely speak a word of English, and liked Hanover much better than England; but they crowned him king as George I. He was heir to the throne because his grandmother was a daughter of King James I.
The Whigs of that day gave him a warm welcome, and the Tories gave him a cold one. George was not a common name in England at the time; and if I had found a sudden increase of Georges, I should have gathered from that that there was a strong Whig feeling rather than a Tory one.
Such were the political questions still being agitated, or only lately settled, in the period to which the above lists of names belong, 1700 to 1783; and such is the way in which traces of those questions might be seen in the Christian names of that day. But I am doubtful whether such traces actually can be seen. Probably people were slow, and they did well to be slow, to change their usual names, and bring into them elements of party feeling. At any rate in order to judge we ought to have the names before us of all the parishioners, and not only of one section.
There is no doubt that in time the Royal Family do have an influence over the Christian names of their people. There are a certain number of Alberts now in the land, but I do not suppose there were any till Queen Victoria married Prince Albert. George was a scarce name till the three King Georges in the last century gave it a lift, and made it tolerably common. Charles was a very scarce name till the two Kings Charles in the 17th century pushed it on. And yet some names have got on very well without royal help. We have had no King Thomas and only one King John, and he a bad one. Of the names which will be found above, we may say that Arthur has come down to us from the original Britons; Edward, Edwin, Edmund, and Alfred were brought in by the Saxons, who conquered those Britons; Henry, Robert, Richard, Stephen, Thomas, William, were brought in by the Normans, who conquered those Saxons; Charles came with the two kings whom Scotland gave us in the 17th century; George came with the kings whom Hanover gave us in the 18th century; Albert came with the husband whom Germany gave to our Queen Victoria in this 19th century. So we can tell near about when those several names came into use amongst us. It is true that there were some Georges in England before the time of King George I., but not many. There was never an ancient Briton, never a Saxon, never a Dane, never a Norman, called George. Just 400 years after the Norman conquest, and just 400 years back from these days of ours, by which time Britons, Saxons, Danes and Normans had all got welded into one English people, there was an English prince named George, brother of King Edward IV. He lived and died during the Wars of the Roses. In the following century, during the reigns of Henry VII., Henry VIII., and Elizabeth, a certain number of Georges will be found, chiefly amongst courtiers and the like. Whether that was owing to some intercourse with Germany, or to St. George being the patron saint of England, I do not know. Probably it could easily be found out. But the name was not a popular one using the word popular in its original sense. It was like a frost that had not gone into the ground but had only touched the blades of grass. Consequently most of the Georges of to-day can either trace their name back to some one in the days of George I., who received it then as a compliment to the new royal family; or else, if it goes back beyond the days of King George, then they can name that particular family from whom they have got it I will give instances of both these things:-
1. I have a brother and a first cousin named George. They had an uncle George. He had an uncle George. He had an uncle George. But he had no uncle George. He had nine uncles, besides six aunts, on his father's side, but never a George amongst them. His father's name was John, born before the days of King George I. John held office at Court, and so called his eldest son after King George. In fact he called nearly all his children after members of the German royal family. Frederick, Augustus, Caroline, Amelia, are I believe, all of them German names, scarcely known in England before the times of the Georges, and which would probably be unknown still if James II. had not turned Papist.
2. Many of the Wedmore Georges of to-day will probably find that they get their name directly or indirectly from the Stone family. And the Stone family had it before the days of King George I. There were two George Stones paying rates in the year 1701, which was 13 years before the accession of George I. And the Stones probably got it from the Hodges, who were living at the Manor House in 1600, before and after. There was a George Hodges who died in 1654. And the Hodges probably got it from the Rodneys of Rodney Stoke. George Hodges' mother was a Rodney, and the Rodneys had the name soon after 1500. So we see men of the 19th century getting the name from Stones of the 18th century; Stones of the 18th century getting it from Hodges of the 17th century; Hodges of the 17th century getting it from Rodneys of the 16th century; and if the Rodneys were to be looked into, I have no doubt it could be found who they got it from. When a name is recent or scarce, you can see its first coming in; you can track it from one to another. But when it is common, then you can't. George can scarcely be called a common name even now. But it is getting common so that in the 20th century they will not be able to do so easily what we can do now. They will be tracking the Alberts as we now track the Georges.
In the above list of ratepayers will be found the name of Maurice Morgan. Maurice is another German name, though we do not owe it to our German kings. There are two ways in which Maurice Morgan may have got his name. Charles I. had two nephews, sons of his sister who married the King of Bohemia. These two princes, Rupert and Maurice, came over to England and fought valiantly for their uncle during the Civil War. They took a prominent part in the war, and their names must have been well known, and either hated or loved all over the land. Maurice won a great victory at Lansdown, near Bath. And possibly Maurice Morgan's father was a staunch Royalist, and called his son after the prince. Or else Maurice Morgan may have got his name somehow through the Hodges family. Maurice was the name of several Dutch princes. Captain Thomas Hodges lost his life fighting under a Dutch prince in Holland in 1583. The Hodges and Morgans were connected. There was a William Morgan who married Barbara, grand-daughter of Captain Thomas. When I come to look into the Hodges and Morgans, this will probably be proved or disproved. I only put it down now in case I should forget it.
As time runs on we must inevitably take in some new names and lose some old ones. Some of the old ones may be regretted and one cannot see any reason why they should be pushed out. Edmund and Stephen, the one Saxon and the other Norman, were once fairly common; but they are both now on the wane. And yet there are no names that sound better or look better on paper; they both have their historical associations, they both have an English ring about them. The only possible objection to them is that they are so difficult to shout out. Joan was once the commonest of all English female names; but if you see any one of that name now, you may take for granted that she is past 80 years of age. With all respect to the Queen and the Princess of Wales, I think that Joan is a better name than either Victoria or Alexandra. There is nothing gassy or flashy, or incurably modern about it.
I have spent more time over these Christian names than I had intended. But it is not altogether time wasted. It is such things as these that help to give life and reality to history. We do not want to look upon the past as a dead thing quite separate from us, but we want to look upon all time as one great flowing river; its waters began to flow "in the beginning;" they have been flowing from century to century till they have reached where we are, and will go on flowing from century to century till they reach the great open sea. Those who have lived before us stood on the bank a little higher up the river, we stand on the bank a little lower down; they, as it were, stood on a bridge over the Axe at Wookey or elsewhere higher up; we, as it were, stand on a bridge over the Axe as it passes through Wedmore Moor; the waters have come down from them to us, and the bread that they cast upon the waters comes floating down to us, and we may find it, though it be after many days. These little things, this tracking a name from generation to generation, helps in a small way to show the continuous flowing of the waters.
I have mentioned two political questions that were living questions and burning questions in the days or almost in the days of the men whose names I have just printed: viz., the strife between King Charles and Parliament in the middle of the 17th century, and the question of the succession to the throne 50 years afterwards. I have seen one trace, and one only, of each of those two questions. Of course the general character of the political opinions held to-day are descended from and are a trace of the political opinions held at that time. But besides that I have seen one distinct trace of each of those two questions.
1. One trace is in the name of the orchard behind the New Inn, viz. Tumbledown Dicks. Exactly how and why and when that orchard got that name I have not yet found out; but at any rate Tumbledown Dick was the scornful name that the Tories of 200 years ago gave to Richard Cromwell. (Wed.. Chron. Vol. 1, p. 215.)
2. The other trace is in an expression that old Mrs. Tyley used to be fond of. Mary Tyley, widow of Richard Tyley, died in 1880, aged 93 years; and I am told that she often used to say, Go to Hanover, i.e., Get along with you. Evidently that was an old Tory expression which belonged to the days when King George I. was not thought much of. It was a piece of Tory bread cast upon the waters 170 years ago, and it has come floating down to us, and now we stoop down and pick it up.
I give a table to show at
a glance the dates of the different events that I have just been alluding
And now I go to the List of Ratepayers 1701 to 1783, and pick out a few family names therefrom. Other names will be picked out in future numbers. Those which I pick out in this number are chiefly those about which I see something etymological to say. One difference between surnames and Christian names is this. In surnames it is their derivation and meaning which is full of interest and instruction. But there is little interest or instruction in the derivation of Christian names. With them the instructive thing is to notice how and when and whence they came in and to track them from one to another.
I have put the ratepayers into two lists to show better whenabouts they lived. The first list is 1701 to 1750; the second list is 1751 to 1783. I have already said why I begun at 1701 and left off at 1783. The second list only contains such names as are not already in the first list. In the first list there are 556 people, bearing 260 different surnames and 60 different Christian names. In the second list there are 182 different people, and 55 fresh surnames, and 11 fresh Christian names. Altogether there are 738 different people, bearing 315 different surnames, and 71 different Christian names. Really there are more than 738 different people, probably about 900, for I never put a name down more than once, though there may be several who had it. For instance, John Barrow only counts as one amongst the 738, and yet really there were three or four of them between 1700 and 1783. So with many others. Those 900 people, their surnames and their Christian names, their homes and their lands, their whences and their whithers, their family history, and the tracking of any footprints in the sands of time which they may have left behind them, ought to keep 50 volumes at least of the Wedmore Chronicle full occupied, if writers can be found to write it, and if readers can be found to read it. And yet they were only one half of the parish, and the other half has its history as well; and the history of that other half so far as I have glimpsed it in the parish books, is a sadder one; a history of men often driven by hard laws to want, and by want to crime, and by crime to gaol, and often thence to the gallows. Of course the parish books say nothing about the gallows; but they tell unmistakeably of the want, the crime, and the gaol. And we know that in the last century it was a broad and easy way that led to the gallows, and many there were that found it. Local history and general history, each needs the other to interpret it. The published history needs the help of the village rate-books, and the village rate-books need the help of the published history, in order that they may be understood.
Since what I said at page 14 about tracking the name George was written and printed, I have been transcribing the earliest volume of the Parish Register, and I find that before 1600 George was rather commoner than I had expected. So that the force of what I said is a little weakened. It is still true, but its force a little weakened, just as brandy is still brandy, but its force a little weakened by the admixture of water.
ABITHEEL. BETHEL. Every year from 1701 to 1720, Thomas Abitheel pays Church Rate for a ground or tenement in the Wedmore quarter of the rateable value of £1 a year. No name is given to this ground or tenement whichever it is. In 1721 Thomas Abitheel's name disappears from the list of ratepayers, and John Mabstone is in his place and pays "for Bethiel's," which shows that the surname Bethel is a corruption of Abitheel. Abitheel is a Welsh name, corrupted from ap Ithel. Ithel is a Welsh Christian name, and ap is the Welsh word for son. Where we might say "son of John," the Welshman would say "ap John." Where we might say "son of Ithel," they would say ap Ithel. Ap Ithel becomes Abitheel, and Abitheel becomes Bethel. The Abitheel family had been here some time, as I find a Peter Abithel having a child christened in 1562. In 1700 the name seems to have been in a transitional state, Abitheel and Bethel being both used. The family name of Lord Westbury is Bethel, and their motto is ap Ithel, whereby they keep up a record of the origin of their name.
ACOURT. COURT. The first man who bore this name lived "at the Court." "At the Court" became Acourt, and Acourt was still further ground down to Court. If they grind it much more, there will be nothing left. On Jan. 23, 1593, there was buried Margery, wife of John Court of Mudgley: which looks as if the Court house at Mudgley was the Court from which they got their name. They may have been caretakers for the Deans of Wells before the Deans of Wells were disestablished from Mudgley.
BADMAN. There is a surname Goodman which might be paired off with Badman, but I doubt it. I expect that Badman is a corruption of Bodmin, a town in Cornwall from which the family probably came. In fact I find it sometimes spelt Bodman. The letter a and the letter o very often change places. Some of us say sand and some say sond. Some say morning and some say marning. Some say Mr. Kempthorne and some say Mr. Kemptharne. Some say sot and some say sat. Some say mop and some say map. We say got, the Bible generally says gat.
Not long ago I was walking through the village of Weare with the Vicar of Theale. Whilst I went into a house, he said, he would go slowly on. When I came out I looked down the road, but could not see him. I met a man and asked him, Have you seen a gentleman, a very dark gentleman, going along that way? Yes, said he, he be sot on a gate, a little furder on.
Many years ago, it might be 50, there was a man living in Wedmore who used to sell cider. And those who came to drink there used sometimes to spit on the floor as they would in a public house. And he did not like it; and when anybody did such a thing he used to cry out, Mide, mide, fetch the map, fetch the map. I fear, in these School-board days, if any maiden were told to fetch the map, she would think that her master wanted to study geography, and would fetch the wrong article altogether.
If one wants to make out what words are derived from, it is absolutely necessary to notice what are the changes that letters undergo, and what letters tumble into what. There are several different sounds represented by the letter a, and several different sounds represented by the letter o; and some of the sounds represented by a and some of the sounds represented by o change into each other. When the local dialect and the dictionary differ from each other, it is very often the dialect that keeps the original word, whilst the dictionary shows the corruption. We ought by rights to smile at the dictionary; instead of which we go and smile at the original word. That is something like the fox in the old fable, who lost his tail, and then smiled at the other foxes because they had not lost theirs.
BISHOP. DEAN. One naturally asks, How did such names as these first get to be surnames? Probably they were nicknames. Suppose some village 500 years ago where Bishop or Dean was lord of the manor, and so a constant visitor and well known; and suppose some man in that village bore a great natural likeness to one or the other, or imitated their manner or their dress; wore a shovel hat like a Bishop, or leggings like a Dean ; then we can easily imagine his being nicknamed the Bishop or the Dean. We are ready enough to give nicknames now; but they must have been still more ready to do so when there were no surnames, and nothing but everlasting Johns and Williams. And as the Dean of Wells was lord of the manor of Wedmore for 400 years, and often used to stay at the Court house at Mudgley, whose foundations were uncovered a few years ago, and as the Bishop (I believe) had a very large house at Blackford whose history remains to be routed out, it is easy to imagine some former inhabitant getting a nickname from them. But there is another way in which the nickname may have been got. Before the Reformation there was in villages at the annual feasts and on other holydays a good deal of acting. They acted scenes from Scripture and other religious scenes. And such names as Bishop and Dean may have been first given to the men who acted such parts. These plays were once common all over England and other countries in Europe; but there is now, I believe, only one small village in Bavaria where the thing has been kept up and still goes on. In England one may see relics or survivals of it in the Christmas mummers, and in the Scripture scenes which are sometimes acted by travelling gipsies. About 18 years ago my father and mother and several of us were staying at Dunster in this county. We put up at the Luttrell Arms, an old fashioned inn looking down upon the market place. There were in the market place some travelling vans, such as one sees at fair times. One of my brothers happened to look out of a window at the top of the house in the afternoon, and saw a man very busy carrying bucket after bucket of water to the roof of the van. It turned out that in the evening there was going to be a grand representation of Moses striking the rock in the wilderness, and water gushing out. From the number of buckets that were being carried up in the afternoon, it was evident that Moses was going to do the thing well.
I have read somewhere of a terrible series of accidents that once happened at the performance of a Scripture play. They were doing the solemn scene of the Crucifixion, and doing it as exactly as they could according to the Scripture narrative. A man was fastened to the cross; to his side there was fastened a bladder full of blood and water, which a soldier was to pierce; a woman, representing the mother of Jesus, was at the foot of the cross. The soldier clumsily missed the bladder, and ran his spear into the man's side and killed him. He fell heavily from the cross, and broke the neck of the woman at the foot of the cross, and killed her. Her husband, who had been acting Pontius Pilate, was so enraged at seeing his wife killed that he ran the spear into the soldier whose clumsiness had caused the original accident, and killed him. This Pontius Pilate was tried for murder and hung. So that four violent and untimely deaths proceeded from that one afternoon's acting.
CHAMPION. CHAMPENEY. I had supposed that originally the name Champion was given to some one who excelled in war or in sport, and that then it gradually got to be a surname or family name, as such names often did. Anyone who reads the accounts of cricket matches knows how that W. G. Grace is always called "the Champion." Now suppose that this was 1188 instead of 1888, and men only had their Christian names; how natural would it be for the name "the Champion" to stick to him in winter as well as in summer, in old age when cricketing days were over, as well in those younger days when he was actually making his gigantic scores; and, there being no family names, how natural would it be for his son to be called "the young champion;" and so gradually and unconsciously Champion would get to be the surname of that race so long as it endured. That is what has happened in many cases. Mere temporary nicknames given to individuals have grown into permanent surnames. But that has not happened in this case. Very often what one supposes before one looks is upset by what one sees when one does look. On looking into these early rate-books, I found that the same men were called sometimes Champion, sometimes Champeny. The Church rate-book might call them by the one name, the poor rate-book by the other; or in the same book one year it might be Champion, the next year Champeny. And that completely upset the theory of a champion in war or sport. For it was evident that Champion was not the original name. It was evident that Champeny was nearer the original name than Champion. Champeny might get corrupted into Champion, but not Champion into Champeny. For when words or names get changed, they change into something that is easier for the tongue to speak, and not into something that is harder. After having had my first theory upset, I very soon met with the true explanation of the name. I was reading a book called "Tusser's 500 Points of Good Husbandry." Thomas Tusser, the author of this book upon farming, was born about 1520. On the title page, a very lengthy one as title pages often used to be, are these words: "500 Points of good husbandry, as well for the champion or open country, as for the woodland or several," etc., etc.; and amongst the contents of the book is "a comparison between champion country and several." Champion, therefore, was the word in use at that time to describe the open or unenclosed land as opposed to the several or enclosed land. I have already described the system of open fields (Wed. Chron. Vol. 1., 180-187). Tusser writes very strongly against that system. Champion is not a Saxon word, but a Norman or French word. In 1066 an army of Normans, who spoke French, conquered the Saxons and settled down in England. After a time the two became one people, the English people of to-day; and the two languages, Norman and Saxon, became one language, the English language of to-day. They each gave and took; so our language to-day is like our blood, part Saxon part Norman. Champion is a French word which the Saxons took; but when they took it they altered it a little, because in its original form it did not suit their tongues. Its original form as spoken by the Normans, was Champagne; the Saxons took it and altered it into Champion. So that in the surname Champeny you see the Norman word for open country in something like its original form; in the surname Champion you see that word after that the Saxons had changed it a little to suit their tongues. It is this same word, meaning open country, that has given a name to one of the French counties, and also to the wine which is made there, champagne. And then if one wonders why one family preserves the older form whilst another has the later form, it is possible that one family may have got the name before the word was corrupted, whilst another family may have not got the name till after it was corrupted. Or one family may have been more stubborn than another, and so have managed to keep their name unchanged, whilst another gave in, and suffered it to be changed. I once knew two brothers living in the same village, but called by different surnames, or at least by two different forms of the same name. And I asked one of them why he and his brother were called by different names. And he said that they had come into the place from a village some few miles away; and when they came people would not call them by their accustomed name, but changed it. One of them answered to his new name, the other would not; and as he would not answer, people gave in to him. So the one who answered was always called by the new name, the other who refused to answer was called by his old name. And that same thing which happened, say 20 years ago, to those two brothers may have happened to two other brothers 600 years ago or 200 years ago. 600 years ago there may have been two brothers with Norman tongues who called themselves after the open country whence they came, Champagne; and they may have settled down among some Saxons; and the Saxon tongues, disliking Champagne (not the wine but the word), may have changed it to Champion. And one of the two may have answered, while the other would not. So the one become Champion, the other remained Champeny. In the earliest volume of the Parish Register, 1560 to 1611, Champeny occurs very often, but Champion only three times. It seems to have been about the year 1700 that the struggle between the two forms was going on hotly. On the Table of Benefactions in Wedmore Church it is written Champion. Stephen Champion and William Champion, both of Sand, each gave £10 for the poor. But in 1735 Stephen signs one of the rates as Stephen Champeny. About the year 1600 there were no less than four Champenys coming from different quarters of the parish and bringing their children to the font in Wedmore Church. There was Richard came from Blackford, John from Crickham, John from Stoughton, and Thomas from Theale. They probably rode in with their wives on pillions behind them, going along Church paths or burying paths that led through fields of corn. Thomas from Theale probably came behind where Squire Boulting afterwards built a fine house, along where there is now a green track, passed over Stenning Bridge within twenty yards of Dunnick's Well, and so into Shooter's Lane and up to the Church, where he found the Rev. John Gadd (Wed. Chron. 1. p.245) waiting for him. Richard of Blackford had a son christened Stephen on April 21, 1601, and I think that there has been a Stephen Champeny ever since from that day to this. John of Stoughton and John of Crickham may possibly be the same man. If he occupied the house near Stoughton Cross, he might be called of Stoughton, though strictly, I believe, it is in Crickham. Besides these there was another branch in Allerton, who came here for burial. The late Mr. Clement Champeny told me that his mother used to ride to Wedmore Church on Sunday mornings on a pillion behind a servant. Mrs. Savidge used to do the same from Blackford. Those upping stones in the Borough were of some use then. Now they stand like that German sentinel in the wood.
MY LORD CUTLER. There is, or was, a tenement or estate in the Wedmore Quarter called Quicks. These are its successive owners who paid poor-rate for it. In 1734 and previously, James Badman. In 1735 "My Lord Cutler." In 1736 Thomas Cutler. In 1739 John Cutler. In 1748 Thomas Haydon. In 1752 Widow Haydon. In 1757 James Higgs. In 1759 Ann Higgs. In 1762 George Harvey, who is still holding it in 1783, when I reach my bounce ditch which I may not pass. Its rateable value was 10s. a year at first, and afterwards increased to £1. The first few years it is called Quicks; then for many years it is called by no name; and then in 1783 it is called Clarkes. Clarkes is possibly a mis-copying of Quicks. Many years before there had been a family named Quick in the parish.
But the chief point is "My Lord Cutler." In 1735, both in Church rate-book and Poor rate-book, he is so put down. One does not look for jokes or nicknames in a ratebook, but I suppose that this must be one. We shall look in vain for a Lord Cutler in the Peerage. About the time when I met with this lord in the rate-book, I saw in a weekly paper called Notes and Queries, that it was an old custom to call hunchbacks "my lord." The reason of it is not known. One possible reason that had been suggested was this. Just 400 years ago there was a King Richard III. He was killed in the very last battle of the Wars of the Roses. He was said to have been humpbacked, and to have made lords of those who were like himself. Hence the custom arose of calling a humpback "my lord."
HERVEY. HARVEY. HARFORD. HARVARD. HARVET. I have already referred to the Norman Conquest of England in AD. 1066. That year William Duke of Normandy invaded England with an army of foreigners. Harold, the Saxon King, was defeated and slain, and in a little time William was ruling in England. He is best known as William the Conqueror, and a very fine man he was. Amongst the Normans or French who came over with him, or who came over soon afterwards and settled in England, were some whose personal or Christian name was Herve. It was a personal name then, just like Robert or William, and not a surname. It was a Norman name, and not a Saxon one. As a personal name now it is gone, but as a surname it remains. Why it should have clean gone as a Christian name and should have become a surname, I don't know. There is some reason for it, as there is a reason for everything; I don't believe that there are such things as accidents at all but what that reason is I know not. It remains today as the surname Hervey or Harvey. That the name should be sometimes Hervey, sometimes Harvey, is not a bit strange, but just what one would have expected; for in many other cases one sees the syllables "er" and "ar" tumbling into each other. Person and parson, Derby and Darby, Berkshire and Barkshire, serjeant and sarjeant, merchant and marchant, serve and sarve, sermon and sarmint, are only a few instances out of many.
Now till I began to look into these early lists of ratepayers, I had always supposed that all the Herveys and Harveys in the land to-day got their name and were descended from some of the Norman followers of William the Conqueror, who had the personal name Herve. But on looking into the rate-books, I found that at the beginning of the last century the same men were called sometimes Harvey, sometimes Harford or Harvard, just as the same men were called sometimes Champeny, sometimes Champion. Now one of these two must be the original, the other must be a corruption. Which is the original, and which is the corruption? Is Harvey a corruption of Harford, or is Harford a corruption of Harvey? As time went on did the original Harvey tumble into Harford, or did the original Harford tumble into Harvey? That must be reasoned out. If one could keep sight of each generation from the generation that lives in the reign of Queen Victoria back to the generation that heard the sound of the curfew bell in the days of William, and when they heard it promptly put out their lights; if one could see some member of each of the 27 generations that have filled up the time from William to Victoria, then one could see what names they bore, and one could tell which was the original name and which was the corruption. But one can't do that in many cases. Registers and rate-books, wills and title-deeds, will enable one to trace back almost any man's forefathers for about 300 years, and then in most cases one has to stop. The fog gets too thick to be seen through. You can only see a crowd. You can't distinguish individuals. So the thing must be reasoned out.
I think that Harford or Harvard is the original, and that Harvey is the corruption; i.e., in those cases only where both forms are used of the same family. And these are my reasons for thinking so:-
(a.) In the earliest volume of the Parish Registers, 1560 to 1611, I don't think that Harvey is to be found at all. It is always Harford or Harvard. Harvey first appears about 1620. In the earliest Rate-book, which begins in 1701, the struggle between Harford and Harvey is going on fiercely, and before the end of that century the struggle has ended in the complete slaughter of Harford and the complete triumph of Harvey. Harvey now holds the field, like Mr. Gladstone's Home Rule Bill. So you seem to see the beginning of the invasion and the triumph of the invader, Harvey being the invader, and Harford, the original, being driven out with great slaughter.
(b.) Corruptions in words are generally the result of laziness on the part of the tongue, though for certain there are tongues which never seem to tire. So when words change they will change into something that gives less trouble, and not into something that gives more trouble, to pronounce. Now it is more trouble to say Harvard than to say Harvey. In the one case you are making an effort that is sustained till the end of the word, in the other case there is no effort after the first syllable. The 2nd syllable drops of itself. When a church bell is up, it needs an effort to keep it up, but it needs no effort to let it down. It will come, down of itself. Saying Harvard seems to me like keeping the bell up; saying Harvey seems like letting it down. So it is more likely that Harvey should be corrupted from Harford, than that Harford should be corrupted from Harvey. Harford could tumble into Harvey, but Harvey could never tumble into Harford. It would need to be pulled into it. And in corruption of words there is more likely to be tumbling than pulling. Laziness does not pull but tumbles.
(c.) I have noticed several other cases where a long syllable that needs an effort to speak, like ford, has tumbled into a short syllable that needs none, like vey. There is a place on the Mendips near Axbridge, which 500 years ago was called Redclive. In modern maps it is called Rackley. There is a Redcliff Street in Bristol, which I have heard people call Rackley Street. Some years ago I knew a man in another part of the county called Holly (pronounced Holy), but he told me his father's name was Holbrook. There were Holbrooks in Wedmore 200 years ago, and there is an estate here called Hollies, which looks as if the same change had been made here as there, and Holbrooks had become Hollies. There is a surname in Bridgewater, Sully, which seems to be a corruption of Southwood; at least Hannah Southwood, who died here in 1881, aged 92 years, was always called Hannah Sully. In Bleadney the second syllable is a corruption of hithe, in Putney of heath. Some of us say "bad like," "comfortable like," some say "badly," "comfortably." The "ly" is a corruption of "like." " Volly on" is familiar to some of us, and we know that follow has become volly, and not volly become follow. I had thought of several other instances of the same thing, but I stupidly did not put them down on paper, and now cannot call them to mind. However these will be enough to illustrate the law by which Harford may have become Harvey. The syllable "ford" will have done the same thing, as the syllables "dive," "brook," "wood," "hythe," "heath," "like" "low" have done in Rackley, Holly, Sully, Bleadney, Putney, badly and volly. From sheer laziness of tongue, and a kind of laziness that there is no harm in, they have all tumbled out of a long syllable into a short one.
So I should say that the Harveys of to-day must be divided into two lots. One lot, like the Herveys, get their name and their very being from some Norman follower of William the Conqueror who bore the name of Herve; whilst the other lot get their name from some ford or some place where they lived, called Harford.
This change of Harford or Harvard into Harvey is of course not peculiar to Wedmore. There is in America a College called Harvard College, so called from its founder, John Harvard, who emigrated to America from Southwark in London between 1630 and 1640. But this John Harvard is sometimes called John Harvey.
The form Harvet I do not see till the latter half of the last century; it then occasionally appears in the Registers which were kept by the Parish Clerk who spelled just as he spake. By that time Harford or Harvard had almost been driven out. But it died hard; and Harvet I expect to be a sort of link between Harford and Harvey, a sort of dying struggle on the part of Harford. Harvet is not yet gone out; one hears it occasionally now. The last time I heard it was after a public meeting in the Assembly Rooms. I think the following entry in the Register is about the last appearance of Harvard.
Aug. 25, 1799. Baptized a child of John Harvard, Mrs. Hannah More's teacher.
It used to be considered a mark of honour, and almost the only mark of honour, to be able to say that you were descended from some Norman who came into England with William the Conqueror. And people used to have their pedigrees made out, which said they were so descended whether they were or not. If you look at a Peerage, you will see that the ancestors of nearly all the Peers are said to have come in with William the Conqueror. That was one of the silly ideas common once amongst fashionable people; and when fashionable people are minded to be silly, there are none can be sillier than they, except their satellites and imitators. The most absurd superstitions ever yet believed are not to be compared for silliness, are downright sense and reason, and light and truth, compared with the silliness of some of the fashions and ideas started amongst fashionable people, and caught up by their imitators. There are many silly ideas yet to be found amongst them, but this particular one is not now so common. People have found out that there is nothing beats real facts. Find out the real facts as they really were, and then you have found out something much more interesting and much more honourable than anything that you can possibly invent. If your ancestor was a Norman who came in with William the Conqueror, that is very interesting and honourable. But it is just as interesting and just as honourable if he were a Saxon planted here before the Norman came, or a Briton planted here before the Saxon came. He must have been something then, or else you would not be here now; and whatever he really was is best for you to suppose. The only interesting and honour-able thing is the real fact, whatever that fact may be. So there is no need to alter or to invent. There is no need to turn the Saxon into a Norman or the serf into a yeoman, or the yeoman into a nobleman. What he was he was, and what he was is best. Whatever he was is good, if so be that he really was it. Probably the desire to prove descent from a Norman is a relic and consequence of those days when Saxons and Normans were still two separate people, dwelling in the same land, but separated by feelings of mutual hatred. Then, of course, there was nothing silly about it.
The Harveys (leastways I should say Harfords or Harvards, since Harvey is the corruption), have been in the parish ever since the Registers began, 300 years ago, and I don't know how much longer. But they do not ever seem to have been very numerous, so that it would not be very difficult to make out the succession from that day to this.
There is this curious fact which I think I can notice about families or names as I look through the records of the past; and if it be a fact there must be some natural law to account for it. But of course to find out if it really be a fact, or only an occasional accident, needs close observation over a wide area both of time and space. Some families branch out into innumerable branches, and go down the stream of time many abreast, whilst others go down it in single file. Sometimes you may see at one time ten bearers of the same name, each of the ten a householder, each bringing child after child to the font; and seeing that you would think that it must be ages before that name could die out. There they go along ten abreast, like ten boats rowing side by side, and in the next generation it looks as if it would be twenty or thirty. But lo! all of a sudden, they come to an end ; all the boats go down under, and there is scarcely one of the name left. Whilst another family going along in single file, never more than one at a time, endures ever so much longer. The Councills are an instance of the one thing. All through the last century and the century before the Councills were innumerable, settled and holding land in every quarter of the parish. One of them in 1711 gave part of the Communion plate which we now use. And now there is scarcely one of the name left. I have this afternoon (Feb. 11) buried an old man of the name brought in that dismal cart from Axbridge Union Workhouse, with not one single mourner at the grave, and no one able to make out who he was. However, though a name dies out in one place it may take fresh root in another. There are many names die out in those English villages, where perhaps, they have been ever since they first began to be names; but there is a great land across the Atlantic wherein they sometimes take fresh root like the laurel branch pulled down to the ground, and there they may have another long term of life. I shall deal with the Councills in some future number.
MADAM STRACHEY. ESQ. STRACHEY. These two are in the Rate for 1701 and following years. In 1867 the Somersetshire Archaeological Society met at Bristol. One of their excursions was to Sutton Court, the residence of Sir Edward Strachey. Sir Edward read a paper on the history of Sutton Court, which was afterwards printed. (Som. Archaeol. Soc. Proc., xiv. 82.) From that paper I learn a few things about the Stracheys, which I add to what I learn from parish books and some papers lent me by the late Mr. Serel. About 1650, if I understand Sir Edward aright, Sutton Court, which had been the property of the St. Loe family, came into the possession of John Strachey. This John Strachey was a friend of John Locke, who was a native of Wrington, and a very eminent philosopher. John Locke's father was a native and Churchwarden of East Brent, and was killed in the Civil War, fighting against the King's side. He was killed at Bristol, 1645. (Noble, Biog. Hist.) John Strachey married Jane, daughter of George Hodges, of Wedmore. George Hodges was the son of George Hodges whose effigy on brass is to be seen in Wedmore Church, and grandson of Capt. Thomas who lost his life at the Siege of Antwerp, and whose heart was the only part of him that was brought home. Jane had one sister, Elizabeth, and no brothers. She therefore inherited some of her father's property, and brought it to the Stracheys. Besides a house or two she had the Rectory or Parsonage, i.e., the great tithes, and probably a barn to hold them. The Rectory then, as it does now, belonged to the Deans of Wells, and it used to be the custom to grant it out on lives, generally three lives. In 1637 Dean Warburton had granted it to Thomas Hodges, (Jane Strachey's uncle) for three lives, viz., his own, his brother George's, and his sister Barbara s who was married to William Morgan. There was a dispute about this which I shall go into another day. When those lives had dropped, Dean Ralph Bathurst in 1676 granted the Rectory of Wedmore to Jane Strachey for three lives, viz., her own, her son John's, and her daughter Elizabeth's. This Jane Strachey is the Madam Strachey in our Rate-book for 1701.
John and Jane Strachey had a son John, who in due course succeeded to Sutton Court and to the property in Wedmore. He is the Esq. Strachey of our rate-books. He was a scientific man and antiquarian. He published one or two geological tracts, and he also wrote a history of Somerset which has never been published. The manuscript is still at Sutton Court in the possession of Sir Edward Strachey, his descendant. Wedmore being his mother's native place, and he holding property there, he would probably give a full account of it. One would like very much to know what he said about it. I wish the whole history could be published. Another descendant of his, Mr. Richard Strachey, of Ashwick Court, near Shepton Mallet, has told me that he has a drawing of the Hodges monument in Wedmore Church. That monument has been so terribly pulled about that one would like to know how it was originally. Probably this drawing would show. Mr. Richard Strachey is now, I believe, in Australia. The name Strachey is still in the ratebooks in the first half of 1783; but in the second half of that year when I reach my bounce ditch it is gone, and that of John Barrow is in its place. Henry Strachey was the last. Though the name is no longer to be seen in the Wedmore rate-books, yet it may be seen occasionally in the Wedmore Cricket Club score books. The difference between those two books is this. In the one the figures after your name can't be too small to please you, in the other they can't be too large. If by some mistake they are put down too high in the one, you protest and appeal. If by some mistake they are put down too high in the other, you say nothing, and secretly rejoice. It will help your average, and will look so much better in the newspaper next week.
The Stracheys now give to Somersetshire what it has got none too many of; viz., a few country gentlemen who are Liberal in politics. Sir Edward is a Liberal, his eldest son lately stood in the Liberal interest for North Somerset, and Mr. Richard Strachey, of Ashwick is as staunch a Liberal as can be found anywhere. How far this may be attributed to John and Jane Strachey of two centuries back I do not know. Politics are sometimes hereditary, and go down with the mansion from one generation to another. I should imagine that John Strachey, the friend of Locke was a Liberal; and certainly Jane his wife came of a Liberal family. I have not yet routed out the Hodges family, but I have always understood that in the Civil War they took what may be called the Liberal side. Her mother, as we have already seen (Wed. Chron. 1. pg. 251), married secondly Jeremy Horler; and about Jeremy Horler's politics there can't be the least doubt. We may be very thankful that there are some living in the country of all classes who do hold Liberal views. Because there are bound to be some Liberal measures carried from time to time; and if the framing and fashioning of those measures was left entirely to Birmingham and such like places, those measures would not be half so good as they are. Liberal measures need to have the smell of country hay clinging to them as well as the smell of the smoke of cities. But if there were no Liberals in the country, then Liberal measures would be all smoke and no hay. So when a Tory sees a countryman taking a Liberal view and giving a Liberal vote, how thankful he ought to be to him. And the less he is able to take that view and give that vote himself, the more thankful he ought to be to those who can.
TINCKNELL. TINLING. The surname Tincknell puzzled me till I accidentally met with something that explained it. In 1886 the Somersetshire Archaeological Society held their annual meeting at Yeovil. They visited the village of Tintinhull amongst other places in the neighbourhood. Tintinhull being a curious name there was some discussion amongst the learned men present as to its meaning. And from a short account of the village read by the vicar thereof and since printed (Proc: xii. 68), I learn that the name has passed through several changes. During the last 800 years it has been written in several different ways, and never seems to have kept to any one way for very long together. In the reign of Edward IV. during the Wars of the Roses, just 400 years ago, it was written Tyncknell. This was proved by an old brass monument in the Church to a rector at that time. So evidently somewhere about that time a family came from thence and settled down here, and was called after the name of the place from whence it had come. As time went on their old home changed its name a bit and became Tintinhull; but they did not change their name with it; they stuck to Tincknell, the name whereby it was called when they left it. The Wedmore Parish Registers begin with the year 1560, just about 100 years after that the Tincknells had probably left Tintinhull. Those Registers show them to have been tolerably numerous here at that time; they have been tolerably numerous ever since, and are so at this moment. The quarter of the parish in which they are thickest is that quarter which looks towards Tintinhull, their former home. That may be a mere accident; or possibly in that fact we may spy a sentinel, a consequence. When they first came in 400 years ago, they may never have passed through Wedmore, but have dropped down on the side of the parish which was nearest to whence they came; and that may account for their being there now.
There is in Wedmore a very picturesque old house which I believe belonged to the Tincknells' in the early part of the last century. If any artist would make a sketch of it, I should like to have it engraved for this volume. For it is one of the few old houses left; and I feel sure that it will soon be gone. Before this century is out, or before we have got very far into the next one, it will be gone. I know it will be gone, because the spirit of the age is against it. The spirit of the age says Go; and go it must; for what can stand against the spirit of the age! Thatched roof beams and linterns, chimney corner, clavey and clavey-tack, settle, pitching, and that general look which age alone can give and which words cannot describe, will soon all be gone; and, perhaps in its place we shall have a model, bran new, square, neat, prim, priggish, conceited, stuccoed villa, fit only for Highbridge or Weston-super-Mare, with rooms so small that a stout man can't turn round in them, with no corner wherein to sit and no hearth whereon to burn a cheerful log, with grates to carry all the heat up the chimney, with never a beam nor lintern nor bit of timber to be seen anywhere, and with that general look which only this 19th century can give, and which words cannot describe. But I must not say much more or else I shall get into hot water with builders and masons. We have been very fortunate in the style and in the appearance of the houses set up here of late years; they could not well be better. But of course they cannot possibly have that which time alone can give, and they can't go against the age. So when a house has got that which time alone can give, think twice and yet again before you lay hand upon it.
But I have not yet quite done with Tincknell. There is Tinling to be considered. Anybody living in Wedmore knows that the Tincknells are as often as not called Tinlings. The two forms Tincknell and Tinling are in daily use now, and may be applied to the same man, just as 200 years ago Champeny and Champion, Harford and Harvey, were in daily use and applied to the same man. In 300 years time they may look back, and find that the same man in 1888 was called Tincknell and Tinling, and may ask which is the original and which is the corruption; just as we have asked of Chainpeny and Champion, of Harford and Harvey, which is the original and which is the corruption? But there can be no doubt now about Tincknell being the original, and Tinling being the corruption. Tincknell we can trace back 400 years, keeping our eye upon it all the time. Tinling only appears within the last 100 years. I can see no sign of it earlier. And people know very well that Tinling is not the real name but only a corruption of Tincknell. For sometimes a man has said Tinling to me, and then has straightway corrected himself, as if he had used a bad word, and said; Leastways I should say Tincknell. The only question is this: why did not Tinling come into use earlier, and altogether drive out Tincknell? At present you cannot say that either of them holds the field. They are both on it. If the Wedmore tongue did not like the effort of saying Tincknell, and preferred Tinling, why did it wait 300 years before it made the change? It said Tincknell from 1460 to 1760, and then only did it begin to say Tinling, as far as I can judge from the Parish books. I think that this must be the reason Well - to - do and educated people, who have monuments and writings and such like, keep their names unchanged better than poorer people who have no monuments nor writings nor such like. If a French labouring man came and settled down here his name would probably soon be stripped of its French character, and would put on a Saxon one. But if a French gentleman came and took the biggest house in the parish, probably his name would appear in the, Register and Rate-books in its French dress. And I think that the time when Tinling began to take the place of Tincknell about corresponds with the time when some of the Tincknells began to be not so well off as they had been.
Seeing in the Clergy List the name of Canon Tinling, (not Tincknell) Canon of Gloucester Cathedral, I wondered whether he were a descendant of some Wedmore Tincknell alias Tinling. Through a common friend I had some communication with him on the subject. Canon Tinling was Curate of Huntspill nearly 50 years ago, and an Inspector of Schools in this county. He says that his family came from the borders of Scotland, where he believes that they had been settled for some time. So it would seem as if the Tinlings, like the Harveys, must be divided into two distinct lots, sprung from two distinct sources. Just as (I believe) there are Harveys who get their name from the Norman Herve, and Harveys who get their name from a place Harford, so likewise there are the Wedmore Tinlings who get their name from the village Tincknell alias Tintinhull in Somerset, and there are the north country Tinlings, including the Rev. Canon, who get their name from some north country source, I know not what.
MY LORD PAWLET. From 1757 to 1767 "My Lord Pawlet" is down in the Rate-books as paying "for Tincknell's"; i.e. a tenement or estate which had formerly belonged to the Tincknell family. It is in the Wedmore quarter, and its rateable value is £1 a year. After Lord Pawlett is gone the succession is thus. April 1768, John Fear. November 1768, Anna Fear. 1771, John Rickard. 1773, John Williams, who is still holding it in 1783, when I reach my bounce ditch. The first year that Lord Powlett is charged for it, it is called Robert Tincknell's. The first year that John Fear is charged for it, it is called Lord Pawlett's Tincknells, to distinguish it from the other estates or bits of estates called Tincknells. Every other year it is called simply Tincknell's, and so it remains to the end. It never becomes Pawlet's, or Fear's, or Rickard's, but remains Tincknell's to the very last. Another estate might have changed its name with each change of owner. Why is this? I am certain that there is some reason for these things. How Lord Pawlet came by it, I do not know.
This Lord Pawlett was John, 2nd Earl and 5th Baron. He was born in 1708, succeeded his father in 1743, and died unmarried in 1764. He was succeeded by his brother Vere, whose great grandson is the present Lord Pawlet. Another brother of his was named Anne. Anne was a captain in the navy, and M.P. for Bridgewater. There is a very fine picture in St. Mary's Church, Bridgewater, which was taken by Captain Anne Pawlet from a French ship, and given to the town which he represented in Parliament. Nowadays I suppose that such an act would be accounted bribery, and would lose a man his seat. Of course there was no bribery intended then, otherwise Bridgewater would never have accepted it. Looking at the dates as they are put down in the Peerage, I think one can see how it was that he got the foolish and unnatural name Anne. His father was made an Earl by Queen Anne in 1706, and probably then determined to show his gratitude by calling a child after the Queen. But the first child born after that was a son, the John of our Rate-books. And the next was a son, Peregrine. And the next was a son, Vere. And the next was a son. And Earl Pawlet got angry and said he would not wait for a daughter any longer, and called this fourth son Anne. If he had had patience and waited a little longer, it would have been all right, for the next child was a daughter and was called Susanna. He ought to have called her Thomas and then got Anne and Thomas to make an exchange. Two blacks would have made a white. There was yet another child born, and she too was a daughter Rebecca. The eldest child of all, born before Lord Pawlett received his peerage from Queen Anne, was a daughter. So his daughters were very contrary in the time of their coming, some coming too soon and some too late; and the Captain had to pay for it.
The Pawletts have now and have had for some time past a very fine house and park at Hinton St. George in this county. The family get their name as well as their title from the village of Pawlet, near Bridgewater. Pollet is probably the same name as Pawlet. There were Pollets in Wedmore all through the last century and I think that they have died out since the beginning of this one. John Pollet was Churchwarden in 1728. A ground called Pollet's wood which is now neither Pollet's nor a wood, in the Theale side of the parish marks a former possession of theirs. I think when the Glastonbury Cricket Club come over to play us they generally bring one of the name with them. These Pollets and Pawletts must all have sprung and taken their name from the same village; but of course it does not necessarily follow that they are all sprung from the same ancestor.
COOK. I find Cooks in the earliest volume of the Parish Register. There can be no doubt about the meaning of the name. Of course the first who bore the name was a cook by profession. But this question arises: whose cook would he be? There never has been any great nobleman's house or any great establishment in Wedmore where a man cook would be needed. I think that it has always been the characteristic of this place that most people were much of a muchness and lived in a plain though substantial style, and cooked their own dinners. That was the result of the Lord of the Manor being an absentee or at least only an occasional visitor. So whose cook would he be who first had the name here? I think that that question can be answered with almost absolute certainty. The Registers show that the Cooks about 300 years ago were settled at Marchey and Panborough. Now that is just the end of the parish which used to belong to Glastonbury Abbey. The Abbey was disestablished in 1540, and the last of the Abbots was dragged up Glastonbury Tor and hung. Till then the men of Marchey and Panborough were tenants of the Abbey. And at the Abbey there were two great establishments, two great kitchens, and two great cooks. There was the kitchen of the Lord Abbot, who had to entertain kings and great people who came to visit the Abbey; who visited it not as we may visit it to see a ruin but to offer gifts upon its altar. There was the kitchen of the monks who sat down day by day around a common board and who had their feast days as well as fast days. Those two kitchens must each have had an experienced man-cook presiding over them. And is it not very likely that one or the other would have been rewarded for long services faithfully rendered, and for excellent dinners sent up smoking hot by being granted a bit of the Abbey lands? So it was that he left the Abbey kitchen and went to hold some land at Marchey and Panborough under the Abbey. And no doubt some of the other tenants at Panborough sometimes went to dine with him and got the benefit of his skill. The Abbot's kitchen is still standing at Glastonbury, a little bit away from the rest of the ruins. I think that all they who bear the name of Cook in this neighbourhood should look at that ruin with an interest beyond what other folk may have; for there most likely their ancestor once roasted whole oxen and served dainty dishes to set before kings.
Coming to rather later days days that lie about half way between the disestablishment of the Abbey and our days I see several Cooks acting as Churchwardens in this parish; viz., John in 1701, Nathaniel in 1723, and William in 1737. The earliest Parish Clerk whose name I have found was John Cook. He died in 1686. After him the office was held by four generations of Sweets who filled up very nearly 200 years.
ABBOT. This name is not in my list, but as it is a like name to Bishop and Dean which I have already alluded to (p. 20) I will touch upon it. I noticed it the other day when I was looking, at the Meare Parish Registers. Those Registers begin in 1559, and it is one of the earliest names in them, Meare besides being its property lay almost under the shadow of the great Abbey. Monks may have strolled there of a summer evening as those two disciples strolled from Jerusalem to Emmaus. Meare folk almost up to the time when their Registers begin must have been familiar with abbots and monks processions and ceremonies and other ecclesiastical things. Many of those whose names are in the register of burials must have seen the last of the abbots hung on the top of Glastonbury Tor. Being such near neighbours to the Abbey it is not strange that one of them should have got the nickname Abbot. Whether the name is still to be found there I do not know.
If every parish would print its Registers, a number of things would come to knowledge which otherwise must remain unknown. And Parish Registers ought to be promptly printed before old Father Time does more harm to them than he has done already. Harm enough has been done to them already by him and his allies; and the only way to stop further harm being done is to print them. So and so only can they be put out of reach of his heavy hand.
I have made a beginning of printing the Wedmore Parish Registers which begin in 1561; and I hope that people in the place will enable the work to be finished. They will come out in one shilling numbers about once a month. About 20 numbers will complete the work.
PORTER. This name is to be found in the villages round Glastonbury; and when found there it is just as much a consequence and a relic of the Abbey as the ruins that stand in the town. For every Abbey had its porter to open and shut its stately gates; and from such an one the Porters of this day and of this neighbourhood must needs be descended.
THE MANOR OF MUDGLEY, AND THE FAMILIES OF WYKES, WEBBS AND EDWARDS.
But these three owners of the soil are now gone. If one looks to-day, one see not three owners, nor thirty, but more like three hundred. The three great estates have been carved and cut and splintered and sliced into a great number of smaller ones.
Who or what has done that? Two things seem to have done it; or at least one thing did it, and another thing later on strengthened it. (1) The Reformation of Religion, say 300 years ago, did it. (2) The enclosure of the moors 100 years ago strengthened it. The first of those two things made new estates, the second increased them in size. The second did not make any new estates; it only made bigger those that were made already. If they had not been made already by the first, they would not have been made then. For such was the principle on which the moors were enclosed. To those who had much already it gave much; to those who had little it gave little; from those who had nothing it took away even the little that they had. I believe that that is strictly and literally true. If all the parish had been one estate or three estates at the time when the moors were enclosed, that one estate, or those three estates, would have got all the direct benefit of the enclosure, and would have been made so much greater as there was land to be enclosed. But the Reformation of religion had come first and had caused the great estates here to be cut up and smaller ones to be created; so there were a great number of estates already made and ready to be enlarged by the enclosure. They only did not directly profit by it who had nought already.
However, I am not now concerned with the enclosure of the moors. That is a subject, one out of about 1,500 subjects, that I put down to be considered another day. I reckon that its turn will come in about A.D. 2200: Wedmore Chronicle, Vol. 150. Between then and now there will be time to get it up.
With regard to the Reformation, one may ask, How could that cut up great estates and make smaller ones? It did so in this way. Up to about A.D. 1550 an enormous proportion of the land of this country belonged to the Church. There were vast estates belonging to the Bishops, Cathedral bodies, Abbeys, Priories, and other religious houses. The Reformation altered all that. It partially disendowed the Church. The Abbeys and religious houses were clean put out, and the Bishops and Cathedral bodies had their properties clipped. So an enormous quantity of land came suddenly into the market, and they had a chance of getting land who had not any before, and many new estates were created. For it is clear that if a whole parish or a whole hundred belonged to a Cathedral or an Abbey which never died and never sold, the people of that parish or hundred had not a chance of owning land. But when suddenly that land was taken away and flung up into the air, like nuts at a school-feast, then they had a chance of getting some if they were wide awake.
Some courtiers and others got some of these church lands on easy terms, and laid the foundation of great family wealth which has lasted to this day. Here in Wedmore a Duke got the manors, but could not keep them. They were granted to the Duke of Somerset in 1547; but within five years he was kneeling down near the Tower of London, with his head on the block, and the axe was coming down to sever it from his body.
What I want to do is to see what happened next after that; who got these estates after the Duke's execution, who cut them up into slices, and who were the first to get a slice. In this present number I am only going to deal with the Duke's, late the Dean's, Manor of Mudgley, or Moddesley as it was always written till the last century; and only with a part of it. And my authorities will be these:-
1. The Visitation of Somerset. We have now Bishops' Visitations and Archdeacons' Visitations. Formerly there were also heralds' Visitations. Every forty years or thereabouts, a herald came down from London, went to the chief towns of the county, and summoned all the Knights, Esquires, and Gentlemen to appear before him, and to prove their legal right to call themselves gentlemen and to bear arms. If they could do so he put them down; if they could not, he did not. The notes made by the heralds at these Visitations have been preserved, and some of them have lately been printed. Two volumes containing Visitations of Somerset have been printed. One volume contains the Visitations made in 1531 and 1573, the other volume contains the Visitation of 1623. These Visitations bear out what I have just said about the result of the Reformation here. In the two earlier Visitations made before the Reformation had had time to bear fruit, viz., in 1531, 1573, no one came from Wedmore to claim his legal right to bear arms and to be called a gentleman. By the time of the next Visitation, 1591, the Reformation had borne some fruit which was not yet ripe; and that unripe fruit is seen in the fact of one man coming up to make his claim, but being unable to prove it. That one man was Thomas Hodges. In the next Visitation, 1693, the unripe fruit has become riper, and that riper fruit is seen in the fact that two men appeared before the herald to prove their claim, and both of them were able to do so. Those two men were Edward Stone, of Blackford, and George Hodges, of Wedmore, grandson of the above-mentioned Thomas, and son of the valiant captain who was slain at the siege of Antwerp. These two Wedmore gentlemen may both be looked upon as results and consequences and products of the Reformation, just as much as the removal of images, or the introduction of English services. I shall tackle them another day. The last Visitation of Somerset was in 1675. There has been none since. This last one has not been printed, so that I don't know how many or who from Wedmore established their claim. But Mr. Weaver has printed a list of those who tried to do so in that year and could not; and amongst them is William Counsell, of Wedmore. I shall tackle him too another day. It must be remembered that at this time the titles Esquire and Gentleman were strictly defined by law, and were dependent upon what a man possessed, and were not intended to be used loosely any more than the title of Duke or Marquis would be.
2. Somerset Wills. Two volumes of short abstracts of the wills of Somersetshire families have lately been printed. These wills were collected by the late Rev. Frederick Brown, Vicar of Nailsea.
3. A short paper on the Manors of Wedmore and Mudgley, read by Mr. Emanuel Green before the Bath Field Club in January, 1881. This paper has supplied me with the names of the owners from the death of the Duke of Somerset in 1552 to 1600. These are they whom I call hereafter the gamblers and scramblers and speculators. Mr. Green got their names from MSS, preserved in public offices in London.
4. More especially am I now indebted to about 200 manuscripts lent me by Mr. Edward Webb Edwards, of Sand, in this parish: wills, mortgages, bonds, leases, deeds and writings of different kinds; mostly relating to his share of the Manor of Mudgley, and of various dates from 1580 to 1780. Without these I could not have made out much. These too are trustworthy, and cannot lie. Books may lie, newspapers may lie, folk may lie; these cannot lie. These are what I shall mean when I quote the Sand papers; or to avoid the appearance of a poor joke, I had better say the Sand Manuscripts.
5. The Wedmore Parish Registers and Rate-books. Other Parish Registers, viz., those of Alderley and Newington Bagpath, would have been useful, but I have not had the opportunity of looking at them.
And now without further preface to begin. In 1552 the Duke of Somerset was beheaded, and the Manors of Wedmore and Mudgley went back to the Crown. Wedmore I am not now concerned with. In 1553 Mudgley was bought by Sir William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke. About a month afterwards he sold it to Thomas Lodge, of London, grocer. In 1555 he disposed of it to Humfrey Coles, of Barton. The next owner was William Clyfton, who died 1564. His son John had it next, and died in 1593. His son, Sir Jervois Clyfton, sold it in 1597 to Edward Cottington. In 1600 Edward Cottington sold it (except 150 acres which had been previously sliced off and sold to Dr. Langworth) to Richard Bridges, of Scampton, Lincolnshire. The records of all these transactions are preserved in London, and I am indebted to Mr. Green's paper for them.
Now this was a thorougly unsatisfactory state of things. These men, Herbert, Lodge, Clyfton and Co., seem to have been mere scramblers and gamblers and speculators. They bought the manor, not because they sought a home for themselves, not because they meant to go and live there and hand it down to their children; but they merely bought it to-day with the intention of selling it to-morrow, and with the hope of making a few pounds by the turn over. That may do for some articles, but it can't be right for the land to be treated like that. The owners of land in a place ought to take some interest in a place, and be minded to do something for it. But how can they when they only bought it yesterday and mean to sell it to-morrow, and, perhaps, scarcely know where it is? Probably it did not make much difference to the tenants, as, I expect, they were not yearly tenants, or tenants at will, but held their holdings on lives; and as long as they paid the customary fines and heriots could feel sure of the lives being renewed. But still it was bad for the place. So that this period, from 1550 to 1600, was a most unsatisfactory one. The scramblers and gamblers and speculators were having their day. But their day was not going to last for ever. Things soon began to right themselves as they always will. When we reach Richard Bridges, the Lincolnshire gentleman, we see the last of the scrambling-grambling speculators. After him it came into the possession of men who meant to live there and hand it down to their children, and some of them, to cultivate it.
Leaving Mr. Green's paper, and turning now to the Sand Manuscripts, I find four deeds relating to Mudgley and belonging to the early part of the reign of James I. They are dated 1609, 1611, 1616. These deeds shew us Richard Bridges, the last of the speculators, cutting up the Manor of Mudgley into five slices. He had bought it in 1600. He had had it confirmed to him by letters patent in 1609, and then immediately he began to cut it up into slices. One slice is bought by Nicholas Wykes, of Wells, gentleman; a second by John Litheat, of Mudgley, husbandman; a third by William Boulting, of Wedmore, husbandman; a fourth by John Fry alias Urch, of Mudgley, husbandman; a fifth by Richard Counsell, of Mudgley, husbandman. The first four together paid for their slices £1246 13s. 4d. Nicholas Wykes' slice was made up as follows: three closes of meadow land, which had formerly been in five, called Upper Chetterlies and Nether Chetterlies, containing 29 acres; a messuage with 30 acres; a cottage with 4 acres; 2 acres arable; a close of arable called Lambarte's Barley, containing 2 acres.
John Litheart's slice was made up of a messuage with 23 acres; a close of pasture called Scrubbet, containing 4 acres; a messuage with 16 acres William Boulting's slice was made up of a messuage with 30 acres; a messuage with 20 acres; a close called Park Close, containing 10 acres.
John Urch alias Fry's slice consisted of a messuage with 40 acres; a messuage with 23 acres; a cottage with 7 acres.
Richard Councell's slice was made up of 3 messuages in Heathhouse, containing 34 1/2, 21, 16 acres respectively; a messuage with 24 acres in Westhome; and in Wedmore (but part of Mudgley Manor) a messuage with 21 acres, a cottage with 6 acres, and a cottage with 1 1/2 acre; 25 acres arable on Kyton hill; a close of meadow near Tadham Moor Yeat, of 1 acre.
Richard Bridges in parting with these slices covenants that they enjoy the said lands as fully as he received them from the present by letters patent, dated Dec. 3rd, 7th year of James I. The five together make up 386 acres, 12 tenements, 4 cottages.
Observe how that a cottage has a few acres that go with it as a matter of course. In going through a number of old deeds I have noticed how that whenever a cottage is mentioned a few acres of land are always mentioned as going with it, or as usually held with it. The idea that a man who lived in the country, and whose work was on the land, or who, at any rate, had some knowledge of how to treat land, should have never a bit of land in his own hands from which to supply his own table and fill his own cupboard, seems to have been then undreamed of. As well might it be impossible for a baker to eat the bread of his own baking, or for a tailor to wear the coat of his own cutting, or for a mason to dwell in the house of his own building. "To eat the labour of thine hands" is the Bible's idea of prosperity.
Of these five slices I am now only concerned with that of Nicholas Wykes, which is now represented by the Sand property of Mr. E. W. Edwards, to whom it has come by inheritance from Nicholas Wykes. The ground up to Mr. Edwards' house is still called Chitterley, as it was when Nicholas Wykes bought it in 1600. Of the others it must suffice now to say that the Litheats and Boultings have each supplied the parish with a doctor or two. There are monuments in the Church to the Boultings, but none to the Litheats. The Boultings must have thriven on their slice, as about 70 years later they were able to build a good substantial house, now called Theale Great House, and to decorate its walls with paintings: and the husbandman of the deed of 1610 is the Esquire of the rate-book of 1700. John Urch alias Fry's slice must be represented by the property of the late Mr. Edward Urch Vidal. They kept the alias for a time, but at last dropped Fry and clave solely to Urch. This slice must have included Court garden and the Dean's house, whose foundations we uncovered a few years ago. At the date of this deed that house must have been still standing. I presume that it is the tenement with which went 40 acres. I have a suspicion that it got battered about in the civil wars which begun about 30 years after the date of this deed. But I should like to know more about that. Probably the papers belonging to that property would show.
And here I should say in justice to the speculators whom I have been abusing, or, at any rate, to Richard Bridges, the last of them, that they do seem to have served some good purpose. They bought the manors wholesale from the Crown, and sold them by retail to the husbandmen of the place. The husbandmen could not buy them wholesale, the crown probably would not sell them by retail. Richard Bridges stood between the two. He bought wholesale from the Crown, he sold by retail to the husbandmen. He bought acres by the thousand, and sold them by the score or hundred. He was the middleman; and though nowadays it is the fashion to abuse the middleman, yet he is often very useful. The various owners of properties in Wedmore have to thank Richard Bridges, more or less, for making it easy for their predecessors to get those properties. The word "husbandman" is used in the deed to describe Litheat, Boulting, Councell and Urch. The word is scarcely ever used now, being pushed out by the word "farmer," which one never sees in deeds. But farmer is not always used now in its proper sense. Properly a man is not a farmer unless he is occupying somebody else's land. If he occupies his own freehold or leasehold estate, he is a yeoman or a husbandman.
Having seen a tenement and a cottage and 67 acres of land at Sand safely conveyed to Nicholas Wykes, we now look to see who he was, and then will follow his slice down to the present time. I turn first to the Visitation of Somerset made in 1623. Nicholas Wykes was dead by that time, but his son Edward was living, and came and proved his legal right to be called a gentleman and to bear arms. This is the account that he gave of himself his father, his children, and his arms.
As Edward does not mention his grandfather, I daresay that Nicholas was the first of the family to acquire the legal title of gentleman and the right to bear arms.
I turn next to the two volumes of Somersetshire wills. In the first volume I find a short abstract of the will of Nicholas Wykes. The will is dated Jan. and proved Nov., 1611, so that he died between those two months. He mentions his widow Isabell, and his sons Edward and William. To his son William he leaves land at Wedmore. Henceforth the Visitations and printed wills give no more help. The Vicar of St. Cuthbert's, Wells, kindly gave me leave to search the Registers of that parish. I searched from 1608 to 1652, but could not find a single entry relating to these Wykes. I presume, therefore, that they lived,-not in the parish of St. Cuthbert's, but-in the liberty of the Cathedral, whose Registers do not go back so far.
I now turn again to the Sand MSS. There is a deed of 1609, wherein Richard Bridges, of Scampton, Co. Lincoln, grants to Nicholas Wykes, of Wells, for a competent sum of money, all that close of pasture called Barleye, containing 2 acres, part of the Manor of Muddesley, for 2,000 years, he paying yearly one peppercorn. This grant is subject to a lease of the close to Joan Counsell for her life and the lives of Ann and Margery her grand-children. This deed is endorsed (apparently by Nicholas Wykes) "My lease of a close of 2 akers at Muddesley of the grant of my Cosen Bridges for 2,000 years." From which I suppose that there was some kinship between Bridges and Wykes. There is a deed dated Aug. 8th, 1615, between James Godwin, of Wells, gent., of the one part and Edward Wykes, of Wells, gent., and Jane Bourne (daughter of Gilbert Bourne, late of Wells, Doctor of Laws, deceased), "whom said Edward Wykes intendeth to take to wife." It relates to land in Wells, and is signed by William Wykes amongst others. This is the Edward and William mentioned in the will of Nicholas their father. What happened to William, to whom lands in Wedmore were left, I know not. Probably he died young, and the lands came by purchase or inheritance to his brother Edward. At any rate Edward is mentioned as owning them (and also the Manor of Shiplade in the parish of Bleadon) from 1620 to 1639. Sometime between 1639 and 1650, Edward died, and they passed to William his son and heir. This is unmistakeably shown by deeds dated 1650, and later between "William Wykes of Wells, Esq. (son and heir of Edward Wykes, Esq., late of Wells, deceased,) and Jane Wykes, mother of said William and widow of said Edward, of the one part," etc., etc. Consequently the Edward mentioned as son and heir in the Visitation of 1623 must have died young. The two daughters mentioned in that Visitation must also have died young, as will presently appear. William was alive and in possession of many acres at Sand and at Bleadon in 1657. In 1661 he was dead and in possession of only 6 feet of ground in some Churchyard, (I know not what one, but probably the Wells Cathedral burying ground.) He died somewhere between those two years. He died without children, and his four sisters were coheiresses to his estate. Certain lands at Sand were the jointure of his widow Sylvestra, who afterwards married a Mr. Hebdon. The four sisters to whom the slice of Mudgley Manor that we are considering has now come between 1657 and 1661 (sisters of William Wykes, daughters of Edward Wykes who attended the Visitation in 1623, and grand-daughters of Nicholas who bought Mudgley in 1600), are Jane, wife of John Attfield; Silvestra, wife of George Huntley of Boxwell, Co. Gloucester; Alice, wife of George Godwin, of Ford, Co. Wilts; Sarah, wife of John Lewes, of Gernos, Co. Cardigan. Each of these has 1/4 of the whole estate. Jane Attfield died without children, and her share went to the other three sisters; so that each of them now had 1/4 + 1/3 of 1/4. This was a complicated state of things, and I was thankful when it came to an end. It came to an end in this wise. Alice Godwin, the 3rd sister, died, leaving an only child, Jane, who thus inherited her mother's 1/4 + 1/3 of 1/4 of the lands at Mudgley and Sand. This Jane found favour in the eyes of Edward Webb, of Newington-Bagpath, co. Gloucester, and became his second wife. If I rightly understand some painfully long deeds amongst the Sand MSS., this Edward and Jane Webb, and William their son, in 1683 and thereabouts, bought up the share of Silvestra Huntly from her children; and thus they became possessed of 2/4 + 2/3 of 1/4. In 1712 and 1717. William Webb bought up the share of Sarah Lewes from John Lewes, her son; and so he became possessed of 3/4 + 3/3 of 1/4, which is equal to the whole. In those fractions the 4 represents the original 4 sisters who were alive when William Wykes died, and the 3 represents the 3 sisters after that Jane Attfield died without children. And so William Wykes' property, viz.: lands at Sand and Mudgley, and the Manor of Shiplade in the parish of Bleadon, having been split up into shares and fractions for 50 years or so, comes wholly together again, and is possessed by William Webb, the Esq. Webb of our rate-books. And now, having done with the Wykes, we proceed to tackle the Webbs.
THE WEBBS. One ought by rights to begin at Adam and come straight down generation by generation, just as one goes down stairs step by step. But the means to do that are not at my door. So I leave out all the earlier generations, and begin with the above-mentioned Edward Webb, whose second wife was Jane Godwin, niece of William Wykes; and who, through his wife, gets into our rate-books, and so into this Chronicle.
The Webbs were a Gloucestershire family. The name shows that originally they were weavers. A copy of Edward Webb's will is among the Sand MSS. which I shall refer to again presently. From it I learn that his father was a Dr. Edward Webb. Edward the son, was a barrister or counsellor, and owned the Manor of Newington-Bagpath, Co. Gloucester, where he lived. He was twice married. His first wife, Elizabeth, was the daughter of a very distinguished man, Sir Mathew Hale, on whose account I must turn aside for a moment.
Sir Mathew Hale was born at Alderley in Gloucestershire in 1609. His grand-father, Mathew, was a clothier at Wootton-under-Edge; his father, Robert, was a barrister of Lincoln's Inn. Mathew was a distinguished advocate in the reign of Charles I., and would have pleaded for that king had any pleading been allowed; he was made a judge by Cromwell, and Lord Chief Justice by Charles II. So he seems to have hit it off with all parties. He died on Christmas Day, 1676, and was buried at Alderley. He seems to have been a very pious man as well as a very learned judge. Amongst some books, now in the possession of Mr. E. W. Edwards, is a copy of "Contemplations Moral and Divine, by Sir Mathew Hale, 1705." This book bears the names of its former owners; viz.: Edward Webbe, (Sir Mathew's son-in law), Jane Webb (his 2nd wife), Edward Edwards, 1773, Jane Edwards, 1737. This book was originally published without Sir Mathew's leave. The Editor gives this account of it in the preface: "It hath been his (Sir Mathew's) custom for many years, every Lord's Day, in the afternoon, after Evening Sermon (between that and supper time), to employ his thoughts upon several subjects of Divine contemplations; and as things came into his thoughts, so he put them into writing; which he did for these two reasons: (1) that he might the more fix his thoughts and keep them from diversion and wandering; (2) that they might remain and not be lost by forgetfulness or other interventions."
He never intended them to be published, and when asked to publish them he refused. He did not mean them to be seen by any except his children and a few private friends. However, somebody saw them, copied them, and published them without his knowledge. Amongst other things there are directions to his children about keeping the Lord's day. I give a few of these directions, partly because they are good homely directions, and partly because they show the customs of the day. The directions were written at an Inn at Farrington, where he stopped on the Sabbath on his way from Alderley to London.
His children are to put away their ordinary work or recreations from Saturday night, at 8 o'clock, till Monday morning, They are to rise at least 3 hours before morning Sermon. When at public worship they are to be uncovered during reading, praying, and preaching: if the weather be too cold they may wear a satin cap. They are to kneel at prayers, and to stand at the Psalms, the two Lessons, the Epistle and Gospel, the Hymns and Creeds. They are not to stand if the Lesson be taken from the Apocrypha. They are to sit at the Sermon and be very attentive; and as a help to being attentive, he recommends them to write down the Sermon. When the minister reads a Psalm or a Lesson, they are to find the place in their Bible and follow him. They are to be very attentive and serious at Church; not to laugh nor gaze about, nor whisper, unless it be to ask their neighbour something in the Sermon which they did not quite catch. They are to sing the singing Psalms with the rest of the congregation. They are to go to Church morning and afternoon; to be there before the minister begins, and to stay till he has ended. After evening Sermon they are to go and read a chapter in the Bible, and examine what they have written; and "if the Sermon be not repeated in your father's house, go to the minister's house to the repetition of it." And so on; and do it all "cheerfully and uprightly and honestly." He ends the instructions with these words: "Let the original (of this letter) be laid up safely for your brother R., and every one of you take copies of it, that you may thereby remember the counsels of your loving father. Oct. 20, 1662."
From his telling them to be uncovered during Divine. Service, it is evident that that was not the universal custom in England at that time. No father now would think it necessary to tell his sons to uncover their heads during Divine Service. They would do so as a matter of course. But when I was in Holland a few years ago, I often attended a Dutch Protestant Service, and I noticed that it was not the universal custom there to be uncovered during Service. Every one took his hat off during prayers, but during the Sermon many of them sat with their hats on. Very often a prayer would come in the middle of a Sermon, and then off would go all the hats. And then, when the prayer was ended, and the Sermon went on again, the hats would go on again too. And this not in the least from any irreverence or want of right feeling, but it was simply following the custom of the country. It is evident that our Dutch cousins do to-day just as we did 200 years ago. The kneeling, too, at prayers, which Sir Mathew enjoins, is never done by the Dutch: they always stand when they pray, and shut their eyes.
The book also contains several poems written on different Christmas days. I give an extract or two to show that Christmas decorations are no new things. In No. XIV., written in 1668, he speaks of different ways of keeping Christmas day. Some, he says, decline to keep it, others keep it with riot, intemperance and vanity.
The dregs of all the year's
excess are brought to this Solemnity
In No. XV, written in 1661, he says:
We welcome its return; we trim and dress our houses all with greens.
By a curious accident, whilst I am putting together these few words about Sir Mathew Hale, the postman brings me some hand-bills and papers from "The Sunday Rest Association;" a society whose object is to promote the keeping of the Sabbath day. Amongst those papers is a hand-bill with the following lines printed in large type, and with Sir Mathew's name as author at the foot. I suppose that I am intended to put it up in some conspicuous place in the parish. I will put it in the Church porch and also in this Chronicle, and then I shall be doing as the Society wishes, and also shall be throwing more light on the character of Sir Mathew. This is what the hand-bill says:
A Sabbath well spent brings
a week of content,
Sir Mathew Hale.
Sir Mathew, as I have already said, died on Christmas day, 1676, aged 66 years, and is buried at Alderley, where he was born, and where he had lived when his duties did not take him to London. The Hales, I believe, still continue at Alderley; one of them plays in the Gloucestershire County Cricket XI. The present Rector of Alderley is the Rev. M. H. Whish, brother of the Rev. John Mathew Hale Whish, Vicar of Blackford, whose christian names bear witness to some connection with the judge. So much for the good man whose second and youngest daughter, Elizabeth, was the first wife of Edward Webb.
Edward and Elizabeth Webb had two children; viz., Edward and Elizabeth. Edward died in Nov. 1707 (before his father), aged 39 years, and left no children; Elizabeth married Thomas Larke, ship-chandler. Elizabeth Webb died before her husband Edward, and also before her father, Sir Mathew Hale. The parish registers of Newington-Bagpath would tell the exact date. Edward married, secondly, Jane Godwin, the niece of William Wykes, in whose right he becomes, as I have already said, an owner of land in Wedmore. Edward and Jane had four children; viz., William, Margaret, Hester, and Susan. Of William I speak hereafter. Hester married John Edwards, of Mudgley; Margaret died unmarried; Susan defies me. A copy of Edward Webb's will, dated Sept. 7th, 1708, is amongst the Sand MSS. He wishes his body to be very privately buried in the chancel of Newington-Bagpath Church (His father-in-law, Sir Mathew Hale, was against the practice of burying in Churches. He said very sensibly that the Church was for the living, and the Churchyard for the dead). He leaves to his wife the gold ring that he had at the funeral of nephew Matthew Hale, and certain things the work of his deceased daughter Margaret. He refers to his daughter Susanna, and his son Edward, as being both dead, To his son William, he leaves all his lands and manors in Somersetshire. Coats at that time were costly articles that lasted for years, and were handed down from one generation to another. So he leaves to Mr. John Edwards, his son-in-law, "my best black and stuffe coat." To his daughter, Hester Edwards, he leaves "one nutshell bowl that was my grandmothers, and is tipt with silver." He leaves £12 a year for his grandson, William Edwards "towards breeding him up at school," whom also he makes his heir if William Webb shall have no children. Edward Webb died somewhere near the date of this will.
His only surviving son, William, succeeded to the estates in Gloucester-shire and Somersetshire. I don't know whether William was extravagant or unfortunate or what; but at any rate he was continually in the hands of the money lenders. A large number of the Sand MSS. belonging to his reign, that I have plodded and struggled through, are indentures of mortgage. He was never married. A copy of his will is amongst the Sand MSS., dated August, 1st, 1726. His body is to be buried in the aisle of Bleadon Church. To his most honoured mother, Mrs. Jane Webb, and Matthew Hale, of Alderley, and Robert Gore, of Sapworth, Co. Wilts, he leaves his Manor of Newington-Bagpath, and all other manors in Gloucestershire, for them to sell for as much as they can get, and therewith pay his debts. If there should be a surplus, he directs what is to be done with it. If there should be no surplus, and if the sale of the above estate should not realize enough to pay his debts, then he charges all his personal estate (household goods and plate excepted), and his leasehold estate called Shoots, in the parish of Wells, Co. Somerset, with payment thereof; and if that be not sufficient, he charges his manors of Mudgley and Sand with payment of what more is yet needed. The uncertainty as to what would have to be sold, or how much would be swallowed up by his debts, makes the will a little complicated, and brings a good many "ifs" into it. If the Manors of Shiplade in the parish of Bleadon, and of Mudgley and Sand in the parish of Wedmore, are not sold, then they are to go to his mother for her life; after her to his nephew, Edward Edwards (son of his brother-in-law, John), and his children, with remainder to the other children of John. Amongst his nephews and nieces to whom he makes bequests are Edward, John, William, Mark, Richard, and Margaret, all children of his brother-in-law, John Edwards, of Mudgley. To Richard Edwards he leaves £12 a year from the estate called Shoots, in Wells, (if not sold) "in case he shall mind his schooling and attain to learning fit for ye University, and do there continue till he takes degrees for which he is destined." We shall see presently that Richard was a good boy and did mind his schooling and fulfilled all these conditions. He leaves £3 to the poor of Newington Bagpath; £4 in bread or money, as his executrix shall think fit, for the poor of Wedmore; and £4 for the poor of Bleadon. William Webb died soon after the date of the will, but the exact date of his death I do not know. I presume that he was buried in Bleadon Church as he desired. I went over there to look at the Parish Register; but I could not see any entry of his burial. Neither could I see his name on any stone or tablet. The flat stones in Bleadon Church have not been kindly treated; and at some former restoration they have been broken or covered up. The Registers do not begin till 1709, and the earlier years do not seem to have been kept very carefully. There were no burials at all entered in 1728. Possibly that was the year of William Webb's death. I am indebted to the Rev. C. D. Russell Rector of Bleadon, for the readiness with which he showed me everything in the Church. And now the Webbs having come to an end as the Wykes' had, we leave them and pass to the Edwardses.
THE EDWARDSES. Here again, as in the case of the Wykes, I cannot quite begin at Adam, but must leave out the earlier generations. In his history of the parish of Wookey, Mr. Holmes mentions several Edwardses as living at Bleadney, Yarley, and elsewhere within that parish. In 1461, a John Edwards rented the Bleadney corn mill. In 1477, a John Edwards was appointed Vicar of Wookey. He resigned in 1506, but was still living 10 years afterwards. In 1596, the Wookey Registers record the burial of Thomas Edwards, husbandman, aged 19 years, the son of Anthony and Margaret Edwards, of Henton. The Register describes him as "a virtuous young man, beloved of the most honest persons and inhabitants within the parish of Wookey." The Register also gives an abstract of his will, from which it appears that he gave two shillings to the church of Wedmore. From his remembering Wedmore Church I should imagine that he was somehow connected with it. He had a brother John who had several children, Christian, Margaret, Richard, John, Agnes, Thomas.
The Wedmore Registers show several Edwardses between 1560 and 1600. There is a Nicholas Edwards, of Allerton. There is a George Edwards alias Chappell, of Sand. There is a John Edwards alias Bicknell, of Haselborow. There is a John Edwards alias Davie. All these are in the Wedmore Registers before 1600. An alias was more common then than now. An obvious reason which accounts for an alias now may likewise have accounted for some aliases then. But some may be otherwise accounted for. When surnames were newer than they are now, and were less firmly established, and had not yet altogether lost their original character of being descriptive of a man, then two men might look at a man from two different points of view, and one of them call him from one point of view and the other call him from the other point of view. One might look at him at his work and call him the Baker, the other might look at him as the son of his father William, and call him Williamson; and so the clergyman, when he had to put him down in the Register, would put down John Baker alias Williamson. That is, I think, the reason why there were more aliases formerly than now. Formerly, too, an alias remained with generation after generation; but now it is quickly dropped, and seldom survives the generation that first had it. In his interesting little history of South Petherton, Dr. Norris mentions three different families with an alias in the Registers of that parish as far back as 1580; and he says that those three aliases still went on within his memory, and two of them still go on now.
Among the Sand MSS. is an indenture dated March 1, 1594, whereby Henry Poole, of Munksilver, Co. Somerset, tailor, and Mary his wife, convey to Francis, William and John Symons, of Stogursey, their part and "halfendeale" of a pasture ground containing 14 acres, called Vowlers, lying in the Marsh in the parish of Stogursey, for 99 years, if they (Symons) or any one of them shall live so long, paying yearly 20 pence. This is signed by the Pooles in the presence of John Edwards and others. There is nothing to show where this John Edwards lived; probably in the neighbourhood of Stogursey. Fifty years later there is a Robert Edwards, clericus, who I take to be the Presbyterian Vicar of Wedmore when Episcopacy was abolished, 1647 to 1650. (See Wedmore Chron., Vol. I., p.249.) At the same time there was another Robert Edwards, cord-wainer, living in the Borough. I said at the above reference that they might possibly be the same men; but I am pretty certain now that they ain't. Beside the Latin difficulty which I mentioned, I have since noticed that the wife of the one was Maria, and the wife of the other was Joanna. So that settles it. Whether all these, or any of these, were of the same family, or whether the only connection between them was their having one common surname, and that descent from Adam which is common to all men, I can't say. To be able to say requires a closer examination of the Courts of Probate, and of the Registers of other parishes, than I have been able to make. At any rate they refuse to be sorted and to be put into a tree in an orderly fashion, and so must lie all higgeldy-piggeldy.
After them, between 1640 and 1700, there is a succession of Edwardses at Mudgley, all of the same family, though the relationship of each to each is not quite clear.
1.-First, there is John, of Mudgley, generosus, whose wife's name is Joanna, who has a son, William, christened in July, 1649, and a daughter, Joan, in Feb., 1651/2 and who was buried in July, 1660, soon after the restoration of King Charles II. The title Mr., which is very sparingly used, and the description "generosus," show him to have been a man of some substance. Whether he could have satisfied the herald at his visitation I can't tell. There is no entry of the Baptism of this John in the Wedmore Registers. Three possible ways of accounting for that occur to me. (1) Either they forgot to enter it; (2) or his father was living elsewhere when he was born; (3) or he was baptized in the old pre-Reformation chapel at Mudgley. Of these three ways the second seems the most probable; but of course the most probable is not always the true. Sometimes the most improbable is the true. The most improbable, if so be that it is possible, has always got a chance of being the true. If his father were living elsewhere, the above-mentioned deed of 1594 may help to show whereabouts that elsewhere was; viz.: Stogurseywards. The widow of this John was buried in 1689. In 1674 was buried William Edwards, servant of Edward Urch, sen., of Mudgley. This may be his son, William, who was christened in 1649. The Urches seem at this time to have been thriving people; they had thriven on the slice of Mudgley Manor which (as we have already seen) they had bought of Richard Bridges, the middleman, about 70 years before this: they were near neighbours, and it was a common thing formerly for younger sons to enter the households of well-to-do men.
2.-Soon after the death of John Edwards in 1660 appears Richard Edwards, of Mudgley. There is no entry of his Baptism in the Wedmore Registers. He may have been the eldest son of the last-mentioned John, older than William who was baptized in 1649, born before his father came to settle in this parish. This Richard has children christened here between 1672 and 1686; viz.: Mark, Hester, two Richards, Ann, Christiana. One Richard and Hester died in infancy. Mark lived at Sand: in 1723 he married Ann Bussell. She was buried here in 1733 and he in 1748. The others, I suppose, grew up and went forth somewhere, but I see no signs of them. Richard, the father, was buried here in December, 1687. I don't know who his wife was. If people would only contrive to be baptized, married, and buried in the same church, it would save a deal of trouble in making them out.
3.-Soon after the death of this Richard of Mudgley in 1687, appears John, of Mudgley. This is that John whom I have already mentioned (p. 55) as having married Hester, daughter of Edward Webb, and great great grand-daughter of Nicholas Wykes, who in 1605 bought a slice of Mudgley Manor from Richard Bridges, the middleman. This John was not baptised here, so I cannot say for certain that he was a son of the last-named Richard. If he was not, he ought to have been; for time and everything else agrees. This John Edwards and Hester Webb were probably married about 1700 at Newington-Bagpath, the Gloucestershire home of the Webbs. Three things seem to make it likely that this John was not a native of the place, but came and settled here soon after his marriage. (1) He was not baptized here. (2) His eldest son was not baptized here. (3) He married a young lady of Gloucestershire; and one wonders how he could have made her acquaintance, if he belonged to Mudgley, in days when travelling from county to county, or even from parish to parish, was not always very easy. It looks as if he was a neighbour, perhaps a tenant, of the Webbs in Gloucestershire; and, a year or two after his marriage with Hester Webb, he came and settled down on their property at Mudgley, where his kinsfolk, if not his father, had been before him. He lived, I believe, in the house on Mudgley hill now occupied by Mr. Puddy, and which, before Mr. Puddy's time, was occupied by several successive generations of Toogoods I noticed in the Bleadon Registers that there was a John and Hannah Edwards having children christened there between 1713 and 1720; and as the Webbs had property there, perhaps these, too, occupied their land and were kinsfolk of the others. But of course the name Edwards is a tolerably common one, especially in the Counties bordering upon Wales, and one must not build too much upon mere sameness of name.
John Edwards seems to have had either some knowledge of the law or else the gifts of the peace-maker; for I see amongst the Sand MSS. a letter to him from Samuel Downton. This Samuel Downton was married in Wedmore Church to Jane Browning on Oct. 29, 1704. I take him to have been a son of James Downton and a brother of Richard, who were both Vicars of this parish. (See Wed. Chron., Vol. I, 253, 254.) The letter is dated Glaston, Nov. 3, 1718. It begins: Mr. Edwards, -Sir, I would have waited on you my self but have binn verry ill ever since I came home from your countery with a greevous paine in my side, and being not able to ride, Sir, would desire you to be so kind as to endever to ajust between my Brother Brown and me, and what you doe I will assent unto; for you know in part that I have a great deal of wrong done me in the late action by reason of envy and partiality and ignorance.
Samuel Downton then goes on to state his case, and gives an inventory of Edward Browning's goods, apprised at £176 14s. 0d, and shows that he had paid more than he received. We need not go into the matter now. He finishes with this terrible threat: "If Brother Brown persist in his proceedings in so triking and unjust a cause, I doe intend God willing to get it in print with the late action at large, and expose it at every Church doors and Market crosses that are in twentie miles, that the world may know what abuse have been done me: Sir, I fear I have troubled you with to large an epistle which is nothing but the truth, and if you pleas I would desier to give my Brother Brown the sight of it or any other person whom you shall think fit which is all present, begging your pardon for giveing you so much trouble, but I hope God according to his promise will reward the peace-maker, which is the prayer of Sir your friend and humble Servant to be commanded to serve you in what I cann whilst I remaine
In a postscript he offers to pay Mr. Edwards for any trouble he may be at. The letter is addressed in the usual lengthy fashion of that time "To Mr. John Edwards at his House in Mudgley in the Parish of Wedmore these humbly present. To be left att the signe of the Flower de Luce in Wells for speedy conveiance."
John Edwards was buried here, Jan. 31, 1736/7, aged 66 years. Hester, his wife, survived him 10 years, and was buried here on Jan. 30, 1742/3, aged 66 years. A copy of her will is amongst the Sand MSS., dated March 18, 1746/7. She leaves to her son Edward one guinea and one large silver spoon; to her son Richard one guinea; to Margaret, wife of Robert Brown, and to Jane, wife of her son Edward, all her wearing apparel "except three christening mantles so called," which she leaves to her son William. To William she also leaves all the rest of her goods and chattels, and appoints him her sole executor. The will is signed in the presence of Joseph Dommett and Samuel Dommett, and proved at the Dean's Court at Wells, Oct. 15, 1747. Joseph Dommett kept one of the Inns at Wedmore. I have alluded to him before. (Wed. Chron., Vol. I, 92.)
The children of John and Hester, christened in Wedmore Church, were Margaret in 1703, Jane in 1705, Edward in 1707, Richard in 1710, William in 1714, Mark in 1718. Besides those there was William, the eldest, mentioned in his grandfather Edward Webb's will, who must have died quite young, but is neither baptized nor buried here; and John, the third son, I think, mentioned in his Uncle William Webb's will, but who died somewhere between 1735 and 1743, and who also is neither baptized nor buried here. Of the others, Jane died in infancy, and Mark died in 1729, aged 11 years. Margaret, contrary to her uncle's wishes, married Robert Brown of Mudgley. Of Edward, the eldest, I speak hereafter. Richard is he to whom his uncle, William Webb, left £12 a year "in case he should mind his schooling and attain to learning fit for ye University and do there continue till he takes degrees for which he is destined." There were at this time only two Universities, Oxford and Cambridge. As a general rule, I think, West Countrymen went to Oxford, and East Countrymen to Cambridge. I, therefore, looked for him first in the Oxford lists. Not finding there anyone who might be him, I looked next in the Cambridge lists. There I found that a Richard Edwards took his B.A. degree in 1734. Richard of Mudgley would then have been 24 years old or near it, a little older than the usual time of taking a degree, but still near enough to make it probable that this is he. The examinations may have been too stiff for him the first time he went at them, and so there may have been heartbreaking pluckings and delays. When at last he did get through, he must have come home feeling something like Christian in Pilgrim's Progress, or something like the man who stood on the bridge at midnight, with the burden of the examination fallen from him, and with his uncle's legacy made sure. And then they killed the fatted calf and called together their friends and their neighbours, and there was joy and feasting at Mudgley.
A great feast was made who might have come to the feast? Urches from Court Garden, within a stone's throw, if they lived there, as I believe they did; Litheats from, I believe, one of the houses on Mudgley hillside; Boultings from Theale Great House; Westovers from Wedmore; Ivyleaves from Blackford; Glanviles from Stoughton Cross, a new family that had scarcely then been 10 years in the place; and many others. I won't give their names, lest in the hurry of the moment I should name some who were already gone, or some who were not yet come. Perhaps Samuel Downton came over from Glastonbury, -unless he still had that "greevous paine in his side." If you have still got it, Samuel, keep away, for the feast won't do it any good. And certainly, Richard's grandmother, old Mrs. Jane Webb, may have been there. She had seen four English Kings and two Queens move on and make way for a successor, and yet she had 16 more years of life before her. She must have been born in Cromwell's time; she had seen Charles II., James II., Queen Mary, William III., Queen Ann, and George I. come and go, and still she managed to see 23 years of George II. I should like to find out exactly when she was christened, in order to know what was her age in 1750 when she died. I suppose the Newington-Bagpath Registers would tell. She could not have been less than 90, and may have been ever so much more. She, who was born in Cromwell's time, and was married 10 years before the Battle of Sedgemoor, may have talked at this feast to her grandson, William Edwards, then a young man of 20 years; and a granddaughter of that same William lived to give a very liberal subscription to the restoration of Wedmore Church in 1881. We are really nearer to the events of two or three centuries ago than we think we are. Three long lives stretched out at full length end on end, and only just overlapping, will reach from our days to the days of Cromwell. Two more added to them will reach to the Wars of the Roses, and to the building of the greater part of Wedmore Church that we can see now. Five more will reach to the days of William the Conqueror, and two more to the days of King Alfred. At that rate it would not take many more to reach to Adam.
There is a tradition that tells of the very quarry from which stone was taken for the building of Wedmore Church. And when one looks at it in this way, one sees how easily the tradition may have come down. Suppose a young man, call him A, quarried some stone for the new works at the Church in 1490; and 50 years afterwards he told his little grandson B of what he had done and where he had done it; suppose that B grew up, and 70 years afterwards told his little grandson C; and 70 years afterwards C told his little grandson D, and likewise D told his little grandson E; then that E might easily have told it to someone who is living to day. There need be only four tongues and four pair of ears between those which are speaking and harkening to-day and those of the quarryman who actually quarried a great part of the stone with which our Church is builded. And that, same quarryman may have handled a pike or shot an arrow in the Wars of the Roses. One would scarcely believe that if one could not prove it by arithmetic; and arithmetic never lies. The late John Parker, who died in 1879 aged 76 years, told me about the quarry which gave the stone for the Church. I did not ask him how he knew it, but it may have been in this way. There have been Parkers in Wedmore certainly for 300 years, as the Registers show, and one knows not how much longer. The first Parker must have been the keeper of a park, because that is what the name means. Now the quarry is not far from a farm still called The Parks, and it is part, I believe, of what was the park belonging to the Manor of Mudgley till about 1550 when it was disparked. And if an ancestor of the late John Parker had been the park keeper of that park at the time when the stone was quarried for the Church, then he must have known all about it, and the tradition may have come down through that family. He may have told his grandson, and so on till it reached the John Parker of our recollection. The tradition and the surname may have clung together for four centuries, and have come down together from those days to these. John Parker of 1870 may have received the tradition from his ancestor, John, the parker or park-keeper of 1470. This may be an instance of the marvellous way in which two little things may get connected together, and having got connected together, stubbornly cling together through centuries.
Whilst I am about it I will give another instance, or possible instance, of that. At p. 38 of this volume, I gave good reasons for supposing that the Cooks of this parish came into it about 400 or 500 years ago from the kitchen of Glastonbury Abbey. I need not repeat those reasons. But I have noticed since that the name Joseph is constantly found in the Cook family, not only to-day but 250 years ago, and probably much more. Now Joseph of Arimathea, St. Joseph as they called him, was thought a good deal of by the Monks of Glastonbury. There were stories told connecting him with Glastonbury; the chapel that stood and still stands at the West end of the great Abbey Church was called St. Joseph's Chapel; and his name was a familiar name there. And so what more likely than that any one coming from the Abbey, as I suppose the ancestor of the Cooks to have come, should call his son Joseph after the favourite Saint of that place? And the name having once got into the family continues there through four centuries or so. If that be so, (I am afraid that we can't quite dispense with the little word "if,") then the Joseph Cook of to-day is a living consequence and result of a close connection between the Abbey and an ancestor 400 years ago. Both Surname and Christian name tell of that connection, though the connection came to an end 400 years ago. It is a good instance of two things clinging together through many centuries, and long after all reason for their being together is clean gone.
Having wandered so far from my text as to mention one tradition about the Church, I will mention one other: viz., one which says that they had intended once to build the Church on Comb Batch. I scarcely know how to treat that one. One can scarcely believe that the tradition of a mere intention would live through seven centuries. And yet, perhaps it is not a pure invention, but a confusion of something or other. At any rate we may be very glad that the intention was not carried out. The Church could not stand better than where it does.
And now to go back to Mudgley and the Edwardses. This feast in honour of Richard Edwards in 1734 is not pure imagination of mine, but stands upon a good foundation. I am told that the marks of fire may yet be seen on some of the stones in the house at Mudgley; and the tradition is that the fire arose while feasting was going on in honour of Richard. The tradition reaches me through the grand-daughter of William who was probably himself present. And this was the time when a feast in his honour was most likely to be given. He must have been nearly the first native of the parish who had gone to College and taken a degree; not quite the first; for William, son of James Andrews, of Wedmore, had gone up to Oxford in 1718, and taken his B.A. degree in 1724; and probably George Counsell had gone up from Stoughton Cross a few years earlier still; and there may have been a few others besides them; but I feel sure that the number was very small, and it has not been added to very much since. If the Richard Edwards of the Cambridge lists be Richard Edwards of Mudgley, as it almost certainly is, his going to Cambridge instead of to Oxford may have been owing to the advice of a former Vicar of Wedmore, Mr. John Tillam, who was himself a Cambridge man, and who, of course, would have recommended his own University.
Richard having survived the examinations at Cambridge; and also the feasting and the fire at Mudgley, was ordained a clergyman. Mr. Harris, the Registrar, has kindly allowed me to examine the Bishop's Registers at Wells, and I learn from them that Richard was ordained a deacon in Wells Cathedral on Sept. 21, 1735, and a priest on March 6, 1736/7. He probably had a curacy somewhere in the diocese, but I lose sight of him till May, 1752, when he was presented to the Vicarge of Meare. He was presented to it by the patrons, Edward Strode, Thomas Strode and Edward Brown. His new home lay within sight of his native hill, and of the house where he had been born and bred. From his parish he could see his late father's house, and from that house his Church could be seen and his bells could be heard. But I do not expect that at that time it was very easy to pass from the one to the other, from Mudgley to Meare. The turf moor was as it were a great gulf fixed between the two, so that they who would pass from the one to the other could not. Blakeway then was but a drove. Some years ago a man was telling me that he remembered Blakeway being stoned. I asked how Meare folk came across here before it was stoned. He said, "They never did'nt;" which made matters very simple. So either Richard Edwards never didn't go to his father's house at Mudgley, or else he went right round by Glastonbury and Wells. His wife's name was Mary, and she was buried here on Nov. 7, 1737. Of Richard I know nothing more except that he was buried at Meare on Feb. 25, 1758. The present Vicar of Meare, Rev. B. T. Bussell, kindly allowed me to search the Parish Registers; but I could see no other entry relating to the family except that one.
The youngest surviving son of John and Hester was William. He married Sarah Williams in 1747. She died in 1750. I only know the Christian name of his second wife, which was Joan. Their children died young, except Edward and Hester, who we shall come to presently. William was buried here in Sept., 1764.
IV-The eldest surviving son of John and Hester was Edward. His wife's name was Jane, but not being married here I can't say who she was. He succeeded his father in 1736. I do not exactly understand what his position was in regard to the Manors of Mudgley and Sand in Wedmore, and of Shiplade in Bleadon, His grand-mother, Jane Webb, was still alive, and according to one of the Sand MSS. she did not die till 1750. And by William Webb's will the Somersetshire Manors were hers for her life, and were not to come to the Edwardses till after her death. In which case Edward, during the greater part of his life, was her tenant. But the contrivances of the law are so many and so subtle, and its language is so dark and intricate, that sometimes it is impossible for any ordinary mind to make out who is owner. It is possible that the lands were sold to pay William Webbs' debts, and that the Edwardses bought them. At any rate Edward Edwards does not seem to have been in a very flourishing state. The property had been heavily mortgaged by his uncle, William Webb, and perhaps he suffered for it. Amongst the Sand MSS. is a list of lands in the Parish of Wedmore belonging to the late Mr. Webb. At the back of it is the rough draft of a letter apparently from Edward to his grandmother. Hon Gr: I received yours dated June 21, July 15, wherein I find that nothing but misfortunes do befall us to our sad disappointments, and when it will amend the Lord knows, and what to do I cannot tell. I have lost above £20 of stock since you went from us, which have almost ruined me, and put everything behind hand with me, and Mr. Mills have took possession of the estate, and I have took a lease of it from him for 3 years, and as for Parcers I know nothing of, so you must do with him as you can, for I cannot to come to help you, nor knows not when I shall, for I have not got any money to pay workmen's wages and taxes, and to traviel without money you know cannot be don for lost of time and spending of money for thus fower or five years without thought or considerration from you to help me upon some meanes or other have abrought me to almost nothing, which I find cannot be don any longer by me, if I do I shall be rewined and abrought to nothing quite.
The grammar and spelling of this letter would not quite satisfy a School Inspector of to-day. The very infants of a Schoolboard School would probably smile or shudder and shake their little fists at it. And at that time there were a good many, even among the wealthiest, who could not have satisfied a School Inspector, nor even the infants of to-day. Unless a man's profession was a learned one, the chances are that he could not have done so. The clergyman and the lawyer might have done so, but not the ordinary country gentleman. But after all, though grammar and spelling are not quite correct, yet the letter could not show better than it does the feelings and the position of the writer; and that was his object in writing it; and so it fulfils its object. As long as words fulfill their object and tell plainly what they mean to tell, grammar and spelling matter little. Certainly words without grammar that fulfill their object are better than words with grammar that don't. So we won't find fault with this letter, nor wish a syllable of it to be otherwise than it is. We will leave that for the prigs. The Mr. Mills whom he mentions was Richard Mills of Stroud, to whom William Webb had mortgaged his lands at Mudgley and Sand. Packer was another mortgagee. Edward Edwards only survived his grand-mother 4 years, and was buried here on July 15, 1754, aged 49 years. Jane, his widow, was buried here on Nov. 23, 1781, aged 78 years.
V.-Edward and Jane had an only surviving child, Hester, who succeeded at her father's death to the Webbs', late Wykes', estate at Mudgley and Sand in the parish of Wedmore, and at Shiplade, in the parish of Bleadon. She was christened here on Jan. 6, 1731/2; and on April 28, 1757, she married Joseph Comer of Cheddar. They lived at Sand. Amongst the Sand MSS. is the will of Joseph Comer, sen., of Cheddar, dated June 26, 1725, and the will of John Comer, sen., of Cheddar, dated Nov. 28, 1737, and proved Oct. 3, 1738. John Comer was a Quaker, and left £100 "unto the poor people called Quakers belonging to the Monthly Meeting of the North Division whereunto I belong." The present Vicar of Cheddar is, I believe, writing a history of Cheddar, and I have no doubt that he won't pass over John Comer the Quaker. Joseph and Hester Comer had no children. Joseph died between 1787 and 1794, and Hester was buried here on Dec. 3, 1816, aged 85 years. The late Mrs. Phippen, her first cousin once removed, who died in 1881 aged 87 years, might very easily have spoken with her; and she, Hester Comer, might very easily have spoken with her great-grandmother, Jane Webb, who died when she was 19 years of age; and Jane Webb must have been born in the days of Cromwell, because she was already married and had two children in 1678. So that a lady, who was till very lately amongst us, might have said that without going beyond her own kin she knew well a lady who knew well a lady who was born in the days of Cromwell. If Mrs. Webb had told Hester Comer all that she knew, and if Hester Comer had told it all again to Mrs. Phippen, how much we should know that now is lost. The united ages of these three ladies of the same family amount to not less than 263 years, and perhaps more.
VI.-The descendants of Edward, the eldest son of John and Hester, having run out, we turn to the descendants of his younger brother William. William, as we have already seen, died in 1764, leaving a son Edward, by Joan, his second wife. This Edward was baptized here on April 8, 1761; his mother died in 1762, and so he was an orphan at 3 years old. The Joseph Comers living at Sand had no children of their own, so possibly they brought up him and his only sister Hester. In 1781 Hester married William Wall of this parish, and she died in 18... In 1787 Edward married Hannah Phippen of Lympsham, whose brother, Arthur Phippen of Westhay, was father to the late Robert Phippen of Badgworth Court. Edward and Hannah had several children christened here; viz., Mary in August, 1788; William in May, 1790; Edward in Feb., 1792; Jane in April, 1794; John in June, 1796; Hester in Oct., 1800, but born July 12, 1798; Robert Phippen in Dec., 1803, but born Aug. 23, 1801; Edward Webb in Sept. 1805. Of these, Edward, Edward Webb and Hester died young. John died in 1830 aged 34 years. Mary was married here in 1827 to Francis Jerrard of Cheltenham, and died about 1876. Jane was married in 1820 to Dr. Phippen of Wedmore, and died in 1881, and their daughter Hester married the late Joseph Edwards of Hutton. William and Robert Phippen, both in turn, succeeded to the property. Edward the father of all these died in 1822 aged 61 years, and Hannah, his widow, in 1845 aged 78 years.
I do not know whether Edward were not something of a poet and musician; for I notice among the Sand MSS. some verses of which the title is "My Nose," and they are directed to be sung to the tune "An Ass, an Ass." They are signed "E. Edwards, June 3, 1786." Judging from the titles one would say that the words were full of poetry, and the tune full of music: the sort of song which when sung at a modern concert is loudly applauded and encored: the sort of song which when there is plenty of it sends people home rejoicing and saying, 'Twere the best concert as ever we were at. Whether or not he were the author of these beautiful verses, or the singer of this lovely song, Edward Edwards seems to have been a good man of business and to have enjoyed the confidence of the parish. Whenever any difficulty arose, about tithes or the Poor-house or other parish business, I notice in the parish books that he was generally one out of two or three to whose decision it was left. He also served the office of Churchwarden. For some reason or other, as we may learn from Mr. White's life of himself, he disapproved of the great feast on Lascott's Hill, given to celebrate the Peace in 1815, and would neither subscribe nor attend.
VII.-William,, the eldest son of Edward and Hannah, succeeded to the property on the death of his father in 1822; and dying unmarried in 1867, aged 77 years, was succeeded by his brother Robert Phippen.
VIII.-Robert Phippen Edwards married Jane Gilling of Mark. He died in 1876 aged 74 years, and she in 1881 aged 79 years. Their youngest son, Robert, died in 187..
IX.-Their eldest and only surviving son, Edward Webb, is the present owner of Sand; whose readiness to lend me his writings has enabled me to trace the property from the days of Richard Bridges the middleman in 1600 down to this year 1888. Having reached the living generation it is time to stop.
And now to sum up and put the contents of the preceding pages in as few words as possible. What have we seen? We have seen the Manor of Mudgley pass from the Church, as represented by the Deans of Wells, to the courtier and statesman as represented by the Duke of Somerset. The Church had held it for 500 years, the Duke held it for 2 years. The Church was partly disestablished, the Duke was totally beheaded. From the Duke we saw it pass to the scrambling-gambling speculators as represented by Herbert, Lodge, Clyfton & Co. They held it for 50 years, which brings us to A.D. 1600. The last of them was Richard Bridges the middleman, who bought wholesale and sold by retail. We saw him cut up the manor into five slices. We saw one slice go to Nicholas Wykes of Wells, and the other four went to four Wedmore husbandmen, viz.: Boulting, Counsell, Lytheatt, and Urch alias Fry. That was in the year 1605, the very year that Guy Fawkes did'nt blow up the King and Parliament of England. We followed up Nicholas Wykes' slice, and left the other four for another day. We saw it pass from Nicholas to his son Edward, from Edward to Edward's son William, from William to William's four sisters. We saw it remain in shares, divided among the four sisters and their heirs, till Edward Webb arose, a barrister and a Gloucestershire squire. His first wife had been the daughter of Sir Matthew Hale, a distinguished judge: his second wife was Jane Godwin, the only child and heiress of one of the four sisters. We saw him and his son William gradually buying up the other shares; till at last William Webb, partly by inheritance and partly by purchase, was owner of the whole of Nicholas Wykes' slice and of whatever additions had since been made to it. We saw William Webb die in 1726 unmarried, willing that after his mother's death his Somersetshire estates should go to his nephew, Edward Edwards of Mudgley. We then followed the Edwardses through five generations, from John who married Hester Webb in 1700 (or nearabouts) to the present generation, each generation having several representatives. Here they all are put in a tree. There are some earlier Edwardses than those named in the tree, whose Christian names and whose residence at Mudgley show them to have been of the same stock; but as they refuse to take their proper place among the branches, I must put them down at the foot of it.
Since writing about Jane Webb, the wife of Edward and mother of William, (p. 64) I have met with something that shows she must have been about 100 years old, perhaps more, at her death in 1750. In a printed volume containing London Marriage Licenses from 1521 to 1869, (collected by Col. Chester and edited by Mr. Joseph Foster) I find this entry:
"Edward Webb, of Lincoln's Inn, Esq., widower, about 28, and Jane Godwin, of Plaistow, Co. Southampton, spinster, about 24, with her father's consent, at Newberry, Berks, King's Cleere, Aldermesson, or Thatchsham, Hants, Aug. 29, 1673." If she were 24 years old in 1673, she must have been born in 1649, the very year that King Charles I. was beheaded, and that would make her age from 99 to 101 at her death in 1750. Plaistow in the parish of Kingscleere, Co. Southampton, was where her uncle, John Atfield, lived.
These trees show, in the twinkling of an eye, how Nicholas Wykes' slice of the Manor of Mudgley has come by inheritance to its present owner. The Christian name printed in capital letters at the end of the first tree and at the top of the second, and at the end of the second and at the top of the third, shows the connecting link between them.
Turning now from people, let us look for a moment at their houses and lands. One would like to be able to imagine it all, just as it was before the manor was broken up, before the Dean was disestablished, before the park was disparked, before the office of the parker was done away with, and while yet the deer were to be seen there. Having been born and bred in the middle of a deer park, I can easily imagine the deer herding themselves in picturesque groups, and lightly bounding off when frightened, their feet scarcely touching the ground. One can imagine one being occasionally brought down by an arrow shot from a cross bow, when the Dean was giving a feast at his house in Court Garden, or at the Deanery at Wells. When excavating in Court Garden in 1879 we found several deers' horns. But I am not quite certain where to put the deer. I am not quite certain whether there was a deer park belonging to the Manor of Mudgley as well as one belonging to the Manor of Wedmore, or whether, as the two manors belonged to the same lord, they had one deer park between them, lying between the two. That there was one is quite certain. (See Wed. Chron. Vol. I, 294.) A field, now called Parkwall, must be on the boundary of one of these parks if there were two, or on the boundary of the one if there were but one.
However, I am not now dealing with those early days, but with the days after that the last deer was gone. The deer did not long survive the Dean or the Duke. First went the Dean, then went the Duke, then went the deer, a sad and mournful procession; the Dean disestablished, the Duke beheaded, the deer shot: and then shortly afterwards in came the Wykes and Webbs whom we have been calling up. The history of the Manor of Mudgley is as it were the history of a struggle between the two ends of the alphabet, the latter part driving out the former part, the W's bowling out the D's. History repeats itself, and things go round and round in a circle; so perhaps, some day the bells will be ringing, because the Dean, the Duke, and the deer have come back.
The houses and lands which the Sand MSS. show us being bought and sold, leased and released, mortgaged and recovered, bequeathed and inherited, after the bowling out of the three D's, all lie in a ring fence. The Northern boundary would be the road that passes through Sand to Mudgley cross roads. The Southern boundary would be the turf moor. The Western boundary would be Castle Lane alias Pig Lane. The Eastern boundary would be the road that climbs the hill from Blakeway. The houses and lands, whose succession from generation to generation we have been tracing, all, or nearly all, lay within those four boundaries. The only exceptions would be the little 1 acre and 1/2 acre strips of arable land that, after the manner of those days, lay dispersed in the common fields; viz., at Caswell, Hossard, Eastfield and Westfield.
I have already mentioned (p. 46) what were the lands bought by Nicholas Wykes in 1609; viz., three closes of meadow, called Upper and Nether Chitterlies, containing 29 acres; a messuage with 30 acres; a cottage with 4 acres; 2 acres arable; a close of 2 acres arable called Lambart's Barley. Total, one dwelling-house, one cottage, 67 acres. This was of course added to from time to time by his successors.
Looking at the new Ordnance Map one can see exactly how the three Chitterlies lay. Two of them, about 10 acres each, still remain as they were; the third seems to be occupied by Mr. Edward's house and its premises. I expect that there was no house there when Nicholas Wykes bought the three closes, though one must have been built soon afterwards. The one house, which was in Nicholas Wykes' original purchase, I presume to have been the same house as was inhabited by the Edwardses of Mudgley from 1640 to 1740. In consequence of the tradition about the feast and the fire (p. 66), I suppose that house to have been the one just opposite to Court Garden, and now occupied by Mr. Puddy. If it was not that one, it must have been the one just behind it, which stood on the site of the new house now occupied by Mrs. Joseph Tucker. All the rest of Mudgley eastward seems to have been in other hands altogether. If the former of these two houses (that one now occupied by Mr. Puddy) were ever part of the Wykes and Webb property, then it must have been sold after William Webb's death to pay his debts. I give the history of that house and lands belonging to it during the last 120 years. They belonged to Samuel Tutton of Bleadon, Esq., who died in March, 1771, aged 52 years. He was buried at Bleadon, and there is a tablet in memory of him in the Church there. He had a daughter described as Sarah Tutton of Wrington. By his will dated Feb., 1771, he charged the house and lands at Mudgley with an annuity of £100 payable to her, and left them (subject to such charge) to her children as tenants in common. She married Richard Green, son of Edward and Mary Green, of Stoke Lane, in this County. Richard was buried at Stoke Lane on October 9, 1804, and Sarah at Wrington on June 19, 1810. Their son, Edward Green, of Wrington, succeeded to them, who in 1801 married Elizabeth Stafford Bryett, and was buried at Stoke Lane on Dec. 13, 1832. Their only child, Ann, died unmarried at Boulogne in 1830. They then passed to a cousin, Edward Green, of Stoke Lane, and in 1837 were sold to the late Mr. William Edwards of Sand, who thus seems to have added to his property what had got separated from it about 100 years before.
I will mention the other houses mentioned in the mortgages and other deeds between 1650 and 1730. I presume that the present row of farmhouses at Sand are their successors, and stand in their shoes, though I cannot quite identify them,
There was The Lyes, described as an old auster tenement, containing 3 acres, bounded with a row of trees from the Chitterlies to the lane westward. This lane must be Castle Lane alias Pig Lane, or else the lane that bounds Mr. Edwards's premises; and if there is any house now standing where it stood, it must be the one now occupied by Mr. Edward Puddy.
There was Wadham's, a messuage with 5 acres belonging to it, and adjoining the Lyes. In a deed of 1657 this is said to have been formerly occupied by Robert Wadham, gent., deceased; and afterwards by John Martin, deceased. There was an old Somersetshire family called Wadham, one of whom founded a College at Oxford, which is still called Wadham College. I don't know whether this Robert was one of that family Possibly Mr. E. W. Edward's residence occupies the site of this house.
There was a tenement called Baylies or Martins with 28 acres belonging to it, mentioned in deeds of 1714, 1722.
There was a tenement called Days or Plaisters with 32 acres of land belonging to it. Somewhere about 1700 there was a lawsuit about this one. Edward and Jane Webb (she who lived to be 100 years old) were plaintiffs, Edward Urch, son of Edward Urch, was defendant. A mutilated fragment of Edward Urches deposition is amongst the Sand MSS. These are some of the statements that he made. He believed that William Wykes was possessed of this old auster tenement in Muddesley with about 32 acres belonging to it; viz., 14 acres arable in the common fields of Wedmore and Muddesley, and 18 acres meadow. The annual value was £12. It was leased by Edward Wykes to John Plaister, but he does not think that there was any mention in the lease about doing suit and service to the Court Baron of Edward Wykes. He had heard that formerly some writings concerning the Manor of Muddesley were locked up in a chest in the Parish Church of Wedmore, and also a book of Survey of Muddesley and Sand. He did not know how such writings and book were taken away, nor whether William Phippen did it, as was said in the bill. After the death of said John Plaister, said tenement and 32 acres were granted by his son, John Plaister, and others to Edward Urch, defendant's father, for 3 lives for £232. That was on Dec. 16, 1652. The said tenement consisted then, as now, of a dwelling-house with an oven in the chimney thereof, and with windows which were never glazed in defendant's recollection, and with chambers which were indifferently boarded and parted with partitions, and had a pair of stairs not very good, but as good now as they were when said Edward Urch had it; and of a barn but no planked floor therein, nor any stall for cattle, save a small stall built by defendant's father (said Edward Urch, sen.) against the house; and in the orchard were never above two apple-trees in defendant's recollection, and now but one, the other being dead; and heretofore there were four pear-trees therein, and now but one left standing two being quite dead and the other almost so; there was also a garden and about 18 acres of meadow, with about 4 oaks, 6 ashes, and 338 elms, of which about 150 were nursed up by the care and husbandry of defendant's father; and defendant believes that there are more oaks, ashes, and elms on the premises now than ever there were, and he never cut but one tree which was a decayed oak, which he used for repairs on the premises: and he confesses that the outside of said oven wants repairing, and said stall wants thatching, and he had bought bricks for the repairing of it, and he would have done so before, but the weather was so bad that he could not get it done; but he will get it done as soon as he can, and he thinks that the cost will not be over 14 shillings; and the windows of said house are not glazed, nor ever were to his recollection, nor does he think it needful that they should be, since nobody dwells in the house but a poor woman who has relief from the parish and pays no rent; if he could get a tenant he would have them glazed, or as many of them as were needful. And defendant says that after the deaths of Sarah Lewis, George Huntley and Charity Hoskins, John and Jane Attfield, John Lewis, and the plaintiffs, Edward and Jane Webb, and Silvestra Huntley granted in 1674 to Edward Urch, defendant's father, said messuage, for a certain term for £40. He believes that Edward and Jane Webb were then married, but he does not know whether she were in her minority or not. He has heard that John Attfield is since dead; and his (defendant's) father is since dead, leaving to him by will his interest in said messuage. He now holds it for the remainder of a term of 99 years, determinable on the death of Mary Prattin. Neither he nor his father ever cut any timber trees, as is pretended in the Bill. The plaintiff; Jane Webb, once spoke to him about glazing the windows.
So much for Edward Urches deposition, of which the first and last sheets are missing. From his account this tenement was not in a very lively state, with its windows unglazed and open to all weathers, and with its one melancholy pear-tree surrounded by the dying and the dead. One can scarcely help smiling at Edward Urches idea that there was no need to glaze the windows because only a poor woman lived there who had relief from the parish. The weekly shilling from the parish would keep out the wind and the wet. It is true that she did not pay any rent. It is also most tantalizing to read that some writings concerning the Manor of Mudgley and a Book of Survey of the Manor were formerly kept in a chest in the Church. If William Phippen took them away, as was said in the Bill, he ought to have been done something to. Perhaps they are not lost even now.
There was another tenement called Rilburies or Palfreys. There was also an old auster called Cresson's Coat. Also Chitt's Cottage.
There must formerly have been more houses in that part of the parish than there are now. Collinson's History of Somerset was published in 1791. He gives the names of the 18 hamlets of Wedmore with the number of farm-houses in each and the number of cottages in each. He says that in Sand there are 10 farm-houses and cottage; in Oldwood 4 farm-houses and 2 cottages. But it would be difficult to visit as many as that now. Some must have clean gone. Perhaps that one with the windows unglazed and with the one melancholy pear-tree in its orchard is gone.
Fields with their ancient bounds and banks and trees, and sometimes with the marks of old ways that once passed through them, have their interest as well as people and houses. The fields with which we have been dealing in these last few pages have never been arable. That mischievous, destructive, dead-levelling thing, the plough or zul, has never passed over them. So they are fuller of old trees and banks than other parts of the parish which at some time have been arable. On some of those trees one may regret to see now those chalk figures which are their death warrant, especially on a row of fine elms standing on an old bank between Barley and Oldwood Lane.
I give the names of the closes, mostly meadow land, lying within the ring fence whose boundaries I have already stated. I takes those names from the deeds of various dates from 1650 to 1730, mostly indentures of mortgage.
Upper and Nether Chitterley, three closes which formerly (before 1600) had been in five. They contained 29 acres. For an earlier notice of Chitterley, whilst yet the Dean had them, see Wed. Chron. Vol. I. 297.
Allermore, divided into five closes; viz., Wester Park and Easter Park, and Upper, Lower, and Middle Allermore. The first two contained 12 acres each, and the other three contained 10 acres each.
Besides these there were New Close; 5 acres ; Cowleaze, 5 acres ; Lyon's park ; Bailie's park; Long park, 10 acres; Bryary park; Cowslip park; Kilswall; Chittshay, 2 acres; Lionel Arden's park, 5 acres; Day's Barrs, 1 1/2 acre; Harford's park; Pew's park; Podsmore in East Sand; Barley was mostly arable. I am not quite certain whether "park" in these names is used for parrock or paddock, or whether these were all bits of the one park belonging to the Manor.
The earliest poor rate that the Parish Books contain is that for 1709, the same year that Edward Webb died. In December of that year a rate of 3 shillings in the pound was collected. For rating purposes the whole parish of Wedmore was divided into four quarters, each quarter having its own overseer. The three-shilling rate brought in the following amounts
East Quarter £83 3 1 1/4
Wedmore Quarter £60 16 2
Blackford Quarter £58 10 9 1/2
North Quarter £37 14 10 1/2
Total £240 4 11 1/4
The East quarter is the one we are now concerned with, as it takes in all Theale, Mudgley, and Sand. The biggest payer in that quarter is Madam Boulting, of Theale Great House, who pays £9 3s. 71/4d. I take from the list just those payers and those estates with which we have been dealing
Mr. Urch £4 4 3 3/4
Do. for Gads £0 9 0
Do. for Allermore £0 10 0
Do. for Bawdens £0 4 6
Total £5 8 3 3/4
Mr. Webbe for Chetshay £0 3 0
Do. for the Lies £0 3 0
Do. £2 0 2 1/2
Do. for Pew's Park £0 8 1 1/2
Do. for Phippen's £0 2 3
Total £2 16 7
Mr. Edwards £4 2 9 3/4
Mrs. Hybdon £3 3 0
Joseph and Richard Urch £1 3 0
Gabriel Lytheatt for Cowlease £0 5 5
Do. do jun. for New Close £0 3 3
Mr. Webb does not stand very high in the Rate-Book, as some of his lands were leased out on lives to Urches, Lytheats, and others, who paid the rates upon them. Those lands for which he is rated are I suppose what he had in hand and let out.
Mrs. Hybdon in the above extract is Silvestra, the widow of William Wykes, who had died about 50 years before this. After his death she had married a Mr. Hybdon or Hebdon. She had for jointure one-third of the lands at Mudgley and Sand, for which she is charged. After her death those lands were to go back to the owner of the other two-thirds. She died soon after this.
Mr. Edwards, in the above extract, is John Edwards of Mudgley who married Hester Webb, and was the father of the Vicar of Meare. I do not understand what he was charged for. The Webbs had not yet died out, and the Wykes-Webb property was not to come to the Edwardses till they did die out and I cannot see that any lands were leased to him on lives. So he must have had a separate estate of his own.