Creech St. Michael: Local government

Pages 26-27

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.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.



Until 1526 or later Creech was a free manor, independent of any other hundred (fn. 1) and it was recorded as a hundred of itself in the 12th century. (fn. 2) By 1538 it was in Andersfield hundred, and by 1569 formed a tithing with Merridge. (fn. 3) By 1641 Creech was a tithing by itself and remained so into the 19th century. (fn. 4) Montacute priory in 1537-8 made a payment to Whitley hundred for lands in Creech, (fn. 5) perhaps those which Glastonbury abbey had claimed as part of West Monkton manor in Whitley hundred. (fn. 6)

A court for Creech manor was held in the church house twice a year in the 1580s, (fn. 7) and in the later 19th century it met in October at the Bell inn. (fn. 8) Presentments or agenda survive for the period 1755-1874 and include the appointment of a hayward, tithingman, and constable. (fn. 9) A court was held for Ham in 1594. (fn. 10)

Parishioners with common rights were responsible for repairing the churchyard wall. The obligation was probably obsolete before 1814, when rights in the common then being inclosed were claimed in proportion to the length of wall that each commoner had maintained. (fn. 11) Initialled stones, which survive, marked the sections.

The parish was served by two churchwardens, two overseers, and two waywardens in the 18th and 19th centuries. (fn. 12) In the later 17th century there were two constables, (fn. 13) and a hayward kept the common pound in 1714. (fn. 14) In 1816 the vestry appointed a keeper of the pound, (fn. 15) which lay between Bull Street and the river and was a garden in 1984. In 1652 a wounded soldier was allowed to build a house on waste at Creech Heathfield; the house had reverted to the parish as a poorhouse by 1659. (fn. 16) A scheme to buy the Ship and the New Inn for a workhouse in 1768 does not appear to have been adopted. (fn. 17) The parish paid for medical attention for the poor and in 1818 agreed to vaccinate children whose parents could not afford to pay. In 1822 a select vestry was established and an assistant overseer was employed. (fn. 18) In 1830 the vestry decided to build a poorhouse on the Heathfield. In 1839 the parish still owned two poorhouses, at Creech Heathfield and North End, (fn. 19) but they were probably sold soon afterwards.

The vestry appointed parish officers in the 19th century including a church rate collector in 1854 and three constables in 1862, (fn. 20) and formed a nuisance removal committee in 1856. (fn. 21) The parish formed part of the Taunton poor-law union in 1836, Taunton rural district in 1894, and Taunton Deane district (later borough) in 1974. (fn. 22)


  • 1. V.C.H. Som. v. 11; P.R.O., E 179/169/150.
  • 2. S.R.S. viii, pp. 119-20, 123-4.
  • 3. Devon R.O. 123 M/O 2; S.R.S. xx. 242.
  • 4. Som. Protestation Returns, ed. A. J. Howard and T. L. Stoate, 186; S.R.O., Q/REI 2/3.
  • 5. Devon R.O. 123 M/O 2.
  • 6. Proc. Som. Arch. Soc. lxxiv, suppl. 51-4; lxxxiv. 104-6.
  • 7. S.R.O., DD/GC 6, 15.
  • 8. Ibid. DD/HWD 12; E. Jeboult, Hist. W. Som. 38.
  • 9. S.R.O., DD/HWD 5, 12.
  • 10. Ibid. DD/GC 6.
  • 11. Ibid. D/P/crch 23/6.
  • 12. Ibid. 6/3/1, 14/2/1.
  • 13. Ibid. 4/1/1.
  • 14. Ibid. Q/SR 270/1.
  • 15. Ibid. D/P/crch 9/1/1.
  • 16. S.R.S. xxviii. 178; S.R.O., D/P/crch 4/1/1.
  • 17. S.R.O., D/P/crch 13/2/1.
  • 18. Ibid. 9/1/1.
  • 19. Ibid. tithe award.
  • 20. Ibid. D/P/crch 9/1/1-2, 13/2/3; D/PC/crch 6/2/1.
  • 21. Ibid. D/PC/crch 6/2/1.
  • 22. Youngs, Local Admin. Units, i. 673, 675-6.