Chilton Trinity: Manors and other estates

Pages 252-254

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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Three estates together seem to have formed the ancient parish of Chilton. (fn. 1) Pignes, including Chilton church, was the largest and was held with Huntstile and probably Idstock in 1086. Beere adjoined Idstock and was held with it in 1408.

Beorhtric held PIGNES in 1066. In 1086 John the usher held it (fn. 2) with the estates of Huntstile and probably Idstock; (fn. 3) he also held Perry in Wembdon (fn. 4) and Wigborough in South Petherton (fn. 5) together with land in Cannington, North Petherton, and elsewhere which was alienated from the holding in Henry II's reign. (fn. 6) John held Pignes of the king in chief by the sergeanty of usher or porter of the king's hall. (fn. 7) Pignes evidently passed to William the usher (fl. 1199), (fn. 8) and by 1207 to William's daughter Helen of Wigborough, who married Eustace of Dowlish. (fn. 9) Helen and Eustace still held land at Pignes in 1243 but by 1250 had been succeeded by their son Richard of Wigborough. (fn. 10) William of Wigborough followed Richard in 1270 and was in possession in 1284-5. (fn. 11) Another William, who was knighted, was lord in 1309 and died in 1324-5 leaving his brother Richard as his heir. (fn. 12) Richard was dead by 1343, and on his widow Maud's death in 1359 the manor passed to John Horsey (d. 1375) whose grandfather and namesake had bought the reversion in 1328-9. (fn. 13) The holding descended from 1359 with Horsey in Bridgwater until the death of Sir Ralph Horsey in 1612, but it then passed to Ralph's son George, who still possessed it in 1638 and who had been succeeded by Ralph Horsey by 1641. (fn. 14) By 1703 the holding had passed to the Pleydell family and descended with Horsey. (fn. 15)

Alweard held HUNTSTILE T.R.E. In 1086 it was held by John the usher, (fn. 16) and descended from him like Pignes until 1324-5, held as part of the sergeanty of serving as usher of the king's hall. (fn. 17) By 1431 it was said to be held for ½ fee. (fn. 18)

Sir William of Wigborough held Huntstile with Pignes and Wigborough at his death in 1324-5. (fn. 19) Joan, his widow, held it with land in Chilton as dower, (fn. 20) and it had passed from her to Maud, widow of Richard of Wigborough, by 1343. (fn. 21) Maud's successor was Sir Richard Cogan, who died in 1368 leaving a son William as his heir. (fn. 22) The manor then descended like Wigborough to Sir Fulk FitzWaryn (d. 1391) and then through Sir Fulk's granddaughter Elizabeth FitzWaryn to her husband Sir Richard Hankeford (d. 1431). Their daughter Thomasia, later wife of William Bourchier, succeeded to the whole of her mother's estate on the death of her sister in 1433. (fn. 23)

Fulk Bourchier, Lord FitzWaryn, son and heir of William and Thomasia, died in 1479, (fn. 24) and Huntstile descended like Wigborough to Fulk's son John, Lord FitzWaryn (cr. earl of Bath 1536, d. 1539). (fn. 25) He or one of his successors sold Huntstile to Edward Walker of Nether Stowey, who was in possession in 1562. Walker died in 1565 (fn. 26) and his son John sold it in 1571 to John Brodripp. (fn. 27) Brodripp died in 1578 leaving his son Richard a minor. (fn. 28) Another Richard Brodripp had succeeded by 1670 (fn. 29) and died in 1705 leaving Huntstile to his son Robert. Robert died c. 1709 leaving unspecified lands to his brothers Thomas (d. c. 1756) and Richard (d. 1737). (fn. 30) In 1766 the manor was bought from Bennett Coombe by Sir Charles Tynte and descended with the Halswell estate in Goathurst. (fn. 31) In 1987 it belonged to the Herbert family. (fn. 32)

Huntstile Farm, a stone building, stands on a steeply sloping site which is probably the reason for the unusual arrangement of the rooms within its L-shaped plan. Repairs and alterations, especially the replacement of windows, and much of the roof, have made the dating of its development uncertain. In the 16th century the hall was probably the room at the north-east corner. The ground is lowest there and it is built over a cellar. The service rooms were in the south wing beyond a cross passage and the parlour was in the west wing behind the hall stack and beyond a lobby with a newel stair. The kitchen was subsequently rebuilt and the service rooms to the south of it are later still. An inventory of 1674 (fn. 33) lists a number of rooms which presumably occupied the south wing although it is doubtful whether any of them were in their present form. The hall and the room above it retain a quantity of early 17th-century panelling.

IDSTOCK, formerly Ichestock, was held in 1066 by Wulfa and in 1086 by Roger de Courcelles. Roger's tenant was John, (fn. 34) probably John the usher, since by the earlier 13th century the estate was held by Helen of Wigborough, John's successor in his other Somerset holdings. (fn. 35) By 1284-5 William of Wigborough was said to hold the vill of Idstock of the king in chief, but in 1312 he was returned as holding the mesne lordship for 1/20 knight's fee of Nicholas Poyntz, successor to Robert de Courcelles in neighbouring estates. (fn. 36) That mesne lordship had apparently lapsed by 1408 when Idstock was said to be held of the countess of Kent. (fn. 37)

In 1284-5 Robert de St. Clare held Idstock of William of Wigborough. (fn. 38) By 1360 Sibyl, widow of Robert de St. Clare (d. 1359), held land there which passed on her death to her son Richard. It formed the dower of Richard's widow, Isabel, and in 1394 Richard's son Ralph St. Clare sold the reversion on her death to Sir William Bonville. (fn. 39) Sir William died in 1408 (fn. 40) and his heir was his grandson William Bonville (cr. Lord Bonville 1449, d. 1461). Lord Bonville was succeeded by his great-granddaughter Cecily Bonville (d. 1529), wife first of Thomas Grey, marquess of Dorset (d. 1501), and secondly of Henry Stafford, earl of Wiltshire (d. 1523). (fn. 41) Cecily's heir was her son Thomas Grey, marquess of Dorset, who died in 1530 leaving as heir a minor, his son Henry (cr. duke of Suffolk 1551). (fn. 42) Henry was attainted in 1554 but Idstock did not pass to the Crown until the death of his widow Frances, then wife of Adrian Stokes, in 1559. (fn. 43)

In 1558 the Crown granted the reversion of the manor to William Honnynge, clerk of the queen's privy signet, and Nicholas Cutler. They sold it in the same year to John Bowyer, formerly a servant of the duke of Suffolk and tenant since 1553. (fn. 44) Bowyer died in 1599 (fn. 45) leaving his son Edmund (d. 1625) his heir. (fn. 46) Edmund was followed by his son Edmund (d. 1665) (fn. 47) and grandson, also Edmund Bowyer (d. 1670). (fn. 48) In 1707 Edmund, son of the last, sold Idstock with Beere and other adjoining land to Edward Colston of London, remaining life tenant until his death in 1715. (fn. 49) The estate formed part of Colston's Hospital foundation at Bristol until it was sold as part of Edbrook farm in 1919. (fn. 50)

The capital messuage was let in 1557. (fn. 51)

An estate called Bera, probably BEERE, was held both in 1066 and 1086 by Leofa, one of the king's clerks. (fn. 52) No further trace of the holding has been found until 1369 when (Sir) William Bonville (d. 1408) owned Beere manor. It was said in 1408 to have been held as of Lady Margaret Courtenay, (fn. 53) presumably Margaret de Bohun (d. 1391), widow of Hugh Courtenay, earl of Devon (d. 1377). (fn. 54) The estate had been let to Sir John Paulet (d. 1391), and his successor there, probably his brother William, was in occupation in 1412 and probably in 1416 when he founded a chantry in Idstock chapel. (fn. 55)

The lordship of Beere descended from Sir William Bonville with Idstock, and in 1558 Frances Grey, duchess of Suffolk (d. 1559), was said to hold it in chief. (fn. 56) It passed with Idstock to the Bowyer family, and was sold by Colston's Hospital in 1920 to Charles Venner, whose family owned it in 1987. (fn. 57)

Beere Manor is probably in origin a stone house of the later 15th or earlier 16th century, with a great upper chamber above a central hall. The hall was entered from a screens passage which had a porch on the south. The porch was balanced by a projection in the south front between the hall and the parlour to the east. By the earlier 18th century both were four storeys high, perhaps as a result of remodelling in the earlier 17th century. (fn. 58) Early in the 18th century Edmund Bowyer panelled the hall and the parlour. Later additions have been made to the rear of the hall and the service wing. The main roof and the windows throughout are of the later 17th and earlier 18th centuries. The stable block adjoining the south-west corner of the house was built c. 1707. (fn. 59)

Between 1199 and 1207 William the usher gave land at Huntstile to Montacute priory. It was held by the priory in 1251-2 (fn. 60) but no further reference to the land has been found.

In 1329 Simon Furneaux was licensed to grant a house and land, including some at Chilton, to form part of the endowment of a chantry at Kilve. (fn. 61) The land became part of Kilve rectory after the chantry had ceased to function before the end of the 14th century, (fn. 62) and some 28 a. in Chilton belonged to the rector in 1613. (fn. 63) There were nearly 22 a. in 1839; (fn. 64) they were sold in 1925-6. (fn. 65)

In 1326 Matthew Coker was licensed to grant land in Chilton to endow a chantry in Wembdon church. (fn. 66) No further trace of the chantry has been found. St. George's chantry in Bridgwater parish church had 1 a. at Chilton. (fn. 67)

The lands of the free chapel of Idstock were bought in 1548 by Sir John Thynne and Laurence Hyde. (fn. 68) By 1572 the chapel was owned by John Mawdley, who was succeeded in that year by his son Thomas. (fn. 69) As concealed Crown property it was sold to John Farnham, a gentleman pensioner of the queen, in 1577; (fn. 70) he in the same year sold to Christopher Peyton of London, and Peyton sold to the tenant, John Bowyer. (fn. 71) The chantry house, probably that later known as Edbrook Cottage and locally in Cannington parish, was demolished c. 1905. (fn. 72)


  • 1. The estate identified as Chilton Trinity in V.C.H. Som. i. 521 is considered to be partly or wholly in Durleigh: above, Durleigh, manors.
  • 2. V.C.H. Som. i. 520.
  • 3. Below.
  • 4. Below, Wembdon, manors.
  • 5. V.C.H. Som. iv. 177.
  • 6. Bk. of Fees, ii. 1170-1, 1209, 1266.
  • 7. S.R.S. xi, p. 301; Bk. of Fees, i. 261; ii. 1170; J. H. Round, The King's Serjeants (1911), 110-12.
  • 8. Pipe R. 1199 (P.R.S. N.S. x), 240.
  • 9. V.C.H. Som. iv. 177.
  • 10. Bk. of Fees, ii. 1209, 1266.
  • 11. Cal. Inq. p.m. i, pp. 244-5; Feud. Aids, iv. 277.
  • 12. S.R.O., D/D/B reg. 1, f. 28A; Cal. Inq. p.m. vi, p. 373.
  • 13. Cal. Pat. 1327-30, 34-5, 236; S.R.S. xii. 131-2.
  • 14. Above, Bridgwater, manors; P.R.O., E 178/5620; Som. Protestation Returns, ed. A J. Howard and T. L. Stoate, 247.
  • 15. P.R.O., CP 43/482, rot. 113.
  • 16. V.C.H. Som. i. 521.
  • 17. P.R.O., C 134/90, no. 1.
  • 18. Ibid. C 139/51, no. 54.
  • 19. Ibid. C 134/90, no. 1.
  • 20. Cal. Pat. 1327-30, 14.
  • 21. Year Bk. 17 Edw. III (Rolls Ser.), 109; Cal. Inq. p.m. x, p. 397.
  • 22. Cal. Inq. p.m. xii, p. 197.
  • 23. V.C.H. Som. iv. 177; P.R.O., C 139/51, no. 54.
  • 24. P.R.O., C 140/73, no. 76.
  • 25. Complete Peerage, v. 508.
  • 26. P.R.O., C 142/142, no. 32.
  • 27. Ibid. CP 25(2)/204/13 & 14 Eliz. I Mich.
  • 28. Ibid. C 142/191, no. 83.
  • 29. Ibid. CP 25(2)/761/22 Chas. II Mich.
  • 30. Som. Wills, ed. Brown, iv. 117-18.
  • 31. S.R.O., DD/S/WH 225; ibid. T/PH/vch 73; P.R.O., CP 43/754, rot. 385; above, Goathurst, manors.
  • 32. Local inf.
  • 33. S.R.O., DD/SP inventory, 1674/31.
  • 34. V.C.H. Som. i. 487.
  • 35. Cal. Inq. p.m. i, p. 307; V.C.H. Som. iv. 177; above manors (Pignes, Huntstile).
  • 36. Feud. Aids, iv. 282; Cal. Inq. p.m. v, p. 196.
  • 37. P.R.O., C 137/68, no. 42.
  • 38. Feud. Aids, iv. 282.
  • 39. S.R.S. xvii. 44, 102.
  • 40. P.R.O., C 137/68, no. 42.
  • 41. Complete Peerage, ii. 218-19.
  • 42. P.R.O., C 142/53, no. 4.
  • 43. Cal. Pat. 1557-8, 163; Complete Peerage, iv. 421-2.
  • 44. Cal. Pat. 1557-8, 163; S.R.O., DD/MVB 2; Proc. Som. Arch. Soc. cxxiii. 71; P.R.O., STAC 4/4/48; STAC 4/9/12.
  • 45. J. Hutchins, Hist. Dors. iii. 527.
  • 46. P.R.O., C 142/257, no. 57; C 142/419, no. 42; S.R.O., DD/MVB 2.
  • 47. S.R.O., DD/MVB 1; Som. Wills, ed. Brown, iv. 82.
  • 48. S.R.O., DD/MVB 8, 41.
  • 49. Ibid. 1, 46.
  • 50. Ibid. 19.
  • 51. B.L. Harl. 607, f. 21.
  • 52. V.C.H. Som. i. 471.
  • 53. Devon R.O. 123 M/TB 478-9; P.R.O., C 137/68, no. 42.
  • 54. Complete Peerage, iv. 324.
  • 55. Feud. Aids, vi. 507; Cal. Pat. 1413-16, 405.
  • 56. Cal. Pat. 1557-8, 163; Complete Peerage, iv. 421-2.
  • 57. Above, manors (Idstock); S.R.O., DD/MVB 19; local inf.
  • 58. Painting in house, reproduced below, plate facing p. 296.
  • 59. S.R.O., DD/MVB 46.
  • 60. S.R.S. viii, p. 128; Bk. of Fees, ii. 1266.
  • 61. Cal. Pat. 1327-30, 414.
  • 62. V.C.H. Som. v. 101.
  • 63. S.R.O., D/D/Rg 224.
  • 64. Ibid. tithe award.
  • 65. Ibid. D/P/kve 3/1/2, 6.
  • 66. Cal. Pat. 1324-7, 246.
  • 67. S.R.S. lxxvii, p. 80; above, Bridgwater, church.
  • 68. S.R.S. lxxvii, p. 3; below, church.
  • 69. P.R.O., C 142/172, no. 132.
  • 70. Cal. Pat. 1575-8, p. 309.
  • 71. S.R.O., DD/MVB 4.
  • 72. Ibid. tithe award; photo. c. 1905 in possession of Mr. A. Bye, Creech St. Michael.