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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MANOR AND OTHER ESTATES.
Athelney abbey seems to have acquired its estate in Lyng through two grants. King Alfred presumably gave the 'island' site when he founded the abbey c. 888. (fn. 1) A mansio called Relengen, identified with the later manor of LYNG or WEST LYNG, (fn. 2) was granted in 937 by King Athelstan in free alms in return for the prayers of the community for Alfred's soul. (fn. 3) In the 12th century the abbot was said to hold his lands in return for prayers for the then king, (fn. 4) and in 1485-6 to hold in free alms. (fn. 5)
The estate passed to the Crown on the surrender of the abbey in 1539 and it was later divided, the site of the monastery and its demesnes forming one holding. (fn. 6) The remainder, described as the manor and capital messuage, together with some woodland, were in 1544 granted to (Sir) John Leigh, the king's servant. (fn. 7) Leigh (d. c. 1563) (fn. 8) settled the manor on his nephew also John who died in 1576. (fn. 9) A claim by Sir John's daughter Agnes, wife of Edward FitzGarrett, (fn. 10) was evidently defeated, since John Leigh's widow Margery, who was still alive in 1612, held Lyng as jointure. (fn. 11) The manor was presumably let by Margery Leigh, since by 1598 the manor court was held in the names of John Pyne, (Sir) Jasper, Robert, and Geoffrey Moore, sons of Thomas Moore of Taunton, and Lancelot St. Albyn. (fn. 12) In 1602 only Pyne and St. Albyn were described as lords, from 1604 to 1608 only the three Moores. (fn. 13) Robert and Geoffrey Moore were lords in 1609, and between 1611 and 1615 (fn. 14) Thomas Moore of Heytesbury (Wilts.). Thomas died c. 1627 (fn. 15) and was succeeded at Lyng by two sons, Thomas and Francis Moore. (fn. 16) Thomas was lord in 1651. (fn. 17)
Meanwhile John Leigh (d. 1576) was followed by his son Sir John (d. 1612) and by his grandson Thomas (d. 1640). (fn. 18) Thomas's son Philip succeeded as a minor, and he was followed by his son Edward, on whom the manor was settled in 1659. (fn. 19) In 1697 Edward, of Testwood in Eling (Hants), sold the heavily mortgaged (fn. 20) manor, amounting to nearly 1,000 a. of land including tenements attached to the former abbey holdings in Burrow, Langport, and North Petherton, to William Harrison of North Petherton. (fn. 21) Harrison died in 1740 leaving the manor in trust for his sister and then for three nieces, but it seems likely that much of the land had already been sold. (fn. 22) No further reference to the manor has been found until 1861 when Richard Gatcombe of North Petherton held the lordship. He held it until 1875 or later, but by 1883 and until 1923 Clifford Symes of Bridgwater was described as lord. (fn. 23)
In 1697 Edward Leigh sold to Sir Thomas Wroth of Petherton Park a holding described as the court leet and view of frankpledge and royalty of the manor, together with chief rents, fee farm rents, and the former farm of Lyng Court. (fn. 24) Sir Thomas died in 1721 leaving the whole estate to be shared by his two daughters Cecily and Elizabeth. In 1723 Lyng was awarded on partition to Elizabeth, and to her husband Thomas Palmer of Fairfield in Stogursey. (fn. 25) Elizabeth died in 1738, (fn. 26) leaving her father's estate in trust to her brother-in-law Peregrine Palmer, first to carry out the terms of her will and then successively for the benefit of her kinswoman Anne and of Anne's daughter Elizabeth. Anne, who married first William Oxenham of Newhouse (Devon) and then Wadham Wyndham of Fyfield (Wilts.), died in 1748. In 1752 her daughter Elizabeth Oxenham married Arthur Acland (d. 1771). (fn. 27) Their son (Sir) John Palmer Acland succeeded on Elizabeth's death in 1806. (fn. 28)
Acland died in 1831 and his trustees sold the court leet and Lyng Court farm to Anna Gatcombe (d. 1847). (fn. 29) Anna left the property in trust for Mary, wife of Thomas Mullins of Goathurst. (fn. 30) Their son, also Thomas, of Weston super Mare, was dead by 1903, and Lyng Court and other farms in Lyng and Durston passed to his widow Lucie Margaret, of Minehead. She sold Lyng Court in 1911 to her tenant Richard Gatcombe Turner (d. 1930). The farm then descended successively to Turner's son James Gadd Turner (d. 1954) and his grandson Richard John Dunning Turner (d. 1972). In 1985 it was owned by Anne, daughter of the last and wife of Mr. R. Lloyd Jones. (fn. 31)
The capital messuage, known as the Court by 1529, (fn. 32) was rebuilt in 1808. (fn. 33) It is of brick, with two storeys and attics over cellars. To the rear is a contemporary smoking house. North-east of the house is a large barn, its west porch entry and wide-splayed stone-framed openings indicating a late-medieval origin. The idea that there was a chapel on the farm (fn. 34) was probably inspired by the surviving medieval fragments.
John Tuchet, Lord Audley (d. 1557), who seems to have contemplated living at Athelney abbey while at least part of the community remained, was given temporary charge of the abbey by the king's visitors on its surrender in 1539. (fn. 35) He still held the site and demesne at farm in August 1544, but from March in that year what was later called ATHELNEY farm was held in fee by John Clayton or Clutton, (fn. 36) who shortly afterwards had licence to alienate them to John Tynbery or Tymbury. (fn. 37) Clutton died later in that year and was succeeded by his brother David, of Westminster. (fn. 38) David sold the estate to Tynbery in 1545, the price including a sum to discharge all leases granted by Lord Audley. (fn. 39) Tynbery died in possession of the site and a fishery in 1553. (fn. 40) His son and heir Henry died in 1567 still under age. Henry was followed by his brother William, who took possession in 1573. (fn. 41) Before 1610 William and his wife conveyed the holding to Simon Court, and in that year Simon and Edward Court were in possession. (fn. 42) Edward died in 1619 leaving a son, Simon, a minor. (fn. 43) Simon took possession in 1635 and was followed by his son Thomas, of Shepton Mallet, by 1664. The estate, then called Athelney farm, was sold in the following year to John Hucker, a Taunton merchant. (fn. 44) Hucker was executed in 1685 for his support for the duke of Monmouth, and his land was forfeit to the Crown. (fn. 45) A Treasury warrant for a grant to be made to John Churchill, Baron Churchill, later Duke of Marlborough (d. 1722), (fn. 46) was evidently frustrated by the previous creation of a trust in favour of Hucker's son Robert, (fn. 47) himself a Monmouth supporter. (fn. 48) Robert Hucker was in possession in 1692 and sold the farm in 1698 to Thomas Burge of Long Sutton. Burge mortgaged it in 1706 to Richard Brodrepp of South Mapperton (Dors.) and failed to repay the loan, but he remained in occupation until his death in 1713. He was succeeded as tenant by his son John (d. 1715) and by John's only child Mary, wife of Lawrence Brome. John Evered of Bridgwater bought the farm from Brodrepp's heirs in 1739. (fn. 49) Evered died in 1785 (fn. 50) and his eventual heir was his daughter Jane, wife of the Revd. Francis Crane Parsons of Yeovil. In 1791 Parsons sold the farm to John Slade of North Petherton. The farm descended in the Slade family until 1863 when it was sold, apparently to the Barrett family of Moredon in North Curry; (fn. 51) it was sold again in 1918 to the tenant. (fn. 52) The descent has not been traced further.
No remains of the abbey buildings survive above ground. Parts remained standing in 1674 and the ruins of a chapel still existed until c. 1770. The present farmhouse was built in the later 18th century. (fn. 53)
In the 16th century the RECTORY comprised tithes and casual cash payments, and until the Dissolution belonged to Athelney abbey. (fn. 54) It was leased by the Crown to Thomas Ansell in 1546 (fn. 55) and was sold to Sir Christopher Hatton in 1579. (fn. 56) Before 1596 it had passed to Sir Nicholas Halswell, who leased it to William Goble (d. 1626), of Bridgwater. (fn. 57) The descent of the rectory thereafter is uncertain until 1676, although in 1662 the patronage was exercised by Henry and John Stallington and in 1669 by John Ellis and John Stallington, possibly heirs of Goble. Richard Jeane and Alexander Atkins presented in 1675, (fn. 58) and in the following year the rectory and advowson were sold by Benjamin Hart of Bridgwater to Alexander Atkins. Alexander, son and heir of the last, conveyed it in 1688 to his mother Margaret (fn. 59) although his younger brother Samuel was patron in 1692 and 1719. (fn. 60) Margaret died in 1718 leaving the rectory to be divided between her grandchildren. Half was shared between John Leigh and James Potter in 1737, (fn. 61) and both were among the eight patrons who presented in 1746. (fn. 62) Another patron then was William Moore, who in that same year acquired the whole rectory (fn. 63) which he added to a farm of some 100 a. inherited from his father Andrew Moore (d. 1743) of North Newton in North Petherton, formerly part of Lyng manor. (fn. 64)
William Moore died in 1768 (fn. 65) and the rectory and advowson passed to his widow Elizabeth, of Bourton-on-the-Water (Glos.). She made over the estate in 1792 to Hill Dawe of Ditcheat, Moore's nephew. (fn. 66) Hill died in 1820 and was succeeded by his son and heir, also Hill Dawe. (fn. 67) The latter died in 1851 and was followed in succession by his nephew the Revd. Hill Richard Dawe (d. 1857) and by his brother Charles Dawe (d. 1869). (fn. 68) By 1861 (fn. 69) the estate had been acquired by Richard King Meade-King (d. 1887), of Walford in West Monkton, and passed successively to his son Lt.-Col. W. O. Meade-King (d. 1913) and grandson (Sir) William O. E. Meade-King (d. 1940). (fn. 70) Richard E. B. MeadeKing died c. 1972 and his executors sold the land. (fn. 71)
A manor of BURROW was mentioned in 1786. (fn. 72) It may have comprised Burrow Hill, which belonged to the Harris family by 1767 and until 1780, when it came to John Chard. (fn. 73) A descendant married Capt. William Barrett of Moredon in North Curry, and the land passed to their son, Major A. G. Barrett, of Trull, who gave it and the chapel on its summit to the National Trust in 1946 as the county War Memorial. (fn. 74)
In 1528 the bishop of Winchester, the abbot of Glastonbury, the prior of Taunton, the warden of Eton College, and William Moleyns were freeholders of Lyng manor. (fn. 75) The Winchester holding, acquired by 1208, (fn. 76) comprised a messuage in Lyng and a fishery called Tappingweir, which was said to be on the Parrett, (fn. 77) and probably lay near the present Tappingwall Drove in Othery. The messuage remained part of the Winchester estate, administered with Ruishton tithing, until 1868 or later. (fn. 78) The Glastonbury estate has not been identified. The prior of Taunton acquired land in North moor early in the 13th century. (fn. 79) It presumably passed with the priory holding to John Ogan in 1540 and its reversion was granted to Humphrey Colles in 1543. (fn. 80) John Colles was a freeholder of the manor in 1604. (fn. 81) Eton College held a small piece of land near North moor by 1431 which was administered with Stogursey Priory manor, later Monkton Home manor, in Stogursey. (fn. 82) It was sold in 1922. (fn. 83) William Moleyns's holding was part of a family estate owned by 1429 (fn. 84) which continued in their possession until after 1541. (fn. 85) John Phelips held land of the manor in 1601 which the family still retained in 1797 and which was the nucleus of Church farm, (fn. 86) its fields approached from East Lyng village along Phillips's Drove. (fn. 87) The chantry of Our Lady at North Curry owned land in the parish by 1314 (fn. 88) which passed from the Lyte family to Hugh Isaacs in 1560. (fn. 89)