Stockland Bristol: Local government

Pages 128-129

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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In the 1220s Maurice de Gaunt was granted freedom from suit to Cannington hundred. In 1247 Maurice's widow, Margaret de Sumery, agreed that the men in her dower estate of Stockland should pay suit to the foreign hundred of the hospital of St. Mark, Bristol, although she was to receive all the amercements. (fn. 1) It was later said that the king had confirmed Stockland's freedom from suit to the sheriff's tourn. (fn. 2)

Court books for Stockland manor survive for 1547-91, 1595-8, 1603-4, 1606, 1609, 1617-33, 1637-52, and 1757-1853. Courts met once or twice a year and combined tenurial business with courts leet and view of frankpledge. In 1581 the court ordered that a pillory and a cucking stool be set up. The tenants complained that the lords held courts less frequently than twice a year, as was customary, and in 1603 that the lords failed to give a court dinner; they also said they should maintain the pound which lay south of the village street east of the church. Court business consisted mainly of seeing that watercourses and bridges were maintained and preventing nuisances. (fn. 3) The tithingman, chosen by a rota of tenants of Stockland manor between the 16th and 18th centuries, served as hayward in the following year. (fn. 4)

The overseers paid relief in cash and kind including house rent and doctor's bills. In the 1860s an assistant overseer was employed. (fn. 5)

The church house appears to have been used as a poorhouse from the later 17th century. It comprised west, north, and south chambers, and was extensively repaired in 1697-8. (fn. 6) In 1702 bricks were provided for an oven. The overseers paid rent for the building and in 1713 a doctor was paid to treat seven of the almshouse people. (fn. 7) The building was described as an almshouse in 1744 but was maintained by the parish in the early 19th century. (fn. 8) The house and an adjoining cottage were demolished c. 1845. (fn. 9)

Stockland formed part of the Bridgwater poorlaw union from 1836, Bridgwater rural district from 1894, and Sedgemoor district from 1974. (fn. 10)


  • 1. Cart. St. Mark's, pp. 123, 142.
  • 2. Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii. 118.
  • 3. Bristol R.O. 04403-4; S.R.O., DD/DHR 36; DD/BR/ely 20/17.
  • 4. S.R.O., DD/DHR 36; Bristol R.O. 04203, 04403.
  • 5. S.R.O., D/P/stoc. b 4/1/2, 13/2/1.
  • 6. Ibid. 4/1/1-2.
  • 7. Ibid. 4/1/2.
  • 8. Ibid. 13/2/1; DD/DHR 36, survey 1744; Bristol R.O. 04246.
  • 9. Taunton Castle, Braikenridge colln., drawing by W. W. Wheatley, 1845.
  • 10. Youngs, Local Admin. Units, i. 671, 673, 676.