Wedmore Genealogy Pages
No. 1.-April 8, 1728. We whose names are hereunto subscribed do consent and agree that all such strangers dwelling in our Parish as are not legal Parishioners and have not already delivered sufficient discharges into our Vestry shall be compelled forthwith to deliver such discharges into our said Vestry or depart our Parish, and that the necessary charge of such compulsion shall be alowed out of our Parish Stock. (Signed) George Counsell, Churchwarden; George Stone, Edmund Bowll, John Harve, Overseers; John Counsell, Gabriel Ivyleafe, John Westover, Joseph Urch, Richard Smith.
This refers to the law of settlement which was in force from 1662 to 1855 or thereabout, though modified from time to time. By it, if any man unable to get employment in his own parish, went to live in another Parish, the Churchwardens and Overseers of that other Parish could pounce down upon him as an intruder and send him back again, unless he occupied a house of not less than £10 to yearly value, or gave security that he would not become chargeable to the parish, The Overseers' accounts show what a lot of money was spent every year for journeys, warrants, guards, counsell's opinions, drink, etc, in carrying out this barbarous law.
No. 2.-Jan. 15, 1731. (OS.) We whose names are hereunto subscribed doth agree to indemnifie John Wall, Ann Day and Edward Hipsley from the Parish of Cheder upon the account of paying the Poor Rate for Barmoor. (Signed) John Chalcraft, George Popham, Churchwardens William Bowll, William Jefferyss, Overseers Richard Smith, John Tucker, Gabriel Ivyleafe, John Counsell, Thomas Gray, Edward Parker, John Harve, John Pollett.
No. 3.-1731. We whose names etc. did agree whith Jacob Duding for to keep Rose Baker his mother in law: from Sept. 29, 1731 till March 25, 1733, for which he is to have all her houshold goods and her Lesehold estate. Jacob Dudden, George Popham, Churchwarden William Bowll, William Jefferyes, Richard Smith, John Tucker, Overseer.
No. 4,-Jan. 16, 1732. (OS.) We whose names etc. do agree that all reasonable charges shall be allowed of by the Parish to game some other place of settlement for George Clarke's children. (Signed) James Counsell, William Sheppard, Churchwardens; Gabriel Ivyleafe, John Wall, Edward Parker, John Barnes.
No. 5.-March 6, 1732. (OS.) At a Vestry held concerning John Days inditeing Mr. James Counsel and Mr. William Bowl for carrieng away Mary the wife of John Webb with an order, we whose names etc. do agree that the charges that they shall be at shall be alowed by the Parish provided they prosecuted the said order according to law. (Signed) William Sheppard, Churchwarden; John Savidge, John Chalcraft, John Counsell, Edward Browne, Henry Tucker, John Warwick, Richard Smith, Edward Parker, Mathew Barrow, George Popham.
No. 6.-March 6, 1732. (OS) We whose names etc. doth agree to give a School Master £4 a yeare to teach such Poor Peopels children as the Parish shall think proper, and to be payd every quarter Qut of the Parish Stock. William Sheppard, James Counsell, Churchwardens; William Bowll, John Marchant, Overseers; John Savidge, Edward Browns, Richard Smith, John Counsell, Edward Edwards, Mathew Barrow, Edward Parker, John Harford, John Chalcraft, John Warwick, Henry Tucker.
Schoolmasters' salaries have gone up since these good old days when they were content with £4 a year. The earliest mention of a school in Wedmore that I have come across is in 1707. In the Churchwardens' accounts for that year is set down " 1s. 6d. for mending Schoolle house windows." The history of Schools in Wedmore from then or earlier to the election of the first School Board in 1875 must be made out.
No. 7.-1733. Forasmuch as John Day doth keep company with Mary Webb of the Parish of Hutton contrary to the agreement made with Mr. William Bowl and Mr. James Counsel, wee whose names etc. doe agree that they shall be prosecuted according as the law directs, and that the expenses of the Officers that shall prosecute them shall be allowed by the Parish. James Counsell, William Stone, William Bowll, the mark of John Tutton, John Chalcraft, John Counsell, George Stone, jun., William Cheapman.
No. 8.-Nov. 20, 1733. We whose names etc. do consent and agree that there shall be a fier place made in the School house for the use of the Schollars, and that the charges of the said fier place shall be paid out of the Parish stock. John Savidge, Richard Brown, William Brown, Joseph Brown, John Burnett, James Counsell, John Leakey, William Bowll, John Wall, William Sheppard, John Counsell, Edward Parker.
No. 9.-Sept. 24, 1734. At a Vestrey held for this Parish of Wedmore Pusuent to a notice given publickly in the Parish Church on Sunday last for the Parishoners to meet and consider about erecting a Workhouse for the provision and maintainance of the Poor, Wee whose names are subscribed, inhabitants and parishioners of the said Parish, doe unanimously agree that the two houses now applyed to the use of the Poor shall by the Churchwardens and Overseers be as soon as conveniently may be repaired and made fit for the reception of the Poor of the said Parish, and that from and immediately after the next monthly pay day, which will be on Oct. 13 next, no person shall be relieved by the said overseers but such as are or shall be admitted into the said Poor houses, which houses are to be from hence forward deemed work houses of the said Parish, and where the Poor are to be provided for as they are at the Worhouse lately erected at Wells, the orders of which house shall he laid before the Parishioners of this Parish and inserted in this Book if approved of for the direction of the present and future Overseers of this parish. Jos. Pain, Jos. Tutton, John Haine, sen., George Tutton, James Counsell, William Sheppard, John Counsell, William Stone, George Stone, jun., George Popham, Joseph Domett, George Stone, sen., Edward Hipsley, William Bowll.
No. 10.-Oct. 8, 1734. The Resolution passed at this meeting is so long and complicated that I shall shorten it. It first mentions an Act of Parliament, 9th George I, which gave leave to the Churchwardens and Overseers of any Parish with the consent of the majority at a Vestry meeting to purchase or hire any house in the Parish and to contract with anybody for keeping or employing there such poor persons as desire to receive relief, and take the benefit of their labour; and if any poor person should refuse to be lodged in such a house, then their names should be taken off the Register of those who are entitled to receive relief. It then goes on to say that whereas the charge of maintaining the Poor of Wedmore was more likely to augment than to abate, since some find it more easy to be relieved by the Parish than to use "propper industry" to support themselves, it was agreed at a Vestry Meeting held on Tuesday last, Sept. 24, that the two houses then applied to the use of the poor should be converted into a Workhouse.
Now at this Vestry, held Oct. 8, 1734, pursuant to public notice given in the Parish Church on Sunday last, it was agreed as follows: Whereas the Charge arising from the Pocket book or what is called gift Money would in a great measure be prevented if certain Acts of Parliament were pursued; vis. one passed in 1692, 3 and 4 William and Mary, which complained that officers upon frivolous pretences and for their own private ends gave relief to whom they would, and enacted that in every Parish there should be a book in which the names of those receiving relief should be registered, and yearly in Easter week the Parishioners should meet and have the book produced before them, and the reasons for giving relief examined, and a new list made and the names of those considered proper to receive relief entered into it, and none but they to receive it without an order of a Justice of the Peace, except in cases of plague or small pox and whereas the Justices made an ill use of this power, an Act of Parliament, 1723, 9 George I, declared that they should not give an order for relief without further inquiry (as in the mannner specified) ; and the person whom the Justice should order to be relieved should be entered in the Parish book, and no officer, except on sudden emergencies, should enter any money given to the poor who were not registered under penalty of ,£5 ; and by 8 and 9 William and Mary it was enacted that every person receiving relief and his wife and children dwelling in the same house, should upon the right shoulder of their upper garment in a visible manner wear a large Roman P with the first letter of the name of the Parish cut in red or blue cloth; and the poor person neglecting to do so may be punished by a Justice either by the abridging or with drawing of his relief, or by committal to the House of Correction for not more than 25 days;
ORDERED that the Overseers doe observe the said several recited Acts of Parliament, and that if any officer do act contrary thereto he shall be proceeded against at the charge of the Parish. ORDERED that the Churchwardens and Overseers of the Poor doe forthwith go to all the Poor people that receive relief on the Calendar to inspect and take an inventory of all their goods and to seise them for the use of the Parish to the end that the same be brought into the Workhouse intended to be erected pursuant to an order made at the last Vestry. ORDERED that the Overseers do at the same time take an account of the names of all such people as intend to take the benefit of the said Workhouse. George Tutton, John Tincknell, Joseph Tutton, John Counsell, John Chalcraft, George Popham, William Stone, John Leakey, Joseph Domett.
No. 11.-Oct. 29, 1734. Whereas Mr. John Stone hath put on several locks on the doors of one of the Pours houses and keeps the poor persons thereout; We whose names etc, being the majority of the Parishioners now at this Vestrey present, doe desier and agree that the Overseers of the Poor will break or ripp off the said locks and put the Poor person or persons so kept out as aforesaid into the said rooms; and that if any action, indictment or prosecution shall be commenced against them therefore, that the charges thereof be paid by the said Parish. Richard Brown, George Tutton, John Harford, John Tincknell, William Bowll, John Savidge, James Counsell, John Counsell, William Sheppard, John Warwick, Joseph Tutton, George Popham.
At the Reformation St. Anne's Chantry, attached to Wedmore Church, became the property of the Stone family; and I imagine that this Poorhouse stood on the site of, or was the old Chantry house; and that therefore Mr. John Stone claimed it. But the matter will be gone into more fully another day.
No. 12.-Dec. 16, 1735. We whose names etc. do agree to relieve such Poor Persons as we shall think proper. Edward Hipsley, George Tutton, - Churchwardens; William Venn, Richard Browne, John Savidge, William Sheppard, John Shartman, William Bowll, John Harve, Edward Parker, Stephen Champeny, James Counsell, George Popham, Henry Tucker, Mark Edwards, John Leakey.
I imagine that this resolution had the effect of rescinding or partly rescinding, No. 9. It is good to see people sometimes resolving to do what they think proper instead of merely asking what other places are doing, and then saying, Let us do ditto. There is a good deal of that now.
No. 13.-May 29, 1739. At a Vestrey held in the Parish Church, We whose names etc. do agree to make a munthly rate for the relief of the Poor after the value of 6 pence a pound, and to allow two Pound for collecting the said monthly rate for the whole year. Henry Castleman, Vicar; John Counsell, William Sweet, John Leakey.
There was no paid Assistant Overseer at this time, and this seems to have been the first step towards the appointment of one,
No. 14.-Feb. 5, 1739. (OS) At a Vestry held this day, the nesessity of the Poor dureing this frosty wether being considered, it is agreed by us whose names etc., Parishioners of the Parish aforesaid, that the Overseers of the Poor shall on Sunday next distribute the sum of ten pounds unto such poor people of the said Parish (not being Regester poor) as the majority of the Parishioners then preasent shall direct. And in case any objection in respect thereof shall be made to their accounts so as that the same shall not be allowed, we promise to repay the said sum of ten pounds unto the said Overseers equally between us share and share alike. Henry Castleman, James Counsell, John Counsell, George Popham, Edward Stone, William Edwards, Richard Browne, Edward Browne, George Tutton, John Chalcraft, Joseph Poole, Thomas Reynolds, John Tucker, John Leakey, Joseph Tutton.
The £10 divided equally among these 15 signatories, who made themselves responsible for it, would come to 13s. 4d. each, which was the value of the old coin called a mark. On the page following the entry of this resolution are entered the names of those among whom this charity money was distributed, 72 names. The sums given varied from 5 shillings to 1. This winter, 1739-40, was a notoriously hard one. It lasted from Christmas to the latter part of February. The Thames was frozen over, and a fair and various sports were held on it. John Wesley says in his Journal,
"Monday, Jan. 21, 1740, I preached at Hannam, four miles from Bristol. In the evening I made a collection in our congregation for the relief of the poor without Lawford's gate; who having no work, because of the severe frost, and no assistance from the parish wherein they lived, were reduced to the last extremity. I made another collection on Thursday, and a third on Sunday; by which we were enabled to feed a hundred, sometimes a hundred and fifty a day, of those whom we found to need it most."
Richard West writing to Horace Walpole, son of the Prime Minister of that day, only two days later than this entry in Wesley's Journal, says:
"Jan. 23, 1740. It thaws, it thaws, it thaws! A'nt you glad of it? I can assure you we are; we have been this four weeks a freezing our: Thames has been in chains, our streets almost impassable with snow and dirt and ice, and all our vegetables and animals in distress. Really, such a frost as ours has been is a melancholy thing. I dont wonder now that whole nations have worshipped the sun. Heaven grant the thaw may last! for tis a question."
Apparently that thaw did not last, but there was another month before Mr. West was made happy. Probably he had very small reason to cry out compared with what thousands had, whom the hard winter deprived of the very necessities of life.
No. 15.-Nov. 6, 1740. We whose names etc. do consent that som of the Officers shall go to a Counsellor and have his advise concerning John Allen, whither his estate at Butcombe (having no house on it) will make him Parishioner there or not; and that they shall make a demand of Mr. Viggors Charity money, and that the necessary charges for such enquirey shall be allowed out of the Parish stock. John Browning to be bound an apprentice to Joseph Chapman for and in respect of an estate he rents of Mr. Gatchel. Edward Stone, William Bowll, James Ivyleafe, John Counsell, Edward Hipsley, John Shartman, John Batt, George Stone, John Stone.
The different Charities of the Parish, both those which are lost and those which still are, must be gone into another day. I will only say now that this Mr. Viggors' Charity was for a hundred years and more a source of expense, litigation, and trouble to the parish. Several more Vestry meetings about it will be found further on, It seems to be now quite lost, though since I came here I have been asked to take legal steps to recover it. Samuel Vigor, of Falkland, in the Parish of Hemington, Co. Somerset, by his will dated August, 1711, gave 50 shillings yearly, to be raised out of certain lands in the Parish of Wedmore, for the schooling of two children of Wedmore and two of Hemington, for ever. But somehow the occupiers of the land in question have always been obstinate in refusing to pay the charge. Why there has always been such a bother about getting it, I don't know. Perhaps, when I come to look into it, the result will be to recover it; and if all the arrears can be recovered to, it will make a respectable sum. So let the owner of the land in question look out. He has not got a leg to stand upon,
No. 16.-Feb. 6, 1740. (OS.) We whose names etc. do consent that one of the Overseers shall apply to Mr. Joseph Tutton concerning Jeffery Fearse, Mr. Viggers Charity money, and the Bond gave by Edward Champeney to the Overseer for the payment of nine pound, and that he shall do as he thinks proper, and the necessary expenses shall be paid out of the Parish Stock. John Counsell, John Shartman, George Popham, John Stone.
I think that Mr. Joseph Tutton was a Counsellor as they called it then, a native of Wedmore, but living at Wells,
No. l7.-June 5, 1744. We whose names etc. do consent and agree that the Overseers of the Poor shall ask the opinnion of a Counsel concerning Jefferey Ferce and Jonathan Harvey, and that the charges for so doing shall be allowed out of the Parish Stock. F. Taylor, James Andrews, Richard Brown, John Counsell, John Shartman, George Popham.
I don't know what Jeffery Fearce and Jonathan Harvey had done, but probably they were the victims of some of the badgering laws in force at this time. The Parish Registers show that they were both buried in this very year, 1744.
No. 18.-Sept. 9, 1746. Be it agreed by us whose names etc. that Joseph Cutlar shall be prosecuted for stealing Rebecca Barnses turfes; that Judith Porter, Solomon Bunn, Francis Millar, Ruth Leonard and John Oldman to be prosecuted for Intruders as the law directs; and Jane Shepherd to be bound apprentice to Mr. Francis Pittney for and in respect of all his eastate in the parish. F. Taylor, Vicar John Shartman, James Counsell, George Stone.
No. 19-April 20, 1747. We whose names etc. do consent andagree that William Tilley's examination to be enquired into; Dr. Shartman to have the care of Elisabeth Crypps; People at theirown hands to be prosecuted as the law directs; Intruders also Clothing for the Poor to be bought at the best hand and a box to be bought to keep it in with 3 or 4 locks; also the present Churchwardens to call Edward Stone to account for the money received in his late Churchwardenship. Edmund Yeascombe, Richard Brown, William Batt, George Popham, Edmund Bowll, John Tucker, John Barrow, George Stone, Edward Stone.
On this same day it was also agreed at a Vestry held in the Parish Church to appeal against an order made by George Bisse, Esq., J.P., requiring the parish to maintain the child of Rebecca Bowden, "she, in our opinion, being able to support it herself." This is entered in a different book to the other resolution passed on the same day, and some of the signatures to it are different. Signed by Gabriel Stone, Henry Prince, Edmund Bowle, John Barrow, John Burnett, Edmund Yeascombe, James Ivyleafe, John Shartman, Richard Brown, George Stone, George Popham.
No. 20.-Oct. 12, 1748. At a Vestrey held pursuent to a notice publickly given in the Parish, Church on Sunday last for the Parishoners to meet and consider about erecting a Workhouse for the provision and maintainance of the Poor, wee whose names etc., doe unanimously agree that the two houses now applyed to the use of the Poor, etc., etc. F. Taylor, Vicar; Richard Lockyer, Edward Duckett, Churchwardens; John Counsell, John Pollatt, Edward Saunders, Gabriel Stone, J. Rickard.
This is word for word the same as the resolution, No. 9, passed 14 years before. I suppose that there had been some opposition to it, so that it remained a dead letter all that time. In fact No. 9 had been practically rescinded by No. 12, passed just a month afterwards.
No. 21-May 27, 1750. I give notice the Churchwardens do desire the Minister and Parishioners to meet them here on Fryday next by one a Clock in the afternoon to put out the repairs of the Church and to make a rate for so doing, and to consult about repairing the Poorhouse and other Parish affairs.
This is a copy of the notice just as it was read out on Sunday by Clerk Sweet. There is no other record of this meeting. A one o'clock meeting did not interfere with the dinner hour then as it would now, because people went to bed earlier, rose earlier, breakfasted earlier, and dined earlier.
No. 22.-Dec. 28, 1750. I give you notice the Churchwardens and Overseers do desire the Minister and Parishioners to meet them here on Fryday next by one a Clock in the afternoon to consult about erecting a Galerey in the Parish Church, and about the second Poor money. John Taylor, Gabriel Stone, Henry Prince, William Tincknell, Richard Brown, John Counsell, William Stone, Henry Rawlins, Edward Tyley. J. Rickard,
There is no record of what they did at this meeting, but only this copy of the notice. But it will be seen from Nos. 27, 28, that this question of the gallery was still being discussed more than three years later on. This is that gallery which we took down in 1880 after that it had been consecrated by the music of 130 years. Every time that the Choirs of the Isle of Wedmore meet here, every time that the instruments of wood and brass come in to swell the volume of sound, I wish more and more that that gallery had been spared. One would like to know a little more about the voices, the instruments, and the tunes of this year, 1750. The Old 100th might have easily been one of their tunes, and so might Tallis and others that we still sing.
No. 23.-March 17, 1750. (OS.) I give you notice the Churchwardens and Overseers do desire the Minister and Parishioners to meet them here on Fryday next by one oth Clock in the after noon to consult about the second Poor Money, and other Parish affaires. John Barrow, John Taylor, William Tincknell.
No. 24 (a).-April 8, 1751. Wee whose names etc. do consent and agree that Joseph Chapman junior shall keep the free school at the usual place which is in the School house in Wedmore aforesaid, and to receive the sum of five pounds a year for so doing. F. Taylor, Vicar; John Barrow, John Taylor, Gabriel Stone, James Reynolds, Henry Prince, William Tincknell, John Savidge, Richard Brown, George Savidge, Edward Edwards, John Burnett, William Stone, John Pollett.
I believe that this School house was one of a group of houses that stood towards the West end of the Church, on ground that is now partly added to the Churchyard, partly to the road. It was probably the descendant of a medieval Churchouse or Chantryhouse, whose work was put an end to by the Reformation. The Poorhouses and Workhouse about which so many meetings were held formed a part of the group.
No. 24 (b).-April 8, 1755. Mr. Gabriel Stone, Mr. Stephan Champeney, Mr. John Savidge, and Mr. John Shartman have agreed at the request of the Parish to serve the Office of Overseers of the Poor for the year ensoeing. Wee whose hands are hereunto subscribed do agree that they shall employ a person to collect the rate, and that such person shall be payd out of Parish Money. J. Drake, John Counsell, Joseph Tutton, Richard Brown, John Taylor, John Pollett, John Bowll, William Stone, William Tincknell, Edward Edwards, Henry Prince, John Barrow.
This seems to be the first appointment of an Assistant Overseer. A step in this direction had been already taken. See No. 13.
No, 25.-March 30, 1752. Wee whose names etc. do consent and agree that the Churchwardens and Overseers of the Poor shall send a person to Wiley in the County of Wilts to enquire if John Leonard and Mary his wife have any right in an estate there late in the possession of Roger Hilman, and that the charges for so doing shall be paid out of the poor stock. George Savidge, John Counsell, John Stove, William Stone, Thomas Hicks, John Pollett, John Chalcraft, Jeremia Tutton, Richard Glanvile, Richard Brown.
No.- 26.-Aug. 23, 1752. I give notice the Churchwardens and Overseers do desire the Minister and Parishioners to meet them here on Wednesday next, Sept. 2, by 2 oth Clock in the afternoon to consult about erecting a Workhouse. William Stone, James Brown, Churchwardens; James Ivyleafe, Richard Brown, Overseers.
No. 27 (a).-Nov. 26, 1752. I give you notice the Minister, Churchwardens and Overseers do desire the Parishioners to meet them here on Wednesday next by one a clock in the afternoon to consult about new painting the histerey of our Saviour, new drawing the Sentences and making a Rate for the relief of the Poor. F. Taylor, Vicar William Stone, James Brown, Churchwardens; Richard Brown, James Ivyleafe, John Counsell, Overseers.
Nov. 29, 1752. At a Vestrey held wee whose names etc. do consent and agree to give the sum of five pounds to be added to the Subscription Money for erecting a Gallery for the use of the Singers in the Parish Church of Wedmore, and to be allowed out of the Church Rate. James Ivyleafe, William Stone, James Brown, John Counsell, Richard Brown, Edward Stone, John Westover, Richard Lockyer, Edward Duckett, Gabriel Stone, the mark of Edward Tincknel.
Apparently there was some difference of opinion as to the need of this Singers' gallery. We have seen a meeting called to consider it two years before this; See No. 22; and we shall see another meeting called to consider it 18 months hence; see No. 28. So that it took four years to get it up. It rather reminds one of another Singers' gallery set up lately; but that was a much smaller one, and it did not take four years to get it up. One wonders whether like the old one it will stand for 130 years, till the the year 2020, or whether being put up more quickly it will likewise came down more quickly.
No. 27 (b).-Nov. 29, 1752. Wee whose hands are underwritten do agree with Mr. James Atkins to paint the History of our Saviour's Crucifixion in oyl Cullars, to new draw the Sentences in Collars as usual, to write the ten Commandments on two tables of deal in gold letters, all which being duly performed we do consent to pay him for the same the sum of 22 pounds. William Stone, James Brown, James Ivyleafe, Edward Stone, Richard Brown, Gabriel Stone, John Westover, John Counsell, Richard Lockyear, Edward Duckett the older, Edward Duckett the younger.
This valuable oil painting of the Crucifixion has not come down to our days. Perhaps in losing it the Church has not lost very much. The new drawn Sentences still adorn the East end of the Church in spite of all the abuse which High Church visitors shower upon them. The ten Commandments on two tables of deal were put away in the Porch Chamber at the time of the last Restoration of the Church. There abuse cannot reach them.
No. 28.-March 3, 1754. I give you notice the Churchwardens do desire the Minister and Parishioners to meet them here on Friday next by two a clock in the afternoon to consult about erecting. a gallery in the Church for the use of the Singers. George Savidge, William Stone, Churchwardens.
No. 29.-June 23, 1754. I give you notice the Churchwardens do desire the Minister and Parishioners to meet them here on Wednesday next by two a Clock in the afternoon to make a rate for the repair of the Church, and all that have any writings belonging to the Parish are desired to com and deliver it to be put into the Vestrey at the same time. George Savidge, William Stone, Churchwardens.
No. 30.-March 17, 1756. Agreed that the Poor House shall be repaired by the Overseers of the Poor, as witness our hands here under written. John Green, Churchwarden; George Tutton, Overseer; Edward Stone, George Popham, William Stone, John Counsell.
No. 31-Oct. 3, 1756. I give you notice the Churchwardens do desire the Minister and Parishoners to meet them here on Wednesday next by two of the Clock in the After noon to consult about repairing the Church.
No. 32.-Jan. 23 1757. 1 give you notice that the Churchwardens and Overseers do desire the Minister and Parishoners to meet them here on Fryday next by two of the Clock in the after noon in order to open the Vestrey, and all those that have any of the Parish writings ar desired to come and deliver them up to he put into the Vestrey at the same time.
No. 33.-April 29, 1757. We whose names etc. do consent and agree that John Rickard have the liberty to teach the free school and take care of the Parish books during our or the major part of our pleasure; and that William Norman have liberty to ring the bell, dig graves, and all other perquisites in our gift during our or the major part of our pleasure. Edward Champeny, Edward Hipsley, Robert Browning, William Dyer, James Renolds, William Reeve, Edward Duckett, George Popham, John Haine, James Ivyleafe, John Marchant, John Wisenian, John Taylor, John Bowle.
There is a new and rather grander style to be perceived in the wording of this resolution. I put that down to the new Schoolmaster, John Rickard, who was also to keep the book. No doubt wishing to produce a good impression on the Vestry at his first appointment, he brought out some of the finest words he knew: insomuch that all who heard him marvelled and said, We have now got a man of learning amongst us. The books had formerly been kept by William Sweet, the Parish Clerk. He had lately died. Several members of the Rickard family afterwards served the office of Vestry Clerk and other like offices, and wrote well, as their books show.
No. 34.-May 15, 1757. This is to give notice that the Churchwardens and Overseers do desire the Minister and Parishoners to meet them here on Monday the 23rd of this instant in order to consult about binding out of the Prentices and to open the Vestsy; if any one have any of the Parish writings in their hands are desired to bring them the same time. John Millard, William Stone, Edward Duckett.
No. 35-Oct. 30, 1757. This is to give notice that the Churchwardens and Overseers do desire the Minister and Parishoners to meet them here on Tusday Nov. 8 by two othe clock in after noon in order to consult about erecting a Workhouse. William Stone, Edward Duckett. At a Vestrey held Nov. 8, Wee whose names etc. do unanimously agree that the two houses now applied to the use of the Poor shall etc, etc. William Stone, Edward Duckett, Overseers; James Counsell, George Popham, JohnCounsell, John Burnett, John Radford, Richard Lockeyer, John Barrow, George Tutton, J. Rickard.
This is exactly the same resolution as Nos. 9 and 20, the one passed 23 years ago, the other 9 years ago, and yet apparently nothing done in the matter. I presume that there was either an obstructive minority, or only a half-hearted majority, or perhaps both.
No. 36.-Nov. 27, 1757. I give you notice that the Churchwardens and Overseers do desire the Minister and Parishoners to stop here in order to consult what poor persons is fitt to go in to the Workhouse and receive their provisions on a Monday following at the said Work.
This notice seems to show that at last the 23 year battle was ended, and the Poorhouse was actually turned into a workhouse. See Nos. 9, 20, 35. But subsequent resolutions, Nos. 49, 51, make it doubtful if it were so.
No. 37.-Aug. 27, 1758. This is to give you notice that the Churchwardens and Overseers do desir the Minister and Parishoners to stop on Sunday next after Prayers and Sermon is ended to open the Vestrey to see for some Indenturs, and all those that have any of the Parish writtings are desired to bring them in to the Vestry at the same time. John Norman, Churchwarden; Richard Lockyer, John Tucker, Overseers.
These last two meetings were both held on Sunday. The expression "to open the Vestry" sometimes occurs; and I can only guess that it means. formally opening the Parish Chest with its three locks,
No. 38-April 18, 1759. We whose names are hereunder subscribed do agree and consent that there shall be no more money spent at a Vestry Meeting, not upon the Parish account. F. Tayler, Vicar; John Norman, Churchwarden; Richard Lockyer, Robert Noty, John Tucker, Overseers; George Tutton, George Tutton, John. Counsell, Gabriel Stone, Joseph Comer, John Barrow, William Stone, Richard Glanvile.
Anybody not acquainted with parish ways and parish books of the last century might easily pass over this resolution and see nothing in it. Really it is a very important one. It is the first visible sign of two things: (1) of a move towards temperance, (2) of a feeling against spending parish money in a wrong way. It had always been the custom for five shillings of public money to be spent at every vestry meeting in drink: and this is the five shillings which this resolution forbids. One can see the 5 shillings entered in the Churchwardens' and Overseers' accounts over and over again every year. The word "drink" is not used, but simply "spent," or more often "expended." And a little acquaintance with the parish accounts of the last century, will soon teach one what was meant by those words. (See Wedmore Chron; Vol. I, p. 77). I believe that when this resolution was proposed, old Joseph Domet's hair stood bolt upright with horror and amazement. And when it was actually carried he fainted dead away, and did not recover till it was rescinded two years afterwards. See No. 43.
No. 39.-May 23, 1759. We whose names etc. do agree and consent to give Mary Mabstone the sum of one pound and ten shillings, towards buying a hoss.
No. 40-Fryday, Sept. 14, 1759. Agreed that the several persons under named shall be provided with the quantities of turf aftermentioned.
Then follow the names of 18 persons who each have one load. Turf was at this time 8 pence a hundred, and generally 8 shillings a load, besides 3 or 4 shillings for "haling and coming up." The 6 pence for "coming up" was I believe paid for the right of trespassing through Court garden on Mudgley hill.
No. 41.-Dec. 7, 1760. This is to give notice that the Churchwardens and Overseers do desire Minister and Prishoners to meet them here on Tuesday the 16th of this instant in order to consult about the old Overseers not passing their accounts, and if not to prosecuting of them for not doing the same. Edward Tyley, Churchwarden; Joseph Comer, James Tucker, Overseers; John Councell, William Stone, Gabriel Stone.
Dec. 16, 1760. At a publick vestry held for this purpose, we otherrise (authorize) the present Churchwardens and Overseers for to bring the old Overseers to account of their money as they received by Rate and Stock, and for so doing to be allowed out of the Parish Stock, as witness our hands here under subscribed. John Counsell, William Stone, Gabriel Stone, John Norman, John Church, John Radford.
No. 42.-June 7, 1761. This is to give notice to all those that have any Bonds or Indentures or any other Parish writings are desired to bring them here on Fryday the 12th day of this instant June in order to put them into the Chest, and if not they will be prosecuted as the law direct and at the same time to place out Parish apprentices. Edward Tyley, Churchwarden; George Savidge, Overseer.
No. 43-June 12, 1761. We whose names etc. do agree and consent that five shillings shall be spent at every Vestry according to ye antiant custome as witness our hands. James Tucker, George Savidge, Churchwardens ; Edward Tyley, John Harvey, Overseers; E. Smithfeild, Richard Glanvile, William Stone, the mark of John Radford, John Westover, Edward Duckett, John Russell, John Church, George Tutton, John (or Jonathan ?) Wall.
This is a rescinding of No. 38 passed two years before, and may be looked upon as a triumph for drink, and a going back of the tide of temperance, and Joseph Domet's hair went back to its natural position. However, if it was so, it was only for a short time. In the accounts of Samuel Brown, one of the Overseers for 1763, he has to add five shillings to what he owed the Parish, because, as he says, "July 25, 1763, not a lowd the five shillings as was spent at the Vestry at the time." Probably the Magistrates who signed the rate would not allow it. George Tutton, Richard Glanvile, and William Stone, had very inconsistently put their names both to No. 38 and to No. 43. I suppose that when they did the one they listened to their conscience; when they did the other they listened to clamour.
13, 1761. We do hereby give our consent, the Minister. Churchwardens,
Overseers and Parishoners of the Parish of Wedmore, that there shall
be a stone Chimly a bilt in the School Chamber at the expense of the
Parish, and to be paid out of the Poor Stock, as witness our hands.
No. 45.-Dec. 22, 1761. We do agree and consent, the Minister etc., that there shall be a fire place built in the School Chamber for the use of the School at the expense of the Parish, and the same to be paid out of the Poor Stock, as witness our hands. F. Taylor, Vicar James Tucker, Churchwarden Edward Tyley, John Ducket, Overseers; William Stone, Gabriel Stone.
No. 46.-May 2, 1762. This is to give notice by the request of Mr. Robert Eastcombe he do desire the Minister, Churchwardens Overseers and Parishoners to meet here on Tuaday next in order to open the Vestry, and the Churchwardens and Overseers desire all persons that have any writings of any sort relating to Parish affairs to bring em in at the same time. James Tucker, Churchwarden; George Savidge, John Harvey, Overseers; F. Taylor, Vicar.
No. 47.-Jan. 5, 1763. We whose names etc. do consent and agree that the Churchwardens and Overseers do imply an a Turney to bring Joseph Tomer to an account conserning the Charity Money left by Mr. Viggors towards keeping a Charity School in Wedmore. George Tutton, William Stone, Richard Glanvile, Gabriel Stone, Edward Tyley.
Joseph Toomer was the occupier of the land which Mr. Vigors had charged With the yearly payment of 50 shillings for the schooling of 4 children. See No. 15, and others.
No. 48.-Jan. 11, 1763. We whose names etc. do consent and agree that Gabriel Stone one of the Overseers and Waywardens shall aply an a Turney at the Sessions now held at Wells concerning a Presentment or Inditement that now lies against the Parish of Wedmore concerning a steening lying between Wedmore and Munkmore in the River Ax, and that such charges shall be reembursed out of the Parish Stock, as wittness our hands. Richard Lockyear, the mark of Joseph Tomer, William Stone, William Edwards, Joseph Comer, Edward Stone, the mark of Edward Tyley.
The enclosure of the Moors, which has taken place since the holding of this Vestry, has so altered the Watercourses that I am afraid it would be difficult to hit upon the exact site of this steening. It was probably the very steening which the Lord Abbot of Glastonbury crossed when he beat the bounds of the Abbey lands. I have a document describing his walk very exactly in the year 1509, which I hope to print some day.
No. 49.-Oct. 16, 1763. This is to give notice that the Churchwardens and Overseers do desire the Minister and Parishoners to meet them here on Nov. 1 by two of the Clock in the afternoon in order to consult about erecting up the Workhouse, and other Parish affairs. Joseph Comer, Edward Tyley, Churchwardens; Samuel Brown, Overseer; Richard Brown, John Burnet, William Stone, Gabriel Stone, Henry Rawlins, Philip Chapman.
No. 50.-March 28, 1764. We whose names etc. do consent and agree that the Chruchwardens and Overseers shall apply an atturney at the next Quarter Sessions concerning a Presentment or Inditement etc. (same as No. 48.) Edward Tyley, Churchwarden; John Bining, Overseer; Richard Brown, the mark of Michel Voulse, Richard Lockyear, William Stone, Gabriel Stone.
No. 51.-May 16, 1764. Notice given to the Parishoners to meet and consider about erecting a Workhouse for the provision and maintainance of the Poor. We whose names etc. do unanimously agree that the two houses now applied to the use of the Poor shall etc., etc. Joseph Comer, Edward Tyley, Churchwardens; John Bining, Overseer; George Tutton, John Counsell, John Barrow, William Stone, Joseph Tomer, Richard Glanvile, Gabriel Stone, William Brown, John Burnett.
No. 52.-Aug. 19, 1764, Memorandum of a Greement made between Mr. Richard Glanvile and the Churchwardens and Overseers for the Surgery work of the Poor as is not able to pay them selves for the sum of eight pounds, eight shillings, untill Easter next, as wittness our hands. Joseph Comer, William Stone, Churchwardens; Peter Evans, John Taylor, Overseers ; Richard Brown, John Burnett, Gabriel Stone, James Tucker.
No. 53.-Oct. 14, 1764. We whose hands etc. do agree and consent that Doctor Tutthill shall attend John Leigh's wife as far as 20 shillings or there a bout. (No signatures)
No. 54.-March 12, 1765. Memorandum of a Greement made at a Vestry held that we whose hands are here under subscribed do agree that there shall be no stone hoses brought into the Churchyard on Easter Monday. F. Taylor, Vicar William Stone, Joseph Comer, Peter Evans, John Taylor, John Barrow, John Radford.
This good resolution was not kept for very long, as the custom went on within living memory.
No. 55.-March 31, 1766. We whose hands etc. do a gree and consent that the Workhouse shall be putt down. F. Taylor, Vicar; John Barrow, John Tucker, Richard Brown, the mark of John Radford, Gabriel Stone, John Westover, William Reeve, John Burnett, Edward A. Davey, Philip Chapman, Richard Lockeyer, George Rains his mark, John Wall his mark.
No. 56.-Nov. 7, 1766. We do agree that Mr. Richard Glanvile shall be paid the five pounds for the cure of John Spurrys throte, and for tending him to the Goal. F. Taylor, Vicar ; Joseph Corner, George Counsell, John Church, John Redman.
No. 57.-Dec. 5, 1766. We do agree and consent to other rise (authorize) the Churchwardens and Overseers to proceed in caring away Thomas Lewis and his wife and family according as the Justices or the Counsell learned in the law shall direct or appoint, and in so doing we do consent that the Charges shall be paid out of the Parish Stock, as witness our hands. F. Taylor, Vicar; Joseph Comer, John Church, Richard Glanvile, James Tucker, William Norman.
No. 58.-Dec. 5, 1766. A Greement made between Mr. Richard Glanvile and the Churchwardens, Overseers and Parishoners for the Surgery work of the Poor for the sum of Tenn pounds and Tenn shillings from Easter last untill Easter next, as wittness our hands. F. Taylor, Vicar ; Richard Glanvile John Bining, Adam Bussell, Churchwardens; Edward Tyley, John Redman, Overseers Joseph Comer, John Church, William Norman.
No. 59.-Jan. 7, 1767. We whose names etc. do otherise and give full power unto the Reverend Mr. Francis Taylor, Mr. John Barow, Mr. Joseph Comer, Mr. William Brown, and Mr. George Counsell, and John Bining, Adam Bussell, Churchwardens, and their successors, or the major part of them, for to take and receive and sue for all money that is now due or shall arise or become due to the second poor, and to give a proper discharge for the same, as wittuess our hands Edward Taverner, John Poole, Richard Lockyear, John Burnett, Richard Glanvile, Edward Tyley, John Cook, James Tucker, William Norman, William Stone, William Reeve, John Tucker, John Brown, George Popham, Richard Brown, Richard Adams, Philip Chapman, John Docket, John Norman, John Millard, John Cook, J. Rickard, John Plummer.
No. 60.-June 21, 1767. We order that if Mary Comer do not get herself into service within one month next ensuing, the Overseers for the time being shall he hereby empowered to proceed against her according to law. Also that the Overseers immediately proceed against Robert Sulway for intruding into this parish after an order made and confirmed for his removal. Also against Sarah Comer for intruding. Also against Mary Goodgroom for intruding. Also against Edward Goodgroom for living idlely. Also against Richard Bunn for living idlely. Also against John Comer for living idlely. Also against William Bailey for intruding into this perish. John Bining, Churchwarden; Edward Tyley, William Stone, Joseph Comer, George Counsell.
These intruders were proceeded against under the old law of Settlement. See No. 1.
No. 61-Sept. 22, 1767. Whereas two several disputes and controversies now are depending between the Parishioners of Wedmore and the Parishioners of Mark touching and concerning the settlement of sundry poor people which are (or ought) to be determined at the next Quarter Sessions to he held in and for the Co. of Somerset; We whose names etc. do hereby consent and agree that Nicholas Davie do assist John Millard, Overseer, in employing an attorney and obtaining Counsell's opinion, and also attend the next General Quarter Sessions and use all lawful means for obtaining redress in the above mentioned affairs, and that all charges he allowed out of the Poor Rate. F. Taylor, Vicar; Richard Brown, John Barrow, John Church, Samuel Brown, William Stone, Richard Lockyear, George Vowles. At the above Vestry (Sept. 22, 1767,) we whose names etc. do consent and agree to prosecute according to due form of law all and every Churchwarden and Overseer of the Poor of this Parish who this day have or at any time hereafter shall neglect to attend every the Vestrys and other times when they ought to attend. F. Taylor, Vicar, William Stone, Richard Brown, George Counsell, Richaid Lockyear, William Brown.