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.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
The hundred lies east of the Quantock Hills and takes its name from the hamlet of Andersfield in Goathurst parish. It occupies part of the eastern slopes in a band stretching from the centre of the Quantock ridge to the outskirts of Bridgwater, and also includes Creech St. Michael and Lyng on the northern bank of the river Tone east of Taunton. Settlements include both scattered hill farms on the Quantocks and nucleated villages in the flood plain of the Tone. Although the area is predominantly agricultural, cloth production was an important activity until the mid 18th century and quarries and mines have been worked on the higher ground. Some settlements have grown rapidly in the 20th century because of their proximity to Taunton and Bridgwater. The Quantock Hills were designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1957. (fn. 1)
The Domesday hundred of Andersfield included just over 9 hides, probably in the northern area. (fn. 2) Creech St. Michael was included in the hundred from 1569 (fn. 3) and Lyng from 1640; (fn. 4) both were formerly free manors. In the mid 13th century Broomfield and Durleigh manors secured temporary independence from the hundred (fn. 5) and Broomfield answered separately at the eyre as a free manor in 1242-3. (fn. 6) In 1284-5 Andersfield hundred comprised Broomfield with Heathcombe and Oggshole, Durleigh, Enmore with Blaxhold, Goathurst with Lexworthy and Halswell manors, Huntstile in Chilton Trinity, and Merridge in Spaxton. (fn. 7) Castle in Broomfield was recorded as part of the hundred in 1316 and 1327. (fn. 8) By 1569 Creech had been included in the hundred which was divided into three groups of tithings: Broomfield; Creech with Merridge; and Goathurst with Heathcombe, Lexworthy, Huntstile, Durleigh, Dukesse or Duke Fee, and Sydenham in Wembdon. A similar division was recorded in the 17th century. (fn. 9) Sydenham was part of the hundred until 1652. (fn. 10) In 1664-5 Andersfield comprised Broomfield with Heathcombe and Oggshole, Durleigh with Duke Fee, Enmore with Blaxhold, Goathurst with Lexworthy, Huntstile in Chilton Trinity, Merridge in Spaxton, Chilton (probably what was later called Chilton limit in Wembdon, which may have been the same as Sydenham), Creech St. Michael, and Lyng. (fn. 11) Duke Fee was probably absorbed into Durleigh after 1696. (fn. 12) Petherton limit, part of North Petherton village but in Andersfield hundred, was a separate tithing for land tax purposes from 1767, (fn. 13) and was recorded in 1670. (fn. 14) Petherton limit was last mentioned in 1847. (fn. 15)
Andersfield was said in John's reign to be a member of Somerton as royal demesne. (fn. 16) It was granted in 1448 to John, Lord Stourton (d. 1462), and descended to successive lords Stourton with Williton hundred (fn. 17) until 1835 when Andersfield hundred was sold to Charles Kemeys-Tynte. No reference to its ownership has been found after the 1840s. (fn. 18)
The sheriff's tourn for Andersfield with Cannington and North Petherton hundreds was held at Lypestone or Limestone Hill in Cannington parish twice a year before 1652 when it was 'much discontinued'. (fn. 19) The court still met at Lypestone in 1696 but at Lady Day or Easter only five tenants owed suit, four with a 'post' or juror, and at Michaelmas eight had to attend. Twice yearly courts both at Enmore and at Andersfield were each attended by a further three tenants, presumably instead of going to Lypestone. (fn. 20) The sheriff's tourn had been discontinued by 1726 (fn. 21) and in 1758 it was said that courts for the three hundreds had been separated and those for Andersfield met at Andersfield Green or at Enmore. (fn. 22) In 1760 one of the earl of Egmont's tenants at Andersfield owed suit to the hundred or manor court of Andersfield. (fn. 23) The earl held courts leet with view of frankpledge and court baron annually in October. From 1762 until 1827 they were held at Enmore, between 1784 and 1786 at the Castle inn there. Charles Kemeys-Tynte held his hundred court at Andersfield in the 1840s, in the bailiff's house. Court rolls survive for 1762-1827 and 1842-3.
Each tithing was represented by its tithingman and its posts or jurors who were to take cognizance of nuisances, (fn. 24) but by 1728 only the tithings of the northern area attended the court and Durleigh and Broomfield were also absent. (fn. 25) Blaxhold, Enmore, Goathurst, Heathcombe, Huntstile, Lexworthy, Merridge, and Oggshole tithings were required to attend court in 1762 but in 1764 it was said that the omission of Durleigh was an error and the tithing was always summoned thereafter. Business was limited to the formal appointment of constables, bailiff, and tithingmen and the very occasional presentment of nuisances. (fn. 26)
In the 17th century all tithings paid rents of between 1d. and 2s. called tithing silver or certain money at Easter and again at Michaelmas. Sydenham manor paid 1s. at each court and that vill paid an additional 6d. at Easter. The hundred also paid 2s. 6d. a year for the sheriff's aid. (fn. 27) Certain money was still paid in 1720 (fn. 28) and continued to be claimed until 1779 but was thereafter omitted from the court record. Tithingmen were last recorded in 1843. (fn. 29)
Henry III granted the bedelry of the hundred, also known as of West Parrett, to John de la Linde (d. 1272), lord of Broomfield, who was followed by his son Walter. (fn. 30) Hugh of Bicknoller was hundred bailiff in 1345. (fn. 31) The bailiff was appointed in the hundred court from 1762 until 1843. In 1836 and 1842 he also served as hayward and was responsible for the pound, but in 1843 a separate hayward was appointed. (fn. 32) The high constable was recorded in 1626 when he contributed towards ammunition for the Bridgewater magazine. (fn. 33) In the late 18th century two high constables were chosen, one for each part of the hundred. (fn. 34) From 1765 the parts were known as the higher, apparently the southern, and the lower divisions. (fn. 35)
The hundred pound lay in Enmore parish and was rebuilt c. 1828, probably near the Castle inn. It remained in use until 1843. (fn. 36) The fire beacon for the hundred stood on Wind Down in Broomfield parish and its site was recorded until 1791. (fn. 37)