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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MANORS AND OTHER ESTATES.
Pawlett, Stretcholt, and Walpole, separately held in 1066, were all held by Walter of Douai in 1086.
PAWLETT, later PAWLETT GAUNTS, (fn. 1) was held by Saemer in 1066 and by Rademer of Walter of Douai in 1086. (fn. 2) Walter died c. 1107 and his heir, Robert, who rebelled in 1136, (fn. 3) seems to have lost the main part of his estate which passed to Robert, son of Robert FitzRoy, earl of Gloucester. Before 1147 Robert gave it to Robert FitzHarding (d. 1171). (fn. 4) Robert's younger son, also Robert (d. 1194), (fn. 5) was succeeded by his son Maurice (d. 1230), who held Pawlett of the Crown in 1212. (fn. 6) Maurice's heir was Robert de Gournay, son of his half-sister Eve. Robert died in 1269 and was followed by his son Anselm (d. 1286) and by Anselm's son John (d. 1291) in turn. John's heir was his daughter Elizabeth, wife of John ap Adam (d. 1311). (fn. 7) Their son Thomas was acknowledged as lord of Pawlett in 1335 (fn. 8) but no further trace of this lordship has been found.
Maurice, son of Robert FitzHarding, known as Maurice de Gaunt, appears to have promised to give his estate to St. Mark's hospital, Bristol, a promise fulfilled by Robert de Gournay. (fn. 9) The manor was confirmed to the hospital in 1232. (fn. 10)
The hospital was dissolved in 1539 and the manor was let in 1540 and sold before 1544 to Richard Cooper or Cupper of London. (fn. 11) Richard died in 1566 and was followed by his son John (cr. Bt. 1622, d. 1631). (fn. 12) Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper, son of the last, redeemed the manor from the Court of Wards in 1648. (fn. 13) He was created Baron Ashley in 1661 and earl of Shaftesbury in 1672 and died in 1683. (fn. 14) The manor descended with the earldom of Shaftesbury until the death of Anthony, the 5th earl, in 1811. It then passed to his only daughter Barbara, coheir through her mother of the barony of de Mauley. Lady Barbara and her successors bought most of the other estates in the parish. She married William Ponsonby (cr. Baron de Mauley 1838, d. 1855) and died in 1844 leaving as heir her son Charles. Charles was followed at his death in 1896 by his sons William (d. 1918) and the Revd. Maurice Ponsonby in turn. Maurice made over the manor in 1919 to his son Hubert William Ponsonby, (fn. 15) who sold part in 1920 and the remainder in 1922. (fn. 16) The lordship passed with the Manor House to H. Carver in 1922, W. W. Buncombe c. 1930, R. M. Smith c. 1948, and to Bass Brewery c. 1954. Bass sold the house and lordship in 1981 to Mr. A. Hunt, owner in 1986. (fn. 17)
A house recorded in 1299 (fn. 18) had an oratory licensed in 1338. (fn. 19) It was known as Gaunt's Court from 1474 until 1593 and may have been divided in the 1520s. The chapel chamber was still so named in 1593. (fn. 20) The house was still standing in 1658 but had been replaced by 1780 by Gaunt's Farm on a site slightly further north. (fn. 21) That in turn was rebuilt as cottages in the 19th century which were abandoned c. 1970. Manor House, later Manor Hotel, is a villa built for the agent of the estate shortly before 1861 when it was known as the Steward's House. (fn. 22) It was sold in 1922. (fn. 23)
ALKESEYE was held by Robert FitzHarding in 1163, by his son Maurice (d. 1191), and by the latter's son Robert who died in 1220 without issue. (fn. 24) The later descent is not certain, but Maurice de Gaunt (d. 1230) granted land there, lately held by Geoffrey of Erleigh, to Hugh Trivet. Hugh or a namesake was alive in 1277 and was succeeded by James Trivet who gave the land with the services of free tenants to St. Mark's hospital, Bristol, in 1315. The land was then probably absorbed into Pawlett Gaunts manor. (fn. 25)
Thomas Grindenham held land in 1394 in East Stretcholt, later called GOUNDENHAM, which had passed by 1412 (fn. 29) to John Goundenham (d. by 1438) and by 1451 to Sibyl, daughter and heir of N. Goundenham and wife of John Kyghley. (fn. 30) Kyghley was still alive in 1474. (fn. 31) Goundenham may have been part of the estate which Joan, daughter of John Speke and wife of Sir Thomas Brooke, held of St. Mark's hospital, Bristol, at her death in 1527 and which in 1528 her son Hugh agreed should be assigned to Nicholas Halswell and his wife Margery, Joan Brooke's niece. (fn. 32) The property descended with Halswell in Goathurst until 1602 when another Nicholas Halswell exchanged it with John Cornish. (fn. 33) By 1660 it had passed to William Bacon, (fn. 34) and as Stretcholt farm (fn. 35) the estate descended with Maunsel in North Petherton (fn. 36) until the death c. 1731 of Alexander Seymour, who left Stretcholt farm to his sister Eleanor. (fn. 37) Eleanor had probably died without issue before 1756 when the estate was held by her nephew Alexander Seymour Gapper of Maunsel, (fn. 38) who sold off some land. (fn. 39) Stretcholt farm, however, appears to have been conveyed to Gapper's uncle Francis Seymour (d. 1761) and passed to Henry (d. 1805) and Henry Seymour (d. 1849). (fn. 40) It was later purchased by Henry Smith Sparke (d. c. 1904). (fn. 41) Ownership has not been traced further.
A capital messuage was recorded in 1602; (fn. 42) it was probably replaced by the early 18th-century farm house known as Seymours.
In 1508 Robert Brent held an estate of Pawlett Gaunts manor which came to be known as PAWLETT manor. (fn. 43) It may have originated in the holding of Hugh Godwin in 1286 (fn. 44) and it descended like Godwinsbower manor in Bridgwater. (fn. 45) John Hodges, kinsman and heir of John Brent, sold his estate in Pawlett in 1694 to Edward Perrot and Gilbert Whitehall, and they sold to John Gooding. The land, no longer referred to as a manor, passed to the Good family, (fn. 46) and part was acquired by William Ponsonby, lord of Pawlett Gaunts, in 1832. (fn. 47)
The part of his lordship which Robert, son of Walter of Douai, retained after c. 1136 passed c. 1200 like Bridgwater manor to William Brewer, (fn. 48) was held by his heirs as 2½ fees in Pawlett, Horsey, and Bower in 1234, (fn. 49) and descended like Bower to the duchy of Lancaster. (fn. 50) William of Horsey held a mesne tenancy in Pawlett as at Bower in 1234 and his successors held the fee of the duchy in 1401-2. (fn. 51)
The terre tenancy was held by the Pawlett family. Walter of Pawlett was succeeded by his son William in his estate at Pawlett in 1242-3. (fn. 52) William of Pawlett was one of the lords there in 1316 (fn. 53) and by 1324 had perhaps been succeeded by John, son of Martin of Pawlett. (fn. 54) John, whose family became known as Paulet, was still alive in 1344. (fn. 55) Another John Paulet (d. c. 1382) (fn. 56) was followed by Sir John Paulet (d. 1391), (fn. 57) whose widow Elizabeth held PAWLETT in 1412. (fn. 58) Their son John and his sons John and Thomas were all dead by 1413, (fn. 59) and the manor passed to Sir John's younger son Thomas (fn. 60) and descended with Rhode in North Petherton to Sir Amias Paulet, later Poulett (d. 1538). (fn. 61) His son Sir Hugh sold the manor to John Newport in 1548. (fn. 62)
John Newport died in 1564 and his son John (fn. 63) under age and without issue c. 1566, when the estate escheated to the Crown. (fn. 64) Lucy Newport, widow of John's brother Emmanuel, and her sons had recovered the manor by 1604 when they sold it to George Dodington. (fn. 65) Pawlett descended with Dodington manor, except for the years 1652 to c. 1660 when it belonged to the Freake family by purchase after confiscation. (fn. 66) In 1802 the lordship was put up for sale (fn. 67) following the sale of most of the land, (fn. 68) and was not recorded again.
John Paulet was granted license in 1344 to have mass in his oratory. (fn. 69) The house was possibly on the site of the later Pawlett Farm which was sold to Richard Doidge in 1802. Doidge sold it to Lady Barbara Ashley-Cooper in 1814 (fn. 70) and it was renamed South Farm. (fn. 71) The present house dates from the late 18th century.
STRETCHOLT was held in 1066 by Eadweald and Leofgar and in 1086 by Rainwald of Walter or Walscin of Douai. (fn. 72) Stretcholt was later divided between Bampton and Castle Cary honors. (fn. 73) One half evidently descended with Bridgwater in Bampton honor but continued in the possession of Fulk Pagnell (d. 1208) and passed to his son William (d. 1228) and to William's son William (d. 1248). Auda, sister and heir of the last and wife of John de Ballon, died in 1261, and in 1267 the barony passed to John de Cogan, heir of Christian, daughter of Fulk Pagnell (d. 1208). (fn. 74) John held ½ fee at EAST STRETCHOLT in 1284-5 (fn. 75) and died in 1302. (fn. 76) No further reference to the overlordship has been found.
John de Marisco or Marsh held a mesne tenancy of John de Cogan in 1284-5 (fn. 77) possibly in succession to William de Marisco. (fn. 78) Stephen Marsh held it in 1343 (fn. 79) but no further reference has been found.
In 1284-5 John Cote was the terre tenant of East Stretcholt, where he or a namesake held land in 1242-3. (fn. 80) William Trivet's holding in 1303 may be the messuage and carucate of land held by knight service of Stephen Marsh in 1343 by Thomas Gournay through his wife Joan, widow of Thomas Trivet (d. 1316). (fn. 81) The subsequent history of the estate has not been traced.
Land at East Stretcholt, said in 1623 to be held of Hendley, (fn. 82) probably Robert Hensleigh (d. 1623), owner of Syndercombe in Clatworthy, (fn. 83) descended with Syndercombe through the Periam and Lethbridge families to Sir Thomas Buckler Lethbridge, Bt. (d. 1849), who bought the adjoining West Stretcholt estate. (fn. 84) The combined holding known as Stretcholt farm or Lethbridge's (fn. 85) passed to Sir John Hesketh Lethbridge and to his son John Periam Lethbridge. The farm was sold to Lord de Mauley in 1862. (fn. 86)
Further land, also said to be held of Hendley, was held by knight service by Sir Nicholas Smith (d. 1622). It passed to his son Nicholas (d. 1629), Nicholas's son George (d. 1631), and Sir Nicholas's second son George. (fn. 87) Possibly held by Mr. Selleck in 1658, (fn. 88) the estate appears to have been divided. Part was in possession of George Balch of Bridgwater in 1723 when it was settled on the marriage of his son John; (fn. 89) John was probably dead by 1731 (fn. 90) leaving a son Robert. (fn. 91) The estate descended with Nether Stowey manor (fn. 92) until 1802 when George Balch sold most of the estate known as Stretcholt farm in small lots. (fn. 93) The remaining lands continued to descend with Nether Stowey manor until 1847 when they were sold to the de Mauleys and held with Pawlett Gaunts. (fn. 94)
The division of Walter of Douai's estates, possibly between the sons of his two marriages, brought part of Stretcholt, later WEST STRETCHOLT manor, into the hands of Ralph Lovel (fl. 1121) and into Castle Cary honor. (fn. 95) It was held of Hugh Lovel (d. 1291) in 1285-7 (fn. 96) but no further trace of the overlordship has been found. Sir Adam of Bawdrip held a mesne tenancy in 1285 when the terre tenant was Raymond Malet. (fn. 97) Also in the late 13th century Sabina, widow of Jordan of Bradney, granted an estate at Stretcholt to her son Humphrey. (fn. 98) The descent has not been traced further.
In 1412 Thomas Michell held land at West Stretcholt (fn. 99) which seems to have descended with East Chilton in Durleigh until 1663 (fn. 100) when Gregory Hockmore sold it to Humphrey Steare. Steare died in 1692 when the land passed to Robert Steare, already owner of property there. (fn. 101) Robert was succeeded by his son Samuel (d. 1745). A dispute between the heirs of Richard Limbery (d. 1774), to whom Steare had devised his land, and Steare's legatees concluded with its sale and division in 1797. (fn. 102) During the 19th century part was acquired by Sir Thomas Lethbridge, Bt., and part, known as Black Rock, by the Revd. George Trevelyan. (fn. 103) Later in the century the Trevelyan holding was bought by the de Mauleys. (fn. 104)
In the later 13th century a family named de la Grove was settled in the parish. (fn. 105) In 1325-6 Robert de la Grove held land there (fn. 106) and William Grove was succeeded by Simon Ellis (d. by 1474). (fn. 107) John Strangeways owned an estate at GROVE in West Stretcholt in 1590, (fn. 108) which by 1620 was held by George Dodington. (fn. 109) The property descended with Dodington manor, and was augmented by other lands in West Stretcholt, (fn. 110) but in 1800-1 it was divided and sold, mostly to Thomas Parker. (fn. 111) William Dod purchased Parker's estate and other land in 1808 and 1810, (fn. 112) and his son, also William, sold Dod's farm to Lord de Mauley, lord of Pawlett Gaunts manor, in 1853. (fn. 113)
Edward Brit held WALPOLE in 1066 and Rademer of Walter of Douai in 1086. (fn. 114) An estate there, held of Castle Cary honor in 1371 (fn. 115) and in 1408 (fn. 116) may be traced to a holding shared in 1242-3 between three daughters of Gerard of Bratton (fn. 117) which appears to have been acquired by the Bawdrip family and which by 1355 was known as BAWDRIP AND WALPOLE manor. (fn. 118) Dower there had been assigned to Joan, wife of Sir John Durburgh (d. 1352) and previously widow of John of Bawdrip, heir to Adam of Bawdrip (d. 1296). (fn. 119) In 1355 the same land was assigned by John, son and heir of Hugh of Bawdrip, to his mother Orange. (fn. 120) The property descended with Bawdrip manor and in 1542 it may have passed, with Washford in St. Decumans, (fn. 121) to Sir John Wyndham, who owned Walpole manor in 1552. (fn. 122) The manor then descended with other Wyndham estates (fn. 123) until 1703 when it was conveyed to Sir Thomas Wroth, Bt., probably in trust for Edward Raymond. (fn. 124) Edward died before 1746 leaving Walpole to George Raymond (d. by 1748) whose son Edward sold it to Sir Charles KemeysTynte. Sir Charles in 1753 sold it to Mary Jeane, widow. (fn. 125)
James Coker had land in Pawlett in 1350 (fn. 126) which may have descended by 1461 to Margaret, daughter of John Coker and widow of Sir Alexander Hody. Margaret's property was said to be held of William le Eyre. (fn. 127) The holding descended, with West Bower in Bridgwater, to Edward Seymour, duke of Somerset, on whose attainder in 1552 it reverted to the Crown. (fn. 128) It was granted in 1553 to Thomas Sydney and Nicholas Halswell and descended with Halswell in Goathurst (fn. 129) until 1746 when most of the land was sold to Edmund Jeane (d. 1754). (fn. 130) Edmund's son John also inherited the Walpole estates which his mother Mary bought in 1753 and died in 1790 leaving Walpole to his younger daughter Mary who in 1794 married Wyndham Goodden. (fn. 131)
In 1798 Goodden purchased more land in Walpole and in 1802 the remainder of the Tynte estate there, creating an estate called WALPOLE manor in 1807. (fn. 132) By his death in 1839 Goodden had reorganized Walpole into two large farms known as the Western and Eastern; the house on the latter, now Walpole Farm, was said to be newly erected in 1844. Goodden left Walpole to be sold to benefit his younger children. (fn. 133) John Ryall Mayo bought it in 1845 and sold it to Lord de Mauley, lord of Pawlett Gaunts manor, in 1856. (fn. 134)
Robert FitzHarding gave Pawlett church to St. Augustine's abbey, Bristol, probably c. 1140, and his son Robert gave ½ virgate in 1146. (fn. 135) Maurice de Gaunt (d. 1230) gave more land, called PAWLETT manor, a grant confirmed by Robert de Gournay. (fn. 136) In 1251, however, the abbey renounced its estate in favour of St. Mark's hospital, Bristol, in return for other lands which were known in 1540 as PAWLETT manor together with land and tithes which constituted the RECTORY. Manor and rectory were let together by 1529 to William and Robert Williams and Robert's wife Christine. (fn. 137) The manor was held as of East Greenwich by John Williams at his death in 1608 when it was divided between his two daughters, Joan, wife of William Avery, and Sarah, wife of Humphrey Blake. (fn. 138)
The Avery's share passed to Joan's son John (d. 1669) and included the later Shoulder of Mutton inn. (fn. 139) It passed from John's widow Grace and her son John to John Clarke (d. by 1711), who was followed by his son Robert (d. by 1721) and his grandson also Robert Clarke (d. before 1752). (fn. 140) Robert Brown, nephew of the last, sold the estate to Jasper Porter in 1758. (fn. 141) Porter's daughter Susannah sold it to the Revd. Francis Parsons for the benefit of Anne Poole who married the Revd. Charles Burt c. 1794. (fn. 142) In 1835 Anne and her son Augustus conveyed it to William Ponsonby, lord of Pawlett Gaunts manor. (fn. 143)
The Blakes' share, which included responsibility for the chancel, (fn. 144) passed to Arnold Brown and his wife Hannah who sold it in 1682 to John Taylor. By will of 1725 it was divided between Taylor's son Joseph and the Revd. Samuel Taylor; (fn. 145) most of the land, known as Taylor's, passed to William Doidge in 1766, (fn. 146) whose children sold most of it c. 1812, part going to Lady Barbara Ashley-Cooper. (fn. 147) Other parts were bought by Lord de Mauley, lord of Pawlett Gaunts, in 1843. (fn. 148)
The tithes were held by the Williams family and apparently passed on the death of John Williams in 1608 to Sir John Cooper who let them to Humphrey Blake before 1631. (fn. 149) They descended with Pawlett Gaunts manor. (fn. 150) Rectorial tithes were commuted in 1838 for a rent charge of £200. (fn. 151)