A History of the County of Somerset: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1974.
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The ancient parish of Thorn Coffin, known since 1884 as Thorne, (fn. 1) lies 2 miles north-west of Yeovil. It measured 413 a. in 1901, (fn. 2) and since 1933 has formed part of the civil parish of Brympton. (fn. 3) It is irregular in shape: its northern boundary with Chilthorne Domer follows, with slight deviations, the Yeovil-Tintinhull road, and was marked c. 1300 by Thorn Ditch. (fn. 4) Part of its southern boundary with Brympton and Lufton is aligned with Thorn Lane, the road from the hundred stone of Stone to Montacute. At the Oaks, however, it leaves the road and runs (fn. 5) southwards towards Lufton, field boundaries at that point suggesting the line of an earlier road or track. The western limit of the parish has a protrusion reaching Montacute and including meadow land known as Castle Leasne in the 17th century (fn. 6) and Castle Leaze in the nineteenth. (fn. 7) The name is a possible indication of an early attachment to Montacute castle.
The north-western part of the parish, about a third of the total area, lies on silts and marls below 200 ft., and is watered by a stream called Balls water, which rises in the east of the parish and flows through the middle of the village. The land rises sharply to the south-east, to 300 ft., through Pennard sands, Yeovil sands, and a junction bed of limestone. (fn. 8) The church stands on this rising ground above the village.
The road system is a single north-south road joining the east-west roads of the northern and southern boundaries. The village is scattered along this central route, and comprises a few cottages, some farms, and Thorne House. The church and former Rectory stood at its southern end, on a track serving the fields in the south-west of the parish. Higher Farm, like the other buildings in the village in the local Ham stone, is of 17th-century origin, and Middle Farm probably dates from the middle of that century. Manor Farm, with a symmetrical five-bay front and rusticated quoins, was built in the early 18th century.
The population of Thorne has always been small. Thirteen inhabitants were recorded in 1086, (fn. 9) but only four contributed to the subsidy of 1327. (fn. 10) In 1811 there were 97 people in the village, and throughout the 19th century the number fluctuated between 87 and 110. The figure then fell sharply, to only 50 in 1951. (fn. 11) Ten years later it had recovered to 75. (fn. 12)
The estate later known as the manor of THORN was held in 1066 by Cheneve. (fn. 13) By 1086 he had been succeeded by Drew, who held it of the count of Mortain. (fn. 14) Drew's descendants, the de Montagues or Montacutes, later earls of Salisbury, held it in chief for ¼ knight's fee as of their manor of Shepton Montague. (fn. 15) It seems to have passed for a short time to the Despensers, probably on the marriage, c. 1341, of Elizabeth, daughter of William, earl of Salisbury (d. 1344), to Hugh, Lord le Despenser (d. 1349). (fn. 16) In 1381 the manor was held of the heir of Edward, Lord le Despenser (d. 1375). (fn. 17) By the time of his death in 1397 William, earl of Salisbury, was again lord of Thorn. (fn. 18) The property passed to Thomas, earl of Salisbury, in 1409, but the family's claims to overlordship seem to have lapsed after his death in 1428. (fn. 19)
In 1198 William de Montague (d. 1217) exchanged Thorn for Long Sutton with William, son of Robert de Montague. (fn. 20) This arrangement was subsequently disputed, evidently as the result of a grant of lands by William in two places to his son-in-law, Matthew of Clevedon. (fn. 21) Thus began the mesne tenancy of the Clevedons. Matthew was still alive in 1226 and had then a son, William. (fn. 22) There is no further reference to the family in connexion with Thorn until 1340, though it is probable that the holding descended with the elder branch of the family. (fn. 23) Sir Edmund of Clevedon (d. 1375) was certainly mesne lord in 1340, and presented to the rectory during the minorities of successive resident tenants. (fn. 24) Sir Edmund's heir was his grandson, Edmund Hogshaw, a minor. (fn. 25) On his death, still under age, in 1388, the inheritance was divided between his older sisters: Joan, wife of Thomas Lovel, received Thorn, Milton Clevedon, and other properties. (fn. 26) Thomas Lovel held ¼ fee in Thorn in 1409, (fn. 27) but the grant of three parts of the manor to Stavordale priory in 1442 (fn. 28) eliminated most of the mesne lord's rights. Some land in Thorn, however, continued to be associated with the manor of Milton Clevedon as late as 1619. (fn. 29)
The occupiers of the manor of Thorn, by 1303 at the latest, were members of the Coffin family. It is not clear where they originated, though an Ellis Coffin occurs in the county in 1224, (fn. 30) and a Ralph Coffin at Northover in 1263. (fn. 31) In 1279 Ellis, son and heir of John Coffin, was concerned in a plea of land at Thorn, which already bore the suffix Coffin. (fn. 32) Probably the same Ellis was tenant of 1/8 fee there in 1303, though the holding had then been sub-let to Adam de Waltham. (fn. 33) By 1320 he had been succeeded by Robert Coffin, who held Long Sutton and Thorn jointly with Robert de Montague, the whole comprising one fee. (fn. 34) This joint holding seems to explain why Coffin's estate was referred to as only half a manor. (fn. 35) Robert Coffin was patron of the church (fn. 36) and the most prosperous resident at Thorn in 1327. (fn. 37) He was dead by 1340 and then and in 1341 the property was in the hands of Sir Edmund of Clevedon during a minority. (fn. 38) By 1346, however, William Coffin was returned as tenant of 1/8 fee. (fn. 39) Five years later he was dead and his son, also William, was still a minor. (fn. 40) There was a further minority in 1362, that of Robert son of William Coffin, probably brother of the previous tenant. (fn. 41) Before 1376 the estate had descended to Emme and Isabel, daughters of Richard Coffin, but both sisters died in that year and the estate, described as half the manor and the advowson, was divided between eight co-heirs, descendants of the four sisters of Richard Coffin. (fn. 42)
At least two of these heirs died childless before 1405, (fn. 43) allowing some small consolidation, but in 1414 five persons presented to the living. One of these was Margaret Retherdone or Rotherden, widow of one of the original heirs. (fn. 44) Another of the joint patrons was John Credy, who devised his part of the manor and the advowson in 1426 to Richard Burdon and his wife. (fn. 45) A Richard Burdene had been one of the original heirs, (fn. 46) and this suggests a further re-forming of the estate. In 1428 John Stourton of Preston Plucknett presented, (fn. 47) and probably by then the Stourtons had acquired a major interest in the manor. A number of feoffees, including the Stourtons, certainly presented in 1435 and 1441. (fn. 48) In 1441 John Stourton of Preston, at the head of a group of trustees, received licence to grant an estate, described as three parts of the manor of Thorn, just over 130 a. of land, to Stavordale priory, (fn. 49) united with Taunton priory in 1533. (fn. 50)
After the dissolution of Taunton priory in 1539 Thorn seems to have been retained by the Crown until 1554, when it formed part of a grant to Sir Edmund Peckham, Master of the Mint. (fn. 51) By 1558, however, the advowson, and most probably the manor, had come to Robert Hyett, (fn. 52) and had passed to Thomas Hyett by 1575. (fn. 53) In that year Hyett and his wife made over the property to Edward Dyer. (fn. 54) Four years later Andrew Dyer granted the properties to Giles Penney. (fn. 55) By 1595 the manor, at least, had come to Sir Edward Phelips of Montacute; (fn. 56) his son, Sir Robert, settled both manor and advowson on his second son, Robert. (fn. 57) Robert Phelips sold them in 1673 to Thomas Napper of Tintinhull, (fn. 58) and the manor descended from this Thomas (d. 1700) to his grandson, Thomas (d. 1736), and to his great-grandson, also Thomas. (fn. 59) At the latter's death in 1760 the manor passed to Andrew, his brother; and at Andrew's death in 1781 to his nephew, John. (fn. 60) By this date, however, the manor of Thorn had virtually lost its identity by merger with the other manor in the parish.
A second estate in Thorn, later known as the manor of THORN PRIOR, belonged to Ralph the priest in 1086, having been held before the Conquest by two thegns 'in parage'. (fn. 61) Ranulph the chancellor is said to have given this estate to the abbey of Cluny, and it became part of the endowment of Montacute priory between 1091 and 1104. (fn. 62) Richard son of Drew is also said to have given his estate at Thorn to the priory, but its subsequent descent proves this grant to have been ineffective. (fn. 63) The estate, known as Thorn Prior by 1376, (fn. 64) was retained by the priory until the Dissolution in 1539. (fn. 65) It was considered part of the manor of Montacute Forum, and descended with that manor until 1566 or later. (fn. 66)
This holding was already known as Thorn farm well before the Dissolution, when it was let to the Salmon family. Elizabeth Darrell of Littlecote (Wilts.) attempted to gain 'forcible entry' in 1546, (fn. 67) but the Salmons continued in occupation at least until 1574. (fn. 68) At some date probably after 1574 Thorn was sold to one Downing. (fn. 69)
Leasing obscures the descent thereafter, but what must have represented a substantial portion of the former Montacute holding in succession to the Salmons became the property of Edward Alford of Hamsey (Suss.) and later of Offington (Suss.). By 1601 he was holding some 300 a. in Thorn Coffin and Thorn Prior. (fn. 70) Alford leased the estate in that year to Thomas (later Sir Thomas) Freke of Cerne (Dors.), and subsequently to the Fettiplace family. (fn. 71) The division of the manor-house of Thorn Prior in 1635 (fn. 72) suggests further and radical fragmentation of the estate, though there are indications that the Hawker family of Chilthorne Vagg reformed at least part of the holding. (fn. 73) Charles Hawker died in 1740 as occupier of a house and lands called Thorn Prior, evidently held in trust by him for his nieces and heirs, Sarah and Mary Hawker. (fn. 74) The Misses Hawker were succeeded by Thomas Napper in 1756, (fn. 75) and the estate was absorbed into the larger Napper holding. By 1785 the whole was known as Thorn Prior, though it evidently comprised parts of both former manors. (fn. 76)
The manor of 'Thorn alias Thorn Prior' was sold by John Napper in 1785 to his second cousin, Edward Berkeley Napier. Much of the land seems to have passed, with the manor-house, to the Revd. T. H. Pearson, but the lordship and some land belonged in 1840 to the Revd. George Bale. (fn. 77) Capt. Charles Pearson, R.N. (d. 1864), owned Thorn House by 1839; in 1843 he also held Manor farm, the largest single unit of the Napper estate of Thorn Prior. (fn. 78) He was succeeded by a Major Pearson (fn. 79) who, in 1869, sold the property to J. J. (later Judge) Hooper. (fn. 80) Hooper subsequently purchased a number of isolated holdings in the parish to form a consolidated estate, which came to be known as the manor of Thorne. At his death in 1895 the manor passed to his widow and, on her death in 1913, to her daughter by her first marriage, Miss M. E. Warry. (fn. 81) G. F. C. Warry (d. 1959) succeeded her in 1930. (fn. 82) The estate was sold, mostly to the tenants, about 1947. (fn. 83)
In 1635 the manor-house of Thorn Prior was divided into two parts, Hugh Donne acquiring the hall, kitchens and rooms above, and a room 'within the hall', together with part of the barn. (fn. 84) In 1740 the house, considerably enlarged if not rebuilt, and in sole occupation, comprised a hall, parlour, pantry, and kitchen, with six rooms above, and cellars. (fn. 85) By 1785 this 'good dwelling house' had 'pleasure grounds disposed and planted with flower shrubs by the modern taste' and was 'a fit residence for a gentleman'. (fn. 86) In 1839 the road which passed directly in front of the house was diverted to the west to improve the grounds. (fn. 87) The present house, built in the neo-Elizabethan style for Judge Hooper in 1882, was designed by Sir Thomas Jackson. (fn. 88) Some walls and outbuildings from its predecessor have survived.
Before the Conquest there were two estates at Thorne, one held 'in parage' by two thegns. The whole comprised 3 hides and 1 virgate, with land for 5 ploughs, though only 3 seem to have been in use. There were 24 a. of meadow. Three-quarters of the larger estate, that of Ralph the priest, was in demesne, cultivated by 5 villeins and 2 bordars. These also shared a plough and worked the rest of the land. One hide of the other estate was in demesne, worked by 3 bordars and 3 serfs. Ralph's estate, worth 32s. in 1086, had been worth 40s. T.R.E.; the other had increased in value from 10s. to 20s. (fn. 89)
Montacute priory, Ralph's successor, had an estate described as half the vill in 1302–3, worth £4 10s. 5d. (fn. 90) It then comprised 83 a. of arable, 6 a. of meadow, and 6 bovates of pasture in demesne. There was one free tenant holding half a virgate. Villein tenures seems to have increased in number, but no services were demanded; two ½-virgate, two furlong, and five cottar tenements were held for rents in lieu of all services. The priory also owned the estovers of all the houses and a dovecot. (fn. 91)
At the Dissolution the priory estate, known as Thorn farm, was entirely let. The Salmon family, sole tenants from 1533 (fn. 92) until at least 1574, (fn. 93) by 1539 held 150 a. and attached tenements for a rent of £9 6s. 8d. (fn. 94) The other estate in the parish was also let entirely, and rents, some of which were described as customary, amounted to £4 0s. 4d. (fn. 95)
There are no direct references to open fields, but in 1302–3 there were tenants known as ferlingarii, holding furlongs in villeinage. (fn. 96) By 1566 the manor of Thorn Prior was entirely in closes. (fn. 97) So late as 1717 common pasture is mentioned, though this formed part of the glebe, and probably was a close, shared with other tenants, known as Little New Close, of which the rector possessed half in 1639. (fn. 98)
The nature of the soil suggests that arable has always been less important than grazing. The 4 swine and 30 sheep of Domesday compared with the 3 ploughs on the combined estates probably represented the balance of farming throughout the Middle Ages and later. (fn. 99) In 1834 about a third of the parish was arable (fn. 100) and in 1905 about a sixth. (fn. 101) This ratio continues.
The division of the two manors into small leaseholds, particularly during the 17th century, included the physical division of the manor-house of Thorn Prior, (fn. 102) though by the middle of the 18th century the house was again in single occupation, (fn. 103) and by c. 1785 the estate had been so far consolidated as to include two farms, one of over 173 a. (fn. 104) The whole of this estate, in the hands of the Nappers, included 11 houses or cottages, held on leases for 99 years or three lives. (fn. 105) The rest of the parish was still in many small holdings, and the ownership was still 'much divided' in 1834. (fn. 106) In 1843 Manor farm, the nucleus of the Thorn Prior estate, comprised over 130 a., and was held with Thorn House by Capt. Charles Pearson. There were three other farms of c. 50 a., and one of 33 a. (fn. 107) There were three farmers in the parish in 1861, (fn. 108) four in 1875, (fn. 109) and five in 1878, (fn. 110) but most were tenants, the lord of the manor having purchased most of the property between 1869 and 1878. (fn. 111) Apart from farming the only other important occupation in the parish in the 19th century was glove-sewing, in which most of the women and girls were employed in their homes. (fn. 112)
Throughout the Middle Ages two courts had jurisdiction in Thorne. The prior of Montacute's court governed his holding, together with lands in Mudford, (fn. 113) for which he owed suit to Stone hundred. (fn. 114) The prior of Taunton, successor to the Coffins and to the prior of Stavordale, administered as one bailiwick his holding in Thorne and property in Bruton. (fn. 115) Thorn Prior by 1539 was considered part of Bishopston tithing in the manor of Montacute Forum, (fn. 116) and continued to be so regarded for fiscal purposes and for local administration in the 17th and 18th centuries. (fn. 117) Parts of Thorn Coffin were still in the 19th century outside this jurisdiction, and in 1837 constituted part of the out-hundred of Tintinhull manor. (fn. 118) There was, therefore, in 1841, doubt whether the parish was in Stone or Tintinhull hundred. (fn. 119)
There was a poorhouse in the parish c. 1785, (fn. 120) but it was probably closed by 1802–3, when only out-relief was given. (fn. 121) There was certainly no workhouse in 1834. (fn. 122) The parish became part of the Yeovil poor-law union in 1836. (fn. 123)
There was a church at Thorne in 1327. (fn. 124) Its omission from the Taxatio of 1291, where the prior of Montacute's estate in the village, but no church, is noted, (fn. 125) suggests a foundation after that date. At least from 1327 the advowson of the rectory was in the hands of the Coffin family, the resident lords of the manor, and it is possible that the church was founded by them between these two dates. The present building is of that period. Since c. 1926 the rectory has been combined with Yeovil Marsh, and from 1937 has been held with Chilthorne Domer, where the incumbent lives. (fn. 126)
The advowson of Thorn Coffin was held by the Coffin family at least from 1327 until 1376, (fn. 127) although the mesne lords, the Clevedons, presented during minorities in 1340, 1341, and 1351, (fn. 128) and Alice Borde in 1362. (fn. 129) The Crown presented in 1384, 1385, 1392, and 1398, because of the fragmentation of the Coffin inheritance. (fn. 130) John Credy presented in 1412, but two years later he headed a group of patrons, some of whom were evidently co-heirs of the estate. (fn. 131) By his will, dated 1426, Credy gave the advowson to Richard Burdon and his wife. (fn. 132) By 1428, however, the whole advowson had passed to John Stourton of Preston Plucknett who, with other feoffees, was concerned to reunite the divided estate before granting it, with the advowson, to Stavordale priory about 1442. (fn. 133) At the next vacancies, in 1454 and 1465, the bishop and the vicar-general respectively collated to the benefice by lapse. (fn. 134) The priory presented between 1468 and 1510. (fn. 135) The Crown presented in 1552 and again in 1554 after a deprivation, (fn. 136) followed in 1558 by Robert Hyett. (fn. 137) Thomas Hyett sold the advowson, with the manor, to Edward Dyer in 1575. (fn. 138) Andrew Dyer transferred it to Giles Penney in 1579. (fn. 139) In or before 1622 John Wilkinson (rector 1622–66) acquired the patronage and presented himself, (fn. 140) but it subsequently passed to Sir Robert Phelips of Montacute, lord of Thorn manor. He settled both properties on his second son Robert, who presented in 1666 and 1673. (fn. 141) The advowson was sold to Thomas Napper in 1673, and descended with the manor until the death of Thomas Napper in 1760. (fn. 142) Napper left the advowson to his brother John (d. 1774), whose son, also John (d. 1791), conveyed it to his second cousin, Edward Berkeley Napier (d. 1798). (fn. 143) In 1804 it was sold to the Revd. John Hawkes Mules, (fn. 144) whose son and namesake presented himself in 1812. (fn. 145) Subsequently there were frequent changes of ownership: the Revd. Alfred Tooke was patron and rector from 1824 at least until 1840; by 1853 the patronage had been acquired by the Revd. Philip Rufford, rector of Great Alne (Warws.), himself shortly afterwards incumbent. (fn. 146) The Revd. Williams Sabine (rector 1846–53) was patron in 1857. (fn. 147) From 1859 until at least 1883 the Revd. Hugh Helyar, rector of Sutton Bingham, held the advowson; (fn. 148) from 1889 until 1892 it was held by W. Hargreaves, (fn. 149) who was succeeded by J. H. Hargreaves. By 1902 it passed to Mrs. Simpson, (fn. 150) and by 1906 to Miss M. E. Warry, who was patron until her death in 1930. (fn. 151) Her nephew, G. F. C. Warry, was patron from 1932 until 1934 and from 1940 until 1959. H. C. Warry, his father, was patron from 1935 until 1940. (fn. 152) The executors of G. F. C. Warry presented in 1965 and 1971. (fn. 153)
The benefice was small and was not taxed in 1334. (fn. 154) In 1535 its net value was £5 5s. 0½d. (fn. 155) By about 1668 it was said to be worth £30. (fn. 156) It was augmented in 1749 by Andrew Napper, son of the patron, and by a grant from the Pincombe trustees. (fn. 157) In 1774 the incumbent received a number of 'leazes' in the common fields of Tintinhull. (fn. 158) Further augmentations were made in 1811 and 1813 by the Revd. J. H. Mules, patron and rector, and by a further grant from the Pincombe trustees. (fn. 159) Thus in 1831 the net income was said to be £200 (fn. 160) and in 1851 £210. (fn. 161)
In 1535 the tithes were valued at £4 18s. 8d. (fn. 162) By 1639 the rector claimed tithe corn and hay throughout the parish, and 3d. for a cow's milk, 2d. for a heifer's milk the first year; tithes of wool, lambs, and calves, hemp and flax, apples and pears, honey and pigs; 1d. for the fall of a colt, ½d. for every weaned calf, and 1d. for a garden. Outsiders who rented land in the parish were to pay these charges at the rector's discretion. (fn. 163) In 1842 a rent-charge of £135 was assigned to the rector. (fn. 164)
The glebe was valued at 8s. in 1535. (fn. 165) In 1639 the rector possessed 9½ a., of which 7½ a. were arable. (fn. 166) At the time of the tithe award in 1843 the rector had only 8½ a., (fn. 167) but by 1861 he had 30 a., and by 1894 32 a. (fn. 168) Most of this was sold between 1919 and 1923. (fn. 169)
The parsonage house needed thatching in 1554 and required 'other needful reparations'. (fn. 170) In 1623 and 1629 it was reported to be 'very decayed'. (fn. 171) By 1815 the rector could not live there because the house was 'poor, mean and very small and greatly dilapidated'. (fn. 172) It was later used as a labourer's cottage, but by 1840 was unoccupied. (fn. 173) In 1847 it was depicted in that condition, and was evidently a small, three-bay thatched house with a central door and gables to the first floor. (fn. 174) The present Old Rectory, probably erected on the same site, was described in 1861 as 'a good residence'. (fn. 175)
William Brett (rector 1412–14), then only in minor orders, combined his benefice with the office of registrar of the consistory court at Wells. (fn. 176) Edward Fletcher (rector 1435–41) was only in subdeacon's orders when appointed. (fn. 177) William Grayner (rector 1507–10) was a brother of St. John's Hospital, Bridgwater. (fn. 178) Besides the rector there was a curate and a chaplain in the parish in 1532. (fn. 179) Like several of his neighbours Bartholomew Stare was deprived in 1554, leaving the church without parson or curate. (fn. 180) In 1608 the justices ordered John Hearne (rector 1579–1622) to be gaoled without bail in a paternity suit. (fn. 181) Four years later he was still 'in danger of process for debt and other trouble' and had been absent from his cure for several months. He promised, however, that he would 'perform to the uttermost his duty in the parish'. (fn. 182) His wife was accused of brawling in 1606. (fn. 183) Hearne's successor, John Wilkinson (rector 1622–66), remained in his benefice without interruption during the Interregnum, though in 1629 he was reported for non-residence and for failure to catechize. (fn. 184) Edward Napier (rector 1772–1812) combined the living with the perpetual curacy of Tintinhull and the rectory of Sutton Waldren (Dors.), where he lived. The rectory house was let in his time. (fn. 185) John Mules the younger (rector 1812–24) lived with his father at Ilminster and was employing a curate in 1818. (fn. 186) He probably resigned the rectory on succeeding his father at Ilminster. (fn. 187) Alfred Tooke, rector from 1824, was living at Grove House, near Yeovil, in 1827 and at Alvington in 1833 because the rectory-house was uninhabitable. (fn. 188)
At a visitation in 1612 it was reported that the absence of the rector deprived the parish of its usual monthly sermons; at the same time the warden was presented for not providing Jewel's Works. (fn. 189) There was no Bible 'of the new translation' in 1623, and the surplice was 'very insufficient'. (fn. 190) In the early 19th century services were held alternately morning and evening, (fn. 191) but by 1827 two services were held each Sunday from March until September. (fn. 192) By 1833 the second service had been abandoned because the rector 'could not raise a congregation on account of the small population and other churches close at hand'. (fn. 193) Still in 1840 only one service was held and the rector did not catechize. (fn. 194) Three years later, however, two services had become the rule, (fn. 195) and in 1851 the average congregation was 44 in the morning and 50 in the afternoon. (fn. 196) By 1870 only one service was again being held every Sunday, with celebrations of the Holy Communion four times a year. (fn. 197) By 1914 Matins and Evensong were said daily, Communion was celebrated every Sunday, with Matins and Evensong alternately. (fn. 198)
The church of ST. ANDREW, on a hillside with a commanding view north over the village, consists of a chancel with south vestry, a nave with a north porch and a double bellcot in the west gable-end, all in the Decorated style. The church was much restored and partially rebuilt in 1895. The porch is dated 1613, and the vestry was added by public subscription in 1913. (fn. 199) The pulpit, dated 1624, was evidently provided after a presentment in the previous year that its predecessor was 'much decayed'. (fn. 200) The oak altar rails, in which figure carving has been incorporated, also date from the 17th century.
The plate includes a chalice and paten of 1573 by 'I.P.' (fn. 201) There are two bells, dated 1673 and 1679, both by Thomas Purdue. (fn. 202) The registers begin in 1695 and appear to be complete. (fn. 203)
The house of Hugh Donne, possibly the manor-house of Thorn Prior, was licensed for use by dissenters of unknown denomination in 1705, and the houses of William and Alice Marks in 1718. (fn. 204) About 1745 'parson Marks', described as a dissenting teacher, was still living in the village. (fn. 205)
In 1818 there was a Sunday school in the parish supported by the curate and attended by 10 boys and 15 girls. (fn. 206) The poorer classes were then said to be 'very desirous' of having their children educated but were 'deficient in the means'. (fn. 207) This school had been abandoned by 1833, (fn. 208) but was revived by 1847, when it was held in the church. (fn. 209) Eight boys and 5 girls were then taught by 3 voluntary teachers, and the school was supported by subscriptions. There was also a dame school in the village by 1847, with 6 boys and 7 girls. (fn. 210) By 1861 the Sunday school was still being held in the church, (fn. 211) but by 1883 was held in the rectory house. (fn. 212)