A History of the County of Somerset: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1974.
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The ancient parish of Tintinhull, 1,828 a. in extent, (fn. 1) was formed by two irregularly-shaped areas lying north-west and south-east of the Foss Way, two miles south-west of Ilchester. The Foss formed the boundary of each part, but was common for only about one tenth of a mile, the two parts of the parish being thus almost separated. The gradual dismemberment of the parish of Sock Dennis added land to Tintinhull between 1883 and 1957 (fn. 2) so that the area of the parish in 1968 was 2,370 a. (fn. 3) The two parts of the parish now meet for a mile along the Foss.
The north-western section of the ancient parish may originally have been part of the Saxon royal estate of Martock: (fn. 4) physically it forms part of a triangular tract of land wedged between the Foss Way and the rivers Parrett and Yeo, and may be the area given by King Edmund to Wilfric before 946. (fn. 5) The other part of the parish has less easilydefined boundaries, though Wellhams brook forms its southern limit towards Stoke sub Hamdon and Sock Lane its division from Chilthorne Domer. This part of the parish contains the village and almost the whole population, but the northern part has produced evidence of Roman occupation near Bearley Farm. (fn. 6)
Almost the entire northern part of the parish lies on alluvium and clays below the 100 ft. contour. Clays continue in the gently rising ground of the southern part, though the relatively high points of 180 ft. on the Yeovil road and 167 ft. at Perren's hill are formed of Pennard sands. Further south the land falls away slightly to Wellhams brook. (fn. 7)
In consequence meadow and 'moor' land were to be found on the northern extremity of the parish, with meadow also at Wellhams. Common meadow in Tintinhull mead, nearly 78 a. in extent in 1796, (fn. 8) lay along Bearley brook, and Tintinhull moor was further north-west, in the flood plain of the Yeo. The course of this river was ill-defined until comparatively recent years, a fact which often gave rise to grazing disputes. (fn. 9)
Further south, on the clays, lay the inclosed arable and pasture grounds of Bearley farm, already a consolidated unit in the 16th century, (fn. 10) and the open arable field called Socksam or Soxams, west of Bearley Lane. (fn. 11) The other five open fields lay in the southern section of the parish, around the village. The largest, Great or Broad East field, was over 109 a. in extent by the end of the 18th century, and beyond it lay Bottom or New field and Little East field. Further south, below the Yeovil road, was a small field called Southover. Marsh field (the 'marsh' in the 16th century) comprised the south-western part of the parish. These fields were inclosed in 1796. (fn. 12) In medieval times there had also been a North field, but it measured only 1 a. by c. 1580. West field, immediately to the west of the village, was common pasture, and measured 120 a. in the later 16th century. Together with Tintinhull moor (70 a.) it formed the common pasturage of the parish. (fn. 13)
The road system of the northern part of the parish consists of a spine road running from Town's End, the northern extremity of the village on the Foss Way, to Bearley Farm and thence to Tintinhull moor. This was known in 1787 as Green Lane. (fn. 14) Stone Lane and Shermoor Lane each ran westwards from this spine. A way from Ilchester to Martock via Bearley entered the parish from Chestermead across Hackum bridge, passed just south of Bearley farm-house and led directly to Ash. (fn. 15) Part of the route is still followed by a footpath, part by a double hedge. (fn. 16) The Foss Way acted as a boundary rather than as a thoroughfare for the parish, though by 1611 the parishioners were responsible for its repair from Tintinhull Forts to Ilchester meadow, (fn. 17) presumably the same stretch for which they were charged after the road was turnpiked in 1753. (fn. 18)
In the southern section of the parish the roads radiate from a large triangular area formed by Head Street, Vicarage Street, and St. Margaret's Road (formerly Hedge Street), the base forming part of the YeovilMartock road. At the apex is a green on which stand stocks. (fn. 19) From this apex three roads radiate: Farm Street, later becoming Bottomfield Lane, (fn. 20) runs eastwards past Tintinhull House and served the former Great East and Bottom fields; Queen Street runs north-north-west to join the Foss Way at Town's End; Church Street, becoming West Field drove, runs along the northern side of the churchyard towards the former West field. Willey Lane connects the former parish pound at the end of the churchyard with Queen Street. (fn. 21)
Although most of the houses appear to be of stone and to date from the 17th century, timber and wattle-and-daub were earlier used. (fn. 22) Traces of similar construction still survive in Westfield Cottage, Queen Street, an L-shaped house with a steeply-pitched thatched roof. Its walls were subsequently faced with stone and brick, and there is an attached stone barn. Another similar cottage with attached barn, apparently all under one roof, was demolished c. 1847. It was described as of mud, and had a timber-framed gable-end and wattle-anddaub panels. (fn. 23)
The earliest dated building in the village, Francis Farm, on the east side of the green, was built by Richard Smith, gentleman, in 1603. It is a twostoreyed house of Ham stone ashlar with a projecting wing at its southern end. The principal range has a central door with four-centred head, ovolomoulded mullions, and a string-course below the ground-floor sill level which is returned vertically at each side of the doorway. There is a continuous hood-mould over the door and an adjacent window, and contemporary panelling in the parlour, to the north of the screens-passage. The hall chimney backs on the passage to the south.
At the northern end of the green is the Dower House, probably that referred to about 1687 as Mrs. Napper's 'new house'. (fn. 24) It is of two storeys and attics with a symmetrical seven-bay front of Ham stone ashlar and a tile and stone slate roof. The twolight stone-mullioned windows, surmounted on each floor by a continuous hood-mould, appear to be 20th-century replacements, the former windows having been of wood. (fn. 25) The central doorway has a four-centred arch and a segmental-headed porch; above it is an oval window. Internally the range consists of three rooms with a fourth room in a rear wing. Also at the rear is a central staircase projection, now enclosed by a later addition to the house. The original chimney in the kitchen has the remains of a smoke chamber beside it. The gate piers to the forecourt are crowned with stone balls; further east is an arched and pedimented carriage entrance brought from elsewhere. (fn. 26)
Queen, Farm, and Vicarage Streets contain 17thand 18th-century farm-houses, the most important of which, Tintinhull House, now bears the appearance of a much more sophisticated dwelling. Part of that building, the original farm-house, dates from 1630, but it was extensively altered and enlarged early in the 18th century. (fn. 27) It had evidently taken its present form by 1722, when it was occupied by Andrew Napper, younger brother of Thomas Napper (V), lord of the manor, who lived at Tintinhull Court. (fn. 28) By 1746 the property was known as the Farm, and part was let to the Pitt family. (fn. 29) Pitt Farm was the name by which it was known in 1790. (fn. 30) Throughout the 19th century it was called the Mansion. The Nappers still retained it after they had disposed of the manor, but in 1835 it passed to a local farmer, Jeremiah Penny. One of his sons sold it in 1898, and it became the residence of the Revd. Dr. S. J. M. Price, (fn. 31) a distinguished botanist, who laid out the formal gardens to the west of the house. (fn. 32) In 1933 it was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. F. E. Reiss, and Mrs. Reiss was largely responsible for creating the present gardens. The property was transferred to the National Trust in 1954. (fn. 33)
The 17th-century house, of which the east front with its mullioned windows still survives, evidently consisted of a long range, one room deep, with a cross-wing at its south end. The gable-end of the wing carries a date-stone of 1630 with the initial 'N' (for Napper). Internally a massive stone fireplace in the present entrance hall and an altered staircase in the wing belong to this building. In the early 18th century the west side was extended westward by three rooms and a new entrance front of five bays built facing west. The symmetrical two-storeyed elevation of Ham stone ashlar is considered to be an unusually perfect example of its size and period. (fn. 34) It has rusticated angle pilasters, stone-mullioned and transomed windows, and a hipped roof of stone slates with attic dormers. The three central bays are flanked by pilasters and surmounted by a pediment containing a circular window. The central doorway, which has Tuscan columns and a segmental pediment, is entered from what was originally a walled forecourt but is now part of the garden; angle piers to the forecourt are crowned by stone eagles. The present central staircase was evidently inserted in the old range when the extension was built. The west rooms contain contemporary fittings except the drawing room at the north end, which was remodelled later in the 18th century.
In 1777 a substantial L-shaped building on the south-west corner of the junction of the Yeovil and Montacute roads was known as the White Hart inn. (fn. 35) It was apparently in use as an inn between 1776 and 1791. (fn. 36) By 1839 it had been converted into five dwellings. (fn. 37)
The population of the parish in 1716 was said to be 196. (fn. 40) By 1801 the figure had risen to 333, and by 1841 to 553. The subsequent decline in agriculture is reflected in the fall to 403 by 1881, accounted for at least in part by emigration to Australia. (fn. 41) There was a recovery during the first three decades of the 20th century, and since 1951 the increase has been rapid. In 1961 it was 694. (fn. 42) Most of the new housing development has taken place south of Head Street, around the glove factory and in the central triangle. This reflects the growing popularity of the village as a dormitory for Yeovil workers.
Manor and Other Estates.
Two estates granted to Glastonbury abbey during the 10th century formed the nucleus of the present parish of Tintinhull. Five hides, probably once part of the Saxon royal estate of Martock, were granted between 939 and 946 by King Edmund to Wilfric. Wilfric left this property to Glastonbury for his soul-scot. (fn. 43) Between 959 and 975 Aelfswith granted another five hides of land there to Glastonbury. (fn. 44) The abbey retained these two holdings until Robert, count of Mortain, to consolidate his estates around his castle at Montacute, (fn. 45) exchanged them for his manor of Camerton. (fn. 46) About 1102 Robert's son, William, count of Mortain, gave the manor of TINTINHULL as part of the endowment of Montacute priory. (fn. 47) The priory retained the manor until the Dissolution in 1539, though not without a serious challenge to its rights from the Lovels of Castle Cary and their successor, Richard Seymour, who seem to have claimed a mesne lordship. The claim was first made by Hugh Lovel (d. 1291) in 1276, and again in 1280, though the prior was returned as holding the manor in chief in 12845 and 1316. (fn. 48) The claim was revived by Richard Lovel (d. 1351), who regarded Tintinhull as part of his barony, and in 1318 settled the manor on himself in fee. (fn. 49) This transaction was repudiated in 1319, but was used as the basis for a claim, revived before 1379 by Richard Seymour, husband of Lovel's grand-daughter. This dispute was not, apparently, settled until 1406. (fn. 50)
In 1539 the Crown leased the manor to Dr. William (later Sir William) Petre. (fn. 51) Sir Thomas Wyatt (d. 1542) of Allington (Kent) acquired the reversion in the year of his death, although he was in effectual control in the previous year. (fn. 52) By his will he left it to Elizabeth Darrell of Littlecote (Wilts.) with remainder, failing heirs, to his son Thomas. (fn. 53) She was in possession in 1547. (fn. 54) The attainder of the younger Thomas in 1554 gave the Crown the reversion after Elizabeth's death, but this was granted to Petre. He received a further lease to run from the death of Elizabeth, and he was certainly in occupation by 1556. (fn. 55) On his death in 1572 his son continued in occupation, and grants of the reversion of the manor to Robert Dudley, earl of Leicester, in 1574, and to Alexander Seton, Lord Fyvie, in 1605, did not disturb his tenure. (fn. 56) By 1612 John, Lord Petre (d. 1613), was holding the manor for life, with remainder to his third son Thomas. Thomas died in 1625 leaving his son Francis, a minor. (fn. 57) Early in 1626 the wardship of the heir was sold to Dr. William Smith, Warden of Wadham College, Oxford, and to Simon Baskerville, M.D. (fn. 58) They held courts in the manor until 1628, when it is probable that Thomas Napper, already owner of the parsonage, leased the property from them. (fn. 59) Francis Petre came of age in 1636 and recovered his inheritance from his former guardian, Baskerville. (fn. 60) Nathaniel Wright, merchant, was described as lord of the manor in 1649, though he was evidently Petre's tenant. (fn. 61) Petre (cr. Bt. 16424) died probably in 1660, and was succeeded by his son, also Francis. (fn. 62) By 1662 he and William Herris or Harrys were holding the manor court jointly, and continued to do so until 1669. (fn. 63) From 1670, however, the courts were held in the name of Thomas Napper (III) (d. 1700), and the final transfer from Petre to Napper was made in 1673. (fn. 64)
The manor descended in the Napper family, passing successively to Thomas Napper (V) (d. 1736) and Thomas Napper (VI) (d. 1760). (fn. 65) From Thomas (VI) it passed to his brother John (d. 1774), whose son, also John, died in 1791 heavily in debt. (fn. 66) His widow, Mary, held the manor court in 1791, (fn. 67) but sold the property in the following year to Admiral Marriott Arbuthnott (d. 1794). (fn. 68)
The Arbuthnotts, who were not resident in Tintinhull, held the manor until 1913. Admiral Arbuthnott was succeeded by John Arbuthnott, who held courts until 1809. (fn. 69) By 1811 the lord of the manor was Hugh (later Gen. Sir Hugh) Arbuthnott (d. 1868). (fn. 70) He was succeeded by his brother Gen. William (d. 1876), and then by his nephew John, Viscount Arbuthnott (d. 1891). By 1885 there was only one acre of land in hand, and Viscount Arbuthnott was advised to discontinue the manor court. (fn. 71) A revival was contemplated in 1897. (fn. 72) The Arbuthnott estate, amounting to 476 a., was sold in 1913; the Ecclesiastical Commissioners became the appropriators, and the other properties were sold to the occupiers. (fn. 73) Mr. H. S. Howard, owner of Tintinhull Court from c. 1930, regarded himself as lord of the manor, but no courts were held. (fn. 74)
Part of the demesne land, or barton land as it was called, amounting to c. 300 a., was leased as a single unit by Sir William Petre in 1560. (fn. 75) With some additions, amounting to 200 a., (fn. 76) the land was sold to John Lavyson or Lovyson, a London goldsmith (d. 1582). (fn. 77) By 16023 the original 300 a., called Belly or Belheighe and Berecrofte, were occupied by Romayn Sprackley. (fn. 78) By 1604 the lands had passed to Sir Thomas Freke, lord of Montacute, (fn. 79) who in 1612 settled them on Sir Joseph Killigrew and his wife. (fn. 80) Killigrew's son, Henry, made the estate over to William Bassett of Claverton in 1644. (fn. 81) Bassett's son, Sir William, sold the northern part, then called Bellheigh or Bewley farm, to Henry Seymour of St. Giles in the Fields, London, for 6,500 in 1676. (fn. 82) Seymour's son retained his interest until 1705, when he sold the farm to John Poulett, Earl Poulett (d. 1743), for 5,800. (fn. 83) The earl's widow retained the farm until 1750, when it passed to Thomas Lockyer, owner at least until 1783. (fn. 84) Lockyer was dead two years later, and by 1786 Bearley had become the property of Edward Phelips of Montacute. (fn. 85) By 1787 the farm was a compact unit of just over 409 a., including c. 117 a. of Chestermead in Sock Dennis. (fn. 86) It is said to have been sold to meet gambling debts. (fn. 87) By 1839 it was owned by Mrs. Brittenham or Brettingham. (fn. 88) Robert Brittingham was succeeded there by E. J. Bradshaw c. 1863, (fn. 89) and by 1871 the owner was J. T. Nicholetts of South Petherton. (fn. 90) The Ecclesiastical Commissioners purchased the farm in 1877. (fn. 91) Since the break-up of the Tintinhull Court Estate in 1913, they have been the largest landowners in the parish.
Bearley farm-house is of stone, brick, and tile; it has a five-bay front of two storeys with attics. The date 1658 occurs twice on the building, carrying the initials of Sir William Bassett, but at least part of the house was rebuilt after a fire in 1818. (fn. 92)
A thegn held a virgate of the count of Mortain T.R.E., which in 1086 was occupied by Drew. (fn. 93) The subsequent descent of the land has not been traced and it was evidently absorbed into the main manor. Freeholds in Stokett with rights in Tintinhull West field in the 16th century may indicate the position of the earlier estate. (fn. 94)
The estate formed when Montacute priory appropriated the rectory in 1528 or 1529 (fn. 95) remained a separate unit at the Dissolution. It was leased for 21 years from the Crown by Sir William Petre from 1545. (fn. 96) The property was subject to several reversionary interests, though it remained in Petre's hands until 1559. (fn. 97) He is said to have assigned his lease to Edward Napper in 1546 (fn. 98) but this is more likely to have been a short under-tenancy. (fn. 99) The property was sold by the Crown to Nicholas Napper in 1559 and the reversion in 1560. (fn. 100) The land was conveyed by Nicholas (d. 1579) to his second and third sons, James and Lancelot, for the payment of his debts, (fn. 101) but on his death it passed to his eldest son Thomas, the first of six successive sons and heirs bearing that name. Thomas (I) (d. 1626) and Thomas (II) (d. 1650) held the parsonage only, but under Thomas (III) (d. 1700) it was combined with the manor, and descended in the same way.
The parsonage estate consisted of tithes and small scattered pieces of glebe (fn. 102) including, presumably, a close of pasture to the west of the church still known as Parson's Close in 1839. (fn. 103) This, like the rest of the land, became indistinguishable from the remainder of the manorial property when Thomas Napper (III) became lord of the manor. The estates remained so united until 1913. (fn. 104)
The parsonage house, until appropriation the residence of the rector, was let at the Dissolution to Sir John Cuffe, farmer of the tithes. (fn. 105) His son still held it in 1559. (fn. 106) It subsequently became the home of the Nappers, the elder branch living there until its sale to Admiral Arbuthnott in 1793. (fn. 107) Tenant farmers then lived in the house until 1913. (fn. 108) Known as Tintinhull Manor Farm in 1819 (fn. 109) and 1883, (fn. 110) it became known as Court Farm by 1897 (fn. 111) and as Tintinhull Court by 1913. (fn. 112)
The present house is of two storeys and attics, built of coursed rubble and ashlar with a slate roof and coped gables. It consists of a principal range with a cross-wing to the south and a rear service wing to the north. The principal range preserves a basically medieval plan with a hall and crosspassage, but most of the structure was built or remodelled in the 17th and 18th centuries. An exception is an embattled and buttressed projection at the front of the hall dating from c. 1500, which retains part of an original ground-floor window. It was formerly two-storeyed with a small room on each floor communicating with the hall and the room above by stone doorways. In the 20th century it was converted into a stair-well and a panelled ceiling was taken out and re-fixed beneath the roof. (fn. 113) A 'great chamber' and an 'oriel chamber' are mentioned by the occupier in his will dated 1552. (fn. 114) The only other early feature is a small two-light window re-set in the front wall of the house. Extensive rebuilding was carried out in the 17th century by the Nappers, whose arms appear above the round arch of the main doorway. A weather vane on the south wing is dated 1673 with the initials of Thomas Napper (III), who may have been responsible for most of the work. The stone windows, surmounted by hood-moulds, are mullioned and transomed. Those at the northern end of the front are hollowchamfered while those in the hall and south wing, perhaps slightly later in date, are ovolo-moulded. In the angle between the principal range and the rear wing is a stair projection with an altered 17thcentury staircase. The hall appears to have been refitted internally c. 1700 when it was given bolectionmoulded panelling and an enriched plaster ceiling. There is earlier panelling in the room above. The rear wing is dated 1777. The curious north windows have wide round-headed lights and slender mullions, perhaps an example of 18th-century antiquarianism. Various additions at the rear of the house were the work of Mr. H. S. Howard. The wall between the garden and the churchyard is pierced by an 18thcentury gateway with square piers and ball finials.
The 10-hide estate of Glastonbury abbey in Tintinhull before the Conquest was rated for geld at only half that number in 1086. (fn. 115) There were, however, admitted to be 7 hides and 1 virgate of arable, together with 60 a. of meadow, 200 a. of pasture, and 57 a. of wood, which indicates that the estate had not changed significantly in area since the mid 10th century. The demesne arable of the count of Mortain amounted to 4 hides, farmed by 5 serfs with 2 ploughs. Nineteen villeins and 9 bordars with 8 ploughs worked the 'rest of the land', save 1 virgate held by Drew. The significant pasture and meadow land was stocked in 1086 with 2 riding-horses, 5 cows, 30 pigs, and 94 sheep. The whole estate was worth 16, a considerable increase on the 10 when the count acquired the property. In addition, Drew's estate was worth a mark.
By 13023 (fn. 116) the arable demesne of Montacute priory, successor to the count of Mortain, amounted to 498 a., probably little changed from the 4 hides the count held. The monks also had 76 a. of meadow, 36 bovates of pasture, and pasture for 4 cows worth 6s. The change from two centuries earlier appeared in the tenant holdings: 17 free tenants had emerged, 7 holding a virgate each, 4 a -virgate, 5 a furlong, and 1 five acres. The number of villeins had risen from the 1086 figure: 13 customarii, 14 ferlongarii, and 16 cottars. All tenants, however, both free and villein, paid rent, as all services were commuted. The whole estate, including a fair, courts, and rents of gardens, amounted to 41 8s.
By the end of the 13th century at least part of the demesne in the south of the parish, around Wellhams, was held under a lease containing a marling clause. (fn. 117) A larger unit, comprising 60 a. of arable, 17 a. of meadow, and 8 bovates of pasture, was being held by a single tenant during the life of another party by 1399. The property included a messuage in the village called the woolhouse, perhaps a central collecting place for wool. (fn. 118)
By 1535, after appropriating the parsonage, the holding of Montacute priory in Tintinhull was valued at 88 13s. 3d. (fn. 119) Over 64 came from the rents of free and customary tenants, of whom there were 2 free and 58 customary in 15389. (fn. 120) In that year both demesne and rectory were let to farm, the former for 23 17s. (fn. 121) Twenty years later the total regular income had increased to just over 77, augmented in 1560 by entry fines totalling over 606 for new leases of demesne, notably for 300 a. at Bearley and Barcroft. (fn. 122) Six years later, when all the demesne or barton land was let, the total income had fallen to just over 65. (fn. 123) The tenancy structure was also changing. By 1597 there were 9 freehold estates attached to the manor, including five in Montacute and Stokett. Exeter College, Oxford, the largest tenant in Tintinhull, held just over 33 a., and Richard Mawdlen 30 a. The total income from the four freeholds in the parish was 25s. 6d. (fn. 124) At the same time there were 40 customary holdings, and pieces of demesne or barton land held by customary tenure. The largest such holding was just over 51 a. Among these holdings was some property in Ilchester, including the site of a chapel. (fn. 125) A third group of properties, also barton land, was held mostly by leases for 21 years; there were 9 of these in Tintinhull and one in Babcary, and they ranged from 12 a. to 26 a. (fn. 126)
By the end of the 16th century the husbandry of the parish was based on five open arable fields, Great or Broad East field, the marsh or Marsh field, Little East field, Southover, and Socksam. In the early years of the 17th century the last three were worked together, and Great and Marsh fields together, growing alternately corn and beans. (fn. 127) Until c. 15967 there were two large areas of common pasture in the parish, West field (120 a.) and the moor (70 a.). The former was also used by the tenants of Stokett, and both were described as 'very fruitful and commodious'. (fn. 128) About 1597 the moor was divided into 25 shares each attached to an already-established holding or bargain. (fn. 129)
This was not the beginning of inclosure. Closes of pasture and meadow already existed around Wellhams in the south and there were closes of arable in the northern part of Socksam by 1560. (fn. 130) The demesnes of Bearley and Barcroft were also inclosed, evidently for pasturage, for the estate was let in 1560 complete with shippens at both Tintinhull and Bearley. (fn. 131) The lessee undertook to 'feed and stall feed' with grass and hay four oxen belonging to the lessor from fifteen days before Michaelmas until fifteen days after Easter. (fn. 132)
A prosperous yeoman farmer and former bailiff of the manor, (fn. 133) Thomas Predell (d. 1546), probably reflected the general pattern of farming in the area when he left stock including 4 oxen, 5 cows, 3 heifers, 3 steers, 4 calves, 2 colts, and a flock of ewes and lambs. (fn. 134) The short leasing of the demesne or barton lands from 1560 onwards allowed the landlord to make detailed demands of his tenants for the maintenance of buildings, ditches, and hedges. The tenant of Bearley in 1560 was to 'plant for every timber tree to be delivered to him [for repairs] three other trees of the nature of oaks, ashes or elms'. This measure was, perhaps, in answer to a report still current in 1566, that there were 'no woods, but elms growing in hedgerows'. A lease of 1603 stipulated the annual planting of 'three apple, pear, or walnut, and three oak, ash, or elm'. (fn. 135)
Perhaps the most striking feature of the economy of the parish in the 16th and 17th centuries is the rise of the Napper family. Nicholas Napper (d. 1579) purchased the rectorial lands from the Crown in 1559 for 237, (fn. 136) to which he added the tenancy of some meadow land from the former manorial demesne and fishing and fowling rights. (fn. 137) By the end of the century Thomas Napper (I) (d. 1626) was holding by lease 48 a. of former demesne. (fn. 138) Within two generations the head of the family had acquired the lordship of the manor, (fn. 139) and the three largest houses in the village. Tintinhull Court, the Dower House, and Tintinhull House all witness to the prosperity of the family.
Until the inclosure of the parish in 1796 the only significant consolidated holding was Bearley farm. By 1787 it comprised 409 a., and stretched across the meadows into Sock Dennis. (fn. 140) The farm included some 'new inclosures' made at the northern end of Tintinhull mead. By the end of the 18th century other former commonable areas had been inclosed, notably West field, Perren's Hill, Broad Leaze, and Trent's Leazes. Pitte farm was still almost entirely dispersed in the common fields, and included 20 a. of arable divided between three fields in fourteen separate parcels. (fn. 141) The parish was inclosed under an Act of 1794. The award, dated 1796, (fn. 142) regulated 310 a. of arable and 77 a. of meadow, just over one fifth of the total area of the parish, and divided it between 18 allottees.
By 1839 a number of farms, more or less consolidated units, had been created. (fn. 143) The largest, Manor farm of 456 a., was in fact the most scattered, having changed little since the time of inclosure. There were three farms of just over 100 a. each, including Perren's Hill and Leaches, four between 50 a. and 90 a., including Broad Leaze. (fn. 144) Eleven men were described as farmers in the village in 1859, (fn. 145) 19 in 1883, (fn. 146) but only 9 in 1902. (fn. 147) By 1931 only Bearley and Perren's Hill farms were said to be more than 150 a., but by 1939 four had reached that figure, Bearley, Perren's Hill, Winter's, and Higher farms. (fn. 148)
Like several of its neighbours Tintinhull still had a small gloving industry in 1968. Robert Southcombe, whose brother Richard had already established a factory at Stoke, opened his premises at the southern end of the village in 1875. (fn. 149) The factory then made fabric gloves, (fn. 150) though by the early 20th century leather ones. The firm, known from 1900 as Ensor and Southcombe, joined the larger concern of Southcombe Brothers in 1965, and has since been called the Tintinhull Glove Co. Ltd. It makes all types of gloves in both leather and fabric. (fn. 151)
There was a mill at Tintinhull in 1086, valued at 30d. (fn. 152) The name Wellhams, by which the mill was later known, occurs as a personal name by 1273, (fn. 153) and meadows lying east of the former millhouse were still so called in the 19th century. (fn. 154) The site of the mill, on a race constructed within the southern parish boundary, may well have been that of the Domesday mill. The mill formed part of Montacute priory demesne at least until the late 14th century. The priory had the tithes of the area by 1334, (fn. 155) but had apparently leased the mill to Walter and Maud de Welnham in or after 1319. The lessees had rights to carry millstones and large timbers for its repair. (fn. 156) By 1374 the mill, together with a messuage, presumably the mill-house, and a carucate of land, had been acquired for life by John Bondeman, and was the subject of a Chancery action. (fn. 157) In 1381 Bondeman and his wife sold the mill, together with 120 a. of land, meadow, and pasture in 'West Welham' and Stokett to John Breynton and his wife. (fn. 158) By 1541 the mill was held again directly of the manor, and was let to Robert Stybbes; (fn. 159) by 1605 the tenant was Ambrose Bishop. (fn. 160)
By 1629 the mills at Wellhams were the freehold property of Sampson Burr, who was succeeded by his widow in 1644. (fn. 161) From 1650 one Hann was acting as her miller. John Bishop was owner from 1654 at least until 1670, (fn. 162) when the mill was said to be in decay. (fn. 163) During the 19th and early 20th centuries a succession of millers can be traced, the last being Esau Saunders in 1902. (fn. 164) In 1968 the mill-house was in private occupation.
William, count of Mortain, granted a fair at Tintinhull to Montacute priory as part of his foundation gift c. 1102. (fn. 165) Before 1122 it was held for thirteen days around St. Margaret's day (20 July). (fn. 166) In 12423 the prior of Montacute was challenged for taking tolls there from the men of Exeter, (fn. 167) and in 1280 the burgesses of Ilchester complained that it was detrimental to their trade. (fn. 168) The fair was worth 2 in 13023, (fn. 169) but was not mentioned among Montacute's assets in 1535, and was worth nothing by 155960. (fn. 170)
Montacute priory held courts in Tintinhull and owned the assizes of bread and ale. (fn. 171) Court rolls, books, and extracts, however, survive only from after the Dissolution, for 15867, 161223, 162438, 1649, 16621723, 17701878, and 187985. (fn. 172) They reveal, among other things, that the hundred and the manor were administered by the same court from at least the 1580s until 1885. (fn. 173)
By 1586 two courts were held annually before a steward, usually in April and October. They seem to have become annual, held in October or November, by the late 17th century. (fn. 174) From 1612 the court was described as curia legalis and view of frankpledge, with court baron occasionally added in the heading without any change being apparent in the character of the proceedings. (fn. 175) The term court leet alone was introduced in 1675 and was usual thereafter. The court ceased to meet after 1885. (fn. 176)
As the governing body of the manor the court elected a tithingman annually in the autumn. The office was held in rotation by the owners or occupiers of freehold 'places' or tenements, but could be executed by deputy. (fn. 177) The last election to the office took place in 1842. Haywards occur irregularly from 1620 onwards. Until the late 17th century the court does not seem to have been concerned in their appointment. By 'ancient custom', however, they were paid a levy of 5s. on every 'place'. (fn. 178) From 1774 two haywards were appointed each year by the court; in return for three leazes in the common fields and three in Tintinhull mead they were made responsible for maintaining droves and floodgates. (fn. 179) By 1860 a distinction was made between the parish hayward, an office thenceforward held by the village policeman, and the manorial hayward, who was elected by the manor court. (fn. 180) These offices continued at least until 1885. (fn. 181)
Two surveyors of the common fields were appointed annually at the spring court to supervise the execution of inclosure and drainage regulations. They ceased to act regularly after 1624 when they were replaced by the haywards. Two 'viewers of fences' occurred in 1701, probably with the same functions. (fn. 182) From 1772 until 1869 a manorial constable as well as the older officer, the hundred constable, was chosen yearly.
The activities of the court in the general administration of agriculture in the parish included the supervision of crop rotation and grazing rights, the maintenance of banks, ditches, and bridges, and the control of water meadows in the north of the parish. Thus in 1623 an old order was quoted whereby freehold 'places' were charged with the upkeep of gates in the temporary inclosures in the open fields. Each freeholder was thenceforward required to find locks for the gates until the grass or corn was taken, and then to re-lock until the whole field was breached. (fn. 183) Of particular importance in the north of the parish were the water meadows, regulated by floodgates or 'shittles'. One of these, Tintinhull moor shittle, was maintained under the court's supervision until 1885 out of land called 'landacre' and by occasional rates charged on the occupiers of the meadows.
The court still clearly controlled parish affairs in the late 17th century, ordering the waywardens, for example, to repair gutters in the village street, and the churchwardens and overseers to erect stocks. (fn. 184) The churchwardens and overseers, however, managed the poor. In 1610 two wardens and three overseers leased from the lord some waste land between the pound and the church house on which to build a poorhouse. (fn. 185) There were already three houses near the site 'lately' erected for the poor at the request of the parish officers. (fn. 186) By 1722 the overseers were renting five houses, normally known as 'poor houses' or 'parish houses', which they in turn let at higher rents to increase their income. Only on rare occasions, for example in 1745, were paupers temporarily lodged in one of these houses. (fn. 187) The tenements, under a single thatched roof, came to be regarded as one house, though divided into separate dwellings. In 17623 the house was rebuilt as six tenements of two storeys, each 14 ft. square. (fn. 188)
Tintinhull became part of the Yeovil poor-law union in 1836, and the tenements were sold c. 1839. (fn. 189) The school and private dwellings occupied the site in 1968.
The parish vestry emerged in the mid 18th century. In 1743 a group of parishioners met at the church house, then parish property, (fn. 190) and ordered the overseers to make payments to certain paupers. In the following year the same body was described as a vestry, when it superintended the placing of parish apprentices. (fn. 191) Further activities have not been traced until the mid 19th century. (fn. 192) They were then regularly appointing two overseers and two waywardens, whose duties were little more than nominal, and from 1874 they levied a school rate. (fn. 193) Overseers and waywardens were appointed annually at least until 1892. (fn. 194)
There was a church at Tintinhull by c. 1102 when it was granted by William, count of Mortain, as part of Montacute priory's foundation estate. (fn. 195) It was charged until 117480 simply with a pension to the monks, a payment which continued at least until 1428. (fn. 196) From 1180 a further charge was made on the church for the benefit of the sacristan at Montacute, who was allowed to hold the church annually from the tenth day before the patronal feast (20 July) until its morrow, and was to have any revenues then accruing except tithes. (fn. 197) This arrangement seems to have been superseded by 1334 when the prior of Montacute was receiving tithes from Wellhams, in the south of the parish. (fn. 198) In 1528 the convent was licensed to appropriate the remaining revenues provided that a vicarage was established, served by a secular priest. (fn. 199) The vicarage was ordained in 1529, (fn. 200) though the cure was still being served by the monks in 1532. (fn. 201) Doubt is therefore cast on the validity of the ordination and, although the incumbent was called a vicar in 1535, the legal status of the benefice was a perpetual curacy until 1968. (fn. 202)
Until the Dissolution the advowson belonged to Montacute priory. (fn. 203) As a Cluniac house, however, its property was seized several times during the 14th century by the Crown, which then exercised the patronage itself, (fn. 204) or granted it to the earls of Salisbury. (fn. 205) The abbot of Glastonbury presented in 1521 by grant of Montacute priory, the presentee being the prior of Montacute himself. (fn. 206) Between the Dissolution and 1566 the Crown presumably retained the advowson, and certainly presented in 1566 and 1571, (fn. 207) the advowson having been expressly excepted from the grant of the parsonage estate in 1559. (fn. 208) By 1576 Nicholas Napper had acquired the patronage, (fn. 209) which thenceforward descended with the parsonage estate and, from 1673, with the manor, to the Arbuthnotts. (fn. 210) In 1913 the patronage passed from Viscount Arbuthnot to the Revd. S. J. M. Price, D.D., of Tintinhull House (d. 1926). (fn. 211) His trustees presented up to 1941 and thereafter the Guild of All Souls. (fn. 212)
The rectory was valued at 16 in 1291 (fn. 213) and 1428; (fn. 214) by about 1539 the net value was only about 9 9s. (fn. 215) By 1559 the net income enjoyed by the impropriator was 7 8s. 1d. (fn. 216) The rector had glebe lands, tithe corn, rents, oblations, and small tithes amounting to 7 in 1334, and Montacute priory had tithes at Wellhams worth 3. (fn. 217) In 1535 the tithes and other dues were valued at 18 net (fn. 218) and were farmed for that sum. Glebe lands were let to various tenants for 5 8s. (fn. 219) Tithes and glebe emerged as a separate estate after the Dissolution, (fn. 220) although the tithes were farmed separately in 1535. (fn. 221) The glebe subsequently lost its identity in the other holdings of the lay impropriators, but the tithes remained distinct: in 1634, for example, Thomas Napper collected 30 16s. 11d. (fn. 222) The tithes were commuted in 1838 for a rent-charge of 396 10s. (fn. 223)
By the ordination of 1529 the vicar was to receive from the impropriator 10 gross and 9 8s. 7d. net. (fn. 224) The impropriator continued to pay this sum throughout the 17th century, (fn. 225) though in 1571 the vicar claimed to have suffered 'open wrong' because the impropriator would not pay tenths and subsidies as originally agreed. (fn. 226) By about 1668 the reputed value of the benefice was 30. (fn. 227) The living was augmented by the impropriator in 1729 and 1761, in the second year 100 being made available by the Pincombe trustees. (fn. 228) In 1819 the incumbent, John Valentine, and the Pincombe trustees further augmented the benefice, (fn. 229) which by 1809 had risen to 77 18s. 6d., (fn. 230) though it was given as only 60 in 1815. (fn. 231) The income was said to be 90 in 1831. (fn. 232)
An acre of meadow in New mead was allotted to the vicar in 1529, with an orchard, garden, and close. (fn. 233) In 1774 the vicar was assigned a number of leazes in the common fields. (fn. 234) There was one acre of glebe in 1840, (fn. 235) but by 1851 the income of 91 was said to be almost entirely from glebe. (fn. 236) In 1902 the income of the benefice included a tithe rentcharge of 31, 42 a. of glebe, and other items, making 89 in all. (fn. 237)
A house was assigned to the vicar in 1529; (fn. 238) it possessed an 'outhouse called a kitchen' in 1633. (fn. 239) In 1815 the glebe house, 'a small tenement', was thought unfit for the vicar. (fn. 240) In 1827 it was called a 'mean cottage', and the vicar lived elsewhere in the village. (fn. 241) In 1831 it was again styled 'unfit', (fn. 242) and in 1840 was 'let as a cottage'. (fn. 243) A new house was built in 1871; (fn. 244) it was still in use in 1968, and stands at the south-east corner of the village.
During the Middle Ages the Crown took advantage of its occasional patronage rights to appoint government clerks such as John of Chester (occurs 1294), (fn. 245) clerk of the King's Bench, (fn. 246) or the diplomat Richard de Saham (unsuccessfully intruded 1346). (fn. 247) Non-residence was therefore not uncommon. (fn. 248) During the 15th century several eminent ecclesiastics held the benefice, including John Hornse (rector 14801), bishop of Ross and a Cistercian monk, suffragan in the diocese of Bath and Wells 147981; (fn. 249) John Wyche (rector 150121), fellow and sub-warden of New College, Oxford; (fn. 250) and Thomas Chard (rector from 1521), prior of Montacute and of Carswell (Devon), bishop of Selymbria and suffragan to the bishops of Bath and Wells and Exeter. (fn. 251) John Heth (rector 143464) was licensed to be absent for two years for study, (fn. 252) and at his death in 1464 was also rector of Chiselborough; (fn. 253) and Robert Newton (rector 14657), apparently a monk, died at Rome while still holding the cure. (fn. 254) The church was presumably served during their absences by chaplains: two occur in 14345, (fn. 255) and one in 14378, 1450, (fn. 256) and 1468. (fn. 257)
In 1554 the lay rector was presented for allowing the chancel to decay, and for failing to maintain a light on the altar. (fn. 258) Richard Loughe, vicar, was reported non-resident in 1568; no quarterly sermons had been preached, and the fabric needed attention. (fn. 259) One of Loughe's successors, John Lorrimer, was crushed to death under a collapsed 'linhay' in 1593. (fn. 260) In 1612 the churchwardens were presented for not having a copy of Jewel's Works; they had acquired one by the following year. (fn. 261) Further criticisms were evidently made at the next visitation, including the need for a stall for the vicar. The churchwardens paid a fine 'for a longer time for amending of those defaults'. (fn. 262)
The church was served from 1609 until his death in 1646 by Adam Farnham. During his time, probably in 1642, Parliamentary troops visited the church and took away two surplices, cutting them up and distributing the pieces to the poor. (fn. 263) It is not clear how the church was served after Farnham's death. The record of the Register survives, but no clergyman is found until Thomas Farnham, who died as incumbent in 1661. (fn. 264) For most of the 18th century the benefice was combined with Thorn Coffin rectory and, in the persons of Edward Napper or Napier (vicar from 1741 until at least 1752) and of his son Edward (vicar 17721816) was held by members of the patron's family. (fn. 265) The last was an absentee, living in 1815 on a third cure at Sutton Waldren (Dors.). (fn. 266) At least eleven assistant curates successively served the church during the younger Napper's incumbency. (fn. 267) John Valentine, one of these and vicar 181644, was also chaplain of Ilchester gaol. (fn. 268)
By 1827 one service with sermon was held every Sunday, alternately morning and afternoon. (fn. 269) Two sermons were preached every Sunday by 1843, Holy Communion was celebrated each quarter, and children were catechized weekly. (fn. 270) In 1851 there was no resident minister, and in consequence there was only one service on Census Sunday, when 159 people attended in the afternoon. The average congregation was said to be 100 in the morning and 150 in the afternoon, with Sunday-school pupils numbering 56 in the morning and 76 in the afternoon. (fn. 271) Two services with sermons were the rule in 1870, the second service having been moved to the evening. Holy Communion was celebrated eight times a year. (fn. 272)
Churchwardens' accounts survive from 1433 until 1678. (fn. 273) They show that income was derived during the 15th and 16th centuries from the proceeds of church ales and the rent of the parish bakehouse and brewhouse. In 1497 a church house was built to house both, replaced by a more substantial stone house in 15312. (fn. 274) Parts of the house were let by the mid 16th century, (fn. 275) but it continued in use by the parish until c. 1763, when it was demolished and its site incorporated in the rebuilt poorhouses. (fn. 276) Church ales provided an income for the parish until 1609; (fn. 277) the churchwardens also let the grass in the droves, often called 'lane acres', and from 15967 an acre in Tintinhull moor was assigned to the church house. (fn. 278)
The church of ST. MARGARET consists of a chancel and nave, with north tower and south porch, and modern vestries at the west end. The original early-13th-century building was not divided by a chancel arch, a fact demonstrated by the rollmoulded string-course surviving almost continuously around the whole structure and rising to form hood-moulds above doors and other original openings; and by the common width of the present chancel and nave. Externally the level of the corbeltable was later broken when the nave roof was raised. The lighting of the original building survives in the blocked window between nave and tower; it is a lancet, with depressed trefoil head in a deeply splayed surround flanked with shafted rear-arches. (fn. 279) Rear-arches also survive around the three two-light windows on each side of the chancel. The tracery was inserted later, possibly when the church was remodelled and the chancel arch inserted in the 14th century. The double piscina, which belongs to the original structure, is of two trefoiled arches on shafts which are evidently replacements of originals in Purbeck marble.
The north tower is slightly later than the main structure. It is now of four stages with lancet windows and a plain parapet. The top stage and the north-east stair turret were added in 151617. (fn. 280) In the 15th century large Perpendicular windows were inserted in the nave, one in each of the side walls and one at the west end. That on the north nave wall incorporates a light bracket. The south porch, originally thatched, and now capped by a sundial, was built in 14412; (fn. 281) it has a ribbed barrel vault, the central rib springing from wall-shafts. Part of the stone base of the rood screen is preserved, perhaps belonging to the new screen and loft constructed in 14512. (fn. 282) Bench-ends, carved with panels and flowers, were made in 151112. (fn. 283) Still attached to some of them are hinged flaps which, when raised, could be used as extra seats in the central aisle. The pulpit and sounding board date from the early 17th century. The church contains a brass to John Stone (d. 1416) and one with a figure of rector John Heth (d. 1464). The east window, which has a four-centred head and contains glass by F. C. Eden, is said to date from the 19th century. (fn. 284) Outside the church, at the end of the original churchyard, is the 'stonyn' door, incorporating a doorhead made in 1517 as part of the west entrance to the churchyard. (fn. 285) The churchyard cross was designed by Sir Ninian Comper c. 1920. (fn. 286)
The church has five bells: (i) 1617, Robert Wiseman of Montacute; (ii) 1787, Thomas Pyke of Bridgwater; (iii) 1799, George Davis of Bridgwater; (iv) 1602, Robert Wiseman of Montacute; (v) 1629, William Wiseman. (fn. 287) The plate includes a chalice and cover of 1635, maker 'R.W.' (fn. 288) The registers date from 1561, but there is a gap in baptisms between 1607 and 1610. (fn. 289)
In 1669 forty people were meeting regularly in William Webb's house under the leadership of a Presbyterian teacher. (fn. 290) This group does not seem to have survived. In 1826 Methodists applied to use a house in the parish and a group of Bible Christians was formed for a few months in 1835. (fn. 291) In 1840 some Baptists were licensed to use what had once been the poorhouses. (fn. 292) Part of the site was used for the village school in 1848. (fn. 293) There is no record of a chapel in 1851, but by 1875 Montacute Baptist church had a 'preaching station' in the parish. (fn. 294) This was probably the room at the side of Walters's Farm at the northern end of the green which by 1897 had 100 sittings. (fn. 295) From about 1898 Yeovil Baptist church became responsible for the chapel 'as a help to some young men belonging to a preacher's training class'. (fn. 296) By 1902 the building had been handed over to a group of Brethren from the Martock Assembly, who continued to hold services there at least until 1951. (fn. 297)
John Priddle, described as a schoolmaster, lived in the village in 1752. (fn. 298) By 1818 there was a day-school for c. 30 boys and girls and a Sunday school for c. 70. (fn. 299) The Sunday school was supported by the church and had 33 boys and 31 girls on its register in 18256. (fn. 300) There were two schools in the village in 1833: a day-school for 12 boys and 20 girls, taught at their parents' expense, and a Sunday school for 33 boys and 47 girls, supported by subscriptions. (fn. 301) The second was evidently held in the church. (fn. 302) By 18467 there were four schools. (fn. 303) The largest, the Church school, had 60 boys and 61 girls under four teachers, and accommodation consisted of two rooms and a teacher's house. It was supported by subscriptions. A Miss Morey kept a day-school for 4 boys and 19 girls under two teachers. There were also two dame schools, between them taking 28 boys and 25 girls. The last three schools were supported by payment of school pence.
The building used in 1969 was erected in 1848 and extended in 1854. (fn. 304) By 1872 there were four classes under one teacher and two monitresses, though the low average attendance, 40, was partly explained by children being absent for bean planting. Twenty years later a new teacher found the school 'in a very backward state', but a year later 'very satisfactory progress' had been made. (fn. 305) By 1894 there was accommodation for 83, with an average attendance of 57. (fn. 306) There were two classrooms for 77 children by 1903, with a staff of three. Evening continuation classes had been held until that year, and the inspector's report was favourable. (fn. 307) Average attendance had fallen to 53 by 1938, and fell still further in the 1940s when senior pupils were sent elsewhere. In 1969, however, Tintinhull C. of E. (V.A.) School had 71 registered pupils. (fn. 308)
Charities for the Poor.
By will dated 1862 William Wilson gave a rent-charge of 5, payable yearly on 24 December for a dinner of roast beef and plum pudding on Christmas Day to 'deserving' pupils in the Sunday school (fn. 309). In 1972 the income was still used for the benefit of children connected with the church. (fn. 310)