A History of the County of Somerset: Volume 5. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1985.
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The ancient parish of Raddington lies on the southern edge of the Brendons 6 km. WSW. of Wiveliscombe, its southern boundary forming part of Somerset's boundary with Devon. (fn. 1) Roughly triangular in shape, the parish stretches north for 3 km. from the boundary ridge known as Shute Hill (c. 280 m.) to a point above Potter's Cross on Heydon Hill above 320 m. The western boundary with Bampton (Devon) is the river Batherm, flowing in a steep-sided valley, and the north-western follows a stream which rises on Heydon Hill and flows down a combe to join the Batherm at Blackwell. The eastern boundary, with Chipstable, is largely the course of a wide hollow way, known in the 19th century as Old Way, which runs from Old Bank (fn. 2) above Potter's Cross and continues southwards to an eastwest route through Raddington village, and then as a bridle way passing the medieval settlement of Batscombe (recorded in 1408), (fn. 3) to the late 19th-century settlement of Higher Batscombe. (fn. 4) The whole parish measured 1,519 a. in 1901. (fn. 5)
Raddington lies in Devonian sandstone country, divided between the largely slate Pilton Beds in the south and the predominantly sandstone Pickwell Down Beds. (fn. 6) There were small quarries and gravel pits by the late 19th century, (fn. 7) and a quarry had been opened at Batscombe by 1583. (fn. 8) Chubworthy, Little Wilscombe, Notwell, and Kingston Farms lie in dry combes which lead into a central watered valley and thence into Raddington Bottom, where the stream flows west into the river Batherm. The parish church stands isolated on a spur on the north side of Raddington Bottom, and the former rectory and manor houses and the mill stand on the edge of the meadows and one of the mill leats. (fn. 9) The meadows contrasted in the 15th and early 17th centuries with the bare or furze-covered surrounding hills, the whole parish before 1840 being almost entirely under grass. (fn. 10) There is no evidence of open arable cultivation; two 'great fields' of glebe known as Sanctuary, (fn. 11) and smaller closes (fn. 12) were established by the 16th century. There was extensive common on Heydon Hill, where closes were reported as open in 1602. (fn. 13) Some land was still common in 1719, (fn. 14) but the whole had been inclosed by 1795. (fn. 15) The farm attached to the capital messuage in 1652 included land called New Park and Coneygore. (fn. 16) The former survived until 1795. (fn. 17) By 1840 there were also traces of a park on the Blackwell estate. (fn. 18) Raddington wood was recorded in 1480. (fn. 19) Oak, ash, and blackthorn were growing at Batscombe by 1583. (fn. 20)
There was probably no nucleated village in the parish. Chubworthy, recorded in the mid 11th century, (fn. 21) Upcott (1198), (fn. 22) Batscombe (1408), and Nutwell (1409) (fn. 23) indicate scattered medieval settlement, and by the 1630s all the farmsteads surviving in the 1980s had been established. (fn. 24) In the 19th century some expansion of population led to the building of cottages in Raddington Bottom and the creation of Higher and Lower Batscombe. (fn. 25) By the mid 20th century the medieval site of Batscombe had been abandoned. (fn. 26)
The scattered settlement pattern was dictated by the terrain and the consequent difficulty of communication between the deep valleys. An axial road known as Hill Lane, serving some of the farmsteads, runs south from Heydon Hill to a point north of the church, parallel with the eastern hollow way. Roads from Wiveliscombe crossed the parish from east to west, towards Dulverton along Heydon Hill, and towards Bampton through Raddington Bottom passing Chubworthy, the former manor house, and the mill. The second route was turnpiked by the Wiveliscombe trust in 1786, though the line was abandoned for a more southerly route, that now followed by the main road, in 1825. (fn. 27) North of the church Pitcombe Lane, linking Blackwell with Hill Lane, was abandoned in the 19th century. (fn. 28)
There were 92 payers of a subsidy in the parish in 1667. (fn. 29) The population was 105 in 1801, and it remained constant for three decades. By 1841 it had risen to 126, but thereafter it fell, reaching 86 in 1891 and 65 in 1921. (fn. 30)
In 891 King Alfred gave to his companion Berthulph land in Raddington, free of the common dues, (fn. 31) in exchange for other property. Two thegns held an estate called Raddington T.R.E.; by 1086 it was occupied by Robert, who held the land of Roger Arundel. (fn. 32) The overlordship descended with the barony of Poorstock (Dors.) like that of Huish Champflower, passing from the Arundels to the Newburghs. (fn. 33) Henry de Newburgh in 1276 sold some of his property to Queen Eleanor, (fn. 34) but he was still lord of Raddington in 1284–5. (fn. 35) John de Newburgh, Henry's son, brought an unsuccessful action against the queen c. 1305 for an estate including 2 fees in Raddington and Upcott, (fn. 36) but his son Robert (d. 1338) recovered the fees soon after 1327. (fn. 37) In 1434 the manor of RADDINGTON was said to be held in socage as of Lodhuish manor in Nettlecombe, (fn. 38) and in 1529 the manor was said to have been so held in former times. (fn. 39)
Between 1196 and 1198 there were disputes over fees in Raddington involving William of Upcott and his wife Scolace, Isabel de Gatemore, and William de la Fenne and his wife Emme. (fn. 40) Thereafter no occupier is known until Robert of Raddington in 1284–5, (fn. 41) though Walter de la Fenne and Emme his wife conveyed the advowson to Alice de Luceles in 1262. (fn. 42) John of Raddington seems to have held the manor in the late 13th century (fn. 43) and had been followed by Robert of Raddington by 1332, (fn. 44) and by John of Raddington by 1361. (fn. 45) In 1369 the manor was settled on John and his wife Margaret. (fn. 46) John was dead by 1408, but his widow survived until after 1420; (fn. 47) Walter Hill had acquired the reversion in 1408 and had succeeded by 1423. (fn. 48)
The manor passed from Walter to John Hill (d. 1434), who held it in right of his wife Cecily, later wife of Sir Thomas Keriell. (fn. 49) It remained in her possession until her death in 1472, (fn. 50) and then descended to Genevieve, wife of William Say, Cecily's granddaughter. (fn. 51) Genevieve died in 1480 but her husband continued to occupy her property, not without challenge, until his death in 1529. (fn. 52) Genevieve's estates were then divided between the grandchildren of her aunt Elizabeth Hill, namely John Waldegrave, heir of a half share through his mother Mabel, Elizabeth Hill's elder daughter, and the three children of Joan, her younger daughter: Ellen Babington, William Clopton the younger, and Thomas Hussey. John Waldegrave (d. 1543) acquired Ellen Babington's share, (fn. 53) but not certainly the other interests in Raddington, though later Waldegraves held the advowson undivided and called their estate the manor of Raddington. John Waldegrave was succeeded by his son Sir Edward (d. 1561) (fn. 54) and Edward by his son Sir Charles (d. 1632) of Cossey (Norf.). (fn. 55) In 1599 Sir Charles settled the manor on his heir Edward (kt. by 1607, Bt. 1643, d.1647). (fn. 56) Sir Henry Waldegrave (d. 1658), son of the last, was followed successively by his son Sir Charles (d. 1684), Charles's son Sir Henry (cr. Baron Waldegrave 1686, d. 1689), and Henry's son James (cr. Earl Waldegrave 1729). James sold the manor to Thomas Davys or Davis the younger of Milverton in 1718. (fn. 57)
Thomas Davys the younger in 1719 settled the manor on Thomas Davys the elder, (fn. 58) and a Thomas Davys of Milverton was patron in 1746 and 1749. (fn. 59) Another Thomas Davys, rector 1749–84, was probably both lord of the manor and patron, and was evidently succeeded in 1784 by his brothers Benjamin, of Raddington, James of Milverton, and George, also of Raddington. Both manor and advowson were conveyed to Simon Richards, clerk, in 1784. (fn. 60) No reference to the manor has been found after that date, though the Davys family were in occupation of a small property in the parish in 1980. (fn. 61)
The hall was recorded in 1086. (fn. 62) The capital messuage was known by the 17th century as Moorhouse, and in the 19th century by that name or as Washer's, the name of a 17th-century tenant family. (fn. 63) Washer's Farm, which bears traces of 17th-century origin, was largely reconstructed after a fire in the late 19th century. (fn. 64) There was a dovecot at the farm in 1443. (fn. 65)
In 1086 Meinfrid and Robert held of William de Mohun an estate called Chubworthy (Cibewrde) in succession to two thegns, Seric and Uthret. (fn. 66) The property continued to be held of Dunster until 1777. (fn. 67)
In the 1270s Robert of Chubworthy, son and heir of Walter of Chubworthy, did homage for his holding, shortly afterwards reckoned as ½ fee. (fn. 68) A Robert of Chubworthy died in 1333 leaving Philip as his heir. (fn. 69) The succession is not clear thereafter. John Chubworthy occurs between 1378 and 1402, followed by Richard between 1403 and 1408, and then by John Chubworthy, possibly his brother, until c. 1420. William Chubworthy, who succeeded in 1420 and had died by 1421, left a son Geoffrey, a minor, who survived until 1446 or later. Geoffrey's heirs were two coheirs, one his sister Agnes, and by 1499 the property was divided between John Southey and John Sydenham. (fn. 70)
John Southey died in 1532, leaving a son Nicholas to succeed to an estate described as half the manor of CHUBWORTHY. (fn. 71) By 1563 John Southey had inherited half the barton place and lands of the manor and half an estate in Raddington called Rowlands. (fn. 72) By 1580 the estate had been sold to the Sydenhams, who already owned the other half through the marriage of John Sydenham of Bathealton to Agnes Chubworthy. (fn. 73) John Sydenham, perhaps their son, died in 1504, and was followed by his son Edward (d. 1543) and Edward by his son John (d. 1558). (fn. 74) John Sydenham was followed by his son and namesake, who died in 1580, and then by his grandson Humphrey Sydenham (d. 1625) of Dulverton. (fn. 75) Humphrey inherited the whole estate. (fn. 76)
In 1609 Humphrey Sydenham settled Chubworthy and half Rowlands as a marriage portion for his sister Susan, then betrothed to Martin Sanford. (fn. 77) On his death by 1647 Martin left the estate, perhaps to ensure him a share in the whole family inheritance, to his son William for 80 years. (fn. 78) William was still alive in 1663, (fn. 79) but early in the following year he had been succeeded by his nephew John Sanford (d. 1711). (fn. 80) John's son William (d. 1718) was succeeded in turn by William's son, also William (d. 1770), and then by the younger William's son John (d. 1779) and John's son William Ayshford (d. 1833). (fn. 81) Edward Ayshford Sanford, M.P. (1794–1871), son of the last, was followed by his son William Ayshford Sanford (1818– 1902). The family continued to hold the estate until the early 20th century, when it was sold to a farmer. (fn. 82)
Chubworthy Farm, known as the Manor House in the early 20th century, (fn. 83) is a large 19th-century structure, with slightly earlier farm buildings.
The two Domesday estates of Raddington and Chubworthy together amounted to 3 hides of arable, less than a quarter of the later parish, and there were 7 a. of meadow, 11 a. of wood, and 50 a. of pasture at Chubworthy and 4 furlongs by 3 furlongs of pasture at Raddington. Chubworthy was solely a demesne farm; Raddington's demesne was 1½ hide and ½ virgate. Together the demesnes were stocked with 128 sheep and 37 she-goats. (fn. 84)
Chubworthy continued as a separate estate, though parts were let by customary tenure and such holdings survived into the 1560s. (fn. 85) Batscombe emerged from it as a separate holding with land in adjoining Clayhanger (Devon) by 1467 and probably much earlier. (fn. 86) The division of Raddington into separate units is less clear. A virgate held by Reynamus of Raddington was mentioned in 1235. (fn. 87) By the 1440s the demesne was let and accounted for nearly two thirds of the rent income. (fn. 88) By 1480 the demesne had been reduced in size as tenancies of parts became permanent, while rent in lieu of customary services still survived. (fn. 89) The appearance of holdings at Upcott by 1198, (fn. 90) Nettlewell by 1327, (fn. 91) and Nutwell by 1408 (fn. 92) suggests the establishment of separate farms, the first as its name shows a subsidiary settlement founded to exploit the higher and more marginal ground.
Grazing of cattle and sheep seems to have been an important part of the parish economy. Tithes of wool and lambs in 1535 amounted to only 40s., but a single copyhold tenement in 1537 supported at least 7 bullocks and about 140 sheep. (fn. 93) At least three generations of the Shereman family lived in the parish up to the same period. (fn. 94) Under a lease of Batscombe in 1583 the lord was obliged to provide timber for a barn with linhays at its ends to house cattle. (fn. 95) In the later 17th century clothiers from Bampton (Devon) and Stogumber leased grazing in the parish, (fn. 96) and inventories suggest continued stock raising. James Wipple (d. 1683), of Chubworthy, left sheep worth £42 and cattle worth £24; Susan Ballett (d. 1691), widow of John Ballett, rector 1669–85, had 33 sheep; and Richard Yeandle (d. 1732), probably of Upcott, had 160 sheep, and his dairy cows were the source for his 57 cheeses. (fn. 97)
Identification of isolated farmsteads is clearer from the 17th century. Chubworthy, reflecting its ownership, was divided into two separate farms in the 16th century, and one half was let with half a farm called Rowlands. (fn. 98) Rowlands, later known as Rowland farm, became a separate holding in 1689 and continued in being until the end of the 18th century, though in 1802 the house was found to be down, leaving only a barn and yards, the site surrounded by beech trees and called Sanden Barnstables. (fn. 99)
The Waldegrave estate (fn. 100) was by the mid 17th century divided between three farms and three areas of hill pasture. (fn. 101) The capital messuage, then known as Moorhouse, and the land attached to it measured c. 90 a., and comprised 18 small and three large closes let to Walter Simes of Romsey (Hants). (fn. 102) The other two farms were known as Skinners tenement, by the early 18th century Kingston farm, (fn. 103) and Waterhouses. The three other holdings, known as overlands or roofless tenements since they were pasture lands without dwellings, were known as Potter's Down (24 a.), East North Down (50 a.), and Court Down (70 a.). (fn. 104) The remaining farms in the parish which had been part of Raddington manor were known in the 17th century as Blackwell Cleeve and Upcott, and were owned by the Wood family and let to the Miltons and later to the Yeandles. (fn. 105)
Wheat, oats, barley, dredge, and peas were recorded in 17th- and 18th-century inventories, (fn. 106) and husbandry clauses in a 14-year lease of Chubworthy in 1698 required heavy dressings of dung and lime after a crop of peas and three crops of corn. By 1815 when Chubworthy and Batscombe were farmed together with land in Clayhanger on a 7-year lease, a planting covenant required a succession of wheat or oats, followed by a dressing of lime, and turnips or a 'white' crop of wheat, barley, or oats with clover or rye, so as not to have two 'white' crops together. Clover and evergrass were to be sown with the last crop of the tenancy. (fn. 107)
At the end of the 18th century there were nineteen separate holdings in the parish, largely in the hands of the families of Davys, Yeandle, Bruer, and Were. (fn. 108) By 1841 the Sanford farms of Chubworthy and Batscombe amounted to 317 a., followed in size by the 281 a. of John Yeandle's Upcott and Blackwell, and the 272 a. of the elder Thomas Davys at Washers, Waterhouse, Heydon, and elsewhere. Kingston farm and adjoining high pastures measured 211 a., and Notwell farm 157 a. Little Wilscombe farm measured just over 141 a. (fn. 109) By 1851 Chubworthy and Upcott were centres of farms of 400 a., (fn. 110) Kingston farm remained constant in size, but Littel Wilscombe had grown to 214 a. All the large, isolated farms had many living-in servants. (fn. 111)
Pasture ground, some of it described as furzy, accounted for more than half the parish in the early 1840s, and for nearly two-thirds in 1905. (fn. 112) By 1980 the land was almost entirely under grass for cattle and sheep.
The landowning pattern of the 19th century continued into the 20th. The Davie family, later Ferguson-Davie, of Bittescombe, (fn. 113) the Sanfords of Chipley Park, Langford Budville, and the Capels of Bulland Lodge, Chipstable, were still owners of much of the land until shortly after the First World War. (fn. 114)
There was a mill at Raddington in 1086 working exclusively for the manor house. (fn. 115) The mill, recorded in 1481 and 1616, (fn. 116) was known by 1662 as Brewer's mill. (fn. 117) By 1687 it was held with the adjoining tenement called Waterhouses. (fn. 118) Known in 1851 as Lower Mill, in distinction from Bittescombe mill to the north, in Upton parish, it was then occupied by a labourer. (fn. 119) Two millers were working in Raddington in 1906 and 1910, but milling had apparently been abandoned by 1914. (fn. 120)
Raddington formed a separate tithing in the 13th century, (fn. 121) but by the 1560s was linked with Chipstable. (fn. 122) Courts for Raddington manor were held once a year by the later 15th century. (fn. 123) There are court rolls for the years 1592, 1594, and 1600–4. (fn. 124) A manor court was held at Chubworthy in the late 15th century, (fn. 125) and suit of court by the owners of Batscombe was still demanded in 1609. (fn. 126)
No parish records have been found. A building in the churchyard was probably used as a poorhouse. (fn. 127) The parish became part of the Wellington poor-law union in 1836 and the Wellington rural district in 1894. It was absorbed into Chipstable civil parish in 1933. Chipstable civil parish became part of Taunton Deane district in 1974. (fn. 128)
Walter de la Fenne and his wife Emme conveyed the advowson to Alice de Luceles in 1262; (fn. 131) from 1336 the lords of Raddington were patrons until the end of the 15th century. (fn. 132) In 1494 James, Lord Audley, presented by grant of Sir William Say. (fn. 133) The Crown presented in 1570, (fn. 134) but thereafter for more than a century the Waldegraves, disbarred as Roman Catholics from exercising the patronage, appointed local people in their place for each turn. William Lypescomb, perhaps the retiring rector, was patron in 1587; in 1639 Priscilla Ballet, widow of the late rector, presented in right of her late husband, who was executor of Richard Hill, the Waldegrave grantee. (fn. 135) In 1662 John Baker of Withypool and Jane Ballet, the wife of the then rector, were given the next turn. (fn. 136) In 1670 Edward Milton and Andrew Bowden, both of Bampton (Devon), were granted the next presentation, which was exercised by Milton alone in 1685. (fn. 137) In the same year John and Francis Bluet of Holcombe Rogus (Devon) acquired the next presentation in trust for the widow of the last rector, John Ballet. (fn. 138) John Southey and Samuel Taylor, clerk, presented in 1709, (fn. 139) but in 1718 the advowson passed with the manor from the Waldegraves to the Davys family. (fn. 140)
Thomas Davys, rector 1749–84, was succeeded as patron by his brothers Benjamin, George, and James. (fn. 141) They conveyed both manor and advowson to Simon Richards, clerk. (fn. 142) By 1791 the advowson was held by Richard Darch of Huish Champflower, who presented his son William in 1807. (fn. 143) William succeeded his father as patron. (fn. 144) Walter Calverley Trevelyan of Wallington (Northumb.) presented in 1833, and in 1841 Edward Otto Trevelyan (d. 1880) of Stogumber, clerk, presented his brother John (d. 1844). (fn. 145) John Hayne of Fordington (Dors.) was patron by 1861, (fn. 146) and was succeeded by his son John, rector of Raddington 1845–79, and then by John's son Edward, rector 1879–92. (fn. 147) Edward Hayne was succeeded as patron in 1929 (fn. 148) by the Revd. H. S. Briggs who, after the creation of the united benefice of Chipstable with Raddington in 1929 had one turn in three. (fn. 149) Briggs's share of the patronage was transferred to the bishop in 1962. (fn. 150)
The living was valued at £8 7s. 7d. net in 1535, (fn. 151) and £50 c. 1668, (fn. 152) at £91 net in 1831, (fn. 153) and at £200 in 1851. (fn. 154) Tithes were assessed at £7 14s. 3d. in 1535, (fn. 155) and personal offerings and compositions by 1634 included 2d. each year from every communicant, 4d. for churchings, 6d. for weddings, and payments for milk, young stock, goslings, and 'gardens of pot herbs'. (fn. 156) In 1841 the rector was awarded a tithe rent charge of £143, and a further £10 when the glebe was let. (fn. 157)
The glebe, worth 20s. in 1535, (fn. 158) was reckoned to be c. 63 a. in 1634 and 1841. (fn. 159) The rectory house in 1634 had four rooms including buttery and kitchen, with five chambers over them, and a first-floor study over a detached fuel house apparently near the farm buildings. (fn. 160) The house was usually let with the glebe from the 18th century, and was sold in the 1930s. (fn. 161) The rectors in the 19th century had the right to use a room as a vestry, a right still retained in 1980. (fn. 162) The house, standing in Raddington Bottom and linked to the church by a steep footpath, was rebuilt in the 19th century.
In 1532 the parish was served by a resident rector and a stipendiary priest, (fn. 163) and there was a parochial guild of St. Catherine in 1534. (fn. 164) Rectors normally resided, including three successive generations of the Ballet family between 1594 and 1685 and Benjamin Hammett, rector 1709–46, whose first wife was a daughter of the last Ballet. (fn. 165) Rectors were nonresident by the late 18th century, John Cope Westcote (1784–91) also holding Hatch Beauchamp, Edward Webber (1791–1807) Bathealton, and William Darch (1807–33) Milverton and later Huish Champflower. (fn. 166) By 1815 there were prayers and a sermon each Sunday, and the parish was served by a curate who lived in Wellington and also served Chipstable and kept a grammar school. He was succeeded as curate by the rector's son. (fn. 167) By 1843 communion was celebrated seven or eight times a year. (fn. 168) At the afternoon service on Census Sunday 1851 there were 102 people including 21 Sunday-school children. The average congregation was said to be slightly higher for afternoon services, but was usually only 59 in the mornings. (fn. 169)
John Hayne, appointed rector in 1845, was already resident rector of Stawley. He was followed at Raddington by his son Edward, rector 1879–92, and then by another son, John Popham Hayne, who had already succeeded his father at Stawley in 1879. John held Raddington until 1929, but from 1908 he lived in Minehead, and Raddington was in the care of curates-in-charge, usually the rectors of Kittisford or Chipstable. (fn. 170)
The church of ST. MICHAEL, so dedicated by 1510, (fn. 171) occupies a remote site, approachable only on foot. It comprises a chancel, nave with south porch, and western tower. The whole building dates from the 14th century at the latest, its door including ironwork of the second half of the century, (fn. 172) and two of the four bells there until c. 1971 dated from the 1370s. One was then transferred to Odcombe. (fn. 173) The chancel screen below a plastered tympanum, retaining medieval paintwork under later colouring, is also thought to date from before 1400. Until the late 19th century the rood beam was in its original position west of the screen. (fn. 174) The font is of a 13th-century Purbeck type, and there are late medieval tiles on the floor. Carved bosses in the roof include a green man. The tower was evidently repaired or even rebuilt in 1675, (fn. 175) the reading desk bears the date 1713, and the royal arms were painted in 1852.
The plate includes a cup and cover of 1574 and a flagon of 1719. (fn. 176) The registers date from 1814, earlier ones from 1583 having been destroyed after 1914. There are transcripts from 1603. (fn. 177)
A woman, first reported in 1630, was described in 1636 as an 'absolute' popish recusant. (fn. 178) The Waldegraves, lords and patrons of the rectory, were disbarred as papists from exercising their patronage from Elizabeth I's reign. (fn. 179)
A school was established apparently in the early 1840s, but in 1846 the 'most pleasing little school' was burnt down. (fn. 180) In 1847 the school had 7 boys and 14 girls attending on weekdays and Sundays and was supported by subscriptions and school pence. (fn. 181) A room adjoining the rectory house was used for a Sunday school by 1861, and by 1875 a National school was also held there. (fn. 182) By 1883 the children were taught at Chipstable or Skilgate. (fn. 183) The schoolroom was demolished during the First World War. (fn. 184)
CHARITIES FOR THE POOR.
The capital of two charities, one of unknown origin, the other founded by John Kemp at an uncertain date, totalled £3 1s. and was distributed by the overseers yearly at Easter. By will dated 1754 William Yeandle of Upton added a further £1 and in 1786 George Davys of Raddington left £4 for four labouring men every Easter. By 1826 the whole produced 8s. a year, and was given 'to such as appear to want it most'. (fn. 185) In 1840 the stock was said to have been divided among the poor 'many years ago', (fn. 186) but later in the century it was thought it had been spent to help pay the debt on the union workhouse. (fn. 187)