Economic history


Victoria County History



R W Dunning, C R Elrington (Editors), A P Baggs, M C Siraut

Year published


Supporting documents



Citation Show another format:

'Charlinch: Economic history', A History of the County of Somerset: Volume 6: Andersfield, Cannington, and North Petherton Hundreds (Bridgwater and neighbouring parishes) (1992), pp. 94-95. URL: Date accessed: 21 November 2014.


(Min 3 characters)


The four estates recorded in 1086 comprised 10 ploughlands, 137 a. of pasture, 11 a. of meadow, and 15 a. of woodland. There were 10½ ploughteams of which 4½ were in demesne with 7 servi. Recorded animals comprised a riding horse, one cow, 10 beasts, 22 pigs, 54 she-goats, and 130 sheep. The value of the estates in hand had been maintained, but of the others Gothelney had fallen and Swang had risen in value since 1066. (fn. 3)

Surviving sources for the 17th century suggest that most of the parish was divided between Currypool manor and Gothelney and that tenant farmers were not generally prosperous. Arthur Blake, who probably lived at Padnoller, had a clock, books, leather chairs, and round tables, but his six-roomed house had no parlour. Other farmhouses were small and poorly furnished, and only one had a parlour. (fn. 4) Tithes were payable on cattle, sheep, pigs, geese, wool, milk, grain, fruit, hops, cider, eggs, honey, and wax, (fn. 5) but inventories suggest there were few cattle and only small flocks of sheep; pigs were kept by many. Wheat and barley were the commonest grain crops, and clover was grown, probably at Padnoller. (fn. 6) In 1786 one man produced 137 stone of flax and in 1794 another produced 58 stone at Bush. (fn. 7)

Most of the farms were small and held on leases for lives, but Currypool demesne, Swang, and other lands were rack rented in 1714. (fn. 8) By 1837 some small farms had been amalgamated: of 10 farms over 20 a. two were under 50 a., two between 50 and 100 a., five between 100 and 200 a., and one, Currypool, 367 a. Arable amounted to 844 a., meadow 492 a., and common 18 a. (fn. 9) During the 19th century the number of holdings declined as the larger farms expanded: in 1861 Currypool was said to cover 1,000 a. and employ 45 labourers. (fn. 10) In 1881 the largest farms were Gothelney (430 a.) and Currypool (520 a.), employing between them 34 labourers. The total number of labourers then employed had not declined since 1851. (fn. 11)

By 1905 there were 688 a. of arable and 694 a. of grass. (fn. 12) The main farms in the 20th century were Currypool, Padnoller, Swang, and the Gothelney estate. (fn. 13) In 1982 there were at least two dairy farms and livestock included sheep, cattle, pigs, and poultry. The main crops, apart from grass, were wheat, barley, and potatoes; oilseed rape, fodder crops, turnips and swedes for human consumption, and maize were also grown. (fn. 14) Potatoes continued to be a major crop in 1987 and one farm specialized in growing and processing them.

Cloth was made in the later 17th century, a man in 1691 possessing a wool chamber and a workshop containing yarn, wool, worsted, combs, and weights. (fn. 15) The field names Rack close survived at Currypool in 1714 (fn. 16) and near Gothelney in 1837. (fn. 17) Malt was made in 1693. (fn. 18) In the 19th century a blacksmith, a sawyer, a cordwainer, a maltster, a carter, and a grocer were recorded. (fn. 19)


Mills were recorded in 1086 at Swang, at Gothelney, and on the Charlinch estate. (fn. 20) No further trace of the first two has been found but the last may be the mill recorded in the 13th century and in 1379, (fn. 21) which was later part of Currypool manor. (fn. 22) The mill was kept by William Crosse (d. c. 1559), grandfather of Admiral Sir Robert Crosse. (fn. 23) It was recorded in 1714 (fn. 24) and in 1832 when it may have been disused. (fn. 25) It had been demolished by 1837. The mill stood beside the brook north of Charlinch church. (fn. 26) A second mill, Solomon's mill, was recorded on the Currypool demesne in 1714. (fn. 27) There was a grist mill with an undershot wheel on Currypool farm until 1920 or later. A pond-fed wheel at Swang may have been used for milling or driving machinery, possibly at the same period. (fn. 28)


3 V.C.H. Som. i. 485, 487.
4 S.R.O., DD/S/WH 292; DD/SP 364; DD/SP inventories, 1669, 1670, 1674, 1678, 1680, 1686.
5 Ibid. D/D/Rg 263.
6 Ibid. DD/SP inventories, 1637, 1667, 1669, 1674, 1678, 1680, 1686; DD/SAS HV 58.
7 Ibid. Q/RLh 21, 24, 51, 55.
8 Norf. R.O., NRS 8082, 24 B 4.
9 S.R.O., tithe award.
10 P.R.O., RG 9/1621.
11 Ibid. HO 107/1924; ibid. RG 11/2371.
12 Statistics supplied by the then Bd. of Agric., 1905.
13 Kelly's Dir. Som. (1906, 1931).
14 Min. of Agric., Fisheries, and Food, agric. returns, 1982.
15 S.R.O., DD/SP inventory, 1691.
16 Norf. R.O., NRS 8082, 24 B 4.
17 S.R.O., tithe award.
18 Ibid. DD/SP inventory, 1693; ibid. Q/SR 289/1.
19 P.R.O., HO 107/1924; ibid. RG 9/1621; RG 10/2379.
20 V.C.H. Som. i. 485, 487.
21 P.R.O., E 210/2880; Cat. Anct. D. iii, D 986.
22 S.R.S. xxi. 129-30.
23 S.R.O., DD/X/SR 5; Visit. Som. 1531 & 1575, 165.
24 Norf. R.O., NRS 8082, 24 B 4.
25 S.R.O., DD/X/OA 1.
26 Ibid. tithe award; O.S. Map 1", sheet XX (1809 edn.).
27 Norf. R.O., NRS 8082, 24 B 4.
28 S.R.O., C/C 45/2; Som. C.C., Sites and Mons. Rec.