Fiddington: Manors and other estates

Pages 99-100

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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FIDDINGTON was held by Alfward in 1066 and in 1086 by Roger Arundel. (fn. 1) From 1303 to 1358 or later it was held of the manor of Whitelackington but in 1559 it was said to be held of Cannington manor, probably only because it was in Cannington hundred. (fn. 2)

Hugh held Fiddington of Roger Arundel in 1086. It may have been held later by the eponymous Fiddington family. William and Hugh were recorded in the late 12th century. (fn. 3) Henry (fl. 1272-85) was described as lord of Fiddington and son of Ralph of Fiddington. (fn. 4) Matthew Furneaux was lord by 1303 and was succeeded by his son Simon (d. 1358). (fn. 5) The manor probably descended like the Furneaux share of Shurton in Stogursey to Eleanor wife of Ralph Bush. (fn. 6) In 1433 it was settled on Ralph and Eleanor for life and then on their son William, who probably died soon afterwards, and on his wife Joan, daughter of Sir Thomas Brooke. (fn. 7) In 1439 the reversion after Ralph's death was settled on John Hody, possibly in trust for John Carent (d. 1483), Joan Brooke's second husband. The manor appears to have been held by the Carent family in 1518 (fn. 8) and in 1538 was settled on Sir William Carent who, with his younger son Leonard, sold it to James Downham in 1558. (fn. 9) James (d. 1558) left two thirds to his nephew Thomas Downham while his son William was a minor. (fn. 10) William, possibly son of William, sold the manor to John Shere in 1637. (fn. 11) It was bought c. 1647 by Roger Mallack who in his will of 1651 left it to his grandson Rawlyn, son of Roger Mallack the younger. (fn. 12) In his will of 1689 Rawlyn left the manor in trust for his son, also Rawlyn, who died unmarried in 1699, with remainder to the family of his kinsman Roger Mallack of Exeter. Roger's son Rawlyn (d. 1749) was followed by his son, also Rawlyn, who mortgaged the estate heavily between 1751 and 1757. (fn. 13) Further mortgages were made in the 1760s and in 1772 Fiddington was sold to Joseph Champion, who dismembered the estate. (fn. 14) The lordship appears to have been bought by John Williams who, by will dated 1788, left it in trust for his wife Sarah for her life, his daughter Jane, wife of John Tatchell, and her children. (fn. 15) Lordship was last recorded in 1822 when it was vested in John Tatchell and his four daughters. (fn. 16)

There is no record of a capital messuage. Brook Farm, now known as Manor Farm, is a 17thcentury house with a main range and two short rear wings. The front was remodelled in the earlier 19th century.

BONSON manor, formerly Bothemeston or Bodmeston, (fn. 17) was held like Fiddington of Whitelackington until 1508 or later, but in 1604 it was said to be held of Rodway Fitzpayn. (fn. 18) It may have been held in the later 12th century by Ranulph of Bonstone whose successor was his nephew William of Beere. (fn. 19) Joan, daughter of Ralph FitzBernard and widow of William Braunche, held land in Bonson in the 13th century, and Richard FitzBernard was probably lord of Bonson in 1272. (fn. 20) John FitzBernard was lord of it in 1276, 1303, and probably in 1316. By 1346 Peter Trivet held the manor (fn. 21) but, possibly by descent from Joan Braunche, Bonson was held by the coparceners who had Durborough in Stogursey in 1361 and until 1404 when John, son of Peter Trivet, successfully claimed the estate. (fn. 22) In 1420 his daughters held the manor. By deeds of 1423 and 1429 it was settled on Margaret, wife of Roger Tremayle, although her sister Joan, wife of Roger Pym, may have received a rent as her descendants did in the 16th century. (fn. 23) Margaret died c. 1430 and was succeeded by her son John Tremayle (fn. 24) (fl. 1472), and by her grandson Thomas Tremayle (d. 1508). (fn. 25) Thomas's son Philip died in 1520 leaving a daughter Florence, wife of William Ashleigh, whose title was disputed by her uncle John Tremayle. (fn. 26) Richard Buckland held the manor court in 1552 (fn. 27) but in 1560 the estate was settled on Nicholas Halswell and his wife Margery, daughter of John Tremayle. Nicholas died in 1564 and was succeeded by his eldest son Robert. (fn. 28) In 1579 the manor was shared between Robert's son Nicholas and Edward Popham. (fn. 29)

The Halswells' half descended like Halswell in Goathurst until 1620 when it was sold to John Mullens. (fn. 30) There is no record of that half after the sale to Mullens but most of the land was at Oatley in Cannington. (fn. 31) Half shares of land in Bonson were sold to the Score family in the 17th and 18th centuries and two small farms there remained in separate ownership. (fn. 32) That known as Bonson farm was acquired by Somerset county council, which sold it in 1922. (fn. 33)

Edward Popham died in 1586 (fn. 34) and his half manor descended like the Popham share of Woolmersdon in North Petherton until 1636 when Popham's mortgagees sold it to Robert Williams or Score. (fn. 35) On his death in 1640, Robert left his share to his younger sons John and Thomas who were minors. The eldest son, also Robert, and his uncle John Parsons held the estate from 1643 during John's minority following the deaths of his mother and brother Thomas. John died in 1662 and his son William before 1724 when William's son William mortgaged his half of the manor. (fn. 36) In 1730 William purchased further lands in Fiddington formerly the property of the Grove family, but those lands were also mortgaged and in 1746 he was said to have absconded and his estate was put up for sale. The mortgages were assigned, however, and William Williams retained his equity of redemption until 1773 or later but it was eventually forfeited. (fn. 37) By 1779 Bonson was probably in the absolute possession of the Revd. Henry Rawlings who had acquired the mortgages, but lordship was not recorded after 1773. By his will of 1807 he left Bonson to his son the Revd. Henry William Rawlings, under whose marriage settlement of 1819 and will of 1855 the estates, then amalgamated as Wood farm, were settled on his widow Eliza and then on his son Thomas. Eliza died in 1878 and in 1901, after Thomas's death, the estate was put up for sale. It remained unsold until 1909 or later. (fn. 38)

The chief tenement of Bonson was let in 1472 but there is no further record of a manor house. (fn. 39) Wood Farm was rebuilt at the end of the 19th century. (fn. 40) Bonson Farm is an early 17th-century, L-shaped house.

INWOOD was held by the Columbers family with their manor of Nether Stowey. (fn. 41) In 1620 Mervyn Tuchet, earl of Castlehaven, sold part to Margaret Dodington, in whose family it descended with Dodington. (fn. 42)

In the 17th century John Coles (d. 1627) had property at WHITNELL which descended with Woolstone in Stogursey. (fn. 43) John Tuxwell also had land there which descended with Coultings in Spaxton until 1666 when it was sold to John Ruscombe. (fn. 44) In 1781 the estate was held by William Poole who had been succeeded by George Poole by 1787. In 1829 George was succeeded by Thomas Poole. (fn. 45) Following Thomas's death in 1837 Whitnell was sold, part of it passing to Henry Godfree, who also possessed land which had belonged to Richard Wickham before 1647. (fn. 46)

Cannington priory held land in Fiddington which was granted to Edward Rogers in 1538. (fn. 47) Later known as Kilcott Oak, it descended with Rogers's Cannington estate. (fn. 48)


  • 1. V.C.H. Som. i. 494.
  • 2. Feud. Aids, iv. 308; Cal. Inq. p.m. x, p. 395; P.R.O., C 142/119, no. 159.
  • 3. V.C.H. Som. i. 494; S.R.S. lxi, pp. 17, 28.
  • 4. Cal. Pat. 1266-72, 700; S.R.S. xli. 34; Feud. Aids, iv. 281; Pole MS. 2544.
  • 5. Feud. Aids, iv. 308, 335; S.R.S. xii. 6; Pole MS. 2546; Cal. Inq. p.m. x, p. 395.
  • 6. Below, Stogursey, manors; S.D.N.Q. xvi. 284.
  • 7. S.R.S. xxii. 191.
  • 8. Ibid. 195; W. Suff. R.O. 449/E3/15. 53/2. 17; J. Hutchins, Hist. Dors. iv. 112.
  • 9. P.R.O., CP 25(2)/52/372/29 Hen. VIII Hil.; Devon R.O. 48/13/1/5/1.
  • 10. P.R.O., C 142/119, no. 159; ibid. REQ 2/38/96.
  • 11. Ibid. CP 25(2)/480/13 Chas. I East.
  • 12. Devon R.O. 48/13/1/6/1, 48/13/3/5/31, 48/13/4/4/1.
  • 13. Ibid. 48/13/1/11/3, 11A; 48/13/1/14/7A, 7B, 24-5.
  • 14. Ibid. 48/13/1/14/26-32, 34, 36; S.R.O., DD/DHR 10.
  • 15. S.R.O., DD/ES 2.
  • 16. P.R.O., CP 43/957, rot. 228.
  • 17. S.R.S. xliv. 170; Cal. Inq. p.m. xi, p. 390.
  • 18. Cal. Inq. p.m. Hen. VII, iii, p. 312; S.R.O., DD/BR/bn 10.
  • 19. S.R.S. lxi, p. 3.
  • 20. Cal. Pat. 1266-72, 700; S.R.O., DD/AH 65/1.
  • 21. Cal. Pat. 1266-72, 700; S.R.S. xli. 54, 194-5, 207; Feud. Aids, iv. 308, 335, 352.
  • 22. Below, Stogursey, manors; Cal. Close, 1402-5, 249, 362.
  • 23. S.R.S. xxii. 183; lvii, pp. 39-40, 43; P.R.O., C 142/187, no. 61; C 142/206, no. 20.
  • 24. Feud. Aids, iv. 394, 436; S.R.S. lvii, p. 43.
  • 25. Devon R.O. 2530 M/L 6/6/1A; P.R.O., C 142/22, no. 45.
  • 26. P.R.O., C 1/459, nos. 24-5; L. & P. Hen. VIII, xiii (1), pp. 405-6.
  • 27. P.R.O., LR 3/123.
  • 28. S.R.O., DD/S/WH 7.
  • 29. P.R.O., CP 25(2)/205/21 & 22 Eliz. I Mich.
  • 30. Above, Goathurst, manors; S.R.O., DD/S/WH 7.
  • 31. S.R.O., DD/S/WH 7.
  • 32. Above; S.R.O., Q/RE1 7/4A; ibid. tithe award.
  • 33. S.R.O., C/C 46/1.
  • 34. P.R.O., C 142/211, no. 156.
  • 35. Below, North Petherton, manors; S.R.O., DD/BR/rd 2.
  • 36. S.R.O., DD/BR/rd 2; D/D/Rr Fid.
  • 37. Ibid. DD/BR/rd 2-3; Devon R.O. 48/13/4/6/19-20.
  • 38. S.R.O., DD/BR/rd 2-3; D/R/Bw 15/3/12; ibid. Q/RE1 7/4A.
  • 39. Devon R.O. 2530 M/L 6/6/1A.
  • 40. S.R.O., DD/BR/rd 3.
  • 41. V.C.H. Som. v. 193-4.
  • 42. Ibid. 66; S.R.O., DD/AH 37/6.
  • 43. S.R.S. lxvii, pp. 96-7; Devon R.O. 48/13/4/4/1; below, Stogursey, manors.
  • 44. Som. Wills, ed. Brown, v. 68; S.R.O., DD/VN (C/10); below, Spaxton, manors.
  • 45. S.R.O., Q/RE1 7/4.
  • 46. Ibid. DD/SAS (C/909) 135/1; ibid. tithe award; ibid. Q/RE1 7/4; Devon R.O. 48/13/4/4/1.
  • 47. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), i. 209-10; L. & P. Hen. VIII, xiii (1), p. 408.
  • 48. S.R.O., Q/RRp 1/30; above, Cannington, manors.