Parishes: Wayford

Pages 68-75

A History of the County of Somerset: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1978.

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The parish of Wayford lies on the southern boundary of the county, 3 miles south-west from Crewkerne and 8 miles east from Chard. It is bordered on the west and north-west by Winsham, on the east by Crewkerne, and on the south by Broadwindsor (Dors.) and Thorncome (Dors., formerly Devon). It had an area of 1,457 a. until a detached part of Crewkerne near Greenham was added in 1885 to give it a total extent of 1,955 a. (fn. 1) In 1966 more than half the civil parish south of the river Axe was transferred to Broadwindsor, leaving an area of 996 a. (fn. 2)

The ancient parish was divided by the Axe which meanders from east to west. Northwards from the river the ground rises steeply from 250 ft. to 760 ft., the parish narrowing to form a finger of land over successive bands of grit and chert beds, lower chalk, and clay with flints. Southwards the land rises more gradually to 450 ft. on the silts and marls of the Pennard Sands with river gravel around Oathill in the east and alluvium by the river. (fn. 3) At least four limekilns were being worked in the north of the parish in 1886, each with associated quarries, and there was a gravel quarry north-west of Oathill. (fn. 4) The south of the parish is watered by two streams flowing north to the Axe. Procers Lake, probably known as Holelake in the 13th century, (fn. 5) may once have formed the boundary between Bere and Oathill. The other stream marks part of the eastern boundary of the parish. In the north there are springs near the village and a shallow stream in the west flowing south from Ashcombe to the Axe. This brook was probably 'the water of Essche' in which a man drowned in 1225. (fn. 6)

Wayford's status as a chapelry within the parish of Crewkerne, and the differing dues payable to the mother church from the four main settlements of Ashcombe, Bere, Oathill, and Wayford, suggest both that the boundary with Crewkerne may be dated to the period of the creation of Wayford manor in the late 11th century, and that Wayford and Oathill were the two main settlements by the mid 13th century if not much earlier. (fn. 7) And, since Ashcombe and Bere did not pay dues in the mid 13th century to Wayford church, it seems likely that these settlements originated before the building of the church there, itself first referred to in 1266. (fn. 8) This chronology of development is supported by place-names, which indicate a river crossing and cultivation in contrast to woodland clearings. (fn. 9) Oathill was divided in the 13th century between Up Oathill and Nether Oathill, probably representing the present Oathill Farm and Oathill Stables; Greenham occurs as Gryndeham or Grinneham and Horn Ash probably as Horne in the same period. (fn. 10) Higher farm (formerly Hill Barn), Higher Bere Chapel farm, and Manor farm are creations of the late 19th century.

Wayford is the largest settlement, straggling along a hillside road, Park Lane, commanding views of the Axe and Pilsdon Pen (Dors.). Most of the houses are of 19th-century origin but two, Manor Dairy Farm and a cottage east of the church, have traditional early-17th-century plans with internal chimneys. The village street, running west from Townsend, (fn. 11) lies on a direct route from Clapton through Ashcombe to Winsham, but may have been disused at an early date through the formation of a park west of the village. The principal roads cut through the south of the parish. The CrewkerneLyme Regis route runs through Oathill and Horn Ash, and was adopted by the Crewkerne Turnpike trust in 1765. (fn. 12) The Winsham—Broadwindsor (Dors.) road crosses it at Horn Ash. It was turnpiked by the Chard trustees in 1829. (fn. 13) One earlier route linked Lower Bere Chapel Farm with Forde abbey along the Axe, and another passed Ashcombe and led southwards across the river. (fn. 14)

Wayford village apparently had two medieval open fields in the north-east corner of the parish. Later, North, Higher, and South fields, and Middle and Gurdhayes furlongs, were mentioned in 1610. (fn. 15) A former open arable system is also suggested at Ashcombe, where Elfurland, Witforlang, and Rodfurlang occur in 1235, and Tidley furlong as a field name in 1842. (fn. 16) Further areas of arable lay north and north-east of Ashcombe in the earlier 19th century, while meadow land lay principally along both banks of the Axe and beside its tributary along the eastern boundary. Pasture land included the site of the former park, west of the village. This was known as Welmans Park in 1562, and as 'Bakers park called Welmans park' in 1607, and is represented by fields called Higher, Middle, and Lower Park in 1842. (fn. 17)

There were two licensed victuallers in the parish in 1735, three in 1751, and one in 1763. None occurs in 1770 or subsequently until 1875, when a beer retailer sold his wares from the house known by 1939 as the Greyhound inn. This closed after the Second World War. (fn. 18)

The parish had a population of 162 in 1801, which rose to 224 in 1821 and 238 in 1851. Thereafter it fell to 191 in 1861, rising again to 224 in 1881. After the extension of the civil parish in 1885 the total rose to 367 in 1891, and to 385 in 1911, but subsequently fell steadily to 285 in 1931. By 1951 the numbers had risen to 296 although they dropped to 233 by 1961. The reduction in the size of the civil parish in 1966 left Wayford with a population of 127 in 1971. (fn. 19)

In 1685 four men from Wayford tithing and four from Oathill were in the duke of Monmouth's army at Sedgemoor. (fn. 20)

Dr. Daubeney Turberville (1612–96), physician, was born at Wayford, and owned and occupied the manor-house. He was known principally as an eye-specialist and was consulted by Pepys and Princess Anne. (fn. 21)


Wayford was apparently included within the royal manor of Crewkerne T.R.W. Overlordship was claimed in 1227 by Walter Foliot, probably because he was guardian of William of Wayford, the terre tenant, custody of whose Devon estates had been held before 1218–19 by Thomas Foliot, Walter's father. (fn. 22) This wardship had no doubt been granted to the Foliots by the earls of Devon, lords of Crewkerne manor and, as holders of the honor of Plympton (Devon), overlords of the Foliots in Devon. (fn. 23) The Foliots' title to Wayford evidently descended to Robert Foliot (d. c. 1245), whose daughter and heir Ellen married Ralph de Gorges. (fn. 24) Ellen was succeeded in turn by her sons William (d. 1294) and Thomas (d. 1305), the second being overlord in 1303. (fn. 25) No later references to this tenure have been noted and the overlordship reverted to the earls of Devon as lords of Crewkerne by 1528 until at least 1615. (fn. 26) The overlordship was not referred to thereafter.

The terre tenancy had been created by 1200 when William of Wayford held lands there. (fn. 27) William acknowledged that he held ½ fee in Wayford and Bere in 1227, (fn. 28) and was probably succeeded in turn by his sons Walter and Baldwin of Wayford (fl. 1243–69). Baldwin was patron of the living in 1266 and was described as lord of WAYFORD manor in 1269. (fn. 29) In 1280 Baldwin's widow claimed dower against Richard de Portesye and his wife Scolace, the latter apparently being Baldwin's heir, and it was probably she, as Scolace of Wayford, who occurs as lady of the manor between 1303 and 1316. (fn. 30) The manor had apparently passed by 1327 to John Bernard, who still held it in 1346, although John Aleyn presented to the rectory between 1339 and 1344. (fn. 31) Robert Blanford's family, patrons in 1403 and 1406, were said to have obtained the manor by marriage with the Wayford heirs; John Blanford owned ½ fee there in 1428, and Robert Blanford was patron in 1430 and 1431. (fn. 32) The manor is said to have passed from William Blanford to his son William, and thereafter to his grandson Thomas Blanford. (fn. 33) Thomas's daughter and heir Eleanor married Robert Pauncefoot of Amesbury (Wilts.), and their only child Elizabeth (d. 1528) brought the manor to her husband James Daubeney. (fn. 34) It then descended thus through successive generations of the Daubeney family: Giles (I) (d. 1559), Hugh (d. 1565), and Giles Daubeney (II) (d. 1630). (fn. 35) In 1624 Giles (II) mortgaged a third of the manor, without the manor-house and demesnes, to William Norris, a Wayford yeoman, and conveyed the fee to him in 1627. (fn. 36) This third apparently descended to Robert Norris, a Wayford miller, who held it 1672–93, and by 1725 to Matthew Norris, a Crewkerne innkeeper. The lands comprising the third had been sold before 1725 to six occupiers. (fn. 37) The lordship was not mentioned thereafter.

Giles Daubeney (II) granted a life interest in the manor to his son and daughter-in-law, James (d. 1615) and Elizabeth Daubeney. Elizabeth, who married secondly William Keymer of Pendomer, probably still held it in 1653 when, as a widow, she presented to the rectory. (fn. 38) The reversion of the remaining two-thirds of the manor was apparently conveyed to the Braggs of Sadborow, Thorncombe (Dors. formerly Devon). The purchaser was probably Richard Bragg (d. 1643), who had acquired a single presentation to the rectory in 1627. (fn. 39) He was followed in turn by his son Richard (d. 1649) and nephew William (II) (d. 1713). (fn. 40) The second occurs as lord in 1672 and from him the two-thirds descended successively to his grandsons William (IV) (d. 1726) and John (I) (d. 1749), sons of William Bragg (III) (d. 1702). John Bragg (I) left the estate to his son John (II) (d. 1786), by whose time most of the lands had been enfranchised. (fn. 41) Lordship of the manor was claimed by the Pinney family of Blackdown in Broadwindsor (Dors.), as owners of the manor-house, between 1861 and 1883 but was not mentioned thereafter. (fn. 42)

The Daubeneys kept the manor-house and demesne, disposing of the lordship. From Giles Daubeney (d. 1630) the property apparently passed to his son Hugh (d. 1662), who devised the house to his widow Elizabeth (d. c. 1664). (fn. 43) It was later inherited by their nephew, Dr. Daubeney Turberville (d. 1696), who granted it to his brotherin-law, Gregory Gibbs (d. c. 1680). Thence it descended to Gregory's son Hugh Daubeney Gibbs (d. 1695), whose residuary legatee was his niece Ann Grimstead. (fn. 44) The property was acquired c. 1700 by Samuel Pitt (d. 1729) of Cricket Malherbie, also owner of the advowson, but by 1755 he had sold the estate to Azariah Pinney of Bettiscombe (Dors.) (d. 1760). (fn. 45) Azariah was succeeded by his cousin John Frederick Pinney (d. 1762). (fn. 46) Thereafter the house apparently passed successively to another cousin, John Pinney of Blackdown (d. 1771–2), to his son John (d. 1819), and to his grandson John Azariah Pinney. (fn. 47) Between 1839 and 1845 it was bought by Samuel Hood, Lord Bridport (d. 1868), whose son Alexander Nelson Hood, Viscount Bridport, sold it in 1899 to L. I. Baker (d. 1931). (fn. 48) It passed to Baker's son, H. L. P. Baker (d. 1966), and was then sold to Mr. R. L. Goffe, the present owner. (fn. 49)

The central range of the house, which has a hall on the ground floor, is of medieval origin, and has an arch-braced truss of its original roof in situ. (fn. 50) This range was remodelled and a central porch and one, and probably two, flanking wings added to the south side c. 1600. The upper storey of the porch bears the Daubeney arms and is supported on fluted columns. Parts of three moulded plaster ceilings and an ornamental fireplace, dated 1602, survive inside. By the late 19th century there was no western (service) wing, and c. 1900 one was added to designs by Ernest George which restored the symmetry of the south front. Adjoining the NE. corner of the house are two ranges of outbuildings. The northern one is probably of the 17th century but incorporates a 14th-century window.

The manor of BERE, including the estate of OATHILL, both held under Wayford manor, were occupied in the late 12th century by Robert Burnel (I), who made grants therefrom before 1203 to Forde abbey. (fn. 51) He was succeeded in turn by his son Ralph and grandson Robert Burnel (II) (fl. 1235–48/9). (fn. 52) The estate continued in the Burnels, and was known as BERE NEXT WAYFORD in 1388. It was then held jointly by Tristram Burnel and Alice his wife. As the manor of BERE BURNEL AND OATHILL it passed in 1491, on Henry Burnel's death, to his son John. (fn. 53) In 1530 John Burnel and his wife Dorothy sold the manor of BERE ALIAS OATHILL to William (later Sir William) Portman of Orchard Portman (d. 1557), who was succeeded by his son Sir Henry (d. 1591) and grandson Sir John Portman, Bt. (d. 1612). (fn. 54) John left the manor for life to his widow Anne (d. 1651–2), married secondly to Thomas Neville, and ownership passed with the title successively to his sons Henry (d. 1622), John (d. 1622), Hugh (d. 1632), and William Portman (d. 1645). (fn. 55) From William the manor passed to his son William (d. 1690), who devised it to his cousin Henry Seymour, later Henry Portman (d. 1727). Henry left it to his cousin William Berkeley of Pylle, later William Berkeley Portman (d. 1737). Thence it descended through successive generations to Henry William Berkeley Portman (d. 1761), Henry William Portman (d. 1796), Edward Berkeley Portman (I) (d. 1823), Edward Berkeley Portman (II) (cr. Viscount Portman 1873, d. 1888), Henry William Berkeley, 2nd Viscount (d. 1919), and Henry Berkeley, 3rd Viscount (d. 1923). (fn. 56) After the death of the last the title passed to his brother, Claud Berkeley, 4th Viscount, and in 1924 the estate was split up and sold. (fn. 57) No reference to the sale of the lordship of the manor has been traced. Presumably it passed to the present viscount.

The manor-house, now known as Lower Bere Chapel Farm, is a 17th-century house on an internal chimney and cross-passage plan, with 19th- and 20th-century additions on the east. The name of the farm, recorded in 1737, and a piscina discovered in 1863 suggest that it formerly contained a private oratory. (fn. 58)

The estates in Bere and Oathill acquired by Forde abbey in the 12th and 13th centuries from the Burnels and from Savary de Vaux, who had received his lands from Robert Burnel, apparently lay in the south-west of the parish, where the ground was tithe free in the 19th century. (fn. 59) The abbey kept the land until the Dissolution. (fn. 60) By 1556 certain estates in Oathill which had passed to Thomas Duporte were granted to Leonard Tucker, and in 1566 Duporte sold other lands in Oathill Grange, Oathill, and Crewkerne, together with their tithes, to William Westofer. (fn. 61) In 1581 Leonard Tucker sold 80 a. in Oathill to Sir Henry Portman. They then descended with Bere alias Oathill manor. (fn. 62)

A free tenement at ASHCOMBE was held by Alexander of Ashcombe, whose widow's dower was disputed in 1225 by Robert de Courtenay and Richard of Ashcombe. Alexander's daughter Alice sub-let 81½ a. at Ashcombe in 1235 and, as wife of Warresius son of Reynold, held land in Crewkerne in 1243. Her husband was probably the Warresius of Ashcombe who occurs as a free suitor to Crewkerne hundred in 1243. (fn. 63) Ashcombe manor was held by 1303 with that of Crewkerne and so continued, being occupied by the Greenways in the late 16th century. (fn. 64) Three-quarters of the estate was evidently enfranchised during the 17th century, and in 1711 the farm was held by Richard Norris of Netherhay, Broadwindsor (Dors.). By 1719 the property had passed to Elizabeth Bragg (d. 1719) of Sadborow, whose family owned Wayford manor. (fn. 65) Elizabeth used the estate to endow charity schools in Wayford and Thorncombe and on her death the farm descended to Dr. Claver Morris (d. 1727) of Wells, who had married Molly Bragg (d. 1725) of Sadborow in 1703. (fn. 66) Morris was succeeded by his daughter Elizabeth (d. 1760), wife of John Burland (d. 1746) of Steyning, Stogumber, and then by her son John (later Sir John) Burland (d. 1776), baron of the Exchequer, who took a lease of the remaining quarter of Ashcombe from the lord of Crewkerne manor in 1760. (fn. 67) Sir John left the farm to his son John Berkeley Burland (d. 1804), who devised it to his first cousin Mary Anne, daughter of Dr. Claver Morris Burland and wife of James Lloyd Harris (d. 1815–16) of Uley (Glos.). (fn. 68) Three-quarters of the farm passed to Harris's son John Burland Harris, who later assumed the surname Burland, of New Court, Newent (Glos.), and sold it to Alexander Nelson Hood (cr. Viscount Bridport 1868) in 1866. James Lloyd Harris purchased the fee of the quarter held under Crewkerne manor in 1812 and left it to his daughter Honoria, wife of William Spencer Palmer, who conveyed it to Hood in 1867. (fn. 69) The farm continued with the Wayford manor-house estate until the Bridport lands were sold in 1895. (fn. 70) The present Ashcombe farm-house replaced a former building, described in 1883 as recently burnt down. (fn. 71)


Both topographically and economically the parish is divided by the river Axe. Both areas were included within Crewkerne manor T. R. W. and thus no 11th-century valuation has been recovered. The capital manor, lying north over the river and described in 1280 as a house, two carucates, 6 a. of meadow, and 40s. rent, (fn. 72) never occupied more than about a third of the parish's total area. It was valued at £25 in 1528, based on a rental of £17 18s. 5d. (fn. 73) and by 1565 was worth just over £29. (fn. 74) Ashcombe farm, the only other significant settlement north of the Axe, totalled 81½ a. in 1235 and included 142 a. in 1599. (fn. 75) South of the river the grants to Forde abbey by the Burnels from the 12th century divided Bere and Oathill between secular and ecclesiastical jurisdictions and led to disputes over their respective boundaries. (fn. 76) The Burnel manor of Bere and Oathill was valued at £17 in 1491 and the Forde abbey holding at Up Oathill and Bere produced £14 15s. 8d. in 1535. (fn. 77) By the late 16th century most of the parish south of the Axe had passed to the Portman family, the former Burnel manor being worth £17 2s. in 1591 and £10 2s. in 1613. The late abbey lands, called 'Whitelandes, Pluckynscrofte, and Whyteyate' in 1556, were valued at £1 for 100 a. in 1613. (fn. 78)

The capital manor was split in the early 17th century, William Norris receiving a third of 69 a. besides his divided third share of copyhold and leasehold lands belonging to the manor. (fn. 79) The thirds that passed to the Braggs were held in 1719 by 31 tenants paying rents of £11 0s. 3d., (fn. 80) but both tenants and rents fell in number during the 18th century as tenements were sold off. In 1725 there were 24 tenants, by 1734 11 paying £5 17s. 2d., c. 1775 3 holding 24 a. for 23s. 11d. In 1778 the manor head rents amounted only to 16s. 11d. (fn. 81) Most surviving Bragg leases were for 99 years or lives and in respect of relatively small holdings. The chief exception was one of 67½ a. in 1769 to the occupier of Ashcombe, which was for 8 years at a rent of £60. (fn. 82)

During the 17th and 18th centuries the manorhouse and its attached lands remained undivided and in 1698, together with lands in Chillington, they were valued at about £2,000. (fn. 83) The neighbouring estate of Ashcombe comprised 210 a. in 1711, then valued at £2,500, but its extent had fallen to 140 a. in 1778. (fn. 84) Thereafter it increased in area to 181 a. c. 1787, and to 200 a. in 1809. (fn. 85) The Portman estate at Bere and Oathill yielded rents of £10 17s. 10d. c. 1738, and £9 2s. 11d. in 1816. (fn. 86) The largest unit in 1766 was Bere Chapel farm of 316 a.; the remaining 350 a., called Oathill manor, was let to 7 tenants in units varying from 93 a. to 15½ a. Apart from Bere Chapel farm, which by 1760 was let for 7 years at £110, the tenements were held on leases for 99 years or lives. In 1837 3 farms were let at £335 and 14 smaller tenements, evidently at Oathill, paid rents of £14 11s. 11d. (fn. 87)

By 1842 the parish had 1,015 a. of meadow and pasture, 355 a. of arable, and 90 a. of wood and waste. The relative proportion of grassland to arable was almost the same in 1905. (fn. 88) The largest holding in the parish in 1842 was the former manorhouse, then known as Wayford farm, with 447 a., owned by Lord Bridport. Bere Chapel and Oathill (later known as Oathill Dairy) farms totalled 424 a. under the Portmans, and Ashcombe 180 a. Wayford Manor farm, the farm-house lying between the church and the rectory house, comprised 173 a. and included the present Manor Dairy farm. A second Oathill farm of 63 a. was the later Oathill Dairy farm. (fn. 89) By 1851 the picture had not altered much, although the total area farmed from the manor-house had increased to 550 a. (fn. 90) The acquisition in 1866 of Ashcombe farm by Lord Bridport extended his total holding to 689 a., and by 1883 he had created Hill Barn farm with 125 a. out of the manor-house estate, on the site of outbuildings and labourers' cottages. (fn. 91) The three farms constituted the Bridport estate in Wayford when sold in 1895; a total of 646 a. then yielded £840 a year in rents. (fn. 92) During the later 19th century Lord Portman bought lands north of the Axe, including Manor farm and Manor Dairy farm. He divided Bere Chapel farm into two, and built Higher Bere Chapel farm in 1897. By 1924 the Portman estate at Wayford totalled 768 a., including Higher Bere Chapel (190 a.), Lower Bere Chapel (174 a.), Oathill farm (193 a.), and Oathill Dairy farm (60 a.). (fn. 93) Since 1924 Oathill Dairy farm, later called Lower Oathill farm, has become Oathill Stables and by 1975 the areas of Higher and Lower Bere Chapel farms had increased to 330 a. and 303 a. respectively. (fn. 94) Within Wayford village Middle farm was built opposite the manor-house, now Wayford Manor, and with Ashcombe, Higher farm (formerly Hill Barn), Manor farm, and Manor Dairy farm, comprised those holdings north of the Axe in 1976.

Lands then recently inclosed in North field were mentioned in 1610, and others were referred to as parcel of the common field of Wayford in 1652. (fn. 95) These appear to be remnants of a field system which had already largely disappeared, perhaps during the Middle Ages.

Agriculture was the principal occupation, although a girth web weaver occurs in 1637 and a weaver in 1657. (fn. 96) A dyehouse apparently stood on the banks of the Axe before 1766, giving its name to Dyehouse bridge. (fn. 97) In 1851 there were four glovers, two dressmakers, and a 'newswoman' in the parish. (fn. 98) Four people were then employed in factory work, probably at the flax and tow spinning mills at Greenham. The owner of the factory, James Haydon, then lived at Greenham House in Wayford. (fn. 99) In 1868 the population consisted 'entirely of farmers and their labourers'. (fn. 100) A road contractor was mentioned in 1919 and a haulage contractor in 1939; by the latter year a café had opened at Horn Ash. (fn. 101)

A mill forming part of the manor was mentioned in 1528 and described as a water-mill from 1530. (fn. 102) This was probably the water grist mill called Keymer's mill, named after the early-17th-century lord of the manor, which was leased in 1675 and again in 1694 to Robert Norris. The lord repaired the wheels, cogs, 'roungs', and stones in return for the collection of the manor rents by the miller. (fn. 103) The property was still held by Norris c. 1719 but as 'the mill tenement' had passed to Henry Symonds by 1734. (fn. 104) It is not mentioned thereafter. The fieldnames Mill meadow, on the north side of Dunsham Lane in the north-east of the parish, and Gills Mill, south-east of the village and north of the River Axe, suggest approximate and alternative sites for the mill. (fn. 105)


Ashcombe was a separate tithing within Crewkerne manor in 1599 and was later considered to form part of Coombe tithing in Crewkerne. Oathill tithing, which comprised the whole parish south of the Axe, was often stated to lie in Crewkerne parish and included the settlement at Bere and part of Greenham. (fn. 106)

No court rolls have survived for the manors of Wayford, Bere, or Oathill. The court of Wayford manor was mentioned in 1610 and a court baron in 1698, suit of court being demanded of lessees in 1716. (fn. 107) Courts for the manor of Bere alias Oathill continued until at least 1804. (fn. 108)

There were two churchwardens in 1596, one in 1670 and 1674, and one overseer in the last year. (fn. 109) A constable was mentioned in 1709. During the 19th century the vestry appointed two churchwardens, two overseers, a waywarden, and, in 1889, an assistant overseer to collect the rates. (fn. 110)

The parishioners took the reversion of a cottage for use as a parish house in 1672, probably for paupers. In 1778 the parish officers were renting two other properties. (fn. 111) The parish joined the Chard poor-law union in 1836. (fn. 112)


A chapel at Wayford was first mentioned in 1266, when an incumbent was presented by the lord of the manor. (fn. 113) The chapel, with cure of souls, was a daughter to Crewkerne, though the incumbent was always styled rector, and in the Middle Ages the tenants of Wayford and Oathill with their households were obliged to attend Crewkerne church on Crewkerne's dedication feast, St. Bartholomew's day (24 August). (fn. 114) By 1684 and until 1750 this dependence was acknowledged by laying the key of the north door of the church on the altar at Crewkerne on the first Sunday after Michaelmas, then called 'dedication Sunday', and paying 4d. The custom was evidently revived between 1818–19 and 1833–4, except that the ceremony took place on Easter Sunday and the payment was 1s. (fn. 115)

The advowson descended with the lordship of the manor, the bishop collating by lapse in 1424 and 1463. (fn. 116) William Larder presented in 1624 by grant from William Keymer and Elizabeth his wife, widow of James Daubeney. A single turn was granted in 1627 by William Keymer to Richard Bragg, but this was not apparently exercised. (fn. 117) William Norris acquired one turn in three with the third of Wayford manor which he purchased in 1627, although he did not exercise the right. (fn. 118) The remaining two turns descended with the manorhouse estate to Dr. Daubeney Turberville (d. 1696), who left his share of the advowson to Robert son of Israel Sayer of London. (fn. 119) By 1700 it had been acquired by William Bragg (II) of Sadborow, who sold his two-thirds to Samuel Pitt of Cricket Malherbie. (fn. 120) The next vacancy occurred in 1725, but the nominee of Jane Pitt, daughter-in-law of Samuel Pitt, was opposed by William Bragg's grandson, William (IV), evidently unaware of the conveyance to the Pitt family. Bragg tried to obtain the remaining third from Matthew Norris of Crewkerne, heir of William Norris, and the six purchasers of lands forming one third of the manor, but to avoid dispute eventually quitclaimed the next turn to Jane Pitt who duly presented. (fn. 121) The third held by the Norris family was not mentioned again. Mary Pitt, greatniece and heir of Samuel, married Thomas Sergison c. 1732, and he presented in 1751. (fn. 122) By 1755 the advowson had been sold to Azariah Pinney and thereafter it descended with the manor-house estate until at least 1835. (fn. 123) By 1854 the patronage had been acquired by John Hosegood of Chulmleigh (Devon), by 1857 passed to John Alexander of Newbury (Berks.), and by 1880 to A. D. Smith of Edinburgh and Mrs. M. G. Bewley. (fn. 124) Mrs. Bewley was still patron in 1907 but by 1913 the advowson had been granted to the bishop of Bath and Wells. The bishop ceded his right to the Lord Chancellor when the benefice was united with Crewkerne in 1971. (fn. 125)

In 1535 the rectory was worth 93s. 4d. (fn. 126) By c. 1668 the living had a reputed value of £50, which had risen by 1816 to £195 and fallen to £132 net by 1831. (fn. 127) By the mid 13th century all tenants except cottars paid tithe to Crewkerne rectory from Wayford and Oathill, together with the farmer at Ashcombe. The rector of Wayford presumably had the tithe of cottars, and by 1636 tithe from three cottages and about 10 a. in Oathill tithing. (fn. 128) In 1535 the rector's predial tithes were worth 16s. 8d., tithes of sheep and lambs 33s. 4d., and oblations and personal tithes 20s. (fn. 129) Grants of land in Bere and Oathill to Forde abbey had included the tithes issuing from them, and these estates were later considered to be tithe free. In the early 19th century the impropriator of Crewkerne rectory held the tithes of the remaining lands in Oathill tithing, of Ashcombe, and of a few scattered fields north and east of Wayford village. Bere Chapel farm then paid a modus of £2 8s. 10d. to Crewkerne in lieu of tithes and was the only property in the parish which did not render to the rector of Wayford a modus of 8d. for every milch cow. The tithes were commuted in 1842 when the rector was awarded a rent-charge of £140 12s., and John Hussey, as impropriator of Crewkerne, £102 8s. 10d. (fn. 130)

The glebe was worth 23s. 4d. in 1535 and in 1606 comprised two cottages and 27 a. (fn. 131) The rector exchanged 2 a. for a further 6 a. with Azariah Pinney in 1756. (fn. 132) The area of the glebe was given as 26½ a. in 1842, 25 a. in 1939, and had all been sold by 1977. (fn. 133)

The former parsonage house, described in 1606 as a mansion with barn, garden, and orchard, lies east of the church on the south side of the lane through the village. (fn. 134) In 1816 it was described by the non-resident rector as 'too small for my large family', and in 1827 was undergoing repairs for the reception of the curate. (fn. 135) It was replaced by a house built c. 1965 and sold in 1977. (fn. 136)

The benefice did not attract graduate incumbents before the 17th century, the earliest being Edmund Giffard or Jeffard, rector 1611–24, who held it in plurality with Bettiscombe (Dors.). (fn. 137) It is not known whether Giffard's successor, Thomas Browne, rector 1624 until at least 1640, was deprived, but Richard Sharp, rector 1653–1701, survived the Restoration and held the benefice with those of Stawley and Bathealton. (fn. 138) Henry Layng, rector 1701–12, was also vicar of Winsham, canon of Wells, and rector of Potsgrove and Battlesden (Beds.). (fn. 139) The tradition of non-residence continued into the 19th century. Maurice Uphill Hopkins, rector 1793–1819, lived at Stoke Abbott (Dors.), while his assistant curate was vicar of Winsham. Hopkins's successor, Richard Symes Cox, rector 1819–45, although resident, also served Burton Bradstock and North Poorton (both Dors.). (fn. 140) G. R. G. Norris, rector 1936–8, held the living with that of Crewkerne and his successors until 1965 with that of Seaborough (Dors. formerly Som.). Thereafter the living was served by a resident curate-in-charge until the union with Crewkerne in 1971. (fn. 141)

In the Middle Ages the farmer of Ashcombe had the use of 1 a. land belonging to the lord of Wayford manor for taking his turn in providing the holy loaf for Wayford church. (fn. 142) Between the late 17th and early 19th centuries Holy Communion was generally celebrated three or four times a year. (fn. 143) The chapelyard was not used for burials until 1718 when, with the consent of the bishop and the incumbent of Crewkerne, the first interment took place. (fn. 144) The chapel, like the church of Cricket St. Thomas, was apparently used for clandestine marriages in the 18th century. Between 1721 and 1741 28 couples of whom neither party was resident at Wayford were married there, and a further six in 1752–3. (fn. 145) In 1790 it was agreed to supplement the cost of teaching the choir and repairing the instruments from the church rate. Among the instruments provided were bass and tenor viols, treble and tenor violins, and a flute. (fn. 146) The Bullen family, tenants of the manor-house in the 19th century, according to their monument 'had charge of the music of the church, even when that music was of stringed instruments'. (fn. 147) Services were held once on Sundays between 1827 and 1855, generally in the mornings and afternoons alternately, and in 1855 Holy Communion was administered monthly. (fn. 148) On Census Sunday 1851 there were congregations of 50 and Sunday-school attendances of 16 at both the morning and afternoon services. (fn. 149) By 1870 there were two sermons every Sunday, although Communion celebrations had fallen to eight a year. The then churchwarden complained that he and the rector had tried to get a new church built, but had failed because 'the landowners don't come forward as they ought'. (fn. 150) In 1883 ¼ a. of land was purchased for a cemetery, lying east of Townsend on the south side of Dunsham Lane, and a mortuary chapel was built there in 1884. (fn. 151)

The church of ST. MICHAEL lies in the centre of the village. It is a small plain stone structure, mostly rendered, comprising chancel, north vestry, nave, north aisle, south porch, and western bell turret. The chancel and nave are of later-13-th-century origin. Part of the south wall was rebuilt, to incorporate a new window, when the porch was added in the 17th century. In 1800 the 'front' of the church, possibly part of the north wall, had to be rebuilt. The chancel fell down in 1846 and was rebuilt, apparently reusing or copying the original features. In 1725 a western gallery was inserted and rebuilt in 1739 and 1800. (fn. 152) The vestry was added in the 19th century. The timber north arcade is contemporary with the roofs but the aisle walls may be of 19th-century origin.

The bell turret was reconstructed in 1737 and the two bells are dated 1744 and 1790. (fn. 153) The plate includes a cup and cover of 1570. (fn. 154) The registers date from 1704 and are complete. (fn. 155)


Robert Riche was presented as a recusant in 1612 and 1623. (fn. 156) It was claimed in 1669 that there were 200 'hearers' attending five ejected ministers preaching at Wayford, (fn. 157) but there is no subsequent evidence for nonconformity in the parish.


Elizabeth Bragg (d. 1719) of Sadborow, by will left 50s. a year charged on Ashcombe farm to teach 8 poor children. (fn. 158) The school opened in 1719, and in 1822 the parish clerk taught the children reading and religion. (fn. 159) In 1819 there were also schools for 41 boys and girls. (fn. 160) By 1835 numbers in the two day-schools had fallen to 14 and the Bragg bequest had been diverted to them. There was also a Sunday school for 26 children supported by voluntary contributions. (fn. 161) There was no permanent school building in 1865, and in 1873 it was proposed to unite Wayford with Crewkerne for educational purposes and to build a school at Clapton. The Wayford school, called a dame school, with an average attendance of 20, was succeeded by the Crewkerne and Wayford Board school, opened in 1878. Under a Scheme of 1879 a third of the Bragg and Turberville charities (see below) was to be for education for Wayford children who attended a public elementary school in sums of £1 for each child. Under an Order of 1905 the charity was known as Turberville's Educational Foundation. (fn. 162)


Dr. Daubeney Turberville (d. 1696) left £100 in trust to purchase land, the rent to be applied to the unrelieved poor. Twelve acres in Mosterton (Dors.) were bought, and the money, usually £15 or £14 10s., was distributed at Christmas to the second poor. The rent fell in the early 19th century to £10 but by 1865 was £20. (fn. 163) In 1863 the trustees applied to divert up to one third of the income to the parish school, an action approved in 1866 since there were few second poor then in Wayford. Under a Scheme of 1879 two-thirds was to be applied to the benefit of 'deserving and necessitous persons' and the remainder used for education. In 1892 the income was applied in gifts to 28 poor persons and in 1938 29 heads of families and 16 children received a total of £10. The income amounted to £30 in 1965, distributed as before. (fn. 164)


  • 1. Census, 1881; Local Govt. Bd. Order 16,420, 25 Mar. 1885. This article was completed in 1975.
  • 2. Census, 1971.
  • 3. Geol. Surv. Map 1", solid and drift, sheet 312 (1958 edn.).
  • 4. O.S. Map 6", Som. XCII. NE., XCII. SE. (1886 edn.).
  • 5. Forde Abbey, Cart. pp. 541, 544–5.
  • 6. S.R.S. xi, p. 322.
  • 7. Proc. Som. Arch. Soc. cxx. 63–7.
  • 8. S.R.S. xiii, p. 10.
  • 9. E. Ekwall, Oxf. Dict. Eng. Place-names, 478.
  • 10. Forde Abbey, Cart. pp. 270, 526, 528, 531–4, 545.
  • 11. Also called Borough Cross in 1610 and 1839: D.R.O., LL 388; S.R.O., DD/SB 33/6.
  • 12. Crewkerne Turnpike Act, 5 Geo. III, c. 61 (Priv. Act).
  • 13. Chard Turnpike Act, 10 Geo. IV, c. xciii (Local and Personal).
  • 14. Forde Abbey, Cart. pp. 529–30, 541; Pulman, Bk. of the Axe, 356.
  • 15. D.R.O., LL 388.
  • 16. S.R.S. vi. 86–7; S.R.O., tithe award.
  • 17. Prob. 11/48 (P.C.C. 21 Morrison); Cal. Antrobus Deeds (Wilts. A.N.H.S. Rec. Branch, iii), 84; S.R.O., tithe award.
  • 18. S.R.O., Q/RL; P.O. Dir. Som. (1875); Kelly's Dir. Som. (1883–1939); O.S. Map 6", Som. XCII. NE. (1886 edn.); local information.
  • 19. V.C.H. Som. ii. 343; Census, 1911–71.
  • 20. B.L. Add MS. 30077, f. 37.
  • 21. D.N.B.
  • 22. S.R.S. vi. 66; Devon and Cwll. N. & Q. xx. 343.
  • 23. Bk. of Fees, ii. 766.
  • 24. Close R. 1242–7, 307, 328; Trans. Devon Assoc. lxxiii. 150; W. Pole, Description of Devon, 335.
  • 25. Cal. Inq. p.m. iii, p. 149; iv, pp. 199–200; Feud. Aids, iv. 317.
  • 26. C 142/80/159; C 142/512/197.
  • 27. Rot. de Ob. et Fin. (Rec. Com.), 274; Cur. Reg. R. iv, p. 292.
  • 28. S.R.S. vi. 66.
  • 29. Bk. of Fees, ii. 766; Proc. Som. Arch. Soc. lxxxii. 204; S.R.S. xiii, p. 10; Cal. Pat. 1266–72, 401; Forde Abbey, Cart. pp. 528, 544–5, 551. The wife of William of Wayford was named Scolace: Forde Abbey, Cart. p. 551.
  • 30. S.R.S. xliv. 43–4, 126; Feud. Aids, iv. 317, 331.
  • 31. S.R.S. iii. 156; ix, pp. 360, 367; x, pp. 433, 509; Feud. Aids, 339.
  • 32. S.R.S. xiii, pp. 38, 66; xv. 70; xxxi, pp. 75, 117–18; Feud. Aids, iv. 382.
  • 33. S.R.S. xv. 70.
  • 34. Ibid.; Visits. Som. 1531, 1573, ed. F. W. Weaver, 58; C 142/80/159.
  • 35. C 142/80/159; C 142/119/152; C 142/141/16; S.R.O., D/D/Rr 434.
  • 36. D.R.O., LL 387.
  • 37. Ibid. 382, 384.
  • 38. Ibid. 374, 387, 388; D.R.O., D 104, grant of presentation, 19 July 1627; Lambeth Palace MSS., COMM. III/3, p. 3 (3rd nos.).
  • 39. D.R.O., D 104, grant of presentation, 19 July 1627; LL 31, pedigree of Bragg family.
  • 40. D.R.O., LL 31.
  • 41. Ibid. 31, 358, 379, 381–2.
  • 42. P.O. Dir. Som. (1861–75); Kelly's Dir. Som. (1883).
  • 43. S.R.O., D/D/Rr 434; Som. Wills, ed. Brown, iv. 60–1.
  • 44. Prob. 11/457 (P.C.C. 50 Noel), will of Hugh Daubeney Gibbs; C 22/79/13; C 22/79/25; C 22/79/37; C 5/166/102.
  • 45. C 22/79/25; D.R.O., LL 381, endorsement on conveyance, 15 Dec. 1725; S.R.O., D/D/C, petition for faculty, 13 Aug. 1755; M.I. in ch.
  • 46. S. & D. N. & Q. viii. 345–6; M.I. in ch.
  • 47. S. & D. N. & Q. ix. 351; S.R.O., D/P/wa 4/1/1; M.I. in ch.
  • 48. S.R.O., D/P/wa 4/1/1; DD/SAS (C/2273/1) B.14.1; Country Life, lxxvi. 336; Complete Peerage, s.v. Bridport; M.I. in churchyard.
  • 49. Ex inf. Mrs. R. L. Goffe.
  • 50. See plate facing p. 33.
  • 51. Rot. Chart. (Rec. Com.), 112; Cal. Chart. R. 1300– 26, 208; Forde Abbey, Cart. pp. 268–70, 528–30, 541.
  • 52. Forde Abbey, Cart. pp. 277, 526–7; S.R.S. vi. 90, 97, 372.
  • 53. S.R.S. xvii. 135; C 142/6/18.
  • 54. C.P. 25(2)/35/237/22 Hen. VIII Mich.; C 142/108/94; C 142/229/101; S.R.S. lxvii, p. 141.
  • 55. C 142/406/67; G.E.C. Baronetage, i. 90.
  • 56. G.E.C. Baronetage, i. 90–1; Burke, Peerage (1967), 2024; Hutchins, Hist. Dors. i. 256.
  • 57. Burke, Peerage (1967), 2024–5; S.R.O., DD/KW 15.
  • 58. C.P. 43/750 rot. 23; Pulman, Bk. of the Axe, 355.
  • 59. Forde Abbey, Cart. pp. 270, 277, 524–30, 539, 541; S.R.O., tithe award.
  • 60. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), ii. 299.
  • 61. Cal. Pat. 1555–7, 7; 1563–6, p. 416.
  • 62. S.R.S. li, pp. 128–9; C 142/406/67.
  • 63. S.R.S. vi. 86–7; xi, pp. 86, 167, 322.
  • 64. Bk. of Fees, iv. 316–17, 339; Cal. Pat. 1313–17, 267; S.R.O., D/D/Rr 434, burial of Ursula Greenway of Ashcombe, 29 Nov. 1598; T/PH/hsy, survey of Crewkerne manor, 1599.
  • 65. C 7/244/10; S.R.O., D/P/wa 2/1/1.
  • 66. 9th Rep. Com. Char. H.C. 258, p. 505 (1823), ix; S.R.O., DD/WM 1/112; Diary of a West Country Physician, ed. E. Hobhouse, 13–14.
  • 67. Hutchins, Hist. Dors. i. 257; S.R.O., DD/SS, bdle. 54.
  • 68. S. & D. N. & Q. iii. 269; S.R.O., D/P/wa 4/1/1.
  • 69. S.R.O., DD/BR/an 5; DD/SB 38/1; Burke, Peerage (1949), 255.
  • 70. S.R.O., DD/SAS (C/2273/1) B. 14. 1.
  • 71. S.R.O., DD/HA 11.
  • 72. V.C.H. Som. i. 439; S.R.S. xliv. 43–4.
  • 73. C 142/80/159.
  • 74. C 142/141/16.
  • 75. S.R.S. vi. 86–7; S.R.O., T/PH/hsy, survey of Crewkerne, 1599.
  • 76. Forde Abbey, Cart. pp. 268–77, 526–30; Bracton's Note Bk. ed. Maitland, i. 168–9.
  • 77. C 142/6/18; Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), ii. 299.
  • 78. C 142/229/101; S.R.S. lxvii, p. 141; Cal. Pat. 1555–7, 5.
  • 79. D.R.O., LL 387.
  • 80. Ibid. 357.
  • 81. D.R.O., D 104 8495, 8497; LL 358.
  • 82. D.R.O., LL 375, 377–80, 383, 385.
  • 83. C 5/166/102.
  • 84. C 7 244/10; S.R.O., DD/WM 1/112; DD/SAS C/14/18/2.
  • 85. S.R.O., DD/PT, box 41, proposal bk.; DD/SAS C/14/15.
  • 86. S.R.O., DD/PM, box 8, rentals.
  • 87. Ibid. boxes 9, 16, 24.
  • 88. S.R.O., tithe award; statistics supplied by the then Bd. of Agric. 1905.
  • 89. S.R.O., tithe award.
  • 90. H.O. 107/1928.
  • 91. Ibid.; S.R.O., DD/HA 10, 11.
  • 92. S.R.O., DD/SAS, C/2273/1, B.14.1.
  • 93. S.R.O., DD/KW 15.
  • 94. Ex inf. Mr. E. G. Cox, Wayford.
  • 95. D.R.O., LL 388; C 8/87/126.
  • 96. S.R.O., DD/SP, inventories, 1637/69; Prob. 11/266 (P.C.C. 1657/289).
  • 97. S.R.O., DD/PM, box 24.
  • 98. H.O. 107/1928.
  • 99. Ibid.
  • 100. Char. Com. files.
  • 101. Kelly's Dir. Som. (1919, 1939).
  • 102. C 142/80/159; C.P. 25 (2)/35/237/22 Hen. VIII Mich.; C 142/141/16.
  • 103. D.R.O., LL 380.
  • 104. Ibid. 357, 8495.
  • 105. S.R.O., tithe award.
  • 106. S.R.O., T/PH/hsy, survey of Crewkerne manor, 1599; Pulman, Bk. of the Axe, 358n.; S.R.O., DD/PM, box 16, Oathill leases, 1766–1804.
  • 107. D.R.O., LL 379, 383, 388.
  • 108. S.R.O., DD/PM, box 16, lease, 11 June 1804.
  • 109. S.R.O., D/D/Rr 434; Dir. Som. ed. Dwelly, ii. 77, 253.
  • 110. S.R.O., D/P/wa 4/1/1.
  • 111. D.R.O., LL 358, 376, 384, 8497.
  • 112. Poor Law Com. 2nd Rep. p. 547.
  • 113. S.R.S. xiii, p. 10.
  • 114. Proc. Som. Arch. Soc. cxx. 65.
  • 115. S.R.O., D/P/wa 4/1/1.
  • 116. S.R.S. xxx, p. 449; xlix, p. 385.
  • 117. Som. Incumbents, ed. Weaver.
  • 118. D.R.O., LL 387.
  • 119. Lambeth Palace MSS., COMM. III/3, p. 3 (3rd nos.); Prob 11/431 (P.C.C. 1696/82).
  • 120. Som. Incumbents, ed. Weaver; D.R.O., LL 381.
  • 121. D.R.O., LL 381–2.
  • 122. S.R.O., DD/BR/rw, box 2, release, 10 Dec. 1756; D/D/B reg. 27; Hist. Parl., Commons, 1754–90, iii. 421.
  • 123. S.R.O., D/D/C, petns. for faculties, 1755; S.R.O., D/D/B reg. 32–3; Rep. Com. Eccl. Revenues, pp. 156–7.
  • 124. S.R.O., D/D/B reg. 37, 40.
  • 125. Dioc. Kal. (1888–1907); Dioc. Dir. (1908–71).
  • 126. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), i. 166.
  • 127. S.R.O., D/D/Vc 24; D/D/B return 1816; Rep. Com. Eccl. Revenues, pp. 156–7.
  • 128. S.R.O., D/D/Rg 327; Proc. Som. Arch. Soc. cxx. 65.
  • 129. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), i. 166.
  • 130. Forde Abbey, Cart. pp. 529–30; S.R.O., tithe award.
  • 131. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), i. 166; S.R.O., D/D/Rg 327.
  • 132. S.R.O., D/D/C, petns. for faculties, 1755.
  • 133. S.R.O., tithe award; Kelly's Dir. Som. (1939); ex inf. Diocesan office.
  • 134. S.R.O., D/D/Rg 327.
  • 135. S.R.O., D/D/B return 1816; D/D/V return 1827.
  • 136. Ex inf. the vicar of Crewkerne.
  • 137. Som. Incumbents, ed. Weaver; Foster, Alumni Oxon.
  • 138. Som. Incumbents, ed. Weaver; S.R.O., D/D/Rr 434; Lambeth Palace MSS., COMM. III/3 p. 3 (3rd nos.).
  • 139. Som. Incumbents, ed. Weaver; Foster, Alumni Oxon.
  • 140. S.R.O., D/D/B return 1815; D/D/V returns 1827, 1833.
  • 141. Dioc. Dir. (1936–72).
  • 142. Proc. Som. Arch. Soc. cxx. 65.
  • 143. S.R.O., D/P/wa 4/1/1.
  • 144. Ibid. 2/1/1.
  • 145. Ibid.
  • 146. Ibid. 4/1/1.
  • 147. M.I. in ch.
  • 148. S.R.O., D/D/V returns 1827, 1833, 1840, 1843, 1855.
  • 149. H.O. 129/318/4/1/1.
  • 150. S.R.O., D/D/V return 1870.
  • 151. S.R.O., D/D/B reg. 40.
  • 152. S.R.O., D/P/wa 4/1/1; Pulman, Bk. of the Axe, 360.
  • 153. S.R.O., D/P/wa 2/1/1, 4/1/1; DD/SAS CH 16.
  • 154. Proc. Som. Arch. Soc. xlv. 148.
  • 155. S.R.O., D/P/wa 2/1/1–5.
  • 156. S.R.O., D/D/Ca 175, 235; S.R.S. xliii. 75.
  • 157. T. G. Crippen, Nonconformity in Som. (Som. Arch. Soc. Libr. Taunton Castle).
  • 158. 9th Rep. Com. Char. H.C. 258, p. 505 (1823), ix.
  • 159. Ibid.; S.R.O., D/P/wa 2/1/1.
  • 160. Digest of Returns to Sel. Cttee. on Educ. of Poor, H.C. 224 (1819), ix (2).
  • 161. Educ. Enquiry Abstract, H.C. 62 (1835), xlii. A house formerly a school occurs in 1851: H.O. 107/1928.
  • 162. Char. Com. files.
  • 163. 9th Rep. Com. Char. H.C. 258, pp. 504–5 (1823), ix.
  • 164. Char. Com. files.