Parsons Survey of the Manors of Norton St. Philip and Hinton Charterhouse.
The Survey was in the possession of a man living in Norton St. Philip and was
acquired by Miss H. C. Foxcroft of Hinton House for the sum of' about £20 from
his executors sometime in the 1920's or 1930's.
The Survey is headed:
"The booke of Survey of ye Mannor.s of Norton st. Phillip, and Henton, Lying
in ye Countie of Somersett, Distant betwixt 2 and 6 Myles Southward from the Cittie
of' Bathe The Right Honourable, William Lo; Craven Cheef'e Lorde of the
Same, Takeno Ano: 1638. By Samuell Parsons.
Hinton in those days was a scattered Village -(it stretched from the Wellow
water to Iford, and from Midford to the outskirts of Norton St. Philip. Its total
area was some 2,365 acres, of' which Lord Craven owned 1,644 acres and Sir Edward
Hungerford 575 acres. Neither Lord Craven nor Sir Edward Hungerford lived in the
village, and things in general, according to Samuel Parsons, were in a bad way.
The open field system of agriculture was still in operation to some extent although
the Grange farmed most of the land in the South and North Fields itself. Sheep
and arable seem to have been the main sources of income. The
Grange Farm (now Hinton House)
This was Lord Craven's property and in 1638 it was according to Parsons: "held
by the Countes Dowager of Rutland by Vertue of a Lease granted to Walter Alexander
Esquire for XXI years to begin after the Decease of Robert Bright of which said
terme there is as I am informed About 8 or 9 years yet to Com, And The yearely
Rent of the Same is £XLIX viiis. viiid.
He describes the buildings thus:
"The ffarme or Graunge consists of a large ancient Well built house where
in at this Tyme Two farmers or tennants Dwell with very Spacious Large Barnes,
Shepe houses Stables, Staules pigion house With orchards gardens and the Court
or Barton contayning 6a ..3r -23p."
The two ffarmers or Tennants" farmed the land belonging to the Grange -this was
considerable as the summary below shows:
In Meadow ground 111a 3r 3p, In Pasture ground 281a 2r 00p,
In Earrable in Seuall 142a 2r 25p
In Earrable in ye open fields 740a 0r15p
The rest of Lord Craven's land was divided up into small holdings held by the
tenants as copyholders or leaseholders.
The Abbey (now Hinton Priory)
This was owned by Sir Edward Hungerford and let to Robert Shaa:- "Robert Shaa
gent. houldeth for term of Three lives the Scite of the Abbye of Pryors Henton
And Certeine Lands There unto Appertayning. "
This property consisted of: "The dwellinge house called the Abby with the gardens
orchards barnes Stables Kitchens Courts yeards pigion house and other convenyent
owt howses being all Environed with in a Stone Wall and contayns 7a -3r -10p".
Sir Edward Hungerford also owned woodlands and the Mill at Midford -" the water
Corne Mylne there called Midford Mill " - which was let to Robert Flower. Samuel
Parsons notes "At this hamlett or towne called Mydford the water Doeth part the
Counties of Somersett and Wilts.
This appears to have been somewhere on the Freshford side of Friary wood and belonged
to Lord Craven but was let to John Bridges.
Parsons' entry runs:
"John Bridges Junr. Claymeth to hould by Coppie of Court Roll for his life aged
28 years One messuage or Tenement Called or Knowne by the name of the Fryary And
Certeine pasture ground Lyinge within a stone wall there. contayning 7a -2r -2p.
And one Close of pasture next adioyning East called Corne Close Cont. 2a- 7r -15p
and paieth Rent for the Same per anno xxxis xd. " Also living at "The Fryarie"
were Robert powell, John Ponten, William Popple and Anthony Clarke. They all held
less than half an acre. Presumably this was the old site of the house and grounds
of the lay brothers who had looked after the monks in the Abbey.
Many of the names in the survey are still used in Hinton. The field by the Grange
was called "the farnams or the varnams" then, and is still known as Varmont; Innocks,
stroude, Cock Roade, The Sands, Homewood and 'royte wood (now Tait wood) , and
Tetherwell (now tytherley) are all mentioned. A Mr. Tookie lived in Henton Streete
and is still remembered by Tuggy's Lane.
There are three mills mentioned in the parish of Hinton - Iford, Midford, and
Eckford. Eckford seems hard to identify with anywhere now-a-days, (Could it possibly
be a corruption of Freshford which is never mentioned by its present-day name
in the survey?).
The Streets mentioned by Parsons are Church Street, High Streete and Henton Street.
There is also mention of a Village Cross:
"Henry Freeman Claymeth to houlde for terme of his life aged 57 yeares One Tenement
Scituate at the Crosse in Henton. "
This was probably somewhere near the Church and Village Green.
There is no mention of an Inn in Hinton although Norton had by that time got two.
This was then near the church and in the Survey there is the following entry:
"The Vicaridg house and Close Cont. Oa -3r -2Op. .And the Church yard Con t. Oa
Samuel Parsons as well as surveying the Manors carefully noted the farmers' shortcomings
and was particularly annoyed with the way the woods were being spoilt. He says
of the two farmers living in the Grange~ "There is good Store of Tyrnber and underwood
by the upon this ffarme if it be looked into in tyme . that the ffarmers make
not that Spoyle and haffock as heather to they have Don both of Tyrnber and other
great woods, yearely in maner following.
1. They use many hurdles in regard of the great ffoulds of Sheepe the usually
keepe. .And they under the couler of exchanging wood for hurdles doo yearely perloyne
and convey much wood a waye to others.
2. There is two ffarmers and they keepe Two Feuall Howses whereby, the wast and
consume much wood.
3. They furnish Bakers with wood for there ovens under the colouer of baking there
4. They furnish wheele wrights with tymber and woods, and say the exchange the
said for carte wheeles and ploughes.
5. They neclect the Coppices which are in the grounds and in Divers places of
the feilds and when they have once made a fall then they let them goe to ruen
and burne and spoyle great wood and Tymber serviceable for many uses. Wheras if
the Copps and Spotts of under woods were preserved, there would be more wood then
would serve Two such Howses without makinge any wast of Tymber and great wood.
6. They cropp tymber trees at unseasonable tymes and cut them of by tpe middle
soe that they Dye and then they are conveyed away as wynd falls. And they cut
the vVoods more for the barke then for any great use the have made of the wood
or shew where theyfuey have bestowed them. It is credably reported the ffarmours
make £x per anno of Barks. Wickham one of the farmores let one of the pasture
grounds which lyeth within his part to a Stranger and Hath Sufforred him to Cutt
Downe and Carrye a way 7 or 8 Tymber tree, this yeare 1 639 as I am credably informed."
Again he has the same complaint:
"Nota. The underwood of these woods is very much Spoyled by Turninge in of younge
Cat tell upon the first yeares groeth and by not fencinge off one fall from Another,
and therby the coppiceings wilbe of Small value in Short Tyme."
He does not mind pointing out mistakes to Lord Craven:
"There is a Close of pasture lying by the Abbye called Truemans patch which
was sould to Sir Edward hongerford Sythence (since?) my Lord bought the mannors
which if my Lord keepe the Mannors hee had byn better to have given £300 then
to have sould the said parcell of Land."
And finally we have this entry referring to the way the Grange land in the open
fields is being farmed:
"The very Tythe yearly and the Sheepe pasture in these open feilds are of
more worth yearely then the ground is rated at in this Survey, both the pasture
and Earrable Land would be much ymproved, if the Tennants were Sufficient and
able men fully to Stock and Mannage the same, but they are ppore and live uppon
the Spoyle and wast of wood and tymber and none Looke after them."
In the Parish Register, a copy of which is at Somerset Archives, Taunton for the
years 1546- 1733, the following names of people still living in the village are
first mentioned, and it is possible that some living here now are descendants
of those mentioned. The names are given in alphabetical order.
Colborne, Thomas. Son of Thomas Colborne. Bap. Jan.7. 1653.
Francis, John & Johana -Twins of Edward Francis. Baptized July 31 1555.
Frappel, Richard. Son of Walter Frappel. Baptized April 2.1713.
Frapwell, Margaret. Married Daniel Durnell. Sept. 28. 1724.
Gerish, Martha. Baptized March 25. 1599.
Prescott, Hugh, son of Henry Prescott. Baptized Feb.4. 1682.
Pierse, (Thomas) married Ailisia Fisher. April 27.1601.
Swift, Mary, daughter of Joseph Swifto Baptized May 5. 1702.
Wilshear, Elynor, daughter of Ambrise Wilsheare. Baptized Jan. 23.1632.
A John Gerrish and Ann Gerrish of Pipehouse are mentioned in a Freshford Register
as paying Hearth Tax in 1665, and to pass on to a later date, in 1703 "John Gerrish
Gent. , and Philip his brother of Freshford conveyed land in Pipehouse to George
Dike of Limpley Stoke.
There is a large oval shaped depression near Norwood between Norton and Hinton
which is called the Bull Pit, and tradition has it that it was used for Bull Baiting
at one time. A great many houses have completely disappeared and the village is
much smaller now than it used to be, the largest number being in 1841 when 70
people were employed weaving and the population numbered 795 - as compared to
a population of just under 400 to-day. The old Crown Inn which stood where the
water-tank now is, was burnt down in the 1880's. Sparks from Mr. Colborne's traction
engine having set fire to the thatch in passing. Mrs. Ottery remembers being brought
to see it and how frightened she was, "the Inn had railings, steps, and a Barton.
There were cottages past the school opposite that old oak tree which, according
to an old picture was the same size in 1803 as it is to-day.
There were 3 cottages on the Green, which having become derelict were pulled down
in 1901, and the extra land given to the Church Yard by Mrs. Roberts of Homewood.
There is a memorial Tablet on the Church Yard wall commemorating this gift.
Mr. Clark of Hinton Field remembers there was a Farm House called Tait Farm below
Tait wood which Mr. Foxcroft had pulled down. The well is still there and the
stone was used in Norton Barn.
Hinton Farm was considerably larger than it is now, but when Mr. Willis built
Innox Lodge a good part of the farm was pulled down and the farm garden became
the garden of the present Innox Lodge. In the old days before motor transport
all villages were very self contained, and Hinton village had its forges, one
near the post office, and later another near the Green. Its shoemaker -Mr. Clements,
was at the Cross Roads, by Wellow Lane, and also opposite, its saddler, in what
is now Mr. Lambert s farm. There were five Malt Houses. These were:
1) One where the schools now are, which previously had been a poor House, according
2) In Mr. Colborne`s yard.
3) Opposite Mrs. Bailey`s where Mr. Mopsey's house stood.
4) Near the Shop where cars are now garaged.
5) In the Garden behind "Moonta".
Beer was brewed at the Crown and at the Masons's Arms. Mr. Fred Andrews was the
last man to make malt in the village before World War I. Miss Wiltshire says her
house in the street, with the Bow window, was originally a Butchers Shop and we
know from the Pioneer Corp Papers there were several Bakers. One of them, Mr.
Mopsey,had his bakery just inside the wall almost opposite The Stag, and there
were other houses pulled down there. People can remember a sweet shop near the
Green, and Mr. Clark can remember being sent to fetch Lardy Cakes from the Stag
Inn. The Village water supply was very inadequate and Mr. E.T.D. Foxcroft decided
to install a Ram, to pump up water from a very good spring near Norton Barn, which
was able to supply the House and Village. The Ram was made by John Wallis Fiff
of Warminster and exhibited at the Bath and West show at Taunton in 1895. It was
fetched from Taunton by two men who charged 52/- to fetch it from Taunton with
a waggon and horses. The journey took two days each way.
Mr. Grist of Norton can remember seeing the great windmill go past in the waggon
as he was haymaking in the field. In 1923, after 28 years work the windmill was
taken down as being beyond repair, and an engine employed instead, till the village
got its water from the Combe Down Supply. Many thousands of gallons of water now
go to waste which could be available from the old source of supply. Soon after
the Water Tank was installed in the village there was a bad flood as the side
of the tank gave way and the water inundated the village street and even reached
the Horse Pond.
In these days, the Pond is all overgrown, but it used to be kept clear of weed
by public subscription and all the horses and cows in the village used to be taken
there to drink each day.
Till the disastrously wet year of 1879 all the farms around had sheep, but all
the sheep got fluke. Mr. Willis of Hinton Farm had a lovely flock, but he had
to sell all his sheep and only got 2/6 a head for a hundred.