Durston: Local government

Page 264

A History of the County of Somerset: Volume 6, andersfield, Cannington, and North Petherton Hundreds (Bridgwater and Neighbouring Parishes). Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1992.

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The tithing of Durston regularly constituted part of North Petherton hundred except, apparently, in 1327. (fn. 1) The parish, or more probably that detached part called Priestwood, was subject in the later 14th and early 15th century to the swanimote jurisdiction of North Petherton park, administered as a royal forest (fn. 2) and known as Parkhouse. (fn. 3) In 1327 Cogload was taxed as part of the Hospitallers' free manor of Halse, (fn. 4) and in 1508 its tithingman reported to the court leet of the manor of Buckland. (fn. 5) In 1640 Durston and Cogload formed a single tithing, (fn. 6) and in 1649 Durston, Cogload, and St. Michaelchurch were similarly linked. (fn. 7) Cogload again formed a separate tithing for land tax purposes by 1766 but only until 1781. (fn. 8)

Durston manor court met every three weeks in the 15th century. (fn. 9) Court rolls for leet, view of frankpledge, and court baron survive for March and September 1632. A tithingman, two constables, and a bailiff appeared at the courts, and business included admissions of tenants, orders for the maintenance of buildings, hedges, and ditches, and fines for playing unlawful games, for not living on tenements, and for harbouring people of ill-repute. The court also ordered the replacement of the cucking stool. (fn. 10) The whole parish was ordered to repair stocks in 1650. (fn. 11) Suit of court to Durston manor twice a year was required under a lease of 1792. (fn. 12)

Buckland manor had a twice-yearly view of frankpledge by 1269 (fn. 13) and pleas and perquisites formed a small part of the preceptory's income in 1338. (fn. 14) A court leet held at Michaelmas 1508 claimed jurisdiction over Cogload and widely scattered estates of the Hospitallers. (fn. 15) In the mid 17th century Crosse manor was said to have view of frankpledge and court leet. (fn. 16) In the mid 18th century the lord of Cogload required suit of court from a tenant 'at reasonable summons' to Cogload. (fn. 17)

In the 17th century the parish was administered by a group of between six and nine men who approved the rates. (fn. 18) Five men formed the fortnightly select vestry by 1821, (fn. 19) and ten were listed as 'proper' to hold parish office in 1829. (fn. 20) In 1840 the parish officers comprised 2 wardens, 2 overseers, 2 waywardens, and two tax assessors. Two constables were chosen each year from 1842. (fn. 21) By 1797 the poor were receiving cash or clothing regularly, with occasional payments of cash for lodgings and medical services, and gifts in kind such as a spinning turn or a saucepan. (fn. 22) A cottage built on the waste in 1651 was to revert for the use of the poor. (fn. 23) The overseers were paying rent for a poorhouse by 1800; it was owned by the lord of Durston manor (fn. 24) and stood in Lower Durston on the south side of the main road. (fn. 25) In 1821 it was referred to as a workhouse. (fn. 26) Rent for the house was paid until 1836, (fn. 27) when the parish became part of the Taunton poor-law union. The parish formed part of the Taunton rural district in 1894 and Taunton Deane district (later Borough) in 1974. (fn. 28)


  • 1. S.R.S. iii. 240-4.
  • 2. Cal. Pat. 1350-4, 377.
  • 3. P.R.O., SC 2/200/13.
  • 4. S.R.S. iii. 186.
  • 5. S.R.O., DD/AH 11/9.
  • 6. Ibid. DD/SG 58-9.
  • 7. Ibid. DD/SF 1690.
  • 8. Ibid. Q/REI 29/4.
  • 9. P.R.O., C 139/70, no. 32.
  • 10. B.L. Add. Ch. 28283.
  • 11. S.R.S. xxviii. 128.
  • 12. Wilts. R.O. 1126/24.
  • 13. S.R.S. xxv, p. 37.
  • 14. Knights Hospitallers in Eng. 17.
  • 15. S.R.O., DD/AH 11/9.
  • 16. Inf. from Mrs. Miles based on deeds of 'Munday's', Durston.
  • 17. S.R.O., DD/SL 18.
  • 18. Ibid. D/P/durn 4/1/1.
  • 19. Ibid. 9/1/1.
  • 20. Ibid. 13/2/2.
  • 21. Ibid. 9/1/2.
  • 22. Ibid. 9/1/1, 13/2/1-2, 13/10/1.
  • 23. S.R.S. xxviii. 152-3.
  • 24. S.R.O., D/P/durn 13/2/1.
  • 25. Ibid. tithe award.
  • 26. Ibid. D/P/durn 9/1/1.
  • 27. Ibid. 13/2/2.
  • 28. Youngs, Local Admin. Units, i. 673, 675-6.