Wedmore Genealogy Pages


And now I pass on to the saddest part of the book, that which tells of the In-patients. "Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased ?" asked Macbeth. Dr. Westover tried to, and apparently with some success. There are three phrases used in the Journal which show three kinds of patients. (1) Those who came to cure. (2) Those who came to cure and table. (3) Those Who came to table. The first are out-patients, the fee for whose cure was generally agreed upon at first. The second are in-patients with some hope of being cured; they stop in the house, and pay so much for cure and so much a week for tabling or keep. The third are in-patients with no hope of being cured; they only come to be kept under restraint; to be locked in and tied down; they will probably stop till they die; they pay, not for cure, but only for tabling. We have done with the first, and we will now take a glance at the second and third,

Apart from the dwelling house, but within 20 yards of it, there stands a well-built building. The date 1680 is on the chimney. It is now used as stable and barn. The engraving facing this page (from a photograph by Mr. Phillips of Wells) shows it as it is now. Tradition has always called this building the madhouse. That tradition is borne out by this journal. Mr. Henry Hawkins tells me that some years ago the bed, or a sort of box that passed for a bed, was in the upper part of it. Also a fireplace, The walls inside are still plastered, and possibly something written or scribbled by one of the unfortunate occupiers might be found on them.

I give the names of the In-patients in the order in which they come in the Journal. Many of them were afflicted with a mental disease, but not all. The number given to each of them is of my giving, not of the Doctor's.

No. 1. F. 19 Aug. 24 1686

Mary Daves came from Bristol. In the following February he received £3..12..0 for her tabling, and in March "my brother Andrew" received the other £2. The overseers of her parish seem to have paid for her. The page on which she is entered is torn.

No.2.F.32, 52. Oct. 1, 1686.

James Stone of Holberton, Co. Devon, was brought to table. £5 was to be paid for the cure, viz., £3 at once, and £2 when well: and 6 shillings a week for tabling.

"Theay brought 2 shirts and and one payer of briches when theay brought him, direct a letter to Mr. Mairshell ye layer of Taunton from theay to be sent to Mr. Warren. Mr. Warren, Mr. Wood and Mr. Stone the brother of ye aforesaid James Stone promised payment for quarter year and cure."

On April 29 the Doctor was paid £6..18 for 23 weeks tabling. On Sept. 20, 1687. he receives £5 from Mr. Edward Simon of Holberton for tabling of James Stone up to Aug, 5, 1687. And then there is nothing more about him.

No. 3. F.51 b. Sept. 7, 1687.

John Woodhurne cam to table by ye consent of ye Churchwardens and ye rest of my pardners and others of ye parish of Wedmore at 5 shillings a weack. He went away again Dec. 18, 1687, soe he hath bin in alle just 4 weackes and 3 days.

I don't know what he means by his partners, unless he was one of the Overseers of the Poor. This John Woodburn was son of Ralph and Elizabeth Woodburn of Sand and Mudgley. He was baptized in 1644, and married Elizabeth Hipsley in 1674. She, Elizabeth Woodburn of Mudgley, was buried in 1706, but he is not down in the Register of Burials. Possibly he came to a violent end, which would account for it. If I recollect rightly, there is a ground called Woodborns now at Mudgley. The Woodburns died out, as far as this parish is concerned, before the middle of the last century.

No. 4. F. 64 b. May 15, 1688.

Nathaniel Jeanes acknowledges that on June 3 next, there will be £7 due to the Doctor for the tabling of his sister Elizabeth Jeanes. A year later he acknowledges that £9 odd was clue for tabling and other disbursements for the year ending June 3, 1689. So that she was there for not less than 2 years. There is nothing to show what was the matter with her, or where she came from, or when she went. The next two leaves, 65, 66, on which there might have been something more about her, are torn out. Among the disbursements are

3s. 6d. for a payer of bodises, 3s. 4d. for 4 yards of Towles for a change, 2s. 4d. to William Fisher for a payer of shooes, is. 3 1/4d. for a apron, 3s. for 2 yards of shage for a cloke and for yol, 1s. 1 3/4d. for more yolond and silke for ye same.

I suppose yolond means Holland.

No. 5. F. 79. Feb. 6, 1688/9.

Then agreed with Mr. Willing of Fayland for ye cure of Margaret Butcher of Fayland being distracted at £6 cure, ye one moiety in hand he paid me, the other he must pay me when she is well of her distraction and able to folow her imployment as she was used to doe.... If she cannot be cured at home, then she is to be brought to my house, and they to pay as we can agree for table.

It does not appear that she ever did come to table. I don't know what place is meant by Fayland. It seems to be somewhere near Bristol.

No. 6. F. 83 b. April 13, 1689.

William Hardwick of Borten came to cure. His brother Thomas Hardwick was to pay, £5 for the cure. He also paid 50 shillings for 10 weeks' tabling. He fetched him away July 3, 1689. He came again on Sunday, July 7th, and apparently stopped another 10 weeks. I suppose Flax Bourton is meant.

No. 7. F. 85. May 28, 1689.

Mr. John Edwards of Mudsley was brought to table at £12 ye year.

Mrs. Joan Edwards, his mother, agrees to pay half-yearly. There is no mention of a cure here, and it was evidently a hopeless case, one which death alone could put right. The very first disbursements for him are "1s. 4d. for a payer of stockings," and " 3d. for 3 yards of rope." One can guess what the rope was for, viz., to do for him what his reason, if he had had it, would have done for him in a better way.

In the last number of this Chronicle, p. 59, 6o, are three paragraphs numbered I, II, III, and devoted respectively to John Edwards, Richard Edwards, and John Edwards. At the time of writing those paragraphs I did not know what was the relationship between those three, though I guessed that they were father, son, and grandson. I have since seen at the Wells Registry the wills of John, I, and Richard, II, which prove that they were so. They also show that this unfortunate John Edwards was son of John, I, brother of Richard, II, and uncle of John, III.

The will of John Edwards, I, is dated June 23, 1660. He was buried July 3, 1660, as our Registers show. There is nothing in his will to show positively that there was then anything wrong with his son John, who was probably about 15 years old at the time. He leaves him £100 and the price of all his live goods, (except such as might be wanted for heriots,) and two wheat mows. To his other children, William, Hester, Joan, Agnes, Margaret, he leaves £100 each, out of the rent of Lady Mead. To his son Richard he leaves his farm at Mudgley after his wife's death for the term that he has therein. The witnesses to the will are John Hipsley, John Westover, Robert Edwardes. This John Westover must be Surgeon John, not Doctor John. There is also in the Probate Office at Wells a manuscript account of what Joan Edwards, widow, had spent in accordance with the above will. This manuscript is dated Nov. 1667. Amongst other things she says she had "paid £5 to Mr. Wester for keeping and governing of John Edwards her son, being Mr. Wester's pay for 16 weeks according to an agreement made with him." And then another sum of £8 for the same purpose. Wester must mean Westover, but whether Surgeon John or Doctor John one can't say, and where he "governed him" one can't say. The present mad-house was not yet built. The Doctor was then about 24 years old. He may - have had this charge given him while his father was still practising, and it may have been the cause of his afterwards giving special attention to this class of infirmity. Or if Mr. Wester means Surgeon John, then the Doctor merely succeeded to this branch of the business which his father had started before him. But as his father has gone right away without leaving his journal behind him, we can't say.

There is also an allusion to this unfortunate John Edwards in the will of his brother Richard. The will of Richard Edwards of Mudgley. yeoman, is dated Nov. 1687, and proved Jan. 1687/8 , he being buried here in Dec. 1687.

To his sons Mark and Richard he leaves £200 each when they shall be 21 years of age. To his daughters Ann and Christian and to their mother he leaves £150, to be equally divided among them. To his son John he leaves his estate in fee simple at Mudgley and elsewhere, and all the rest of his goods, and makes him his executor "upon condition that he keep my mother and brother John during my mother's life." It would seem that John lived in the house at Mudgley during his father's and brother's lives, and then soon after his brother's death, when a more distant relative, a nephew, came there, he was transferred to Dr. Westover's newly built madhouse. He was transferred there either in 1687 or 1689, and was there certainly till 1701 when the Journal closes. He was probably there till the Doctor's or his own death. The Doctor died in Feb. 1705/6, he died less than 2 months afterwards, nearly 40 years after the first mention of his being "governed by Mr. Wester," and not less than 16 years after his being brought to the Doctor's house. And so his wretched, dark, cramped, cooped up life came to an end. He must have been about 60 years old at the time of his death.

The disbursements for him are few. We have already mentioned the rope. Another was a half yearly 6d. being "ye king's duty for a batchelar." After the death of his mother, Joan Edwards, which was in March 1689/90, the half yearly £6 for tabling, afterwards increased to £8, is always paid to the Doctor by Richard Sweet. This Richard Sweet constantly appears in the Journal, but I don't know who he was. He is not down in any of the Registers of this parish. There have been plenty of Sweets at Wedmore during the last 250 years, but never no Richard. He owned a house at Yarley, though he seems to have lived in Wedmore. So possibly he was a native of Wookey, baptized there and carried there for burial. When the Wookey Registers are printed, we shall see. His connection with Wookey and with this John Edwards may help to show that the Edwardses of Mudgley were connected with the Edwardses of Wookey, and came here from there. (See Wed: Chron: II. p. 57). Certainly Edwardses of Mudgley and Sweets first appear in the Registers at about the same time, about 1640, which looks as if the one brought the other. Richard Sweet seems to have been a bit of a farmer, and a bit of a mason, as well as a bit of several other things. Very likely he managed land which John Edwards was not capable of managing, and paid the Doctor out of it. He paid him partly in cash, partly in kind. Possibly he also acted as an attendant in the Doctor's madhouse. In Dec. 1691, and again in July 1692, he paid the half yearly £6 in money and mault."

F. 138. Feb. 26, 1693/4. Then Reed. of ould Goodey Sweet the sum of £5..5, and outset one shilling for Richards one daysworke for hewing the stones for ye stable windows, and 14 shillings recd. before in half a hundred of chees, soe in all £6 for Mr. John Edwards his tabling for ye half yeare.

Henceforth the Doctor received £8 a half year. On f. 166, are the acknowledgments of £8 for 8 half years, from Nov. 1694 to Nov. 1698, Richard Sweet paying the sums in money and goods. The goods are cheese. In Feb, 1697/8, the Doctor has from him 4 hundred of cheese at £1 the hundred, and in Sept. 1699, 3 hundred and 9 pounds at 25 shillings and 6 pence the hundred. So the price of cheese went up and down then as it does now, although America had not yet begun to send us her produce, and home productions were well protected. Mr. Stradling, the builder of the Folly at Chilton Polden, says that at this time Goodman and Goodey were commonly used, but have since been superseded by Gadfer and Dame. (Chilton Priory, p. 121.)

No. 8. F. 86. b. June 19, 1689.

Joan Hall of South Brent came to table; but the page in the Journal devoted to her is torn.

No. 9. F. 87. June 20, 1689.

Edmond Prestwich of Bristol came to table, but not for long. lie was buried here on the following Aug. 25. The only disbursements on his account entered in the Journal are those connected with his burial. "For a shroud 5 shillings. For ye carieng of him and shrouding of him 4 shillings. For ye making of the grave 1 shilling. For a sotivecate & expenses and wages is. 6d." Tabling and other funeral expenses came to 45 shillings, which were paid by Edmond Prestwich's son.

No. 10. F. 88, 180 b. July 11, 1689.

George, son of Robert Vowles of Westbury, came to table at £5 for the cure, £3 in hand and the other £2 "'when he is well of his madness." For tabling he pays 4 shillings a week. He stayed 13 weeks and went away Oct. 10. He came again March to, 1690/1 and went away March 23. He came again December 18, 1695, being distracted, at 5 shillings a week. This time he came to die. He died Jan. 30,

"and was carried away to Westhury Feb. 1, 1695/6. Soe George Vowles was just six weackes and one day with me alive, soe his tabling comes to £1..10..0. For medicens towards my indever for his cure tould him (his father) hee should please his selfe i reason for ye medicens."

No. 11. F. 88. July 11, 1689.

Atherton Holkum (in another place called Alderton Holkum) of Shipham came to cure July 11, 1689 at £7 cure, £3 in hand, "the other fower when hee is well of his distemper of madness," and 8 shillings a week for tabling. His wife Joan Holkum and Mr. Henry Tripe of Shipham promise payment. He went home well on Sept. 5.

No. 12. F. 90. Sept. 12, 1689.

Peter Eason of West Camell came to cure Sept. 12, 1689, at £8 cure, £4 in hand, £4 when well, and 8 shillings a week tabling. Robert Gardner and Mr. William Eason paid. He came again Friday Jan. 10, 1689/90. How long he stopped each time does not appear.

No. 13. F. 93 b. March 20, 1689/90

"Anne Lewis of Crokeham pill or thereabouts" was brought to table March 20, 1689/90, being sent by Mr. Hasell the overseer of St. George's. She went away April 21, 1690, and the overseer sent £1..12..6.

No. 14. F.94b.

Thomas Jeffris of Weacke debtor for medicines for his wife's mouth and for a weackes tabling or more and for visits to her at Weacke. £2...10..0.

No. 15. F. 95 b. April 13, 1690.

Mr. Simon Warren of Holberton in Devon came to table and cure April 13, 1690, £2 was paid for medicines and tabling. See No. 2, where Mr. Warren of Holberton is mentioned as paying for James Stone.

No. 16. F. tor b. Aug.5, 1690.

Anne Younge came to table and cure Aug. 5, 1690, at £8 cure, £3 her brother Aughter (Arthur) paid me in hand to begin ye cere and £5 moor he doth promise to pay me more when his sister is well of her distemper of madness. And allsoe 4 shillings a weacke he doth promise to pay for her tabling as long as she is at my house at cure.

The Doctor was paid for 20 weeks' tabling, ending Dec. 23, 1690.

No. 17. F. 118 b. Aug., 1691.

Mr. John Rich pays £4..10..0 for 9 weeks tabling of his father ending Oct. 21, 1691. "Allsoe received 5 shillings more to take to his father as I thinke fitt." "Sister Ann received £4 more for 8 weackes tabling (of Mr. Rich) ending Dec. 9, 1691." Mr. Rich was there till Jan. 7, 1691/2, when he seems to have left. He came back again Feb. 3, 1691/2, and was there till the last day of March, 1692. Whether he went away then does not appear. Sister Ann is the Doctor's sister who kept house for him till she married Edward Tincknell. Among the disbursements for Mr. Rich are

For a quilt cappe 10d. ; at severall times for tobacco and other nesicareys 2s. ; for one quilt cappe more 10d. ; for a payer of sisars 4d.; for mending his shooes and tabaco 1s..61/2.

No. 18. F. 120 b. Nov. 17, 1691.

Mr. Richard Prowse of Tiverton, Co. Devon, or Wiat, came to table and cure Nov. 17, 1691. It does not appear what he paid or how long he stopped. Among the disbursements for him are

Twoe shillings for haier powder, come box and washing balls. For 7 yards of holand £1..1..0. For a knife and forke 4s. Lent him Dec. 20th. 6 pence and twoe pence gave to Joane Nutte for bringing of his knife and for going to ye post house for letters. Lent him 6 pens to by a pack of cards. Lent him 3s. Crismas day. Lent him 7s. at Wells. Lent bins 1s. 6d, Lent him 1s. Jan. 10. 1691. Lent him 5s. to send Butte to his father.

One wonders where the post house was, and where he bought the pack of cards, and what was going on on Christmas day that he should want 3 shillings The knife and fork evidently came from Bristol, though one need not go so far now. We have already seen Joan Nuttey employed to take things to Bristol (Journal p. 54). What Butte means I don't know, unless it be for butter. In this same year, June, 13. 1692, was buried here Aaron Prowse, the only one of the name that occurs in our Registers. Possibly there was some connection between him and Richard.

No. 19 F. 127. Nov. 1691.

He received of John Townsend 50 shillings for 20 weeks tabling of his mother in law, Elizabeth Bennet, ending April, 3, 1692, and 25 shillings for ten weeks tabling ending June, 12, 1692.

No. 20. F. 131. June 8, 1692.

Joan Rodgers was brought to cure on June 8, 1692 by William Dean and Arthur Michell, overseers of the Parish of Huntspill, at 2s..6d. a week for tabling, besides so much for the cure. She stopped 23 weeks and 5 days, and went away Nov. 21 She was not mad.

No. 21, F. 133. July 11, 1692.

Susanna Brice of Denington, came to table July 11, 1692. Her father, Captain Brice, paid 25 shillings for weeks tabling ending Aug. 15, 1692,

No. 22. F. 133 b. Aug. 21, 1692.

James Stolle of Huntspill came to table and cure Aug. 21, 1692. £5 was agreed upon for the cure, £3 in hand, £2 when well. "He went away whome sicke Oct. 23, 1692." So that the £2 had not to be paid. 18 shillngs was paid for 6 weeks tabling. This was not a case of madness.

No. 23. F. 146, b. July 25, 1692.

John Harvat of Allerton owes for tabling of his wife since July 25, 1693.

Then John Harvat asked of me what I must have. And I tould him I ould have but 15 shillings for ye medicens and for drawing of her teath, and for her 11 days table.

This too was not a case of madness. It would seem to be a question which was drawn with the most pain and difficulty, the money from John Harvat or the teeth from his wife. For an explanation of the name Harford, Harvet and Harvey, see Wedmore Chron; Vol. II, p. 25-30.

No. 24. F. 157, b. March 20, 1693/4.

Richard Godfrey of Chilton came to table March 20 1693/4, at 40 shillings for the first month, and then at 10 shillings a week.

No. 25. F. 173. June 3, 1695.

John Lyde of Glastonbury brought his daughter-in-law to table and cure "having a lame foot with three ulcers on him" (the foot). She came June 3, 1695, and went away Aug. 4.

No. 26. F. 178. b. Oct. 22, 1695.

Cozen William veall and Sarah came to table and cure. Received in full twoe ginneys, and then paide Cozen for ye acre of ground for ye barley crop. 14 shillings.

These cousins, William Veale and Sarah his wife, lived at Sutton, and were good customers of the Doctor's. They were generally ill together. William died soon after this date, leaving a son William, as will appear later on amongst the farming extracts.

No. 27. F. 204. b. March 24, 1697/8.

"Received of Mr. William Porch £4 for Mrs. Harris her tabling." £5..9..0 more was paid. "She went away whome" June 1, 1698. she paid 8 shillings a week tabling."

No. 28. F. 209. b. Dec. 6, 1698.

Mr. Williams alias Seore of Bonson in ye parish of Fidington sent his wife to table and cure at £15 for cure, one moety in hand, ye other when his wife is well, and 5 shillings a weacke for Table; and the agreement was made by Mr. William Williams alias Score and Mr. Thomas Riche of Upar Stowey of one part and John Westover of ye other part, if it shall soe hapen that the said Mrs. Marcy Williams is cured by Mickellmass next then the above mentioned £5 is become due, but if it shall see happen that she shall be longer at cure then it is also agreed betwixt the parties above mentioned that the said John Westover is to have a augmentation of ,£5 more when she is well, which will be in she alle £20 for cure. Mrs. Sore was carried away Dec. 17 contrary to my desier when I was from whome at Wells. Her sunne left with Jane Ellis £4..15 in part of satisfaction. And fewer gould rings I bath of hers in my custordey which wayes the waight of twoe guineys wanting 10 graines.

Jane Ellis was the Doctor's servant. The weight of the guinea at this time was 129 39/89 grains. (Henfrey's English Coins.)

No. 29. F. 210. January, 1698/9.

Mr. Galton of Yatton, overseer of the Poor, comes over to make an agreement with the Doctor for the cure of Alice Stevens. She was in "her ould distemper of madness." They did not come to terms, so the Doctor went over to Yatton to meet the Parish. He had 10 shillings for his journey. Eventually they agreed that £8 should be paid for the cure, (part as usual in hand, the rest when well,) and 6 shillings a week tabling. Alice Stevens was brought here on Feb. 27, 1698/9 and stayed till Oct. 2. "Allis Stevens was caned whome well this Oct. 2, 1699." There are several long memorandums about Alice Stevens. I will give two of them.

Feb. 27, 1698. Then recd. of Mr. John Galton three guineys and a halfe guiney at 22 shillings a peace, the half guiney in A leven shillings. If theay pas not for 23 shillings a peece, he will make them soe.

I have already alluded to the vahle of the guinea which went up and down, and was a constant source of difficulty.

Memorandum that this Oct. 2, 1699 Allis Stevens a pore woman that was brought to table to be cured of her distemper of madness by Mr. John Galtun and others of the Parish of Yeaten was caned away parfietley cured and well of her distemper aforesaid by Mr. John Galton oversear for ye yeare past and Mr. Sumlar the present overseear of poor of Veaten, at which time they came to an account and thear did apeare due to John Westover £5 for tabling and £4 more for cure. So theay paid in part of pay of £5 for tabling £4.16. Soe theare rested more due for tabling 4 shillings, and for ye cure £4. . . . Mr. John Galton promised to pay in a short time as wee whose names are heare under written doe remember. Thomas Poole; Hannah Poole ; the Mark of Ann Wall ; one witt(ness) that may testifey something towards ye same whose name is Samuell that tormerley was a servant to Mr. Strode of Dounside.

Hannah Poole was the Doctor's sister, and Thomas Poole was her husband, They lived at Westhay, in the parish of Meare. Samuel, I expect, was an in-patient, or, perhaps, a keeper.

No. 30. F, 214. July 8, 1699.

Matthew Locke came to cure and table July 8, 1699, at 6 shillings a week. He stayed two weeks. He was not baptized nor buried here, but in 1695 he (I suppose it is the same) married Mary Duckett of Stoughton. He may have been of the same family as John Locke, the great philosopher, who was alive at this time, and whose father about 50 years before this had been Churchwarden of East Brent. There was a Mathew Locke, chorister in Exeter Cathedral, composer of music and author of several musical works, but he died in 1677.

No. 31. F. 224. Sept. 4, 1700.

All this page is given up to Captain Thomas Silvar's wife. She came to table Sept. 4, 1700, at £20 a year. She was no teatotaller. Perhaps it would have been better for her if she had been. The following are some of the disbursements and receipts on her account.

Feb. 7, 170/1 Thomas Hill brought for ye Capten's wife about 3 quartar of tobacko in 2 papars, and one quart bottell of brandy.

Feb. 14. One bottle of Clarrat John Bigs brought before.

March 8. One quart of brandy more John Bigs brought.

April 4. One box with raisens, and 2 bottell of Clarrat, and 2 panns one of Anchoves, ye othar of Capers.

April 16, 1701. Then received Madam Coding by the hand of Edmont Owen the sum of £10 being in full for halfe one years tabling of Captain Thomas Silvar's wife for ye halfe yeare ending March 5th last.

May 11. Mr. John Silvar, John Bigs and William Ben (?) brought 3 bottell more of ye same sort of Clarrat.

June 1. John Biggs and Marcy Silvar brought 2 bottell more of ye same wine, 2 payer of shoes and twoe - small glasses with sumthing in them I know not.

July 6. John Silvar brought 2 bottell more of ye wine and one bottell of brandy.

Aug. 3. John Biggs brought I sopose one bottell of ye same wine in a bascot, for hee ould not hould twoe botell to be caried, and left her eighteen pence.

Aug. 10. Mr. John Silvar brought her one botell of brandy and gave her 2s. 6d. in money, five shillings more she had of him before. One John Higs brought more of ye wine, and then John Bigs tould me that ye Capten was in ye Cuntrey and desierd me to come to Stolle to speake with him Fryday Sept. 5, 1701.

Sept. 5. Then received of Capten Thomas Silvar £10 for half one yeares tabling of his wife ending Sept. 4, 1701.

May 29. 1702. Then received of Mrs. Hestar Braye £10 for half one years tabling of Capten Thomas Silvar's wife ending March 5 last past.

The receipts show that Mrs. Silvar was still there up to March 1704/5, and then the Journal ceases. It really ceases in 1701, but in a few cases, as in this case, later receipts are entered, and tacked on to earlier ones. The Captain being, as I suppose, out of the country again, the money is paid for him sometimes by Mrs. Bray, sometimes by Mr. Edward Worme. Worme is the Doctor's way of spelling Woram, which name is now always pronounced and written Oram. I expect the Captain was a Sea Captain, and possibly the anchovies, capers, claret and brandy were of his own importing, perhaps smuggled. Stolle, where the Doctor went to see him, may be Stawell near Moorlinch, or Stowell near Temple Combe.

And that brings us to the end of the In-patients.

 previous chapter

next chapter