Pages 244-246

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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Chedzoy parish lies immediately east of Bridgwater parish and at the western end of King's Sedgemoor; Chedzoy village is c. 4 km. from the centre of Bridgwater. (fn. 1) The second element in the name, 'eg' or 'ieg', signifies an island (fn. 2) and the village, with its adjoining arable fields, lies on an 'island' of Burtle marine sands (fn. 3) at 7.5 m., slightly above the surrounding alluvium, which is mostly below the 4-m. contour. The parish measures 615 ha. (1,519 a.), c. 136 a. having been transferred to Weston Zoyland in 1886. (fn. 4)

Chedzoy rhyne on the north is probably the oldest boundary, following a natural watercourse. Park wall rhyne, on the west and also in part natural, may be largely the product of drainage before the late 18th century. The eastern and southern boundaries with King's Sedgemoor were roughly defined by the drove around Chedzoy east field until part of the moor was allotted to the parish. By 1798 the eastern boundary was marked by King's Sedgemoor Drain and the southern by Chedzoy New Cut. (fn. 5)

The 'island' forming the heart of the parish was settled possibly in the Mesolithic period, (fn. 6) and timber trackways in the 3rd to 1st millennium B.C. linked it with Sowy or Zoy 'island' to the south-east. (fn. 7) Roman artifacts have been found in the parish, (fn. 8) and a possible Roman building was uncovered near Slape, at the northwestern tip of the 'island'. (fn. 9)

Three routes established the later settlement pattern, formed the village at the centre of the parish along the arms of a T, and thus defined the areas of the three open arable fields. Those fields, east, north, and west, stretched from the village to the edge of the moors. In 1988 large areas of north and east fields remained unhedged.

From the junction of the three routes Ward's Lane runs east to the hamlet of Parchey, which may be identified with Elney, mentioned between 1332 and the 16th century. (fn. 10) The parish church and village cross stand in Ward's Lane, and beyond them the boundary bank of the north field may have been the site of the 'high row' of cottages mentioned in 1350. (fn. 11) Northwest from the village Chedzoy Lane leads to Slape Cross. Slape, a scattered settlement, straddling the boundary with Bridgwater parish, was recorded c. 1329. (fn. 12) Slapeland was said to have been the site of a chapel, and the remains of a large medieval house there (fn. 13) may have been those of Cauntelos manor house. (fn. 14) South-west from the village, the route passes along Frog Street and divides, leading west to Bridgwater and south to Fowler's Plot. The Bridgwater route was known as Port Wall in the late 14th century; (fn. 15) by the mid 19th century it was a drove in Chedzoy parish; its course beyond is now a footpath. (fn. 16) The hamlet of Fowler's Plot was so named in 1373. (fn. 17) Some houses in Chedzoy village are of the 17th century or earlier and are of rendered cob or rubble; (fn. 18) 19th- and 20th-century infilling is mostly brick.

Portwall and Longwall, (fn. 19) a causeway at Slape bridge, (fn. 20) a sluice at Slape, (fn. 21) and wiers (fn. 22) were built by the later 14th century to improve drainage in the meadows and moors; another causeway and walls, stepping stones, and bridges (fn. 23) played an important part in the exploitation of this difficult terrain. Features such as the Langmoor Stone or the Devil's Upping Stock marked crossing points over watercourses. (fn. 24) Part of the moor known as Bowlake, under water in the Middle Ages, was dry by 1576 (fn. 25) but flooding elsewhere in the parish was common. Significant improvements came when the low-lying land south and east of the village was inclosed under Acts of 1795 and 1797, and 344 a. of King's Sedgemoor were allotted to Chedzoy. (fn. 26) Meadows to the west of the parish were also divided and inclosed by 1836. (fn. 27) King's Sedgemoor Drain, constructed in 1797-8, proved inadequate for draining Chedzoy's moors and in 1861 the Chedzoy Internal Drainage District built a small pumping station on the Parrett, in Weston Zoyland parish, to drain the Chedzoy moors southwards. (fn. 28)

Chedzoy 1836

In 1331 twenty-five people were presented at the manor court for breach of the assize of ale, and a further three for selling ale by unlawful measure. (fn. 29) There was an inn or alehouse in Chedzoy in 1619 and 1629. (fn. 30) Between 1657 and 1690 the Bond family kept an inn which may have remained open until 1738 or later. (fn. 31) There is no further record of an inn until 1859 when the Crown stood beside the church. (fn. 32) It was last recorded in 1902. (fn. 33) A beerhouse was in business west of the church in 1861. (fn. 34) It had become known as the Manor House inn by 1881 (fn. 35) and it remained open in 1988. Chedzoy friendly society, established in 1879, was still in existence in 1891. (fn. 36)

There were 240 communicants in the parish in 1548 (fn. 37) and in 1683 there were 398 people of whom 62 were not native. (fn. 38) In 1801 the population numbered 457 and thereafter fluctuated reaching a peak of 549 in 1831 and declining steadily to 317 in 1891. It has remained stable since then, totalling 323 normally resident in 1981. (fn. 39)

William of Worcester stayed at Chedzoy on his travels through the area in 1478. (fn. 40) Forty-six men of the parish were fined after the 1497 rebellion. (fn. 41) After the battle of Sedgemoor on 6 July 1685 the rebels were pursued through the parish. Forty-two were killed in the east field, then under corn. Andrew Paschall, rector of Chedzoy 1662-96, wrote a description of the battle. (fn. 42) The parish was ordered to pay a share of the charges for executing the rebels and to provide labour for making a mound over a mass grave. (fn. 43) James II visited the site of the battle in 1686 and was entertained in the village. (fn. 44)


  • 1. O.S. Map 1/50,000, sheet 182 (1974 edn.). This article was completed in 1988.
  • 2. Ekwall, Eng. Place-Names, 94, 154; S.R.S. lxiii, p. 372; S.R.O., DD/S/WH 111.
  • 3. Geol. Surv. map 1/50,000, solid and drift, sheet 295 (1984 edn.).
  • 4. Census, 1891, 1981.
  • 5. S.R.O., DD/SG 55, map c. 1795; M. Williams, Draining of Som. Levels, 149-52.
  • 6. Proc. Som. Arch. Soc. cxxiii. 7.
  • 7. Ibid. cxii. 159, 162; Som. C.C., Sites and Mons. Rec.
  • 8. Collinson, Hist. Som. iii. 94.
  • 9. V.C.H. Som. i. 329, 359; Som. C.C., Sites and Mons. Rec.
  • 10. B.L. Add. Ch. 15911; Survey of the Lands of Wm., Earl of Pembroke, ed. C. R. Straton (Roxburghe Club), ii. 443 sqq.; S.R.O., DD/S/ST 20.
  • 11. B.L. Add. Ch. 15971.
  • 12. Ibid. 15903.
  • 13. W. Stradling, Priory of Chilton super Polden (1839), 1-4, 22; S.R.O., DD/S/ST 20.
  • 14. P.R.O., SC 6/974/6; SC 6/Hen. VIII/3043; below, manors.
  • 15. B.L. Add. Ch. 16067.
  • 16. O.S. Map 6", Som. L. SE. (1887 edn.); O.S. Map 1/50,000, sheet 182 (1974 edn.).
  • 17. B.L. Add. Ch. 16059.
  • 18. S.R.O., DD/V/BWr 8.1.
  • 19. B.L. Add. Ch. 16063, 16067.
  • 20. Ibid. 15971.
  • 21. Ibid. 16005.
  • 22. Ibid. 15903-4.
  • 23. Ibid. 15973-4.
  • 24. G. Roberts, Hist. of Duke of Monmouth, ii. 73n.; S.D.N.Q. xxviii. 18.
  • 25. Pembroke Survey, ed. Straton, ii. 466.
  • 26. S.R.O., D/RA 1/8/1; D/P/chedz 20/1/2; ibid. tithe award.
  • 27. Ibid. tithe award.
  • 28. Williams, Draining of Som. Levels, 158, 211.
  • 29. B.L. Add. Ch. 15906.
  • 30. S.R.O., Q/RLa 33; S.R.S. xxiv. 91.
  • 31. S.R.O., Q/RL.
  • 32. P.O. Dir. Som. (1859); P.R.O., RG 11/2376.
  • 33. Kelly's Dir. Som. (1902).
  • 34. P.O. Dir. Som. (1861).
  • 35. P.R.O., RG 11/2376.
  • 36. M. Fuller, W. Country Friendly Socs. 139; S.R.O., DD/X/HUNT 1.
  • 37. S.R.S. ii. 55-6.
  • 38. S.R.O., D/P/chedz 2/1/1.
  • 39. Census.
  • 40. W. Worcestre, Itineraries, ed. J. Harvey, 37-8.
  • 41. Fines Imposed in 1497, ed. A. J. Howard, 26.
  • 42. Lamb. Pal. Libr. MS. 942/34; S.D.N.Q. xxviii. 17.
  • 43. MS. in possession of Mr. J. S. Cox, Guernsey. Corpses from the battle were dug up in 1872: Sydenham Hervey, diary, TS. in possession of R. Dunning.
  • 44. R. Dunning, Monmouth Rebellion (1984), 75.