A History of the County of Somerset: Volume 7, Bruton, Horethorne and Norton Ferris Hundreds. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1999.
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The extra-parochial district of Brewham Lodge was formerly part of Brewcombe Walk in Selwood forest. (fn. 1) The walk was named after the shallow valley down which the river Brue flows from its source near the summit of the Selwood ridge. (fn. 2) The later name derived from the house of the keeper of the walk. The district was roughly triangular in shape, measuring 2.5 km. from north to south and 2 km. from east to west at its widest point. Its eastern limit was the ridge which in part forms the boundary between Somerset and Wiltshire around the 240-m. (787ft.) contour. From the ridge the land falls westwards to 110 m. (360 ft.) where the Brue, which formed the district boundary for a short distance, joined a tributary, also a boundary, known in the 16th century as Redmore lake. (fn. 3) Narrow bands of silty clay and Upper Greensand follow the Selwood ridge, but the remainder of the district was Oxford Clay. (fn. 4) In 1858 the district, measuring 797 a., was united with Eastrip to form the separate civil parish of Eastrip. In 1885 that parish was incorporated into South Brewham. (fn. 5)
In 1244 the road from Forest Gate, on the north-western boundary with Brewham, to Druley Hill in the north-east was probably known as Schepesnedeswey. (fn. 6) In 1793 it was turnpiked by the Bruton trust as part of the route from Bruton to Warminster (Wilts.). (fn. 7)
In the mid 19th century there were two or three households. In 1871 most of the population of Eastrip civil parish seems to have lived in the former Brewham Lodge district. (fn. 8)
FOREST AND ESTATE.
The district originated as a walk in Selwood forest which seems to have extended into Brewham. (fn. 9) Brewcombe had evidently been let by the Crown in the 12th century but before 1181 had been resumed because of waste committed by Sir Henry de Careville the elder of Bruton. (fn. 10) It remained royal demesne until 1631, two years after disafforestation, when it was sold to Francis Cottington, Baron Cottington (d. 1652). (fn. 11)
In the mid 16th century a quarter of the walk was set with old oak and the rest with oak, thorn, maple, birch, hazel, withies, holly, and ash. (fn. 12) By the early 17th century successive keepers of the walk were said to have wasted the timber and very little was left. (fn. 13) In 1540 William Hartgill, the keeper, was accused of killing both game and pigs feeding in the wood, (fn. 14) and in the 1550s Hartgill and Charles Stourton, Baron Stourton, were in dispute over hunting in the walk. (fn. 15)
Francis, Baron Cottington, who had bought the estate called Brewham Lodge from the Crown in 1631, (fn. 16) settled it in 1646 on his brother Maurice's grandson, also Francis Cottington (d. 1666). The younger Francis was succeeded by his brother Charles (d. 1697), and Charles by his son Francis (cr. Baron Cottington 1716, d. 1728). Francis, son of the last, died insolvent (fn. 17) and in 1764 the estate was bought from the mortgagee by John Southcote. By will dated 1775 John left it in trust for his brother Thomas and Thomas's children. (fn. 18) In 1817 Edmund Southcote sold the estate to Sir Richard Colt Hoare, who had been leasing it since 1799. (fn. 19) The Hoare family retained the woodland when the rest was sold in 1920. (fn. 20)
In 1634 Lord Cottington was given leave to inclose the estate. (fn. 21) The soil was then said to be good. (fn. 22) The rental value of the land rose significantly between 1717 and 1800, (fn. 23) presumably through woodland clearance, and wheat and oats were grown in the 1790s. (fn. 24) Some 100 a. of woodland was said in 1717 to have been newly inclosed, (fn. 25) and in 1753 oak, ash, and coppice timber were sold but the wood on the estate was not good and the coppice was old. (fn. 26) In the 1750s there were 304 a. of arable, 262 a. of wood, and 315 a. largely untilled and used for pasture or oats. (fn. 27)
In 1800 many fields were under pasture but still not fully cleared of furze. In 1812 the estate comprised 167 a. of pasture, 134 a. of arable, and 446 a. of coppice woodland. (fn. 28) In the later 19th century the south-eastern part of the district was divided between a narrow band of woodland known as King's Wood on the top of the ridge and a much wider band of woodland pasture known as King's Wood Warren. (fn. 29) The area remains woodland.
A brickyard may have been established near the Lodge before 1800. (fn. 30) By 1847 it was producing bricks, roofing tiles, drainage pipes, and chimney bricks. (fn. 31) It may still have been in use in 1871 but was not recorded again. (fn. 32)
The king's hall in Selwood forest, mentioned in 1298, may have stood in Brewcombe Walk. In the mid 16th century there was a 'pretye' moated lodge with a tiled roof. The lodge was sold with the estate in 1631. (fn. 33)
In the 1750s Brewham Lodge had an 88-foot stone frontage with sash windows, probably of two storeys and attics. The house included a wainscotted parlour, a large hall and kitchen, a new parlour, eight bedchambers, some wainscotted and papered, two staircases, and many domestic offices. Outside were several farm buildings and a fishpond, trout river, and two cascades. (fn. 34) In 1791 the repaired and re-fitted Brewham Lodge was used by the owner as a summer residence. (fn. 35) A dovehouse was recorded in 1812. (fn. 36) The house was said to have been restored c. 1820 (fn. 37) but was largely rebuilt in the late 1840s. (fn. 38)
In 1799 a room in Brewham Lodge was licensed for use by an unspecified denomination. (fn. 39)