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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THE main part of Enmore parish occupies a diamond-shaped area on the lower, eastern slopes of the Quantock ridge, 3.5 km. WSW. from Bridgwater at the nearest point. A detached area to the south-west occupied the slope of Broomfield Hill above Holwell Combe. The parish, which includes Enmore village at its centre and the roadside hamlet of Lexworthy at its eastern end, is just over 5 km. from east to west and 1.5 km. from north to south. The ancient parish was reckoned to be 1,112 a. (fn. 1) but the addition of Quantock Durborough from Spaxton in 1878 and of Blaxhold and Holwell from Broomfield in 1887 (fn. 2) increased its size to 1,426 a. (577 ha.) and joined the detached area to the main part. (fn. 3)
Almost the entire north-western and northern boundaries follow the course of the Durleigh brook from very near its source in Holwell Combe to the Durleigh reservoir, and parts of the south-eastern and southern boundaries also follow a stream. The land falls from 244 m. in the far south-west below the Quantock ridge at Broomfield Hill, steeply at first over Ilfracombe slates, to the centre of the parish, at c. 75 m., west of the village; and then more gently over Upper Keuper marls to c. 25 m. There is a narrow band of sandstone along the line of the present Bridgwater road and strips of valley gravel indicating former stream courses. Limestone from a small pocket in the west was quarried and burnt there in 1837, (fn. 4) and there were quarries south of Barford and east of the village. (fn. 5)
The name Enmore may derive from a mere, from which the lake in Enmore park may have been created. The name Lexworthy may indicate woodland clearance. (fn. 6) Enmore village lay beside the church on a small spur from which roads and paths radiated in all directions. Isolated farmsteads lay north-west at Barford, south at Tirelands, and east at Stone Hall; the medieval hamlet of Grobham, east of Enmore village, is indicated only by the field names Grabhambury. (fn. 7)
Enmore village lay on a route from Bridgwater to the Quantocks which was turnpiked to the west end of the village in 1730. (fn. 8) The expansion of Enmore park and the creation of drives across it caused the closure of a route from the village north towards Barford and culminated in the unpopular diversion of the turnpike road in 1759. The new route by-passed Lexworthy village and Enmore village street and turnpike jurisdiction was extended to Bishop's Lydeard. (fn. 9) Probably the road to Barford also dates from the same time. The old route was retained for some of its length as a footpath until 1980, (fn. 10) and other parts remain as an earthwork.
There were 112 a. of woodland in 1086 (fn. 11) and at least 40 a. in 1276. (fn. 12) Timber on one estate in 1828 comprised at least nine species including witch elm, Spanish chestnut, and hornbeam. (fn. 13) There were several plantations in 1833 in addition to Roughmoor wood, north of the park, but much valuable timber was said to have been felled in 1834. (fn. 14) In 1837 there were 116 a. of woodland, (fn. 15) but later in the century more felling reduced the timber to 63 a. by 1905 and most of Roughmoor wood had been cleared. (fn. 16) Only 5 ha. (13 a.) of woodland were recorded in 1982. (fn. 17)
A warren was mentioned in 1656. (fn. 18) Parks were laid out around the houses at both Barford and Enmore. Barford park, probably created when the house was rebuilt in the early 18th century, measured c. 40 a. in 1837, and survived in 1987. (fn. 19) Enmore park had been created by 1711 (fn. 20) and it was extended significantly, probably by John Perceval, earl of Egmont (d. 1770), to include most of the land between the Barford road on the west, the Durleigh brook to the north, Lexworthy to the east, and the original village street to the south, taking in some of the churchyard in 1767. (fn. 21) Further expansion south of the church was evidently contemplated: some houses were demolished c. 1791, the rectory house and glebe were acquired, and provision was made for rehousing their occupants. (fn. 22) In the event the land south of the village street was never taken into the park, which by 1833 measured 286 a. and seems to have been enclosed with a high fence. (fn. 23) By 1837 the land south of the street with the parkland west of the house called Enmore Castle had been used to create a farm, and parkland east of the house was later incorporated into Castle farm. (fn. 24) In 1932 the remaining parkland to the east became a golf course, (fn. 25) leaving a small area of parkland between Enmore Castle and the lake.
There is no record of open-field farming in the parish. Rights to common pasture were disputed between the lord of Enmore manor and another landowner before 1261, and in 1276 pasture rights in woodland in the parish were the subject of litigation. (fn. 26)
The Enmore club was recorded in 1807 and a friendly society, meeting at the Castle inn in 1804, was dissolved in 1893. (fn. 27) Enmore golf club opened in 1932 and in 1987 the course occupied the former Lower and Middle Parks and Roughmoor wood. (fn. 28)
An inn was recorded in 1619 (fn. 29) and 1630, (fn. 30) and by the end of the 17th century there were three, the Bell, the Enmore, and the George inns. The Bell, whose licensee in 1683 also owned a mercery warehouse, had two butteries. (fn. 31) The Bell may well have originated as the parish brewhouse, standing at the west end of the church house. It remained open until after 1779 but had probably been demolished by 1833. (fn. 32) The Enmore inn, recorded in 1684, was owned or occupied by the Moone family. It closed c. 1765. (fn. 33) The George inn, recorded in 1696, continued until 1779 or later. It stood at the upper end of the village street and marked the end of the turnpike from Bridgwater. (fn. 34) The New Inn was recorded between 1769 and 1782. (fn. 35) Shortly before 1782 the Castle inn was built on the south side of the turnpike road, south-east of the village, and was let with a few acres of land. It was the sole licensed house in the parish between 1786 and the early 19th century. (fn. 36) It was still open in 1833 but as Castle Inn House it seems to have been a private dwelling in 1837. (fn. 37) Castle House, extended in the later 19th century, is a five-bayed house of two storeys with a threestoreyed porch, battlemented wings, and arcaded outbuildings. The Tynte Arms, probably the former Pound Cottage, had opened by 1848, (fn. 38) and the Enmore inn at Lexworthy by 1851. (fn. 39) Both were in business in 1987.
There were 29 taxpayers in 1327; (fn. 40) there were probably 63 houses in the 1660s, (fn. 41) but only 45, with c. 220 inhabitants, in 1791. (fn. 42) The population was 254 in 1801, and rose gradually to 302 in 1841 and more sharply to 343 in 1851. There followed a gradual decline to 261 in 1901. After several decades of stability the total fell to 191 in 1971; the normally resident population was 203 in 1981. (fn. 43)
Fifteen people from the parish were fined for their involvement in the 1497 rebellion. (fn. 44)