Goathurst: Local government

Pages 50-51

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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Goathurst parish normally formed a single tithing which was linked in 1569 with Durleigh, Huntstile, and four other places and in 1641 with Huntstile. (fn. 1) In the 1270s Roger of Goathurst claimed gallows, assize of ale (but not of bread), and waifs and strays. (fn. 2) Rolls and books for Goathurst manor court, held once or twice a year, for 1493-4, 1502-4, and 1556-60 record breaches of the assize of ale, strays, repairs, and tenants' pleas. (fn. 3) In 1676 the manor claimed money for harvest work as well as suit of court from a tenant. (fn. 4) Books for Halswell manor courts survive for 1556-64 and 1611. The court was held once or twice a year and was concerned with repairs and strays. (fn. 5) There was a pound at Andersfield in 1887. (fn. 6)

In the early 17th century the overseers gave relief mainly in cash and clothing. (fn. 7) The highway surveyors collected money in lieu of statute labour by 1756 but repairs seem to have been organized by Sir Charles Kemeys-Tynte's steward, who was paid by the surveyors. From 1762 the surveyors were arranging the repairs and in 1786 financial difficulties led to a decision to levy a rate. (fn. 8)

A poorhouse, recorded c. 1705 and belonging to Goathurst manor, may have been the former church house. (fn. 9) It lay on the south side of the churchyard at the west end of the village street. It was let as a private dwelling in 1729, and after 1756 a second house was built in its garden. The poorhouse was probably demolished in 1780. It was replaced by a new poorhouse on the site of the second house, which Sir Charles KemeysTynte let to the parish at a nominal rent. (fn. 10) During the 19th and early 20th centuries it housed old people and poor families and was sometimes known as the almshouse. (fn. 11) It appears to have been sold c. 1953 (fn. 12) and was divided into two private dwellings known as Dorford House and the Almonry. The two-storeyed, sevenbayed house was built in the Gothick style with Y-traceried windows. Over the original ogeeheaded entrance is a dated panel recording that Sir Charles provided the house.

The parish became part of the Bridgwater poorlaw union in 1836, Bridgwater rural district from 1894, and Sedgemoor district from 1974. (fn. 13)


  • 1. S.R.S. iii. 164; xx. 243; Som. Protestation Returns, ed. Howard and Stoate, 186.
  • 2. Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii. 126; Plac. de Quo Warr. (Rec. Com.), 693.
  • 3. S.R.O., DD/X/ELT 1-2; DD/S/WH 210.
  • 4. Ibid. DD/S/WH 147.
  • 5. Ibid. 210-11.
  • 6. O.S. Map 6", Som. LXI. NW. (1887 edn.).
  • 7. S.R.O., D/P/gst 4/4/1.
  • 8. Ibid. D/PM/gst 6/1/2.
  • 9. Ibid. DD/S/WH 25.
  • 10. Ibid. 56, 147, 225, 248.
  • 11. P.R.O., HO 107/929; ibid. RG 9/1622; RG 11/2372; S.R.O., D/R/bw 13/1/3.
  • 12. S.R.O., DD/X/GST (S/1372).
  • 13. Youngs, Local Admin. Units, i. 671, 673, 676.