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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There was a chaplain at Aisholt in 1267. (fn. 1) The living was a rectory by 1291. (fn. 2) It was held with Over Stowey from 1919 and united with it in 1921. (fn. 3) From 1969 it was served by the vicar of Cannington, who on retirement from Cannington served Aisholt from 1980 until 1989 as acting curate-in-charge of an independent benefice. (fn. 4)
On the death of Sir William de Reigny in 1275 his cousin and coheir Alice, wife of William le Pruz, conveyed the advowson to Thomas Fraunceys and his son Thomas. (fn. 5) In 1313 the advowson was exercised by John of Membury, son of Sir William de Reigny's mistress Joan le Botiller. (fn. 6) In 1405 the advowson was held by Thomas Trowe. (fn. 7) John Trowe presented in 1453 (fn. 8) and his trustees in 1474. (fn. 9) The advowson passed to Hugh Trowe (d. by 1493) and his wife Elizabeth (d. 1493). Their heir was Hugh's brother Thomas (fn. 10) but John Courtenay presented in 1493. (fn. 11) Thomas Trowe was attainted in 1504 (fn. 12) and in 1506 the advowson was granted to Sir John Williams. (fn. 13) Sir John died in 1508 leaving a son Reginald under age. (fn. 14) Reginald (d. 1559) (fn. 15) was succeeded in turn by his sons John (d. 1560), (fn. 16) Nicholas (d. 1568), and Richard (d. 1568). On Richard's death the advowson reverted to the Crown, (fn. 17) which granted its rights to Thomas Freke and Henry Starr in 1600. (fn. 18) Humphrey Blake, who was dealing with the advowson in 1601 (fn. 19) and 1613, (fn. 20) by will proved 1620 left it to his son Edmund. (fn. 21) In 1620, however, John Toogood presented. (fn. 22) In 1638 Edmund Blake with others conveyed the advowson, probably for the next presentation, to the rector, William Hite. (fn. 23) Later that year Hite died and the Crown claimed the right of patronage, probably for simony, but presented jointly with John Hite. (fn. 24) In 1640 the Crown presented again (fn. 25) but by 1660 the Blakes had recovered the advowson. (fn. 26) Humphrey Blake in his will proved 1665 left it to his son Nathaniel (d. 1705), who presented in 1668 and was himself presented in 1670. In 1706 and 1707 Nathaniel's trustees presented. His daughter Katharine married John Brice (d. 1761), rector 1707-56, (fn. 27) and the advowson descended in the Brice family to John's son Nathaniel (d. 1790), rector 1756-84, and to the latter's daughter Betty. (fn. 28) Her heir was her cousin John Brice, rector 1800-32. (fn. 29) The patronage appears to have passed to Brice's successor as rector, (fn. 30) but by 1888 it had been acquired by E. J. Stanley, whose son E. A. V. Stanley held it in 1919. (fn. 31) In 1920 the patronage was vested in the Martyrs Memorial Patronage Trust. (fn. 32)
The church was valued at £5 in 1291, (fn. 33) £7 12s. 3d. net in 1535, (fn. 34) £60 c. 1668, (fn. 35) and £280 in 1829-31. (fn. 36) The tithes, worth £6 2s. in 1535, (fn. 37) were commuted for £210 in 1842. (fn. 38) The glebe, valued at 40s. in 1535, (fn. 39) included land at Doniford in St. Decumans, (fn. 40) given to the rector for serving a chapel at Doniford. (fn. 41) In 1842 there were 38 a. of glebe at Aisholt (fn. 42) and over 20 a. at Doniford. (fn. 43) The rector still held the land when the benefices of Aisholt and Over Stowey were united. (fn. 44) The parsonage house was recorded in 1626 and 1639 when it had a hopyard and orchard. (fn. 45) The house was said to be in perfect repair in 1815 (fn. 46) and fit in 1835. (fn. 47) After the union with Over Stowey in 1921 it was sold. (fn. 48) Now called Aisholt House, it dates from the 18th century and has a main south front of three bays and three storeys. Its recessed end blocks of two storeys with swept gables may have been added when the house was remodelled in the 19th century and the grounds were planted with specimen trees.
Nicholas Savage succeeded his brother Simon as rector in 1315 while still a deacon and was licensed to study for a year. (fn. 49) In 1389 the rector employed a chaplain, possibly to serve the chapel at Doniford. (fn. 50) In 1554 the church lacked a portuas and a processional. (fn. 51) From 1566 (fn. 52) the parish was served by curates, one of whom was presented in 1576 for disturbing his neighbours, for failing to catechize, keep the register, or conduct weekday services, and for marrying non-parishioners without licence. (fn. 53) He became rector in the same year. (fn. 54) William Hite, rector 1620-38, was resident and had a library worth nearly £20. (fn. 55) Henry Bennet, rector 1638-40, was ousted by Edmund Estcourt, (fn. 56) who married into a prominent local family and appears to have lived at Plainsfield at Over Stowey. (fn. 57) From 1707 to 1832 the Brice family was normally resident. (fn. 58) There were 12 communicants c. 1776. (fn. 59) John Reeks was inducted in 1784 on the day of his marriage to the patron's daughter. (fn. 60) He was frequently unable to perform his duties and the parish was served until 1805 by William Holland, vicar of Over Stowey. Congregations were often augmented by Holland's parishioners. (fn. 61) By 1815 John Brice held one service each Sunday, alternately morning and afternoon, (fn. 62) but by 1840 his successor held two services and celebrated communion four times a year. (fn. 63) By 1870 celebrations had doubled and two Sunday services continued to be held (fn. 64) but in 1921 when the rector also served Over Stowey (fn. 65) only one service was held. In 1980 there were about 30 communicants at morning service. (fn. 66)
The church of ALL SAINTS, dedicated to St. Michael in 1530, (fn. 70) is built of rubble with freestone dressings and consists of a chancel, a nave with north vestry, south aisle, and south porch, and a west tower. With the possible exception of the chamfered chancel arch the whole church appears to be of the 15th century. New windows were put into the nave and south aisle in the 17th century. A singing gallery had been built by 1812 (fn. 71) but was later demolished. Some restoration was carried out in 1895. Fragments of medieval glass survive in the aisle windows and there are a 15th-century door and font. The chamber organ dates from c. 1820 and was made by Samuel Parsons of Bloomsbury, London. The plate dates from 1844 and there were four bells until c. 1965 when one was sold. (fn. 72) The registers date from 1652. (fn. 73)