Cannington: Local government

Page 87

A History of the County of Somerset: Volume 6, Andersfield, Cannington, and North Petherton Hundreds (Bridgwater and Neighbouring Parishes). Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1992.

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Between the 14th and 16th centuries Cannington was divided between the four tithings of Cannington, Chilton, Combwich, and Rodway. (fn. 1) Blackmoor, however, was said to be in Adscombe tithing in 1389. (fn. 2) Orchard tithing, recorded in 1455, (fn. 3) may have been an alternative name for Chilton tithing, which was known as Orchard and Chilton in 1641 and separated into two tithings by 1665. (fn. 4) By the mid 18th century Rodway was divided between Home and Quarter, the latter consisting of the marshes. (fn. 5) The Rodway tithingman was elected in Rodway manor court in the 16th century. (fn. 6) In 1675 neither the tithingman nor the constable of Cannington lived in the parish and their duties were done by the churchwardens. (fn. 7)

Courts leet for Rodway manor were held twice a year in 1485 and court rolls survive for Rodway for 1532-3. (fn. 8) The court was then concerned with maintaining buildings, ditches, hedges, and gates, controlling livestock, and appointing the reeve. Lord Clifford held courts in the early 19th century for Cannington and Rodway. His tenants were given a treat at the Anchor and he paid a bailiff and a woodward. (fn. 9) Blackmoor manor court records survive for 1556-7 and 1611: the court was concerned with repairs, livestock, and illegal felling. (fn. 10) Tenants of Chilton owed suit of court in 1338 (fn. 11) and a court roll survives for 1817 when a bailiff was appointed. (fn. 12)

Poor relief was provided in cash and kind at the beginning of the 18th century but by the end it was almost entirely in cash. (fn. 13) In 1731 the parish proposed setting up a workhouse; (fn. 14) the vestry again considered building a poorhouse in 1816, when a surgeon was employed to inoculate poor children. (fn. 15) A select vestry was appointed from 1821 to 1835. (fn. 16) In the early 20th century Cannington House was let to the Bridgwater guardians to house children. (fn. 17) By 1866 Cannington had a burial board and was later part of the Cannington and Wembdon drainage district. (fn. 18) Cannington formed part of Bridgwater poor-law union in 1836, Bridgwater rural district in 1894, and Sedgemoor district in 1974. (fn. 19)


  • 1. S.R.S. iii. 140, 142, 144; xx. 246-7, 249.
  • 2. Ibid. xiv, pp. 200-1.
  • 3. J. C. Wedgwood, Hist. Parl., Biogs. 276, n. 6.
  • 4. Som. Protestation Returns, ed. A. J. Howard and T. L. Stoate, 193; Dwelly, Hearth Tax, i. 65-70.
  • 5. S.R.O., Q/REI 7/2, 2A-F.
  • 6. W. Suss. R.O., PHA, ct. roll.
  • 7. S.R.O., Q/SR 127/16.
  • 8. W. Suff. R.O. 449/E3/15. 53/2.5; W. Suss. R.O., PHA, ct. roll.
  • 9. Clifford MSS., estate accts.; ibid. IV/6/7/X 1A.
  • 10. S.R.O., DD/S/WH 210-11.
  • 11. S.R.S. lvii, p. 30.
  • 12. S.R.O., D/P/bw. jo 8/4/1.
  • 13. Ibid. D/P/can 13/2/1-2, 4.
  • 14. Ibid. 4/1/1.
  • 15. Ibid. 9/1/1.
  • 16. Ibid. 9/4/1.
  • 17. Som. C. C., deeds 103A; Kelly's Dir. Som. (1931).
  • 18. S.R.O., D/P/can 23/2; D/RA D3A.
  • 19. Youngs, Local Admin. Units, i. 671, 673, 676.