Pawlett: Local government

Pages 275-276

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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St. Mark's hospital was freed from suit to the hundred court c. 1243 in respect of Pawlett manor but suit was demanded again in 1277. (fn. 1) In 1274 Pawlett tithing was said to have withdrawn from the sheriff's tourn. (fn. 2) Stretcholt tithing alone attended the hundred court in the 14th and 15th centuries. (fn. 3) A third tithing, Walpole, had been formed out of Stretcholt by 1765. (fn. 4) Tenants of Yawesye, later Yearsey, owed suit and payments to the hundred. (fn. 5)

Court records survive for Pawlett Gaunts manor for 1377, 1474-7, 1661-74, 1737, and 1760-1808. (fn. 6) The court met twice a year in the 15th century, possibly in the chapel chamber at the manor house where the court was held in the 16th century, but in the 18th century every two or four years. There the tithingman was chosen, by the 17th century according to a rota. A hayward was appointed in the 17th century and in 1673 two men who were responsible for the rhynes. (fn. 7) Suit of court was owed to the Dodingtons' manor in the 18th century but their right to a court was later challenged. (fn. 8) Suit for a holding at Grove was owed twice a year in 1612 to Edward Tynte's unspecified court at Pawlett. (fn. 9) Walpole manor was administered with Bawdrip, and court rolls for both survive for 1479-82, 1537, and 1541-3. (fn. 10)

By the later 18th century four overseers were appointed in rotation, each serving for two years. Two constables each were appointed for Pawlett and Stretcholt. The vestry provided relief in cash and in kind, paid for an artificial leg in 1783 and an amputation in 1799, employed a surgeon by 1806 and a molecatcher from 1815. (fn. 11) A select vestry was appointed in 1824. (fn. 12) Paupers in the poorhouse were supplied with a wide range of food and goods including knitting needles and garden seeds. (fn. 13)

There was a poorhouse by 1778 and another house in Pound Lane was acquired on lease in 1792. (fn. 14) In 1807 and 1820 the vestry decided on extensions, probably to the original house, which in 1836 was let as two cottages. Standing on the lane to the brickyard it was sold in 1857. (fn. 15) The house in Pound Lane was divided by 1810 (fn. 16) and in 1986 was a private house.

In the 19th century Pawlett had a jury of sewers to view rhynes and ditches (fn. 17) and by 1936 the parish had its own water board to supervise drainage and freshwater irrigation of the Hams. The board also appointed a herdsman and shepherd. It was absorbed into the Bridgwater and Pawlett drainage board in 1946. (fn. 18) Pawlett formed part of the Bridgwater poor-law union in 1836, Bridgwater rural district in 1894, and Sedgemoor district in 1974. (fn. 19)


  • 1. S.R.O., DD/BR/bi 1; DD/S/HY 6/163.
  • 2. Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii. 128.
  • 3. S.R.O., DD/SAS NP 10, mm. 1-2; 15, m. 1.
  • 4. Ibid. NP 10, mm. 2-3; DD/MLY 6.
  • 5. Ibid. DD/SAS NP 10, mm. 5, 14, 15.
  • 6. Wimborne St. Giles, Shaftesbury MSS., M 127, 130, 205-16.
  • 7. S.R.S. xxviii. 18; Wimborne St. Giles, Shaftesbury MSS., LE 995; M 127, 205.
  • 8. S.R.O., DD/AH 24/8; DD/MLY 1, 6; DD/SAS (H/202) 4; (H/212) 15.
  • 9. Ibid. DD/S/WH 172.
  • 10. P.R.O., SC 2/198/2; ibid. LR 3/123.
  • 11. S.R.O., D/P/pawl 9/1/1; 13/2/1-2.
  • 12. Ibid. 9/1/2.
  • 13. Ibid. 13/2/1.
  • 14. Ibid.; ibid. DD/MLY 6.
  • 15. Ibid. D/P/pawl 9/1/1, 13/2/6; DD/MLY 5.
  • 16. Ibid. DD/MLY 6; ibid. tithe award.
  • 17. Ibid. D/P/pawl 23/1.
  • 18. Ibid. D/RA 4/4/4, 4/5/5.
  • 19. Youngs, Local Admin. Units, i. 671, 673, 676.