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 ancient parish of North Cheriton comprised a narrow strip of land, 5 km. from east to west and c. 1 km. from north to south, whose eastern end was marked by an old course of the river Cale. It contained North Cheriton village, 3 km. south-west from the centre of Wincanton, and the hamlet of Lower Cheriton. About 0.5 km. to the north lay a detached and irregular area around the scattered hamlet of Lattiford, its boundaries in part following Bow brook, formerly the river Ladder or Latter, and a tributary. (fn. 1) The ancient parish was said to measure 1,082 a. in 1838. (fn. 2) In 1885 Lattiford (5 houses, 35 persons) was transferred to Holton and land from Wincanton was added at the east end of the parish taking the boundary to the river Cale. The civil parish covered 347 ha. (857 a.) in 1981 but was increased to 369 ha. (912 a.) by the addition of part of Holton in 1988. (fn. 3)
Land to the east of Lower Cheriton, watered by Bow brook, lies below the 70-m. (250-ft.) contour on Oxford Clay. Westwards the ground rises towards the summit of Windmill Hill (185 m.) in Charlton Horethorne over Forest Marble. North Cheriton village and Lattiford are on Cornbrash limestone. (fn. 4)
The main Wincanton-Stalbridge road, running north-south through the parish, was turnpiked in 1824 by the Blackmore Vale trust. The Sherborne road, turnpiked by the Wincanton trust in 1756, diverges from it at Lattiford and runs south-west. North Cheriton village is on a lane linking the two. (fn. 5) Roads between North Cheriton and Lattiford, probably passing through Holton, were repaired under an Act of Parliament of 1825. (fn. 6) The line of the Somerset and Dorset railway passed through the east part of the parish between 1863 and 1966. (fn. 7)
The parish name is possibly derived from the church (fn. 8) and the main settlement includes the church, manor house, and Old House at the west end of the village street and the rectory house at the east end. Lattiford, in the 11th century Lodreford, (fn. 9) is more scattered since the disappearance of houses between Lattiford Farm and the mill (fn. 10) and of roadside cottages on the Wincanton-Ilchester road since 1766. (fn. 11)
There was an ale seller in 1604 (fn. 12) and the New Inn stood in North Cheriton Street in 1718. (fn. 13) The Lion or Red Lion, on the Castle Cary-Stalbridge road, was recorded in 1766 and may have closed in the 1930s. (fn. 14) The building, in 1994 a private house, dates probably from the late 17th century. (fn. 15) The Anchor inn on the Wincanton-Ilchester road was recorded in 1766 (fn. 16) but may have closed by 1770. (fn. 17) The site had become part of the road by 1838 (fn. 18) but the name survives in Anchor Corner and Anchor Hill. (fn. 19) The North Cheriton Friendly Benefit society was founded in 1841. Members met at the Windmill inn in Holton. (fn. 20)
There were 42 families in the parish in 1650. (fn. 21) By 1801 the population was 233; it fell to 216 in 1821 and rose to a peak of 315 in 1871. Within the next decade it had fallen sharply to 228 and a steady decline continued to 137 in 1981 but, partly because of boundary changes, it rose to 203 in 1991. (fn. 22)
MANORS AND OTHER ESTATES
Two 11th-century estates may be identified with two manors, each of which was later called North Cheriton. Eiritone or Ciretona was held by Ernwy in 1066 and by Warmund of William de Mohun in 1086. (fn. 23) Overlordship remained with the honor of Dunster until the 18th century. (fn. 24)
The terre tenancy of NORTH CHERITON was held by the Huse family in the persons of Geoffrey or Ralph Huse in 1166, (fn. 25) Ralph in 1214, (fn. 26) Ralph in 1256, (fn. 27) William in 1278, (fn. 28) Ralph in 1280, probably the owner of 1256 who had settled his estates on his son William, (fn. 29) and by Robert Burnell, bishop of Bath (d. 1292). (fn. 30) Joan of St. Martin, widow of William de Brayboeuf (d. 1284), in 1285 claimed one third in dower from Hugh Burnell, brother of Robert. (fn. 31) Robert's heir was Hugh's son Philip (d. 1294) (fn. 32) who was succeeded by his son Edward (d. 1315). (fn. 33) Edward's heir was his sister Maud, wife successively of John Lovel (d. 1314) and Sir John Haudlo (d. 1346). (fn. 34) Maud's son John Lovel (d. 1347) and his wife Isabel (d. 1349) were succeeded in turn by their sons John (d. a minor 1361) and John Lovel (d. 1408). (fn. 35)
John left a widow Maud and a son John who appear to have sold the manor to John Rogers before 1412. (fn. 36) Rogers (d. 1441) was followed by his son John (d. 1450), by John's widow Anne (d. 1498), and by their son Henry (d. 1500-06). (fn. 37) Henry's son John sold the manor in 1544 to Robert Ryves (d. 1552). (fn. 38) Robert's grandson John Ryves (d. 1587) was followed by his son (Sir) John (d. 1625). (fn. 39) George Ryves, nephew of the last, was succeeded before 1655 by his son John (fl. 1663). (fn. 40) John's heir was George's sister Elizabeth who married a cousin George Ryves (d. 1668). Their son George (d. 1699) (fn. 41) was followed by his nephew Thomas Ryves (d. by 1705) whose widow Anne and son George sold the manor in 1711 to Dr. William Watson. (fn. 42) William (d. c. 1734) appears to have left it to his sister Elizabeth (d. 1745), widow of John Ernle, rector of North Cheriton, and she was followed by Thomas Watson (d. by 1749) and his son Thomas (d. by 1776) and grandson the Revd. Thomas Watson (d. c. 1799). (fn. 43) Much of the land was sold by the Watsons but lordship passed to Watson's devisee Julia, wife of Thomas Connock (d. 1820), whose daughter Mary married John Weston Peters (d. 1858). Their daughter Julia (d. 1864) married Frederick Gale (d. 1877). (fn. 44) John Weston Peters Gale (d. 1897), son of the last, was succeeded in turn by his son John (d. c. 1915) and daughter Ethel Gale. Ethel sold what remained of the estate in 1927 but lordship was not recorded. (fn. 45)
A dovecot was mentioned in 1349 and a capital messuage in 1441. (fn. 46) In 1666 the capital messuage, called Upper Farm, was leased to Robert Ryves' younger son John (d. c. 1685), then a minor. It was not recorded after 1685. (fn. 47) In the mid 19th century Frederick Gale lived in the parish and probably built Cheriton House, also known as Manor House or Cheriton Manor, on the site of a house by the church. (fn. 48) The square, two-storeyed, stone house with overhanging eaves had a three-bayed east front under a slate roof with central Doric porch. In the 20th century alterations included moving the entrance to the north. (fn. 49)
Ciretune, held by Alfwold before 1066 and by Robert under Turstin son of Rolf in 1086, may have become another manor of NORTH CHERITON. (fn. 50) Turstin's lands passed to Wynebald of Ballon who by 1166 had been succeeded by his grandson Henry Newmarch. (fn. 51) Overlordship probably descended with that of Horsington until 1216 when it became part of Hawise Newmarch's share and descended in the de Moeles family. (fn. 52) Nicholas de Moeles (d. 1315-16) was succeeded in turn by his brothers Roger (d. 1316) and John (d. 1337) and by the latter's daughter Muriel, wife of Thomas Courtenay. (fn. 53) Thomas (d. 1362) was succeeded by his son Hugh (d. 1369), a minor, but overlordship was not recorded again. (fn. 54)
The terre tenancy was said to be held by Geoffrey de Frethorn in 1316 and by William de Montagu, earl of Salisbury, in 1337 for 1/32 fee. (fn. 55) In 1369 it was held by Sir Ralph Russel (fn. 56) and thereafter probably descended with Horsington manor until the death of Margery Russel in 1431. (fn. 57) It appears to have been settled on Margery's coheir and aunt Margaret, wife of Gilbert Denys, and by 1482 had descended to Margaret's grandson Walter Denys. (fn. 58) Walter's son William sold the manor in 1498 to Maurice Berkeley and others. (fn. 59) Before 1561 Thomas Decins or Diggons conveyed the manor to his father-in-law Roger Adams and to Roger's wife Elizabeth for their lives with remainder to Thomas. (fn. 60) Thomas Diggons, a clergyman and probably son of Thomas, died in 1622 when his estate was said to be held of John Ryves's manor of North Cheriton. (fn. 61) There was no record of lordship and the estate has not been traced further.
The capital messuage was let in 1562 and was last recorded in 1623. (fn. 62)
Two hides in LATTIFORD in 1066 'could not be separated' from Glastonbury abbey. In 1086, however, they were held of the king but belonged to the abbey's manor of Butleigh. (fn. 63) From 1271 the estate was held of the abbey and continued to be so held in 1361, but there is no further record of the abbey's overlordship. (fn. 64)
Aelfric was tenant of the abbey before 1066 and Humphrey the chamberlain in 1086. (fn. 65) In 1271 Sir Roger de Moeles (d. 1295) did homage to the abbot when Lattiford was joined with Blackford and Holton as a single fee. (fn. 66) From Sir Roger the mesne lordship descended with the Moeles's manor of North Cheriton to Hugh Courtenay. (fn. 67) The Moeles fees including Lattiford were held by Sir Walter Hungerford and Walter Sandes in 1428 (fn. 68) and Sir Francis Hastings in 1595. (fn. 69)
In 1316 Lattiford was held by John atte Mille for 1/64 fee. (fn. 70) The lady of Lattiford recorded in 1327 was probably Christine atte Mille who held it for 1/16 fee in 1337 and for 1/60 in 1338. (fn. 71) Richard atte Mille of Lattiford was recorded in 1424 (fn. 72) but descent is unclear thereafter until Robert Hannam died c. 1545 holding Lattiford, and was followed by his sons Ambrose (d. by 1575) and John. (fn. 73) In 1613 Ambrose's son John alienated his lands to Thomas Cooper, husband of his daughter Joan. (fn. 74) Thomas Cooper (fl. 1660), probably Joan's son, was followed by John (d. by 1713), (fn. 75) John by Benjamin (d. by 1736), and Benjamin by his daughter Elizabeth. (fn. 76) She was succeeded c. 1790 by her nephew the Revd. James Plucknett. (fn. 77) Probably in 1814 James sold most of Lattiford to John Dalton (d. 1817). John was followed successively by his sister Elizabeth Dalton (d. 1820), by the Revd. Samuel Serrel (d. c. 1837), and by Henry Digby Serrel. (fn. 78) The estate, reduced to only 40 a. including the house, was bought c. 1841 by Robert Thick and John Bailward. (fn. 79)
Lattiford House was built probably c. 1800. (fn. 80) In 1819 it had at least six main bedrooms and two staircases; a coach house and stables were built near the mill. (fn. 81) New stables near the house and a lodge were built c. 1850. (fn. 82) In the later 19th century a 3-bayed, 2-storeyed wing was added to the west, later rendered under a slate roof. The wing survived a fire which destroyed the main part of the house in 1901. The house was rebuilt on a larger scale in 1902 to include a ballroom, 13 bedrooms, a nursery, and staff accommodation. (fn. 83) It is of local squared stone with a clay-tiled roof, has a 6-bayed south front of two storeys and attics and an Ionic porch, and is set in a small park. It was occupied in 1993 by a school. (fn. 84)
In 1166 William son of John (I) of Harptree held a fee at LATTIFORD in succession to his father and to his grandfather Hamon. (fn. 85) In 1225 William's son William (II) settled his holding there on a younger son Pain, to be held in fee of Robert de Gurney, grandson of William (II) by his eldest son Thomas of Harptree. (fn. 86) In 1242-3 Robert was returned as holding ½ fee. (fn. 87) Before 1280 Joan and Osbert Gifford seem to have acquired the fee, possibly in Joan's right, and it descended to her grandson, also Osbert Gifford. (fn. 88) By 1320 it was in the hands of Bartholomew Pain, son of William and grandson of Pain, the tenant of the fee in the settlement of 1225. (fn. 89) Richard Neville, earl of Salisbury, was said to be overlord in 1451, (fn. 90) presumably in the belief that William de Montagu had held the fee. (fn. 91) In 1540 the manor was said to be held of Holton manor. (fn. 92)
Walter of Lattiford was terre tenant in 1225 and he or another of the same name was alive in 1243. (fn. 93) Thomas of Lattiford was dead by 1280 leaving an heir Thomas, a minor, who later claimed to have surrendered his estate to Osbert Gifford under pressure. (fn. 94) In 1319 the land was held by William de Montagu (d. 1319) (fn. 95) and it passed to his son William, (fn. 96) later earl of Salisbury (d. 1344), who granted it c. 1337 to Bisham abbey (Berks.). (fn. 97) In 1355 the abbey sold it, with the approval of the second earl, to John Cammell. (fn. 98)
Another John Cammell, who seems to have been renting the estate from Alice Carlill, possibly a Cammell widow, until her death in 1412, was in possession in the following year. In 1438 he settled it on his daughter Joan, wife of John Wyke. (fn. 99) Wyke (fl. 1480) was succeeded by his son William (d. by 1518). William's widow Anne held the manor for life but his uncle and heir Richard Wyke sold the reversion to Robert Cary in 1521 and Anne seems to have retained only a third. (fn. 100) She was still alive in 1540. (fn. 101)
Robert Cary died in 1540 and was followed by his son, also Robert (d. 1586), and by Robert's son George. (fn. 102) George's son William sold the manor in 1620 to William Helyar, archdeacon of Barnstaple, to be settled on the marriage of Christian or Christine, William Cary's eldest daughter, to Henry, son of William Helyar. (fn. 103) Henry (d. 1634) (fn. 104) was followed by his son William (d. 1697), his grandson William (d. 1742), and his great grandson William Helyar (d. 1784). (fn. 105) In 1812 William Helyar (d. 1820), son of the last, gave the manor to his son William (d. 1841) and he was followed in the direct male line by William (d. 1880) and Horace (d. 1893). (fn. 106) Horace was succeeded by his daughter Dorothy who married Godfrey Walker Heneage. In 1914 the estate was put up for sale but lordship was not included. (fn. 107)
The capital messuage was recorded in 1320. (fn. 108) It was rebuilt in the early 17th century and in 1914, when it was known as Lattiford Farm, it had a central three-bayed range with two projecting wings built of stone rubble with steep tiled roofs and brick stacks. (fn. 109) It was replaced by a new house in the later 20th century.
The estate of LATTIFORD CHAPEL, comprising the site, 14 a. of land, and the tithes of Lattiford farm, was worth 20s. a year in 1535 and was let by the Crown in the later 16th century. (fn. 110) In 1607 the estate was sold to Thomas Emerson, (fn. 111) and in 1650 was said to belong to Theodore Gullson. (fn. 112) In 1672 the Revd. William Oke was probably the owner and a Mr. Oke, possibly Walter Oke, held it in 1705. (fn. 113) By 1750 the tithes had been acquired by Elizabeth Cooper, (fn. 114) probably with most of the land. (fn. 115) The probable site of the chapel and its tithes were settled on the Revd. James Plucknett (fn. 116) and he left the land, known as Lattiford Farm Orchard, with the tithes of Lattiford farm, to his son William after the death of his widow Elizabeth (d. c. 1836). (fn. 117) In 1838 the tithes were commuted for a rent charge of £46, which was sold to Charles Warren, the tenant of Lattiford farm, in 1841. (fn. 118)
The Lower Cheriton estate was created by the Randall family in the 17th and early 18th centuries. (fn. 119) They were the wealthiest family in the parish in 1641 and 1661. (fn. 120) Benjamin Randall (d. 1667) was followed in the direct male line by Robert, Benjamin (d. 1711), Robert (d. 1725), and Benjamin who owned almost 300 a. Gerard Napier, who held a mortgage from 1741, (fn. 121) acquired the estate outright before 1765 when his heir was Edward Phelips. (fn. 122) Phelips (d. 1797), who had less than half the Randall holding, was succeeded by his son William (d. 1806), and by William's son John (d. 1834). John's nephew William Phelips (fn. 123) appears to have sold Cheriton or Lower Cheriton farm to Thomas Bailward (d. 1913). Thomas's son John sold it in 1943 to the Dudwell Trust Ltd. of Weston-super-Mare. Renamed Cherrington farm, it was sold to John Copland in 1949 and by 1964 was the property of the Westminster Bank. (fn. 124)
The 'great dwelling house' of the Randall family was recorded in 1718 and in 1725 was partly three storeys high with four first-floor chambers. (fn. 125) It was described as a very handsome dwelling c. 1740 but was not recorded again. (fn. 126)
In 1086 there were 5 ploughlands on the 2 Cheriton estates and 2 ploughlands at Lattiford. There were 3 teams at Cheriton of which 2½ were on the demesnes. Those demesnes measured 3¾ hides. Only one demesne had stock: 1 cow, 15 pigs, and 50 sheep. Two villani and 8 bordars, equally divided between the two Cheriton estates, worked 5 virgates. In total there were 16 a. of meadow and 10 a. of pasture on the Cheriton estate. (fn. 127)
In 1086 there were 12 a. and one square furlong of woodland on the Cheriton estate. (fn. 128) Woodland at Peaswood, south of North Cheriton village, was probably part of an area of ancient woodland, extending into South Cheriton and Charlton Horethorne. (fn. 129) In the 17th century there was concern that oak, elm, and ash had been felled illegally at Lattiford. In 1766 there were over 1,600 trees on the manor, mostly in hedges, but Whites wood, north-west of Lattiford, had been cleared. (fn. 130) By 1838 there was only 10 a. in the whole parish. (fn. 131) In 1988 there was 3.5 ha. (8.5 a.) of woodland. (fn. 132)
Robert Burnell, bishop of Bath, received a grant of free warren in 1292. (fn. 133) In the late 13th century there were disputes over pasturage rights and stubble grazing. (fn. 134) In 1320-1 the Montagu demesne at Lattiford comprised just over 53 a., nearly half sown with wheat and the rest with oats, barley, beans, peas, and mixed corn. A carter, a drover, and a shepherd were employed. (fn. 135) Customary works were recorded in 1349 on the Lovel manor of North Cheriton. The demesne arable and meadow there declined in recorded value between 1349 and 1441 from 3d. and 8d. an acre to ½d. and ¾d. respectively. In 1441 the demesne comprised 137 a. of arable, 16 a. of meadow, and over 50 a. of pasture. (fn. 136)
In the 1530s tithes of grain were five times the value of tithes of wool and lambs, (fn. 137) and arable farming continued to predominate into the later part of the century. North Cheriton appears to have had two open arable fields, called the north and south fields in the 16th century. (fn. 138) Inclosure of part of south field in 1608 is, however, the last reference to open arable fields, (fn. 139) and inclosure of meadow in Cheriton moor followed during the 17th century. Common meadow in the moor, in the east of the parish, appears to have been inclosed by 1710. (fn. 140) In 1693 Lattiford farm was let at a rack rent, the tenant having to plant clover after two years of tillage. (fn. 141) By 1766 only 26 a. of the farm was arable out of a total of 252 a. One tenant still owed a sack of oats for a heriot. (fn. 142) In 1767 the tenant of Lattiford farm was to have the liberty of digging marl. (fn. 143) In 1740 the Randall family's estate at Lower Cheriton was also mainly grassland (fn. 144) and the tenant of Lower Cheriton farm in 1827 was prohibited from breaking grassland under threat of a fine. (fn. 145)
In the next year the landlord offered 100 apple trees to the tenant of Lattiford farm and agreed to repair the barn and dairy. (fn. 146) The landlord of Lower Cheriton in 1827 required the replacement of damaged apple trees. (fn. 147)
In 1838 there were 105 a. of titheable arable, 877 a. of grass, and 73 a. of orchard and garden. Four of the holdings measured between 25 a. and 50 a., three between 50 a. and 100 a., and four over 100 a., of which the largest was Lattiford farm with 211 a. (fn. 148) In 1851 there were five farms of over 100 a. employing 27 labourers. That pattern remained unchanged in 1871. In 1881 Lattiford farm had increased to 426 a. (fn. 149) In 1905 a return covering only half the then parish recorded less than 1 a. of arable and 454 a. of grass. (fn. 150) Five holdings sold between 1919 and 1956 were dairy farms, some with large cheese lofts and with stalls for 10 to 44 cows. (fn. 151) Of six holdings returned in 1988, four were worked part-time, one was a dairy farm, and one raised poultry. There were 124 cattle and 65,111 poultry. Total grassland was 123 ha. (304 a.) out of 127.5 ha. (315 a.) returned, and there was only one holding over 40 ha. (99 a.). Twenty-one workers were employed. (fn. 152) Rose farm at Lattiford produced traditional cider from local apples in the late 20th century.
There were woollen weavers at Lattiford in the 17th century and linen was processed there in the 18th and the early 19th. (fn. 153) A fellmonger was recorded in 1723, a parchment maker in 1795, (fn. 154) and in 1770 a blacksmith had a shop on the Ilchester road. (fn. 155) In the 19th century there were shopkeepers and craftsmen such as a cabinet-maker, stonemasons probably working the stone from Cheriton Hill quarry, (fn. 156) an ironmon ger, a cooper, and a mole-trapper. (fn. 157) One man described himself in 1902 as a forage, corn, and coal merchant and manufacturer of horse spices and condition powders. (fn. 158)
A water mill at Lattiford was recorded in 1595. (fn. 159) Ownership descended with the Lattiford House estate (fn. 160) and the mill remained in use until 1939 or later. (fn. 161) The mill house was said to have been rebuilt in the later 19th century, (fn. 162) and was a boarding kennel in 1993.
North Cheriton with South Cheriton in Horsington constituted one tithing until after 1638, (fn. 163) but by 1766 South Cheriton was a separate tithing. (fn. 164) In 1327 Lattiford formed part of Whitley hundred with Blackford and Holton (fn. 165) and continued to be linked with Holton in the 18th century. (fn. 166)
Courts were held for the Lovels' North Cheriton manor in 1349 and 1441. (fn. 167) In 1685 the tenants of Upper Farm owed suit and had to accommodate the lord and his attendants twice a year while he was keeping courts. (fn. 168) Tenants of Thomas Watson's manor of North Cheriton owed suit in 1749 (fn. 169) and the Helyars claimed suit from their tenants at Lattiford during the 1740s. (fn. 170) There was a pound near Lattiford Farm in 1766 and another adjoining the churchyard. The latter belonged to the parish in 1838. (fn. 171)
The overseers had a cottage on the waste near Cheriton Hill in 1838; it had been demolished by 1888. (fn. 172) In 1890 the parish acquired land east of the Stalbridge road for a cemetery and it was consecrated in 1893. (fn. 173) In 1835 the parish became part of Wincanton poor-law union, in 1894 part of Wincanton rural district, and in 1974 was absorbed into Yeovil, later South Somerset, district. (fn. 174)
There was a church in 1256. (fn. 175) The living was united with that of Holton in 1881 (fn. 176) but they were disunited in 1886. (fn. 177) From 1934 it was held with Maperton, from 1966 with Blackford, Compton Pauncefoot, Maperton, North Cadbury, and Yarlington, and from 1968 also with North Barrow, South Barrow, and Lovington. In 1976 it became part of the Camelot team. (fn. 178)
The advowson was held with that manor owned by the Lovel, Rogers, Ryves, and Watson families, (fn. 179) although patronage was exercised by John Sydenham in 1571 (fn. 180) and by Thomas Sampson in 1687. (fn. 181) In 1796 Samuel Gatehouse bought the advowson which passed to his wife Sarah for life and then to his children and their heirs as tenants in common. It was held with the rectory which was occupied successively by Samuel's sons Robert (d. 1824) and Thomas (d. 1863), and his grandson Thomas Gatehouse (d. 1897). (fn. 182) Margaret, widow of the last, was succeeded as patron before 1923 by her daughter Margaret who in 1930 transferred it to the Ridley family, patrons of Maperton. (fn. 183) In 1954 it was conveyed to (Sir) Godfrey Nicholson (Bt.). Since 1976 patronage has been exercised by a board of patronage for the team ministry on which Sir Godfrey was represented until his death in 1991. (fn. 184)
In 1291 the church was valued at £4 6s. 8d. (fn. 185) and in 1535 at £8 12s. 0½d. net, (fn. 186) but it had a reputed value of £40 c. 1670. (fn. 187) In 1707 the gross value was £44 19s. 9d., (fn. 188) but by 1829-31 the average gross income was £250. (fn. 189) Tithes and offerings were valued at £8 0s. 4½d. in 1535 (fn. 190) and £22 12s. 9d. in 1707. (fn. 191) In 1838 tithes were commuted for a rent charge of £202 17s. (fn. 192) Glebe lands were worth 20s. in 1535 (fn. 193) and c. 1600 were said to extend to 33 a. or 37½ a. in scattered closes. (fn. 194) They were valued at £22 7s. in 1707. (fn. 195) Exchanges of glebe in 1799 still left 29 a. scattered throughout the parish in 1838. (fn. 196) Some land was sold with the rectory house in 1923, leaving 22 a. in 1978. (fn. 197)
In 1623 the rectory pigeon house had fallen down. (fn. 198) In 1799 the rector, Samuel Gatehouse, proposed the exchange of the old parsonage house for his own house. (fn. 199) It is not clear if the exchange took place; by 1838 the rectory house was at the eastern end of the village and the Gatehouse's home, later called the Old House, stood opposite the church. (fn. 200) The rectory house was said in 1877 to be old and in need of constant repair and was probably rebuilt soon afterwards. (fn. 201) Now known as the Old Rectory, it was sold with some glebe in 1923 to augment the living, the rector having moved c. 1900 to a private house called the Cottage. (fn. 202)
In 1314 the first recorded rector, only an acolyte, was given licence to study for further orders. (fn. 203) In 1535 the church had two endowed lights (fn. 204) and in 1548 a small piece of land and a cow for the font taper and an obit. (fn. 205) William Pyres was deprived for marriage in 1554. (fn. 206) The reinstated altar was not hallowed in 1555. (fn. 207) Thomas Watson, rector 1785-99, was also lord of North Cheriton manor and his successor Samuel Gatehouse was the first of a family who held the rectory, with a short break from 1863 to 1869, until 1934. (fn. 208) In 1815 and 1827 there was only one Sunday service and the rectors were also curates of Blackford. (fn. 209) In 1840 communion was celebrated four times a year and the Sunday service was held alternately morning and afternoon, (fn. 210) attended by 120 adults and children in 1851. (fn. 211) By 1870 celebrations had increased to six a year and there were two Sunday services. (fn. 212)
The church of ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST, dedicated to his Decollation in 1530, (fn. 213) is built of rubble with ashlar dressings and has a chancel with north organ chamber and vestry, a nave with north aisle and south porch, and a west tower. The chancel, nave, and tower are all of late 15th- or early 16th-century character. Before 1877 the north wall, which contained a blocked rood stair, was heavily buttressed. (fn. 214) Repairs were carried out in the 1830s when the chancel was rebuilt. Remains of an arch and a statue bracket were discovered in the north wall. (fn. 215) In 1877 the chancel was said to be out of perpendicular with a decayed roof and large cracks. The nave, porch, and chancel were then largely rebuilt, a north aisle and chapel were added, and the west gallery was removed. (fn. 216)
Fittings include a Norman font with Jacobean cover and a pulpit dated 1633. The stained glass in the east window is by Clayton and Bell. The chancel screen was installed in 1883, the gift of the Gale family, and incorporates parts of a Perpendicular screen said to have come from Pilton, where a screen was provided in 1498-1506. (fn. 217)
The plate includes a plain cup and paten of 1623 by 'C. X.' (fn. 218) There are five bells; one is dated 1651, probably by Robert Austen, and another is dated 1678. (fn. 219) The registers date from 1558. (fn. 220)
A chapel at Lattiford was endowed, possibly by William de Montagu (d. 1319) or one of his successors, for a priest to sing mass on the Nativity of Our Lady (8 Sept.). It had a chaplain c. 1533 and 1535 (fn. 221) but had probably been demolished by 1590, although procurations were still due from it in 1605. (fn. 222) It appears to have stood north-east of Lattiford Farm, where an orchard was known as Chapel in 1838. (fn. 223)
A married couple was accused of not receiving communion in 1612. (fn. 224) Ten teachers, including John Wesley, grandfather of John and Charles, and four other ejected ministers, were recorded in 1662 and 1669 with 200 hearers. (fn. 225) The house where they met, possibly at Lattiford, was licensed for Congregational meetings in 1672 and was then served by George Pearce. (fn. 226)
In 1831 two houses were licensed for worship. One, in North Cheriton village, belonged to Wesleyans (fn. 227) and was in the Sherborne circuit in the 1840s. The school house was used by Wesleyans in 1867. (fn. 228)
In 1818 a small Sunday school taught 43 children at the rector's expense; by 1825 9 boys and 12 girls attended a day school. (fn. 229) The Sunday school reopened in 1830 with 18 children; the day school had 33 pupils in 1846. (fn. 230) By 1859 the day school was said to be for girls only and both day and Sunday schools were held at the rectory house in the 1860s. (fn. 231) The National School was built in 1863 (fn. 232) on land west of the rectory house belonging to the Gale family. There were 69 children on the books in 1903 when it was known as North Cheriton and Holton school. (fn. 233) Attendance remained fairly stable until after 1935 when it began to decline. From 1939 Maperton was added to the name of the school, which adopted voluntary aided status in 1953. In 1955 there were 37 children on the register aged 5-11 but only 20 in 1976. The school closed in 1977, children being transferred to Horsington. (fn. 234) The former school was a private house in 1993.
Childscourt School, a co-educational boarding school for children aged 6-16, moved from Long Bredy (Dors.) to Lattiford House in 1963. (fn. 235) It was open in 1993.
CHARITIES FOR THE POOR
Thomas Abbot (d. 1709) (fn. 236) of South Cheriton gave 7 a. of land to the poor of North Cheriton. The charity was last recorded in 1939. (fn. 237) Ethel Alice Gale's charity, registered in 1961 and placed under a new scheme in 1980, was for the general benefit of the inhabitants of North Cheriton but no income was recorded in 1992. Poor parishioners are also among the many beneficiaries of the Fitzgerald Charitable Trust established in 1985. (fn. 238)