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.
The identifiable Domesday estates in the parish are Broomfield, Blaxhold, and possibly Denesmodeswelle, while Heathcombe manor first occurs in the later 12th century and Ivyton manor by the later 13th.
BROOMFIELD was held by Alnod in 1066 and by William de Mohun in 1086. (fn. 1) It was claimed as part of Dunster honor until 1777 or later although in 1460 it was said to be held in chief. (fn. 2) It was probably one of the fees held in 1166 of William de Mohun (d. 1176) by Gerbert de Percy (d. 1179) in right of his wife Maud Arundel, (fn. 3) and they were succeeded at Broomfield by one of their daughters Alice, wife of Robert de Glastonia. (fn. 4) Alice's daughter Maud married Roger de Newburgh (d. 1194) and held the manor as a widow in John's reign, (fn. 5) and was followed by her son Robert de Newburgh (d. 1246). In 1227 Robert gave the manor in fee to his sister Margery, wife of William Belet, (fn. 6) creating a mesne lordship in which he was succeeded by his son Henry (d. 1271). William de Montagu (d. 1270) appears to have acquired it and was succeeded by his son Simon. (fn. 7) The Montagu family, which held Kingslands and Oggshole elsewhere in the parish, held the mesne lordship until 1415 or later. (fn. 8)
The terre tenancy of Margery Belet passed on her death (after 1241) to her son Robert (d. c. 1256). (fn. 9) Robert's son William granted it to John de la Linde (d. 1272) who was succeeded by his son Walter. (fn. 10) Walter held the manor in 1285 and 1316 but in 1303 it was said to be held by William de Welle, Walter de la Linde's bailiff in 1279. (fn. 11) In 1330 Broomfield was said to be held by Robert de Burgh and Walter de la Linde, although the latter was dead. Robert was bailiff of the manor in 1313 and the highest taxpayer in 1327. (fn. 12)
Walter died c. 1317 leaving five daughters, Joan, Cecily, Margery, Isabel, and Amice. (fn. 13) Amice died in 1332 and in the same year Isabel, then wife of Philip Parsafey, sold her quarter share to John of Stoford and his wife Alice. (fn. 14) In 1344 the manor was held by Robert of Lydgate, Herbert of Flinton, husband of Cecily de la Linde, John of Stoford, and Robert Dallingrigge, probably an error for Roger, son of Joan de la Linde by her husband John. (fn. 15) By 1346 Roger Dallingrigge held the whole manor. (fn. 16) By 1350 John Biccombe held the manor, and Broomfield descended with Crowcombe Biccombe manor, which John had acquired by his marriage with Iseult of Crowcombe, (fn. 17) until the death of Hugh Biccombe in 1568 when, under a settlement of 1556, Broomfield passed to Hugh's daughter Maud, wife of Hugh Smythe (d. 1581). (fn. 18) Maud probably predeceased her husband, and the heir on his death was their daughter Elizabeth, wife of Edward Morgan. (fn. 19) Elizabeth was probably dead by 1596 when Edward (d. 1633) settled the estate on their son William for his marriage. William settled it on his eldest son Edward in 1611 and in 1633 on his second son Henry. William died in 1634 (fn. 20) and a month later his eldest son Edward, with Henry and William Morgan, sold Broomfield manor to Walter Granger probably on behalf of Andrew Crosse and William Towill. William Towill the elder died in 1649, and in 1653 his son William and Andrew Crosse and his wife Mary made a partition of the manor. (fn. 21)
One half of the manor, later the FYNE COURT estate, descended in the Crosse family in the direct male line from Andrew (d. 1689) to Andrew (d. 1705), Richard (d. 1716), Richard (d. 1766), Richard (d. 1800), Andrew (d. 1855), the scientist, (fn. 22) and John. John took his mother's name of Hamilton and died in 1880 leaving a widow Susan (d. 1916), on whom the estate had been settled. Her grandson John Hamilton sold the estate in 1952 to F. J. C. Adams but there is no record of a sale of lordship. In 1972 the estate was acquired by the National Trust under an earlier agreement with Adams. (fn. 23)
Fyne Court was built by the Crosse family probably in the late 17th century. It had a main eastern elevation of seven bays, with the central bays recessed, and a secondary elevation of seven bays to the south. The south front was extended westwards by five bays when a music room was added. The room was rebuilt in 1849. Outbuildings and stables to the north and west of the house enclosed a court by the 19th century. The outbuildings, music room, and library, remnants of a stone building, survived a fire which destroyed most of the house in 1894. (fn. 24) The gardens, north and west of the house, are probably of the 18th century. (fn. 25) They are mostly wooded but include a walled kitchen garden and, along part of the western border, a small serpentine lake with a boathouse and adjacent castle-like summerhouse.
After the partition of 1653 William Towill sold parts of the estate, including the capital messuage, to members of his own family. (fn. 26) Among them was the former leasehold farm known as Hollams and Lakes which by 1799 had been acquired by Thomas Mullins (d. 1811) and had become part of the Halswell estate in 1813. Mullins probably built the house known as Rose Hill by 1810. (fn. 27) It comprises two storeys with attics and its main front is of three bays with a central, pedimented porch. What remained of the Towill share of the manor was sold in 1659 to Hugh Halswell of Goathurst and descended like Halswell manor. (fn. 28)
In 1508 Lydeard Farm, the name recorded in 1327, was described as a capital messuage. (fn. 29) At the partition in 1653 it passed to William Towill, and remained with a younger branch of the family until the 1720s. (fn. 30) In 1734 it was owned by Ann Crosse, and by 1750 by her son Andrew, and descended with the Crosse estate. (fn. 31) The cob house may have a medieval core but was rebuilt in the 17th century when a carved staircase was installed. The house was greatly altered in the 19th and 20th centuries. (fn. 32)
IVYTON manor was held of Broomfield manor in 1283 and continued to be so held until 1790 or later, although suit and rent had probably been unpaid for many years and it was not recorded as a manor after 1662. (fn. 33) Ivyton was held by Hugh de la Tour (d. 1283), possibly in succession to his brother Henry (d. by 1280). (fn. 34) Hugh's son Thomas was succeeded by his son Hugh who died c. 1321 leaving a son William. (fn. 35) William died in 1349 leaving a daughter Alice, wife of John Roche. Alice was dead by 1375 but had had a child. (fn. 36) That child may have been Isabel, wife of John Haddecombe, who released her claim to Ivyton to John Roche in 1375 and again in 1390. (fn. 37) Later in 1390 Roche gave Ivyton to John Luttrell who in 1392 assigned the rents to John Haddecombe and his wife Isabel for her life, and granted the estate in 1394 to Joan, Roche's second wife, by then married to Thomas Trowe of Plainsfield. In 1404 Richard Roche, son of John, quitclaimed Ivyton to Joan's feoffees. (fn. 38) In 1429 John Luttrell gave the reversion after Joan's death to his kinsman Richard Luttrell; Joan was dead by 1439 when Richard took possession. (fn. 39) Ivyton then descended with Over Vexford in Stogumber until 1570 when the manor was sold to William Lovel. (fn. 40)
William Lovel (d. 1590) was succeeded by his son John who conveyed Ivyton to James Clarke, his sister Emmot's husband, c. 1596. (fn. 41) Emmot's sons John, James, and Thomas Clarke sold it in 1611 (fn. 42) to Sir Bartholomew Michell (d. 1616) who was followed by his daughters Jane, wife of William Hockmore, and Frances, wife of Alexander Popham. (fn. 43) In 1635 Frances released Ivyton to Gregory Hockmore. (fn. 44) Between 1647 and 1662 Hockmore divided and sold the estate. Nicholas Brown bought the capital messuage but forfeited it under a mortgage to Dr. Thomas Dyke who had purchased the lordship and remaining lands from Hockmore in 1662. Dyke also bought some of the other Ivyton lands and his widow Joan purchased more in 1698. (fn. 45) Most of Ivyton passed on Dyke's death in 1689 to his kinsman Thomas Deane or Dyke of Tetton in Kingston St. Mary. (fn. 46) The rest went to another kinsman Edward Dyke (d. 1728). In 1721 Thomas married Edward's daughter Mary and their only child Elizabeth inherited the shares of both her father and an uncle, Edward Dyke (d. 1746). (fn. 47) Elizabeth, who married Sir Thomas Acland, died in 1753 and was succeeded by her son John Dyke Acland (d. 1778). John's widow Harriet (or Harriot) held the estate until her death in 1815 when it passed to her son-in-law Henry Herbert, 2nd earl of Carnarvon, formerly husband of Harriet's daughter Elizabeth Kitty (d. 1813). Henry was succeeded by his son also Henry, the 3rd earl (d. 1849). (fn. 48) Alan Herbert (d. 1907), a younger son of the 3rd earl, left Ivyton to his nephew Mervyn (d. 1929), a younger son of the 4th earl, and Mervyn's son, Mervyn, was the owner in 1988. (fn. 49)
A capital messuage was recorded probably early in the 16th century and in 1677. (fn. 50) Ivyton Farm, with a garden front of three bays and a rear service wing, dates from the early 18th century.
RASWELL, formerly Rawleshill or Rawshill, (fn. 51) was a freehold of Broomfield manor. It belonged to John Towill or at Well in 1507-8. (fn. 52) John (d. 1535) was followed by his son William (d. 1591) and grandson Edward Towill (d. 1647). (fn. 53) Edward was succeeded by his son William (d. 1649) who left it to his wife Mary for life. Mary died in 1677 (fn. 54) and was followed by William Towill (d. 1685), probably her grandson. William's son, also William, and his wife Margaret sold Raswell to Thomas Dyke in 1697 but took a lease of the premises which the Towill family occupied until c. 1740. (fn. 55) Raswell descended in the Dyke family with Ivyton. (fn. 56)
Raswell farmhouse, which is rendered apparently over rubble, probably dates from the 16th century and has a roof of jointed-cruck construction with a framed ceiling in the hall. The threeroom cross-passage plan house was extended in the 17th century by the addition of a rear north wing and an eastern room, probably a kitchen, with a jettied first floor. (fn. 57)
In 1066 BLAXHOLD was held by Leofric and in 1086 by Geoffrey of Roger de Courcelles. (fn. 58) A separate manor until 1451 or later, it descended with Enmore manor and by the late 17th century had become a leasehold of Enmore manor. (fn. 59) The tenant, Jasper Porter, seems to have acquired the farm by 1744 and left it to his daughter Susanna (d. 1805), wife of Richard Crosse. (fn. 60) Susanna left it to her second son Richard, who died childless, and it passed on his death to his elder brother Andrew Crosse. Andrew sold Blaxhold in 1853 to Meshach Brittan of Bristol, from whom it passed to his sons William and Charles. They conveyed the estate in 1870 to Thomas Palfrey Broadmead and it descended with the Enmore Castle estate. (fn. 61)
There was a house on the farm in 1637 with wainscotted hall and parlour. (fn. 62) The capital messuage in 1810 was Lower Blaxhold House, in Enmore parish. (fn. 63) Hill House, built at Blaxhold before 1819 by Richard Crosse in the form of a double cube, appears to have been demolished by 1890. (fn. 64)
In 1086 DENESMODESWELLE was held of Alfred d'Epaignes; formerly it had been part of the royal manor of Somerton. (fn. 65) It is thought to have been the estate called Denman's or Deadman's Well, possibly from the personal name Denman recorded in the parish in the early 15th century, (fn. 66) but that estate can be traced only from 1649, when it was left by Thomas Collard to his wife Frances. (fn. 67) It was held with an adjoining farm called Heathcombe by the Thorne family until after 1761 (fn. 68) and passed from Margaret Jeanes (d. 1769) to her nephew Lancelot St. Albyn. (fn. 69) It descended with Alfoxton in Stringston until c. 1910 when it became part of the Halswell estate. (fn. 70) The site of the farm was later abandoned.
HEATHCOMBE, described in 1284-5 as ¼ fee and from 1359 as a manor, (fn. 71) was shared in 1211 between Hilary wife of Nicholas Avenel, Joan wife of Henry Furneaux, and Lettice wife of John son of Gerard of Earnshill, (fn. 72) the three daughters of Robert son of William (d. c. 1185- 6). With Robert's manor of Kilve the estate was held of Compton Dundon manor until 1510 or later, (fn. 73) and descended in the Furneaux family and their descendants with Perry Furneaux in Wembdon until c. 1485. (fn. 74) It then passed to the Stawell family with Merridge in Spaxton (fn. 75) and was one of the estates confiscated from Sir John Stawell during the Interregnum and sold to Edward Jenkins in 1652. (fn. 76) It was recovered at the Restoration, but was sold in 1698 to Francis Bennet who dismembered the holding. The lordship was not recorded thereafter. (fn. 77)
William de Say was a tenant on the estate in the later 12th century (fn. 78) and was succeeded before 1211 by his sister Emme, wife of Roger Reimes. She died without issue before 1227. (fn. 79) That holding may have been the capital messuage and lands on the estate known as the farm of Heathcombe, which Matthew Furneaux granted to William of Sutton, heir of Hugh of Heathcombe, c. 1251, and William conveyed to William Malet of Enmore. From William Malet the estate passed to his son, also William, and the latter's widow Mary gave it to Raymond Malet and his wife Millicent. (fn. 80) Raymond's greatnephew Baldwin Malet settled it on Raymond and his then wife Joan c. 1306 (fn. 81) but the holding, which came to be known as HEATHCOMBE manor, reverted to the main line of the Malets and descended as a holding in fee of the main manor until 1603 or later. (fn. 82) In 1602 John Malet sold to John Colford (d. 1622) most of the Heathcombe land, which was included in the later Willoughby's and Wood farms. (fn. 83)
Buckland priory appropriated the church before 1334, (fn. 84) and in 1539 the rectory estate, comprising the tithes of the parish and some glebe, passed to the Crown. It was granted in 1549 to Silvester Taverner, (fn. 85) from whom it had passed by 1557 to Humphrey Colles. Colles conveyed it to William Towill. (fn. 86) The RECTORY descended with Raswell until 1675, when it was settled on Jeffrey Towill, a younger son. (fn. 87) He died without issue in 1683 and by 1691 it was owned by Matthew Baron, later mayor of Wells. (fn. 88) He or another Matthew Baron held it until 1750, (fn. 89) and was succeeded by John Moss, who was in possession until 1784. (fn. 90) Richard Crosse of Fyne Court probably owned it by 1786, and it remained in the Crosse and Hamilton families. (fn. 91) Between the 1820s and 1840s it was held by John Hamilton, possibly in trust for Andrew Crosse's first wife Mary Hamilton and her children. The tithes were commuted for a rent charge of £379 in 1838. (fn. 92) In 1619 the glebe consisted of two gardens and 6 a. of land. By 1838 there were nearly 30 a. of glebe, (fn. 93) which were later absorbed into the Fyne Court estate.
A house on the rectory was mentioned in 1557 and 1619. (fn. 94) It was known in the 19th century as Parsonage Farm, or Old Parsonage, and was occupied by the lay rector in 1754. (fn. 95) Known by the end of the 19th century as the Cottage (fn. 96) and later as Fyne Court Cottage, it stands behind a small green north-west of the church. The house, which dates from the 17th century, was in 1988 occupied as two dwellings.
Buckland priory had at least three tenements in the parish attached to their manor of North Petherton. (fn. 97) The tenements were known as BUNCOMBE, and perhaps also included Holwell. (fn. 98) In 1544 the Crown granted the reversion to Sir John Fulford and Humphrey Colles and licensed alienation to Thomas Hill. (fn. 99) Hill was succeeded by his son George. (fn. 100) Some or all of the land passed to the Slape family and has not been traced after 1604. (fn. 101)
An estate described in the 16th century as HOLWELL manor and perhaps before 1539 owned by Buckland priory came into the possession of Thomas Hill (d. 1565), and he sold part of it to Edward Jenkins (d. c. 1572). (fn. 102) Andrew Jenkins (d. 1593) held other land of George Hill, Thomas's son. (fn. 103) By the 17th century three separate holdings at Holwell may have derived from Hill's estate. One, later known as Nether, Lower, or Middle Holwell, was assigned in 1602 by John Malet and his wife Mary to John Colford, in succession to John Jenkins. (fn. 104) The Colfords, who are said to have held the land in chief by knight service, remained in possession until the later 17th century, but by 1710 had sold to George Buller. (fn. 105) George's great-nephew, also George Buller, sold it in 1789 to John Barrell, and John's son, also John, in 1857 conveyed it to the Revd. Henry Codrington. Henry conveyed it to trustees. (fn. 106)
A second holding, known as Great or Higher Holwell, descended with Enmore manor in the late 17th century (fn. 107) but in 1743 was purchased by William Duddlestone Skinner. Twelve years later Skinner sold to John Perceval, earl of Egmont (d. 1770), and until 1835 Holwell remained part of the Enmore Castle estate. John Jeffereys bought it in that year. (fn. 108)
A third holding, later known as North or Little Holwell or Diddicks Down, passed from the Malets to Charles White on his marriage to Jane Malet in 1655, but later in the century it was held by the Thorne family. (fn. 109) Roger Thorne sold it to John Perceval, earl of Egmont (d. 1770), c. 1761, but by 1838 it had been acquired by John Jeffereys. (fn. 110)
Jeffereys, a nabob from Hertfordshire, died c. 1852 and his whole estate passed to his illegitimate children John and Mary. (fn. 111) They acquired Great and Little Holwell direct and Lower Holwell through trustees. John was dead by 1861 and his widow Anne in 1879, leaving Holwell in trust for Mary for life. She died in 1900 and her surviving trustee sold Great and Little Holwell to William Broadmead of Enmore Castle. (fn. 112)
A house at Lower Holwell had seven hearths in 1664 but the site was abandoned probably in the 1870s. (fn. 113) A house attached to Little Holwell was in Spaxton parish. Great Holwell house was built between 1841 and 1851 but had probably been demolished by 1881. (fn. 114) Great Holwell farm dates probably from the early 17th century and has a main range of three rooms, of which the easternmost, the kitchen, is beneath a lower roof; the parlour wing is at the west end. The principal rooms retain intersecting ceiling beams with heavy chamfers.
CASTLE, later ROOKS CASTLE, was a Crown estate associated with Somerton manor. (fn. 115) Its tenants, nominally copyholders, claimed in the 17th century to hold in fee simple, and Crown ownership ceased to be recorded after 1662. (fn. 116) Tenants in the 13th and 14th centuries may have been members of the Rok family, but by 1403 the estate was held by Richard, son and heir of John atte Castell. (fn. 117) Richard atte Castell (d. c. 1467) was succeeded by his son Richard (d. 1476). Richard's widow Edith and her son Robert were followed by John atte Castell (d. c. 1529), and by his son John. Robert atte Castell (d. c. 1617) was succeeded by his son Thomas, perhaps the Thomas Acastle who sold Rooks Castle probably in trust for Philip Yard. Philip and mortgagees sold it to John Tynte in 1662 in trust for Hugh Halswell. (fn. 118) Rooks Castle descended as part of the Halswell estate, to which was added by 1764 a neighbouring holding known as Rooks Castle or Steven's Place which had belonged to the Bragge family in the 17th and early 18th century. (fn. 119) Rooks Castle farmhouse was built on the site of Steven's Place in 1893. (fn. 120)
Part of the Rooks Castle estate was sold, probably in the later 17th century, and was known as BINFORDS by 1662. (fn. 121) It was owned by the Catford family until 1700, and later by the Paynes and the Jeanes. Charles Tynte bought the estate from the Revd. Thomas Coney and his wife Elizabeth Jeane in 1811, and it descended like Rooks Castle. (fn. 122)
Binfords house was built before 1662. (fn. 123) There were fishponds near it in 1700, and by 1791 it was an 'elegant seat' surrounded by pleasure grounds, and later a 'desirable place for retirement'. (fn. 124) Occupied by labourers in 1881, it was later abandoned and was in ruins by 1959. (fn. 125) The house had a main front of seven bays with a central, two-storeyed porch. (fn. 126)
KINGSLANDS formed part of Thurlbear manor in 1320 (fn. 127) and descended with the earldom of Salisbury until the death of Edward Plantagenet in 1484. He was succeeded by Cecily Bonville, Baroness Harrington and Bonville (d. 1529), granddaughter of Richard Neville, earl of Salisbury (d. 1460), and wife in turn of Thomas Grey, marquess of Dorset (d. 1501), and Henry Stafford, earl of Wiltshire (d. 1523). Her son Thomas Grey, marquess of Dorset (d. 1530), was succeeded by his son Henry (cr. duke of Suffolk 1551, d. 1554). Following Suffolk's attainder Thurlbear was granted to William Howard, Baron Howard of Effingham (d. 1573), who in 1556 conveyed it to Sir William and Henry Portman. (fn. 128) In 1557 Henry Portman sold the Broomfield lands to Nicholas Halswell and his son Robert. (fn. 129) The land was held by the Halswells until c. 1638 and from then until after 1751 with Clavelshay in North Petherton. (fn. 130) It later reverted to the Halswell estate by being absorbed into Hatcombe farm, a holding which Nicholas Halswell had acquired from John Stawell in 1560. (fn. 131)
MILCOMBE or MELCOMBE STREAM formed part of the manor of Creech in 1558 when it was sold to John Pyleman the tenant, and was held of Creech until 1592 or later, but in 1691 it was said to be held of the queen in chief. Richard Pyleman, John's son, conveyed half the estate, called Helliers Place, to his brother Thomas and in 1574 sold the rest, including the Cross House, to Richard Kebby. Kebby died in 1586 leaving his share to his son Giles (d. c. 1595). (fn. 132) Thomas Pyleman died in 1575 leaving an infant son Eleazer. In 1612 Eleazer sold his share to Robert Kebby, son of Giles, and Giles sold to his brother Hugh in 1614 and 1616. (fn. 133) Hugh Kebby (d. 1645) was succeeded by his son Hugh (d. 1658) and his grandson Hugh Kebby (d. c. 1675). In 1676 the last Hugh's daughter Mary and sister Jane conveyed Helliers Place and the Cross House and their lands to Sir Halswell Tynte. (fn. 134) The Melcombe Stream land formed Stream farm on the Halswell estate by 1797. (fn. 135)
OGGSHOLE was held by William de Montagu in 1212 of the Crown as a member of Somerton, (fn. 136) and was so held by successive earls of Salisbury until 1409 or later. (fn. 137) The land was in part subinfeudated to Richard Fromond, as heir to his father Robert and grandmother Margery. (fn. 138) Richard was alive c. 1285 but his estate had passed to John Gyan by 1316 and to Robert Gyan by 1344. (fn. 139) In 1397 Robert Tilley was holding Oggshole and he remained in possession in 1409. (fn. 140) In 1540 it belonged to William Hody as son and heir of Richard (d. 1536). William sold Oggshole to Nicholas Halswell in 1556 and 1558 and it descended with the Halswell estate. (fn. 141) Oggshole farmhouse was rebuilt in 1868. (fn. 142)
Athelney abbey owned land at Oggshole by grant of King Henry II and John of Erleigh in the 12th century. (fn. 143) The land descended after the Dissolution with Clavelshay in North Petherton. (fn. 144)
William son of Walter and Engelois, William Fichet, and King John made grants of land at KINGSHILL, once part of the Fichets' manor of Merridge, to Taunton priory in the early 13th century. (fn. 145) By 1275 the priory also had a small tenement in Melcombe with common pasture at Oggshole. (fn. 146) In 1544 the Crown granted the Kingshill land and perhaps the rest to William Portman and Alexander Popham. (fn. 147) Kingshill formed part of an exchange between Nicholas Halswell and John Stawell in 1560, and on the break-up of the Stawell estate in the late 17th century passed to the Thorne family. (fn. 148) Priors, East, or Great Down, possibly also once part of the priory estate, (fn. 149) were acquired with Kingshill c. 1798 by John Ryall (d. c. 1813), and John Hamilton bought them before 1882 from John Ryall Mayo, adding them to the Fyne Court estate. (fn. 150)