Creech St. Michael: Manors and other estates

Pages 21-24

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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A grant of land in 882 by King Alfred to Athelstan has been identified, probably incorrectly, as Creech. (fn. 1) In 1066 CREECH was held by Gunild, daughter of Earl Godwin, and at the Conquest passed to the Crown. (fn. 2) William, count of Mortain, had acquired the manor by c. 1102, when it formed part of his endowment of Montacute priory. (fn. 3) Montacute retained the manor until 1539, receiving a grant of free warren in 1252. (fn. 4) In 1542 the manor was granted for a term of years to Sir Thomas Wyatt (d. 1542), who left it to his widow Elizabeth. (fn. 5) Elizabeth (d. 1560) and her second husband, Sir Edward Warner, sold her interest in 1557 to William Knapman the younger, who had already acquired the reversion of the manor, which the Crown had granted in reversion to Sir Edward Hastings. (fn. 6) It was then subject to a fee farm rent payable to the Clothworkers Company and a charge of £53 11s. 10d. a year in favour of Hastings's hospital at Stoke Poges (Bucks.). (fn. 7) The manor was divided, probably by Knapman, half passing in 1558 to John Radford (d. 1565) and later to John's son Lawrence, (fn. 8) and half to John Harris, whose share in 1585 was sold by Nicholas Harris and Henry Shattock to Lawrence Radford. (fn. 9) Lawrence died in 1590 and his son Arthur sold the manor in 1598 to Robert Cuffe, (fn. 10) owner of the capital messuage and other lands, which his father, also Robert (d. 1593), had purchased. (fn. 11)

Robert Cuffe the younger (d. 1639) was succeeded by his son, also Robert, who died c. 1664. (fn. 12) His trustees sold the lordship in 1666 to Sir John Coventry, who held large mortgages on the Cuffe estates. The manor house and demesne were excluded from the sale. (fn. 13) Sir John (d. 1682) (fn. 14) was succeeded by his cousin Francis Coventry (d. 1686). (fn. 15) Francis's heir was his sister Elizabeth, wife of Sir William Keyt, Bt. (d. 1702). Elizabeth's son William died in 1702, one month before his father, leaving his inheritance in Creech to his three younger sons John, Francis, and Hastings, who held the manor jointly. (fn. 16) John died in 1733 leaving a son William under age. (fn. 17) Francis and Hastings died without issue. (fn. 18) William died in 1740 (fn. 19) and the manor passed successively to his uncle Sir William Keyt, Bt. (d. 1741), and to Sir William's sons Sir Thomas and Sir Robert, who held the manor jointly with John's widow Mary under a settlement of 1718. Sir Thomas died in 1755 leaving his share to his brother Sir Robert. (fn. 20) Mary died c. 1758 (fn. 21) and in 1768 Sir Robert and his wife Margaret sold the manor to William Hussey of Salisbury. Between 1771 and his death in 1813 Hussey sold lands to tenants but reserved quit rents. He devised the manor to his nephew Henry Hinxman and to his great-nephews Edward Hinxman and James Hussey in trust for sale. Land was sold c. 1818, and in 1834 Edward Hinxman sold the manor, consisting almost entirely of quit rents, to William Howard of West Monkton. (fn. 22) Howard died in 1869 and the manor passed in turn to his grandson Edwin Thomas Howard (fn. 23) (d. 1920), E. T. Howard (d. 1956), and Mrs. N. T. Howard (d. 1975). The lords of the manor in 1984 were Mr. G. T. Howard, Mrs. I. M. Richards, and Mrs. K. P. Griffiths. (fn. 24)

The capital messuage, recorded in 1303, (fn. 25) was let to farm in 1535 to John Cuffe (d. 1557). (fn. 26) His son Robert died in 1593 in possession of the house and demesnes of 160 a., half of which he had bought from William Knapman in 1559. (fn. 27) Robert's son Robert (d. 1639), lord of the manor from 1598, (fn. 28) rebuilt the house, which was described in 1633 as new and the greatest ornament of the parish. (fn. 29) The capital messuage and demesnes were excluded from the sale of the manor in 1666. (fn. 30) Robert Cuffe's son Robert died unmarried in 1676. (fn. 31) His heir was his sister Anne (d. 1690), first wife of Sir Francis Warre of Hestercombe (d. 1718). (fn. 32) Their son John died c. 1710 leaving his interest in the estate to his father. (fn. 33) It then descended to Francis's daughter Margaret, wife of John Bampfylde. (fn. 34) Margaret died in 1758 (fn. 35) and was succeeded by her son Copplestone Warre Bampfylde. He died in 1791 leaving his land to his nephew John Tyndale, son of his sister Margaretta, who was to take the name Warre. (fn. 36) John Tyndale Warre held the estate, known as Court Barton, until 1816 when he sold it to Thomas Dyer who conveyed it to John Snook in 1825. Snook released the estate in trust for sale in 1832. It was bought by George Bickham who sold it to John Dunning in 1837. (fn. 37) Court Barton farm was held by the Dunning family until 1901 when it was broken up and sold. (fn. 38)

The house, which lies east of the church, was known as Creech farm in 1798 (fn. 39) but later as Court House (fn. 40) and Court Barton. The northwest corner of the house is early or mid 16th-century and may have been the kitchen and service wing of a substantial house. It retains two large mullioned and transomed windows on the north gable end and a kitchen fireplace on the east side. In the later 18th century, but not simultaneously, additional ranges were added to the south and east by which time the western part of the original house had been demolished.

BURLINCH manor may have formed part of the estate of John Paulet, marquess of Winchester, in 1573. (fn. 41) It was conveyed by Thomas Wood to George Palmer in 1688 (fn. 42) possibly in trust for the Sanford family who owned it in 1713. (fn. 43) By 1755 it had been divided. (fn. 44) In 1780 the manor, then called Ballcombe probably by confusion with a neighbouring estate in North Petherton, was held by John Muttlebury who left it to his eldest son John. (fn. 45) Comprising a smallholding and chief rents, it was owned by James Loveless in 1839 and sold in 1845. (fn. 46) There is no record of a capital messuage but a dovecot was recorded in 1755. (fn. 47)

Richard Wrotham held ½ virgate under Montacute priory in 1247 (fn. 48) and his great niece Evelyn Durant held a free tenement in 1312. (fn. 49) That may have been the origin of the CREECH manor held by Thomas Wroth in 1664, (fn. 50) which comprised lands formerly part of the main manor and an estate at Adsborough. (fn. 51) The manor descended with Newton Wroth in North Petherton. (fn. 52) Lordship is not recorded after 1723 when it was apportioned to Cecily Wroth and her husband Sir Hugh Acland, (fn. 53) and some of the land and a farm were sold. (fn. 54) The largest farm, bought from the Taylor family, probably in the 1740s, (fn. 55) was at Charlton and was retained until 1799 when Lady Harriet Acland sold it to George Coombe. (fn. 56) Known as Aclands in 1839, (fn. 57) and later as Charlton House, it remained in the Coombe family until 1929 when it was sold. (fn. 58) Charlton House is a large 19th-century villa.

LITTLE CREECH manor was conveyed by George Farwell to Thomas Warre in 1609. (fn. 59) By 1612 it had passed to Sir John Portman, Bt. (d. 1612), who was succeeded by his son Henry. It was said to be held of the king in chief (fn. 60) and descended in the Portman family with Clavelshay in North Petherton until 1665 or later. (fn. 61) By the early 18th century it was part of Creech manor. (fn. 62) The land was owned by 1780 and in 1800 by John Bowering, (fn. 63) by John Philips in 1804, (fn. 64) and in 1839 by Mary Nixon. (fn. 65) In 1963 the farm was purchased by the R.S.P.C.A. and in 1984 it housed an animal centre and wildlife unit.

Montacute priory appropriated Creech church in 1362 and until the Dissolution held the rectory, comprising two thirds of the corn tithe and 7 a. of arable in 1362, (fn. 66) but only tithes in 1539. (fn. 67) In 1539 it was leased to John Cuffe, whose son Robert obtained a lease from the Crown in 1577. (fn. 68) Robert's son, also Robert, purchased the reversion before 1636 and the rectory descended with the Creech manor demesnes until 1816 or later. (fn. 69) The estate in the 1780s consisted of the great tithes of overland and two thirds of the tithe on 'place lands'. (fn. 70) Early in the 19th century, probably in 1816, the rectory was acquired by Thomas Dyer, who in 1818 sold the tithe of 'place lands' to the Revd. Richard Formby but retained the tithe of overlands. (fn. 71) By 1839 several landowners, notably George Coombe in 1817, had purchased the tithes of their own lands, accounting for one quarter of the rectorial estate. (fn. 72) In 1839 the Revd. Miles Formby and Mary, widow of Thomas Dyer, holders of the remaining rectorial tithes, were awarded rent charges of £120 and £40 respectively. (fn. 73)

During the 16th century several estates were created out of the medieval manor of Creech including Charlton, Ham, Langaller, and possibly Walford. In 1558 William Knapman was licensed to grant a house, dovecot, and 138 a. in CHARLTON to Alexander Sydenham. (fn. 74) John Sydenham (d. 1547), probably Alexander's father, had been a tenant of the manor in 1539, and was the largest taxpayer in the parish in 1526. (fn. 75) Alexander Sydenham (d. 1584) (fn. 76) was succeeded by his daughter Elizabeth, wife of Sir John Poyntz. (fn. 77) Charlton descended with Moorland in North Petherton until 1627 or later, (fn. 78) when it was probably sold to John Pocock, tenant in 1603. Pocock (d. 1631) left Charlton to his wife Joan for life and then to his younger daughter Rachel. (fn. 79) Rachel married Edward Cely (d. 1679) (fn. 80) and was succeeded by her grandson William Cely, a minor. William died c. 1723 and his son John in 1723. (fn. 81) John's twin brother Edward had succeeded by 1733 but died in 1746 (fn. 82) leaving it to his brother Maurice. It was sold to a younger brother, Trevilian Cely, before 1752. Trevilian died unmarried before 1767 when his heir was his eldest surviving brother William. (fn. 83) William, who took the name Trevilian as heir to his uncle John Trevilian (d. 1749) of Midelney in Drayton, held Charlton until his death in 1774 (fn. 84) and left it to his nephew William Southey, son of his sister Elizabeth. William took the surname Cely and died in 1781 (fn. 85) leaving Charlton to his mother Elizabeth, who by her will dated 1782 devised it to her niece Mary Ann Dewbury. In 1783 Mary Ann sold Charlton to John Bullen of Greenwich (Kent). By the 1820s it had been forfeited to mortgagees and in 1831 was left to John Matthew Quantock by his father John, nephew of the original mortgagee. (fn. 86) John Matthew Quantock conveyed part of the estate to George Coombe in 1846 and Charlton farm in 1858 to James Bond (d. c. 1876). (fn. 87) It was probably bought by George Coombe's son George, who held Charlton until his death in 1929 when the estate was divided and sold, although his widow kept the house until she died in 1934. (fn. 88)

The capital messuage was known as Charlton Farm in 1603. (fn. 89) Now called Charlton Manor, it is an L-shaped brick house with a seven-bayed front of two storeys and an attic. The earliest part of the house appears to be the later 17thcentury west range, with the projecting stair turret close to the centre of the east side. It probably had a service wing running eastwards from its north end, and had 10 hearths in 1664, although 3 were no longer in use. (fn. 90) The wing was rebuilt and possibly lengthened early in the 18th century, and the house was refitted later in the century. In the earlier 19th century the west front was remodelled, its northern half being largely rebuilt.

In 1557 William Knapman sold lands at HAM to Thomas Marshall (fn. 91) who probably sold them to Robert Cuffe. They descended in the Cuffe family as Ham manor but were probably reabsorbed into Creech manor after 1598. (fn. 92) A house called the Court House at Ham was let in 1760 and sold in 1790 by the lord of Creech manor. (fn. 93) The cottage called Courthouse may be on the site.

In 1559 William Knapman sold half the estate at LANGALLER to Robert Cuffe. (fn. 94) It descended with the Creech manor demesne until 1666 and then once again with Creech manor. (fn. 95) In 1598 Arthur Radford conveyed lands, probably the other half of the same estate, to William White (fn. 96) (d. c. 1629), from whom the lands passed probably in the direct male line to Francis (fn. 97) (d. by 1664), William (fn. 98) (d. c. 1676), William, and Francis White. (fn. 99) By 1767 the White estates were held by Samuel Richards, who had married Susanna, sister of Francis White. (fn. 100) Samuel was succeeded c. 1775 (fn. 101) by his sons John and Francis White Richards jointly. Francis was dead by 1836, and John (d. 1844) held the whole estate in 1839. (fn. 102) John was succeeded by his son Francis White (d. 1850), and Francis by his son John Simon, on whose death in 1915 the estate was broken up and sold. (fn. 103)

The house now known as Langaller Manor Farm was partially rebuilt of stone in the 17th century but the lower east end is of cob and is probably part of an earlier house. The house was greatly altered in the 19th century. (fn. 104)

WALFORD PLACE was owned by Nicholas Raymond (d. 1612). His son Samuel (d. 1633) (fn. 105) added further land there and at Adsborough and Langaller by purchase in 1621 from Hugh Elliott, son of John (d. 1604) who had held it in 1598. (fn. 106) Samuel was succeeded by his son George (d. by 1651) whose widow Dorothy survived until 1677. (fn. 107) George's son Dr. Samuel Raymond (d. 1690) (fn. 108) was followed by his son Samuel who sold Elliott's lands to James Trivet in 1701 and Walford Place to William Cornish in 1706. (fn. 109) By 1733 Walford Place was known as Walford farm and was owned by George Bubb Dodington (cr. Lord Melcombe 1761, d. 1762). (fn. 110) It descended with Dodington manor (fn. 111) until 1797 when it was sold to Thomas Warren (d. c. 1825). Thomas's sons Joseph and William (d. c. 1844) succeeded jointly, and in 1858 Joseph sold it to Charles Chapman of North Petherton. (fn. 112) It probably then descended with Shovel in North Petherton until the late 19th century. (fn. 113)

Walford Farm, known as Walford Place until 1754 or later, (fn. 114) has been divided into two dwellings. The house has at its centre a low range with jointed upper cruck roof which was rebuilt, probably by Nicholas Raymond, c. 1600. There are extensions of the 18th and early 19th centuries at each end, and at the back extensive cider houses, probably of the 19th century, form part of the boundary of a walled garden.


  • 1. Birch, Cart. Sax. ii, p. 170; H. P. R. Finberg, Early Charters of Wessex, p. 127. Proc. Som. Arch. Soc. lvii, suppl. 142-9, suggests that the charter relates to land W. of Taunton.
  • 2. V.C.H. Som. i. 438.
  • 3. S.R.S. viii, p. 119; V.C.H. Som. iii. 213; cf. Reg. Regum Anglo-Norm. i, no. 397.
  • 4. Cal. Chart. R. 1226-57, 408; S.R.O., DD/DP 114/16/5.
  • 5. S.R.S. viii, pp. xxiii-iv; L. & P. Hen. VIII, xvii, p. 107.
  • 6. Cal. Pat. 1555-7, 57-8, 113; P.R.O., C 142/228, no. 63; ibid. CP 25(2)/77/660/4 & 5 Phil. & Mary Mich.
  • 7. S.R.O., DD/HWD 26; Bodl. MS. Ash. 1126, f. 122b; P.R.O., C 142/228, no. 63; inf. from Bucks. R.O.; V.C.H. Bucks. iii. 313. Some sources give £53 9s. 10½d.
  • 8. Cal. Pat. 1558-60, 261; P.R.O., CP 25(2)/204/18 & 19 Eliz. I Mich.; ibid. C 142/170, no. 23.
  • 9. Cal. Pat. 1558-60, 137; P.R.O., C 3/37, no. 40; C 3/211, no. 10; ibid. CP 25(2)/206/27 Eliz. I East.; S.R.O., DD/GC 6; DD/CH 89/1.
  • 10. P.R.O., C 142/228, no. 63; ibid. CP 25(2)/207/40 & 41 Eliz. I Mich.
  • 11. Ibid. C 142/238, no. 54.
  • 12. Ibid. C 142/531, no. 4; S.R.O., DD/GC 6.
  • 13. S.R.O., DD/SAS H/202 2; DD/GC 6.
  • 14. D.N.B.
  • 15. Burke, Extinct Peerages (1840), 140-1.
  • 16. S.R.O., DD/HS 3/4; DD/SF 913; DD/MK 1; G.E.C. Baronetage, iii. 140.
  • 17. S.R.O., DD/MK 1; M.I. in ch.
  • 18. S.R.O., DD/HS 3/4.
  • 19. M.I. in ch.
  • 20. G.E.C. Baronetage, iii. 140; S.R.O., DD/HWD 1; DD/BR/sh 1.
  • 21. S.R.O., DD/SAS H/202 2; DD/HWD 12.
  • 22. Ibid. DD/HWD 1; DD/HS 3/4; DD/MK 17.
  • 23. Letter from E. T. Howard, in V.C.H. office, Taunton; S.R.O., DD/HWD 22, 25.
  • 24. Inf. from Mr. G. T. Howard, London.
  • 25. P.R.O., SC 11/798.
  • 26. Ibid. SC 6/Hen. VIII/3137; ibid. C 142/114, no. 43.
  • 27. Ibid. C 142/238, no. 54; S.R.O., DD/GC 6.
  • 28. Above.
  • 29. S.R.S. xv. 62.
  • 30. S.R.O., DD/SAS H/202 2.
  • 31. Ibid. D/P/crch 2/1/1.
  • 32. Ibid. DD/GC 7; DD/SAS H/202 2; Proc. Som. Arch. Soc. lxxxvii. 93.
  • 33. S.R.O., DD/GC 7.
  • 34. Ibid. DD/SAS FA 127; DD/GC 7.
  • 35. Proc. Som. Arch. Soc. lxxxvii. 99.
  • 36. S.R.O., DD/AS 4.
  • 37. Ibid. DD/DP 50/4, 51/1, 55/4.
  • 38. Ibid. tithe award; ibid. DD/SAS (C/1401) 55; Devon R.O. 547 B/P 2929.
  • 39. S.R.O., DD/AS 4.
  • 40. Devon R.O. 547 B/P 2929.
  • 41. P.R.O., CP 25(2)/204/15 Eliz. I Hil.
  • 42. Ibid. CP 25(2)/795/3 & 4 Jas. II Hil.
  • 43. Ibid. CP 25(2)/962/12 Anne Trin.
  • 44. Ibid. CP 43/687, rot. 381.
  • 45. S.R.O., DD/X/NL (C/364).
  • 46. Ibid. tithe award; ibid. DD/HWD 17.
  • 47. P.R.O., CP 43/687, rot. 381.
  • 48. Cal. Inq. p.m. i, p. 54.
  • 49. Ibid. v, p. 192.
  • 50. Devon R.O. 1148 M/add 2/59.
  • 51. Ibid. 6/17.
  • 52. Below, N. Petherton, manors.
  • 53. S.R.O., DD/AH 1/3.
  • 54. Ibid. DD/CH 89/1; Devon R.O. 1148 M/add 2/59.
  • 55. Devon R.O. 1148 M/add 2/59; S.R.O., DD/DP 114/16/1.
  • 56. S.R.O., DD/CH 67/1.
  • 57. Ibid. tithe award.
  • 58. Ibid. DD/CH 73/6; Devon R.O. 547 B/P 2929.
  • 59. S.R.O., DD/CR 17; P.R.O., CP 25(2)/345/7 Jas. I Hil.
  • 60. S.R.S. lxvii. 140.
  • 61. P.R.O., C 142/406, no. 67; below, N. Petherton, manors.
  • 62. S.R.O., DD/DP 114/16/1; D/P/hat. w 4/1/1.
  • 63. Ibid. D/P/crch 23/10; ibid. Q/REI 2/3.
  • 64. Ibid. D/P/crch 3/2/1.
  • 65. Ibid. tithe award.
  • 66. S.R.S. viii, p. 203.
  • 67. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), i. 196.
  • 68. Cal. Pat. 1575-8, p. 223; P.R.O., C 142/278, no. 21; ibid. SC 6/Edw. VI/402.
  • 69. P.R.O., C 142/531, no. 4; S.R.O., D/P/crch 4/1/1; DD/SAS H/202 2; DD/SAS FA 127; DD/AS 4; DD/DP 44/8, 114/16/2.
  • 70. S.R.O., DD/DP 114/16/4-5.
  • 71. Ibid. 44/8, 114/16/2.
  • 72. Ibid.; ibid. tithe award.
  • 73. Ibid. tithe award.
  • 74. Cal. Pat. 1557-8, 233.
  • 75. P.R.O., SC 6/Hen. VIII/3137; ibid. E 179/169/150.
  • 76. Ibid. C 142/207, no. 99.
  • 77. S.R.O., DD/BR/pc. 1.
  • 78. Below, N. Petherton, manors.
  • 79. P.R.O., C 142/490, no. 171; C 60/523, no. 28; M.I. in ch.
  • 80. S.R.O., D/P/crch 4/1/1; D/P/cur. n 2/1/1; Som. Wills, ed. Brown, iv. 75.
  • 81. Collinson, Hist. Som. i. 77; Som. Wills, ed. Brown, iv. 75; S.R.O., D/P/dton 2/1/1.
  • 82. S.R.O., DD/DP 114/16/1; D/P/crch 2/1/1.
  • 83. Ibid. DD/CH 89/1; DD/HWD 4.
  • 84. Ibid. D/P/dton 2/1/2.
  • 85. Ibid. DD/DP 114/16/1; DD/CH 89/1; D/P/crch 2/1/1.
  • 86. Ibid. DD/CH 89/1; DD/DP 39/11.
  • 87. Ibid.; DD/SAS (C/2273) 1/C 17/1.
  • 88. Devon R.O. 547 B/P 2929; local inf.
  • 89. S.R.O., DD/BR/pc 1.
  • 90. Dwelly, Hearth Tax, i. 48.
  • 91. P.R.O., CP 40/1172, Carte rot. 6.
  • 92. S.R.O., DD/GC 6.
  • 93. Ibid. DD/HWD 1-2.
  • 94. Ibid. DD/GC 6-7.
  • 95. Above.
  • 96. S.R.O., DD/MKG 4.
  • 97. Ibid. DD/SAS FA 22/1.
  • 98. Ibid. D/P/crch 4/1/1.
  • 99. Ibid. DD/MK 1; DD/SP inventory, 1676.
  • 100. Ibid. DD/HWD 4; DD/MK 1; D/P/crch 2/1/2.
  • 101. Taunton Wills (Index Libr. xlv), 342.
  • 102. S.R.O., DD/MKG 4; ibid. tithe award.
  • 103. Ibid. DD/CCH 68; DD/HS 3/4; D/P/crch 2/1/7-8.
  • 104. Ibid. DD/V/TAr 10.1.
  • 105. P.R.O., C 142/411, no. 160; C 142/469, no. 142.
  • 106. S.R.O., DD/X/NL (C/364); DD/DP 28; S.R.S. lxvii. 106.
  • 107. Som. Wills, ed. Brown, ii. 63; S.R.O., D/P/crch 4/1/1; DD/SAS H/202 2; M.I. in ch.
  • 108. S.R.O., D/P/crch 2/1/1.
  • 109. Ibid. DD/X/NL (C/364); DD/BR/wn 3.
  • 110. Ibid. DD/DP 114/16/1.
  • 111. V.C.H. Som. v. 66; S.R.O., Q/REl 2/3.
  • 112. S.R.O., DD/DHR 17; DD/HWD 17.
  • 113. Below, N. Petherton, manors.
  • 114. S.R.O., DD/AH 24/8.