A History of the County of Somerset: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1978.
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CRICKET ST. THOMAS
The parish of Cricket St. Thomas, taking its name from the ridge (British cruc) below which most of it lies, is at the south-western tip of the hundred of Crewkerne, three miles east of Chard. (fn. 1) It had an area of 875 a. until 1886 when a detached portion two miles SW. of Marshwood was transferred to Winsham, reducing the acreage to 707 a. (fn. 2) The parish is roughly T-shaped, its eastern limit marked by the Purtington brook which, from the 11th century to the late 18th, drove a succession of mills and has been the principal source of water. The Windwhistle ridge, known at successive points in the parish as Swan Down, Knoll hill, and White Down, forms much of the northern boundary.
Most of the parish lies on land sloping, in places steeply, from over 700 ft. on the top of the ridge to just over 400 ft. at the lower reaches of the Purtington brook. The higher and more level land, a mixture of clay-with-flints, calcarious grit, and chalk, was evidently the cultivated area of the parish, (fn. 3) with common pasture on the gentler slopes of the south. The Purtington brook was evidently controlled to create water meadows by the mid 17th century. (fn. 4) Marshwood was, by its name, ancient woodland.
The village of Cricket stood on the sloping western bank of the Purtington brook c. 200 yards below the present Cricket House. It was never large, but was removed in the early 19th century to create improved surroundings for the extended new manor-house, and by 1831 only a few cottages remained. (fn. 5) In 1851 only a gamekeeper and a labourer lived there, and by 1891 a single building occupied the site. (fn. 6) To the north of the village lay the church and the earlier manor-house. (fn. 7) The park occupies almost the whole parish, including a treelined avenue forming the main entrance from White Down. A medieval park may have stretched NW. up the slope from the manor-house and church. (fn. 8)
Elsewhere in the parish there was settlement at Lanscombe in the north, an ancient freehold mentioned in the 12th century, marked only by a barn in 1831, (fn. 9) and at Hollowells ('the Hollywille' in 1315), beside the brook in the south. (fn. 10) A mill was subsequently built on the latter site. (fn. 11) Marshwood was a third settlement, forming a tenement by the mid 13th century and having three cottages by 1498. (fn. 12) A dwelling-house had been built there by 1590, called Great Marshwood or Marshwood House in 1616 when it was leased in two halves. (fn. 13) A new brick house had been erected before 1771, (fn. 14) and in 1831 there were two farms called Higher and Lower Marshwood. (fn. 15) Of these Marshwood farm represented Lower Marshwood in 1973, and a barn occupied the site of Higher Marshwood.
By the 19th century there were only two principal farms in Cricket, Weston (now Manor) farm and the Home farm. Three cottages lay at Hollowells in the area of the former mill, and another was sited near the former parsonage house west of the village. (fn. 16) In the 20th century individual houses have been built at Hollowells and at the Home farm, but Cricket House, the central feature of a wild-life park since 1967, (fn. 17) continues to dominate the parish.
The principal road through the parish, linking Crewkerne and Chard, runs SW. along the ridge, following the Foss Way between Windwhistle and White Down, and marks the northern and part of the western boundary of the parish. Traffic along this route may have determined the site of the fair held on White Down from the 14th century. The road was adopted by the Chard turnpike trust in 1753 and a toll house, still standing in 1973, was built in the extreme north of the parish. (fn. 18) Until 1834 two lanes branched SW. from the CrewkerneChard road at White Down. One, known c. 1755 as Axminster Way, (fn. 19) probably continues the line of the Foss Way and passes through South Chard towards Axminster (Devon). The other, known as Middletons Lane in 1655 and Blind Lane in 1831, (fn. 20) curved around the south-western parish boundary to Hollowells and Winsham. Goldenhay Lane, formerly Gore Lane, (fn. 21) entered the parish in the extreme west from the Crewkerne-Chard road and ran SE. through the centre of the parish to the former Cricket village, continuing across the brook to Purtington in Winsham. Roads and footpaths in the centre of the parish were closed to public use in 1834, when virtually the whole of the area was emparked, and London, Grosvenor (now White Down), and West Port lodges were placed at the three main entrances to the park. (fn. 22)
Cricket had 10 households in 1612 (fn. 25) and a population of 69 in 1801. This latter figure rose slightly to 86 in 1831 but, as the village was progressively demolished, the numbers shrank to 66 in 1861. Increasing employment on the estate resulted in a rise to 110 in 1871 and, apart from a fall to 68 in 1921 following the First World War, continued at over 85. There were 86 inhabitants in 1961 but only 67 in 1971. (fn. 26)
MANOR AND LESSER ESTATE.
The overlordship of CRICKET manor was held in 1086 by the count of Mortain. (fn. 27) One of his Domesday tenants elsewhere was Ralph (I) Lovel, whose descendants occur as overlords of Cricket by virtue of their tenure of the manor of Castle Cary. (fn. 28) Hugh Lovel (d. 1291), eighth in descent from Ralph, held it at his death, as did his grandson Richard (d. 1351) in 1313. (fn. 29) Richard was succeeded by his granddaughter Muriel Lovel, wife of Nicholas Seymour (d. 1361), and their descendants, lords Seymour, continued as overlords, Richard Lord Seymour (d. 1409) being succeeded by his daughter Alice, wife of William, Lord Zouche (d. 1462). (fn. 30) The Zouches and their successors as lords of Castle Cary claimed the overlordship at least until 1623. (fn. 31)
The manor was held T.R.E. by Sirewold, but before 1086 had passed to Turstin. (fn. 32) The latter was succeeded both at Cricket and at Eastham in Crewkerne by the Cricket family, (fn. 33) who may have descended from him. A certain Ralph, who probably held land in Cricket St. Thomas, was succeeded by his son William of Cricket, who held two fees in the county in 1166. (fn. 34) William's son Sir Ralph (fl. 1198–1232) (fn. 35) left issue Sir Thomas of Cricket (fl. 1242–58), the last holding two fees of Mortain in 1242–3. (fn. 36) Sir Thomas was followed in turn by his son William (d. c. 1313) and grandson Michael of Cricket, the last of whom sold the manor to Walter de Rodney in 1328–9. (fn. 37) In 1337 John of Clevedon granted the reversion of half of Rodney Stoke manor to Walter de Rodney (fn. 38) and it was possibly in return for this grant that Cricket manor passed to the Clevedons. John of Clevedon's widow Elizabeth presented to Cricket rectory between 1348 and 1353. (fn. 39) The manor subsequently passed to Elizabeth's daughter Margaret (d. 1412), wife successively of John St. Lo (d. 1375) and Sir Peter Courtenay (d. 1405). (fn. 40) Margaret was succeeded by her grandson, Sir William de Botreaux, who in 1459 received licence to alienate the manor to Bath priory. (fn. 41) Evidently this grant did not take effect, for on Sir William's death in 1462 the manor passed to his daughter Margaret, wife of Sir Robert Hungerford. (fn. 42) It was subsequently claimed that Margaret had purchased a release of her title to the manor from the prior of Bath. (fn. 43) In 1466 she sold Cricket to Stephen Preston (d. 1474) and his wife Maud (d. 1497), whose family subsequently lived on the manor. (fn. 44)
Stephen's son John (I) Preston (d. 1541) was succeeded by his son John (II) (d. 1590) and grandson Christopher (d. 1623). (fn. 45) Christopher's son John left issue a daughter and heir Margaret (d. 1672), married in 1628 to John Hippisley (d. 1664) of Ston Easton. (fn. 46) Their eldest son John died a year after his father and the manor passed to a second son Richard (d. 1672) and subsequently to his son Preston Hippisley (d. 1723). (fn. 47) Preston's daughter and heir Margaret (d. 1739) married John Coxe (d. 1717) of Basset Down and Leigh near Ashton Keynes (Wilts.). (fn. 48) Their son John Hippisley Coxe (d. 1769) was succeeded by his son Richard, who in 1775 sold Cricket for £14,000 to Alexander Hood (cr. Baron Bridport of Cricket St. Thomas in 1794, Viscount Bridport in 1800) (d. 1814). (fn. 49) Since this time the owners have usually lived on the manor. Alexander left his estate to his great-nephew Samuel, 2nd Baron Bridport (d. 1868); he was followed by his son Alexander Nelson, 3rd Baron (cr. Viscount Bridport in 1868). (fn. 50) The manor, heavily mortgaged, was sold to Francis James Fry (d. 1918), the chocolate manufacturer, in 1898, and his trustees conveyed it in 1920 to Mrs. Jane Hall (d. 1943). (fn. 51) The executors of her son, Mr. A. A. Hall, sold the property to Maj. E. P. G. Miller Mundy in 1965, from whom it was purchased by the present owners, Messrs. H. G. and W. J. D. Taylor, in 1967. (fn. 52)
A manor-house was first expressly mentioned in 1313. (fn. 53) A survey of 1709 listed on the ground floor a large hall paved with stone, a panelled parlour, a large kitchen, three beer cellars, a pantry, and a large brew-house; on the first floor three large chambers and six smaller ones; on the second floor nine garrets. Among the outbuildings at that date were a 6-bay barn, stable with threshing floor above, a dairy house with a corn store over, and a cart house. Lands immediately adjoining the house then included the Fore Green, the Back Green, and the Dairy courts. (fn. 54) The house is said to have been demolished or burnt in the late 18th century, and has been traditionally located in the area later occupied by the kitchen garden and now by the menagerie and animal houses. It is possible, however, that the present house incorporates part of the earlier building, which may have been of half-H plan and perhaps of the 17th century. (fn. 55) The 'Admiral's Seat', a summerhouse dated 1797 on the hill to the north, has architectural fragments, including a date stone of 1595, which may have been saved from the original house. The employment of John Soane to design alterations for Sir Alexander Hood, who purchased the estate in 1775 and had been at sea for much of the intervening period, in 1786 could be taken as an indication that the house was included in the purchase. Soane was designing further alterations and additions in 1801 and this phase of the work continued until 1807 and cost a total of £8,650. (fn. 56) Before these additions the house seems to have comprised only the eastern two thirds of the present main block. The new work included a range of rooms along the west front and the refacing of the other sides so that each was more symmetrical. Internally, apart from minor alterations and the renewal of some fireplaces, the central stair hall was enlarged and remodelled and the new entrance hall and library behind the west front were decorated in typically Soane style. (fn. 57) Following the sale of the house at the end of the 19th century further alterations were carried out. (fn. 58) All traces of Soane's interior decoration were removed from the large drawing room and the library, and they were redecorated in mid-18th-century style. Minor alterations were made in the staircase hall, the conservatories were removed, and much of the stone facing of the exterior appears to have been renewed.
The existence of an ancient freehold estate at Lanscombe on the northern border of Cricket with Winsham is implied by references to Luke of Lancerecumbe in the 12th century, Henry of Lancelecumbe in the 13th, and Hugh Lancecombe in 1327. (fn. 59) Between 1459 and 1475 John Buller of Wood in Knowle St. Giles (d. 1485) held lands called Launscomb as a freehold of Cricket manor for 6d. a year and suit of court. (fn. 60) In 1509, however, it was claimed that William, son and heir of John Lanscombe, had formerly sold the lands to Robert Hull, whose son John Hull held them for 23 years before 1506–7, when they were claimed by John Buller's grandson and heir, Alexander (d. 1526). (fn. 61) John Hull certainly appeared as freeholder between 1501 and 1504, and in 1516 his daughter Joan, wife of John Creeke, was acknowledged to hold the lands. (fn. 62) By 1538 Henry Creeke (d. c. 1555–6) held the property, described as 30 a. of meadow and 40 a. of pasture called Lanscombes and Rainsley, after whose death it passed successively to his son William and Henry's brother, Robert Creeke. (fn. 63) Robert evidently sold the lands to James Downham (d. c. 1556) and his son William held them in 1589. In that year his title was disputed by Lionel Raynolds of Ashprington (Devon), whose mother Joan, wife of John Raynolds, had formerly had an interest under Henry Creeke's will. (fn. 64) The Raynolds claim was evidently unsuccessful, since a William Downham was recorded as the freeholder in 1627. (fn. 65) By the following year it had passed to Thomas Kingman, and by 1659 to John Albin of Evercreech. (fn. 66) The Albin family continued to hold the property until at least 1732; it was owned by a Mr. Martin between 1735 and 1737, between 1749 and 1771 by John Notley, and from 1773 until 1799 by the Revd. George Notley. (fn. 67) It was acquired by Lord Bridport c. 1800 and thereafter formed part of the Cricket estate. (fn. 68)
No reference to a house attached to the estate has been found. A barn on the northern parish boundary in 1831 (fn. 69) may mark the site of a former farm-house.
In 1086 Cricket gelded for 6 hides, of which 4 hides were held in demesne with 3 ploughs and 2 serfs, and 2 hides were worked by 6 villeins and 5 bordars with 3 ploughs. There was 1½ a. of meadow, and woodland measuring 7 by 2 furlongs. Stock comprised 14 head of cattle, 124 sheep, and 24 she-goats. The manor had formerly rendered annually to South Petherton manor 6 sheep with their lambs, representing a ewe and lamb for each hide, and from each freeman a bloom of iron, but these dues had been withheld by the post-Conquest tenant. (fn. 70)
The value of the manor rose from £4 in 1066 to £5 in 1086 (fn. 71) but thereafter only to £5 13s. 10d. by 1313. In the last year there were still 6 villeins paying 2s., with harvest works worth 6d., and the 5 bordars of Domesday were represented by 5 cottars rendering 5s. A single free tenant, holding Lanscombe, paid 3s. There were 200 a. of arable worth 50s., 20 a. of hill meadow 20s., pasture in severalty 5s., wood 1s., and a mill producing 13s. 4d. (fn. 72) Subsequently, according to inquisitions, the manor increased in value: to £7 in 1412, £10 in 1459, and £13 6s. 8d. in 1497 and 1541. (fn. 73)
A rental of 1459 suggests both that the estate was undervalued in the inquisitions and also that much inclosure had already taken place. One freeholder and 14 tenants with 22 holdings were then rendering £20. 0s. 11d. Among the individual properties 5 tenements and 7 cottages were mentioned and the lands were all in closes except parcels of land in 'the field' held by 3 tenants. (fn. 74) Any former open arable field system seems to have been disrupted by inclosure before the 15th century. In 1462 one tenant held land in three fields called 'Myddellond', 'Langlond', and 'Oughlond', and another in 1473 occupied plots in 'Seynt Whytfeld' (probably on White Down), 'Holewayfeld', and 'Horneclyfclos'. 'Myddellond' may be the field called 'Myddeldon' or 'Mydelton', later Middletons, along the western boundary, the ditching around which was the responsibility of all tenants. By the early 16th century a single open arable field appears to have remained, known in 1534 as the Great field and in 1546 as the Corn field. In the latter year it was agreed to inclose and allot the lands therein, two arbitrators being appointed for the lord and rector, and three for the tenants. Of the many gates whose repair features prominently in the business of the manor court, 'Holeweys' gate in 1468 and 'Townesyn' gate in 1539 were the responsibility of all the tenants. (fn. 75)
Fifteenth-century records of pasture land are generally of tenants trespassing on the lord's grazing: at 'Holemomede' and 'Overholewyll' in 1459, and at Codley and 'Bryddesmore' in 1468. In 1481 pasturing with sheep of 'Parkehyll' next the church was forbidden between Lady Day and Christmas, and in 1499 it was agreed that each tenement holder might have 42 sheep, a further 3 sheep for every acre of overland, and that every tenant might keep 2 bullocks and a mare. By the 16th century much of the pasture land had been inclosed in large units. Thus in 1539 single tenants held a close of 60 a. at Hollowells, one of 12 a. at Gorelease, and another of 30 a. at Knoll hill. In 1541 the common 'moor' was inclosed and allotted proportionately to each tenement and cottage, 2 a. being reserved to the lord to build a grain mill. Common land near the Parsonage gate was also mentioned in 1546. (fn. 76)
The principal unit of woodland in the Middle Ages was in the detached area of Marshwood, extending into Winsham parish to the east. Much of the wood was granted to Forde abbey by the lords of Cricket in the 13th century, although even by that time some inclosures had been made. By c. 1300 another curtilage lay in the east of 'the inclosure of Merswode'. (fn. 77) During the later 15th century tenants of Cricket held closes there, although the manor derived income from the sale of pannage and trees. (fn. 78) One tenant in 1498 took a lease of three cottages in Marshwood and a 'cokkerode' with two waggonloads of underwood each year. (fn. 79) There was also woodland on Windwhistle in 1504. (fn. 80) In 1592 Christopher Preston purchased a close of 70 a. called Marshwood in Cricket and Winsham, probably formerly held by Forde abbey. (fn. 81) With this acquisition the larger closes in Marshwood, known as the Ball, the Moor, Lower Wood, and Great and Little Marshwood, were subdivided and a total of 130 a., mainly pasture land, was granted to lessees in the years 1602–16. Covenants to plant 40 oak, ash, or elm trees were then imposed. (fn. 82)
Tenure on the manor during the later 15th century was usually by copy of court roll for the tenant's life, but subsequently copies were also granted for two or three lives. (fn. 83) In the late 16th century leases for lives were introduced, and in the early 17th century leases for 99 years or three lives. (fn. 84) The conversion to leasehold continued: in 1672 there were only 3 copyholders and 19 leaseholders, and by 1713 2 copyholders and 23 leaseholders. (fn. 85) These figures included the tenants of five leasehold properties in Chard, one of which had been occupied by Christopher Preston (d. 1623). (fn. 86) Holdings were generally small, 3 tenements and a cottage having only 18 a. of land in 1497, (fn. 87) and most were under 20 a. During the years 1647–55 there is evidence that much of the manor, particularly the demesne, was being let by the year for grazing at realistic rents, rising from £21 12s. 6d. in 1647 to £39 10s. in 1650, and £44 9s. 6d. in 1653. Covenants in such short-term leases imply that the lord continued to graze his own cattle and make hay on these lands and, in respect of a lease of a warren on Knoll hill, reserved the 'fewells' and coneys to himself. (fn. 88)
The rental of the manor, apparently excluding grazing rents, rose from £22 9s. 2d. in 1672 (fn. 89) to £28 7s. 10d. in 1709. In the latter year the demesne totalled 435 a., half the parish, and was let with the manor-house to George Notley for £200 a year. Seventeen tenants held 118 a. in Cricket, of which four were cottagers, the remaining tenements varying in size from 23 a. to ½ a. A further nine tenants held 154 a. at Marshwood, individual holdings there varying from 37 a. to 6 a. (fn. 90) In 1717 quit-rents produced £26 17s. 8d., the demesne £271, and the whole manor and advowson were valued for sale at £9,898. (fn. 91) By c. 1755 the quit-rents had risen to £35 14s. and there were 14 tenants holding 124 a. in Cricket. Of 172 a. in Marshwood 92 a. were held by three tenants and Henry Holt Henley of Leigh in Winsham was renting the remainder. (fn. 92) The Henleys continued to farm Marshwood as part of their Winsham estate, buying the freehold from Lord Bridport in 1862. (fn. 93)
The Bridports bought the ancient freehold of Lanscombe c. 1800, (fn. 94) and by 1831, with the exception of 30 a. glebe, they owned the whole parish. The land was then farmed in two units, one of 379 a. based on Weston farm (held with a further 22 a. glebe) and the other on Higher and Lower farms at Marshwood of 168 a. held by one tenant. Parkland and gardens attached to the manor-house accounted for 252 a. and the remainder was rented by smallholders and cottagers. (fn. 95) This pattern continued throughout the Bridport occupation and when the estate was sold in 1898 Home farm and the Parsonage comprised 314 a. (with a further 47 a. in Winsham) and Manor or Weston farm 226 a. (with a further 12 a. in Winsham). The grounds around the house totalled 26 a. and 136 a. of arable in the west of the parish was to be sold separately. (fn. 96) The unity of the estate, however, was preserved during the 20th century and in 1931 included 1,200 a. in Cricket and Winsham. (fn. 97) On the purchase of the estate by the Taylors in 1967 the grounds around and below the house were converted to a wild-life park. The farm lands of over 1,000 a., including lands in Winsham, were in 1973 operated as four dairy farms, Home and Manor farms in Cricket and London Lodge and Puthill farms in Winsham. The milk from the 400 cows on the estate was then devoted to the production of Cricketer cheese, made at Cricket Malherbie. (fn. 98)
The pattern of land use on the estate has been one of fluctuating arable. In 1313 there were 200 a. of arable to 20 a. of meadow, and an unstated amount of pasture. (fn. 99) Where cultivation is noted between the 15th and 17th centuries it appears that closes were generally devoted to meadow or pasture and the extensive demesnes to grazing. In 1607 the demesne of 346 a. comprised 310 a. of meadow and pasture and 36 a. of unspecified cultivation, (fn. 100) but by 1709 the 435 a. of demesne were farmed as 183 a. of arable, 234 a. grassland, and 18 a. wood. (fn. 101) By 1831 arable was almost entirely restricted to the extreme west and south-west of the parish, including Red Scrip and Barnards both pasture in the 17th century, and to closes in the north at Lanscombe. (fn. 102) In the early 17th century Marshwood was entirely meadow and pasture although by 1831 43 a. had been converted to arable. (fn. 103) In 1905 there were 544 a. of permanent grass, 112 a. of arable, and 20 a. of wood and plantation. (fn. 104)
The parish has always relied principally on agriculture for its support, although a sackweaver was mentioned in 1655, and weavers, fullers, and edge-tool-makers were working the fulling- and blade-mills during the 17th and 18th centuries. (fn. 105) In 1851, apart from a shoemaker and a female glover, the 69 inhabitants were all engaged in estate work and in 1868 Lord Bridport was also employing residents of Winsham. (fn. 106)
A fair on White Down was established on Whit Sunday 1361, the profits being taken by Richard Cogan and Elizabeth of Clevedon, lady of Cricket manor. (fn. 107) No charter is known to have been obtained for the fair which by 1467 was being held on the two days after Whit Sunday. In 1467 Stephen Preston, having purchased Cricket manor, obtained a confirmation of the fair and extended it for a further two days after Whitsun. (fn. 108) A further confirmation was made in 1563 at the request of John Preston, (fn. 109) and it was called 'a great fair in Whitsunday week' in 1633. (fn. 110)
An account book recording sales at the fair survives for the years 1637–42 and 1646–9. (fn. 111) Between 1637 and 1649 2d. was levied on each sale of cattle, horses, leather, and sheep, the income amounting to 14s. 2d. in 1637 and falling steadily to 3s. 8d. in 1642. The total income of the fair dropped from 15s. in 1646 to 10s. in 1648, thereafter rising to 23s. 8d. in 1649. Cattle were occasionally brought from Glamorgan for sale and the fair attracted buyers from as far afield as Pensford, Ottery St. Mary (Devon), and Mappowder (Dors.).
Barnwoods, apparently a close on White Down between Axminster Way and Blind Lane, was in 1649 reserved to the lord as a Whit Monday fair ground, and the area within Knoll hill gate and on Horse close was similarly reserved in 1651 for the period from Good Friday to Whitsuntide. (fn. 112) In 1663 the tenant of Middledons covenanted to collect the fair dues and to erect the standings or tilts, and in 1664 the manor derived £1 2s. 6d. from this source. (fn. 113) In 1709 the fair was let with the manorhouse and demesnes, (fn. 114) but by 1717 it was let separately for a rent given variously as £18 or £20. (fn. 115)
In 1882 it was stated that a century before there had been a 'carriage-day' when the gentry gathered from miles around and 'disported themselves, feasting and dancing on the green sward'. (fn. 116) By 1845 the fair was held on Whit Monday for the sale of horses, and on Whit Tuesday for that of sheep, bullocks, and other cattle. On the Tuesday there was also horse racing and a 'foot hurdle race'. (fn. 117) 'Wrestling, cudgel playing and single stick' contests continued until shortly before 1882. In that year the fair was held on the south side of White Down adjoining the lodge gate. (fn. 118) The fair is recorded in 1897 but had probably been discontinued by 1902. (fn. 119)
The Purtington brook drove up to nine mills in the parish and these must have served other settlements in the neighbourhood of Cricket. In 1086 there was a mill paying 12s., (fn. 120) probably to be identified with the demesne water-mill valued at 13s. 4d. in 1313. (fn. 121) There are no further references to a manor mill until 1541 when, at the inclosure of the common 'moor', a site was reserved to the lord to build a grain mill. (fn. 122) This mill was probably the property later known as Hollowells mills in the extreme south of the parish on the Purtington brook. In 1613 the lord held two water grist mills, including the common close on which stood a tucker's rack. (fn. 123) Suit to the custom mills with corn and grain was required of some lessees as late as 1626. (fn. 124) In 1635 Mr. Preston's miller, Bryant Langley, was killed by the fall of the mill wheel. (fn. 125) From 1638 a succession of leases of mills further upstream reserved to the lord the mill leat which drove Hollowells mills and passed over the lands held by other tenants. (fn. 126) Hollowells mills were occupied by the Osborne family from 1659 to 1729. Thomas Osborne was succeeded by his widow in 1709 and by Robert Osborne in 1715. Henry Adams evidently held them between 1736 and 1741 and William Tucker from 1745 until 1792. (fn. 127) Thereafter they were occupied by Lord Bridport as part of the demesne. (fn. 128)
A blade-mill, formerly a tucking-mill, was rented by William Hill, a Winsham smith, in 1593 and by John Cox, another smith from Winsham, in 1597. (fn. 129) The premises passed to John Palfrey, an 'edger', in 1610, when the rent was halved, (fn. 130) and to John Carver in 1653. (fn. 131) Another John Carver (d. 1726), an edge-tool-maker, leased the mill in 1691 and was still holding it in 1713. (fn. 132) By 1726 it was held with other mills by Robert Osborne but has not been traced after 1729. (fn. 133)
A tucking- or fulling-mill with two 'stocks', and liberty to place a tucker's rack on Mill close nearby, was occupied by Thomas Casselyn until 1600, followed by Thomas Scriven the younger, Joan Scriven, widow (d. 1636), (fn. 134) and the Adams family from 1672 until c. 1755. (fn. 135)
A house, tucking- or fulling-mill, with two 'stocks', passed from Thomas to Edward Grimstead in 1607 and thereafter to Edward's son, John. (fn. 136) They were held from 1615 by Alice Woodwall alias Kinder, and assigned to her son John, a fuller, in 1634. By 1640–1 a second tucking-mill with two 'stocks' had been built on the property, known subsequently as the Upper Mill, the older one being named the Lower Mill. Both mills were assigned to Thomas Osborne, clothier, in 1654. (fn. 137) By 1703 the property had passed to Robert Osborne, a third tucking-mill with one 'stock' having been added, and by 1709 the mill-house had five lower rooms, three chambers, and an outhouse. The mills have not been traced after 1713. (fn. 138) William Tucker, a Winsham soap-boiler, took the premises in 1744 and possibly combined them with Hollowells mills which he was leasing by 1745. (fn. 139)
Owing to his 'pretended ignorance of his tuckingmill' in 1639 Thomas Atkins did not reside on this tenement, but was still holding it in 1646. (fn. 140) Two leases of Atkins's fulling-mill for two years each were made to Richard Scriven in 1649 and 1651, when he was required to 'find all timber work saving the wheel, the trough, and the sells'. After repairs made in 1650 the lord disputed Scriven's claim to a quarter of a cog wheel and the old millwheel arms. (fn. 141) In 1658 a new lease was made to Scriven, then described as a fuller, and in 1691 to Edmond Denslow, fuller (d. 1706), probably Scriven's grandson. (fn. 142) Denslow was succeeded by his widow Susanna, and from 1709 the mill was held by Robert Osborne, fuller, and described as a messuage with four lower rooms and four chambers, a 'burling' shop, and a mill with two stocks. (fn. 143) It was still held by Osborne in 1739, being described as Cricket mills in 1730, but in 1746 was leased as a former tucking-mill to a wheelwright. (fn. 144)
A corn mill was leased to the Adams family from 1692 to 1731. (fn. 145) In 1709 it comprised a house with three lower rooms and a chamber, two grist-mills, a stable, linhay, and outhouse. (fn. 146) The property as a single mill is traceable through the families of Tucker, Hutchings, and Chick between 1732 and 1788, (fn. 147) but has not been traced thereafter.
Saw mills were constructed on the Purtington brook south of the former village site in the mid 19th century, powered in 1895 by a 17 ft. overshot wheel. (fn. 148) These were still in operation in 1973 although driven by electricity.
Manor courts rolls are extant for the years 1459–81, 1498–1504, (fn. 149) 1516, 1534, 1538–9, (fn. 150) 1540–1, 1546, (fn. 151) 1605–9, 1611, 1627–8. (fn. 152) Notes of amercements for 1625–6 and 1647, (fn. 153) and a court of survey for 1672 (fn. 154) also survive. The court was described as curia or curia manerii until the earlier 16th century, when it is generally termed curia baronis. No officers were appointed by the court although the lord's bailiff was often mentioned. Between 1638 and 1665 a tenement held initially by Philip Foxworthy was used for holding the courts. (fn. 155)
In 1626 and 1638 the parish had one churchwarden and one sidesman. (fn. 156) There were two overseers of the poor between 1642 and 1659, and from 1670 until the late 18th century the vestry was electing one churchwarden and one overseer. (fn. 157) A surveyor of the highways occurs in 1704 and two sidesmen in 1716. The vestry regularly supplied cake and ale to the poor at Easter during the later 18th century. (fn. 158)
A house in the village was given as a poorhouse by the lord in 1767 and in 1786 was occupied by three women, who were reputed to be sluggards. In the following year the vestry determined not to relieve poor persons living outside the parish and to oblige all that sought relief to live in the poorhouse. (fn. 159) The house was still standing in 1831 (fn. 160) but was demolished with the rest of the village. The parish became part of the Chard poor-law union in 1836. (fn. 161)
There was a church at Cricket at least by the 12th century. (fn. 162) The living was a rectory and its patronage, held with the manor by 1325, (fn. 163) continued to descend with it. The bishop collated in 1362 (fn. 164) and an enquiry into the ownership of the advowson was required in 1470 after Stephen Preston had purchased the manor. (fn. 165) Maud Bidik presented in 1483 as Preston's widow, (fn. 166) William Fry by grant of John Preston in 1522, (fn. 167) and Charles York as guardian of Preston Hippisley in 1689. (fn. 168) The lords Bridport retained the advowson when the manor was sold in 1898. Since the union of the benefice with Winsham in 1879 the bishop of Worcester has had two turns and Lord Bridport one turn. (fn. 169)
The benefice was assessed at £2 10s. in 1291, (fn. 170) and was valued at £10 7s. 8d. gross in 1535. (fn. 171) The living was augmented by £30 in 1658, and c. 1668 produced £50. (fn. 172) It was worth £60 in 1717 (fn. 173) and c. £125 net in 1815 and 1827, (fn. 174) falling to £106 in 1840. (fn. 175)
Tithes of sheaves and grain were valued at 31s. in 1334. (fn. 176) In 1535 predial tithes produced 72s., tithes of sheep and lambs 26s. 8d., and oblations and personal tithes 55s. 8d. (fn. 177) In 1615 John Preston took a lease from the rector of all tithes issuing from the manor-house and demesnes for £10 a year, on condition that the rector should not absent himself from the parsonage or commit any act which might lead to his deprivation. (fn. 178) In 1626 a tithe was taken of all wheat, rye, barley, oats, peas, beans, hemp, calves, pigs, lambs, wool, apples, and hay, 2d. a cow for kine white, Easter dues, and the agistments of rented grounds. (fn. 179) Tithes on 296 a. were commuted for £92 a year in 1838, although 857 a. were then stated to be subject to tithes. (fn. 180) Possibly tithes on the demesne were still subject to some private agreement between the rector and the lord of the manor. The modus of 2d. for each milch cow continued to be payable after 1838. (fn. 181)
The rector was often presented for the state of his glebe in the manor court. (fn. 182) The glebe lands were valued at 53s. 4d. in 1535 (fn. 183) and in 1626 comprised 25 a. of arable and 7 a. of pasture, all in closes. (fn. 184) In 1799 the rector exchanged 7¼ a. for 8¼ a. held by Lord Bridport, (fn. 185) and in 1831 and 1838 held 30 a., including three cottages. (fn. 186)
The parsonage house had a barn, garden, orchard, and plot in 1626. (fn. 187) Under an agreement reached in 1799 Lord Bridport was to erect a new house for the rector, (fn. 188) but, although the house was described as 'fit', it was not occupied by either the rector or his curate in 1827. (fn. 189) It was in good repair in 1840 but had evidently been sold in 1843. (fn. 190) The house still stands but no subsequent provision for a resident rector has been made.
Thomas of Cricket, rector until 1315, (fn. 191) was probably related to the lords of the manor, and Walter Sprengehose, rector from 1353, was one of the scholars who precipitated the Oxford riot on St. Scholastica's day in 1355. (fn. 192) On account of his 'lack of knowledge of letters' John Hucker, rector 1463–70, was obliged to study for a year before being re-examined, (fn. 193) and no graduate rector has been traced before 1614. In 1563 Cricket was served only by an assistant curate, (fn. 194) but the earlier rectors were generally resident. John Langdale, rector 1644–62, served throughout the Interregnum, receiving £10 a year from the lord, but was deprived for nonconformity in 1662. (fn. 195) He was preaching at Winsham, Wayford, and Merriott in 1669 and was licensed to preach at his house at Cricket and in Hinton St. George in 1672. (fn. 196)
Assistant curates occur regularly from 1751 to 1836 (fn. 197) and it is unlikely that serving rectors were ever resident during that time. John Templeman, rector 1798–1835, also held Lopen, where he lived, and Buckland St. Mary. In 1827 he described himself as 'very decrepit and almost blind', and stated that his curate was receiving £40 a year and served Wambrook where he lived. (fn. 198) Robert Pearse Clark, rector 1835–46, held the rectory with the livings of Churchstanton and Otterford, and Charles James Shaw, rector 1846–78, a former usher of Westminster school and fellow of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, held it with Seaborough (Dors. formerly Som.). (fn. 199) Thereafter the benefice was held with Winsham where subsequent incumbents resided.
In 1554 the church lacked a canopy and in 1577 the parish had no quarterly sermons. (fn. 200) In 1606 the parishioners had no pewter pot to hold the Communion wine. (fn. 201) From 1697 until 1755 the church, situated on a main coaching route and yet relatively isolated, was evidently a popular place for the celebration of clandestine marriages. Of 154 marriages solemnized in this period 81 were between parties both of whom lived in other parishes and, in many cases, other dioceses. (fn. 202) Nine communicants were recorded in the parish in 1776, and Holy Communion was celebrated weekly and on certain holy days between 1815 and 1827. (fn. 203) There was a weekly sermon in 1840 and 1843, although celebrations of Holy Communion had been reduced to eight each year. (fn. 204) In 1851 morning service was attended by about 40 and twice that number in the afternoon, many coming 'from a distance'. (fn. 205)
The church of ST. THOMAS comprises chancel with south vestry, nave with south chapel, and west porch with western bellcot. The walls are flint faced, with Ham stone dressings. The church contains no visible features earlier than the 19th and 20th centuries and the claim that it was rebuilt by the 2nd Baron Bridport (d. 1868) is probably correct. (fn. 206) The interior is dominated by monuments of the Hood and related families, among them those of Alexander, Viscount Bridport (d. 1814) by Sir John Soane, of Viscountess Bridport (d. 1831) by Lucius Gahagan, and of the Revd. William, Earl Nelson, duke of Brontë (d. 1835). (fn. 207)
A plate of 1674 may be the paten which, with a silver-handled knife, was given by Christopher Hippisley in 1683. (fn. 208) A cup and flagon of 1808 and 1809 were presented by Viscount Bridport. (fn. 209) The two bells are modern and uninscribed. (fn. 210) The registers date from 1564. Pages covering baptisms 1588– 1612 and marriages and burials 1564–1612 have been removed, but the missing entries are supplied in a late transcript. There is also a hiatus for the years 1642–86. (fn. 211)
A chapel dedicated to St. White (otherwise St. Candida) stood in Chapel field on White Down. A 12th-century deed witnessed by Roger 'de Sancta Wita' (fn. 212) suggests that the chapel may have been built by that date. The fair was held on 'Saint White Down' from 1361 (fn. 213) and in the late 15th century William of Worcester records a chapel of St. White 'on the plain near Crewkerne', the dedication of which was celebrated on Whit Sunday. (fn. 214) The rector of Cricket was ordered in 1504 to hedge his inclosure around the chapel (fn. 215) and it was annexed to Cricket rectory by 1535. (fn. 216) No details of chaplains serving the chapel have been found. The 'old chapel upon White Down was consumed by lightning' on 2 August 1740 'and a man killed that stood by it'. (fn. 217) No trace of the building survives.
In 1819 there was a school in the parish with 4 or 5 children, and a Sunday school in 1825–6 was attended by 3 boys and 3 girls. (fn. 220) In 1835 Lady Bridport was 'about to establish' a school but, after the demolition of the village by 1846–7, there was no school for there were no children. (fn. 221) In 1902 the children of the parish attended Winsham school. (fn. 222)
CHARITIES FOR THE POOR.
Hugh Preston of Cricket (d. 1595) by will left £40 in trust to his brother Christopher for life, to pay £4 a year to the use of the poor of the parish. On Christopher's death the charity was to be administered by the owner of Cricket manor-house, if descended from the donor's father. (fn. 223) No subsequent reference to this charity has been traced.