eBooksRead.com books search new books
Somersetshire Archaeological and Natural History S.

Proceedings (Volume 16) online

. (page 3 of 9)
Online LibrarySomersetshire Archaeological and Natural History SProceedings (Volume 16) → online text (page 3 of 9)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook
those to which we have referred as being preserved in
the porch. The fragment is rather more than a foot square,
and it was examined with much interest.

He said that some years ago a very interesting Saxon
cross was found near Scarborough, and he took a very
great deal of pains with it, which resulted in his discover-
ing; the names of six or seven Saxon abbesses. In the


north of England there were some Saxon remains, and also
in Devon and some parts of Somerset, When he saw this
carving here, at first sight he took it to be a part of the
stem of a Saxon cross. Those crosses were much more
common than was now supposed ; in the north some of
them actually remained in their original positions. They
were put at the heads of graves, and were principally
composed of three stones ; sculptured, often with three
figures in a row, and below and above those figures were
Runic knots, or representation of basket-work. This piece
had all those characteristics when you first saw it, but
when you looked closer into it, it would be found that the
ornamentation was of a later period. It was Early English.
There was the trefoil, which was not found in the Saxon
carvings ; but when you looked closer into it, you found
traces also of the shape of the cross. He apprehended,
therefore, that instead of being part of the stem of a cross it
was a portion of thj cover of a coflfin — about the thirteenth
century work. It was interesting, showing that the church
had an early foundation.

On the second day's excursion the members from va-
rious directions assembled around the

Dilliirie CrofJH of goi;.'iln^lon,

where they w^ere courteously received by the rector of the
parish, the Rev. Hill D. Wickham, who made the
following remarks on the early history of the parish and

ii'mhefided in the wail ofthtji-'atvh at Mune^rion Chat'cti, Somerset.

Wm.Bid^ooaL. Tuunion.



The earliest possessor of Horsington, whose descent we
can trace, is James de Newmarch, whose daughter Isabel
conveyed, on her marriage, this manor to Ralph Russell,
the heir of a powerful family then settled in Dorsetshire,
and ancestors to the ducal family of Bedford. Of the two
sons who sprung from this union, Robert, the elder, died
without issue, and was succeeded by his brother William,
who obtained from Edward I, A.D. 1284, a free warren of
his lands at Dyrham, Gloucester, and at Horsington. This
grant appears to have been coextensive with the Anglo-
Saxon charter of " Soc, sac, toll, team, and infangthef,'^
as it conveyed the right of holding a fair, market, a court,
to which all free men (liberi servatores) should repair, a
view of frankpledge of all his tenants, assize of bread and
beer, &c., tumbril, pillory, thieve fines for the shedding
of blood, hue and cry within his manors, and infangthef, or
a gallows for the capital punishment of a thief taken in the
fact, within the limits of the manor. To this grant of free
warren, I attribute the erection of the cross, believing it to
have been built where the fair and market were held, though
it does not offer the convenience of shelter, afforded by
those beautiful specimens of market crosses, of later date,
we have elsewhere in this county. The space around
it is sufficiently large for a village fair or market, as the
the enclosures of the pond and garden in which the cross
stands are modern.

To the west is the Church House, with the date 1631,
which, as a board in the church states, was exchanged by
the parish with Thomas Gawen, in 1722, for some cottages,
and adjoining this is the old Manor House of the Gawens,
now modernised, but still retaining the strong oak door,
with the little trap in the centre, by which letters were
received during the troublesome times he yesterday alluded


to. On the east of the cross are some picturesque cottages,
evidently of ancient date ; and to the north, the space
beyond the pond, was, within the memory of man, more
open. He hoped, for the credit of the village, that the
gallows were never erected ; but the stocks were placed
beneath the cross, and only lately removed.

The " free men " were long summoned to the court ; at
that held 29th Elizabeth, Margaret Wickham, widow,
does homage " pro terris in Horsington," and in 1639
the " liberi servatores " were Henry Berkley, John Bamp-
field, Gilbert Huddy, Henry Tarent, James Wickham,
James Hussey, Thos. Hannam, and Robert Gilbert.

The cross stands on a circular platform eight feet high,
reached by four rows of steps, and is a monolyth of Ham-
hill stone, at present nine feet in height, placed on a square
base three feet wide. On the south front of the shaft a
sculptured figure, a good deal decayed by time, is carved
under a canopy, the whole five feet high ; a drawing of
which is given. The bracket appears to be a ram^s head ;
the figure that of a layman of the thirteenth century ; and
above is a death's head, surmounted by a crown, on which
rests a leg bone, supporting another scull. The device is
very singular. It may have been erected more as an
emblem of faith, than as a convenience to the market
people; and as a pulpit, from which the preaching friar
might address them, and declaim against the cupidity
and ignorance of the parish priest. A portion of the shaft
was broken off several years ago, by the weight of a sun-
dial, placed on it in 1708, by Thomas Wickham, the then
rector. The whole was in a dilapidated state, and the
present rector being told in vestry, shortly after his insti-
tution, that it belonged to him, now keeps it in repair.

The next place visited was the Church of St. Mary, at


which has recently been restored, but the old waggon-roof
had been happily retained. The square Norman font of
Purbeck marble was examined with much interest. The
Kev. Mr. Fox, the incumbent, stated that when the church
was restored, the four corner pillars of the font were found
to be of wood, and that columns of Purbeck stone had
been substituted. The piscina in the side chapel, and the
opening in the wall behind the pulpit, Avhich probably le^
to the rood loft were specially noted as interesting features.
The company then proceeded to the Manor Farm, the
property of Mr. Bailward, which stands upon the site, and
consists of remains of an ancient establishment of the
the Knights Templars, which gave rise to the name of

A very large fire-place remains in one of the out-
houses. Portions of the walls, some windows, and a
doorway of the chapel are almost all that remains of this
religious house. In the adjoining orchard a somewhat
deep excavation, with a mound of earth in the centre,
was described by Mr. Jones as evidently the site of the
fish pond of the Knights Templars. It is known in the
neighbourhood as the cock-pit, and believed to have been
constructed for that purpose.

The Rev. Hill D. Wickham remarked that this was
the only establishment held in Somersetshire by the
Knights Templars, he only wished there was more of it
left for them to see. He had hoped they might have
had the privilege of learning its ancient history from
a member of the Society, who was also a member of the
order of the Knights of St. John. Major de Havilland
had intended to be with them, but he had unhappily been
called away to discharge those duties among the sick and


wounded in war, which devolved upon him by the vow3
of his order. There was very little known of this house
further than it was a Commandery, and that on the sup-
pression of the Knights Templars in England, it was
conferred upon the Knights Hospitallers.

The chapel, of which so little now remains, had been
used until comparatively recent times for the offices of the
church. Mr. Keniston who died in the parish of Combe
within the last ten years, had told him that he had heard
his mother speak of a marriage which she had witnessed in
that chapel.

From here the excursionists proceeded through the
fields to the

61(1 ghm Imm of ^toircjl.

This old mansion, now a farm house, though in very bad
repair, retains many of its original features, and in many
respects is full of interest to the students of ancient
domestic architecture.

The Eev H. D. Wickham said he had this morning put
together a few notes Avhich he thought might be interesting
to the company.

The manor of Stovvell was possessed by the family of
Hody, before the reign of Henry VI, as a son of Sir John
Hody, Kt. — the latter being called of Stowell — was
appointed Lord Chief Justice of England in the 8th year
of that reign (fl441).

In Campbell's " Lives of the Lord Chief Justices " he
is classed among those who do not call for any particular
remark. He was Knight of the Shire for this county in
1434, and in 1440, and married a daughter of John Jew,
of Wiveliscombe, an heiress. Tradition says he was the
builder of this old mansion. Here the family continued to
reside for many generations, intermarrying with the families


of Thornbury, Burnell of Pointington — (by the lay
subsidies for Somerset, preserved in the Eolls Court, we
find, 37th Henry VIII, John Burnell of Pointington,
armiger, assessed for his lands in that parish at 40s) — Yardc
of Bradford, Lyte of Lyte's Gary, Burland of Steyning,
&c., till the year 1709, when a Hody conveyed to Martha
Wickham of Sherborne, the mansion and certain lands

A few years later — 1720 — Hody sold the manor and the
advovvson of the church to Robert Knight, who was cashier
of the famous, or infamous, South Sea Bubble ; and as an
Act of Parliament was obtained, April 1720, to buy up
certain Government annuities with South Sea Stock, it is
probable that the manor of Stowell was purchased by
Knight with the money thus fraudulently obtained. When
the bubble burst, an Act was passed to sell the property of
the guilty parties ; and this Act probably obliged Lord
Luxborough, who, Mr. Wickham thought, was the son of
Robert Knight, to part with the manor, which was bought
by George Doddington in 1753.

Robert Knight himself was remanded, and without
further evidence being obtained from him, he, after a partial
examination, escaped from confinement and fled to France,
as it was supposed at that day, with the connivance of
certain influential personages — carrying with him the books
which would have compromised them. He afterwards went
to Brabant, where the authorities of the States General
arrested and confined him in the castle at Antwerp, refus-
ing to deliver him to the Parliament of England.

Among the caricatures of that day is one representing
the Duchess of Kendall handing from behind a screen a
bundle of papers to Knight, who is booted and spurred for
VOL. XVI., 1870, PART I. e


a journey ; and beneath are many verses, of which the
following are a specimen : —

In vain Great Britain sues for Knight's discliarge,
In vain we hope to see that wretcli at lai-ge ;
Of traitors here, the villain there secure,
Our ills must all increase, our woes he sure.
Should he return the screen would useless he,
And all men then the mj'stery would see !
The Manor house purchased in 1709 by Martha Wick-
ham, continued in this family till the year 1849, when it
was sold by the late Rev. Trelawney ^Yickham, with 470
acres of land, to the late Mr. Bailward. He was restoring
a family house near Bradford, and removed to it the oak
pannelling in this mansion. Spoliations had been going
on long before. One was made several years earlier, Avhen
the Perpendicular window, of which a drawing is given in
in this volume was removed to the curious old pigeon-house
of the rectory of Horsington.

The steel plate of the engraving of this window has been
presented to the Society by the Rev. Hill D. Wickham.
From Stowell the party proceeded to the earthwork of

PiUjnniii ^(Jtii[li,

close to the Milborne Port railway station.

Mr. ScARTH said there was no doubt of its being a
military work. They would observe the lie of the ground,
that all round there was a deep valley, which was cut off
by this very large earthwork. And it was certainly one
of the largest earthworks, after that they had seen yes-
terday at Cadbury. It was of a totally different character
to that. Here they had a portion of ground naturally
protected on three sides — protected on the most assailable
side by a very high mound of earth thrown up, but without
a ditch to it. They could see on looking at the outside the
place from which the earth was taken. This mound cut off


ai the Eectory,


a triangular portion — a sort of peninsula — and, therefore, it
was only fortified by art on one side ; and there seemed to
be a causeway or road leading to it : the entrance to which
he pointed out. 1400912

The Eev. Prebendary referred to similar earthworks
near Bristol, and in Yorkshire, and said it was very unusual
to find an earthwork of this kind inland. They were often
found on the sea-coast, and on the border of a river ; but
he did not know of another inland, and therefore this was
very interesting. Ko doubt it was for purposes of fortifica-
tion ; but by what people it was done he could not say.

The Rev. W. Barnes observed that the name of Hick
in this case was of Saxon origin, the root-form signifying a
" bend " or " bending,^' such as that formed by a stream,
or by the coast-line in bays. He instanced Schlesuzy,
Green?t7/e/i, as illustrations. The Vik-ings were so called
from their haunting bays for purposes of I'obbery : a icick-ed,
man was one who turned away from the straight course.
Milborne Wick took its name from the bend of the river,
or burn, close by.

Mr. Jones suggested the Latin Vicus, as the probable
origin of most, if not all, the towns and villages which bear
the name of Wick.

Under the guidance of the respected President the
company then wandered through the picturesque village to
the source of the Parrett, a beautiful spot where a consi-
derable stream gushes forth from a never-failing spring.

Again taking to the carriages, the company proceeded
to Milborne Port, where the President, Sir W. C. Medly-
coTT, read the following paper on Milborne Port and


Itlilborne dihurch.

The church is of great antiquity, with a large square
tower, supported on Norman arches, added to at different
periods, and containing six bells, to which two were added
in 1842, when the south transept was rebuilt. A con-
siderable portion of the building is of early Norman work,
and the south doorway presents a fine specimen of the
ancient toothed Norman moulding. The belfry staircase
is also of very early date. On the original oak screen is
the text, " Where the word of a king is, there is power,
and who may say, What doest thou ? " — Ecclesiastes 8, 4,
which is supposed to have been added after the restoration
of Charles II in 1660. The arms of Charles I are also
suspended in the church. In 1855 the churchyard was
enlarged and consecrated by Lord Auckland, Bishop of
Bath and Wells, the grant of land being given by Sir
William Medlycott, Bart., and a row of lime trees planted
thereon. The foundation stone of the new nave and aisle
was laid on the 6th of September, 1867, by the Eev.
Hubert Medlycott, curate of Brington, Northamptonshire,
and the church was re-opened on the 24th June, 1869, by
Bishop Chapman, commissary for Lord Auckland, Bishop
of Bath and Wells. Five newly-painted windows were
added to the nave, painted by Clayton and Bell, represent-
ing the birth, life, and miracles of our Saviour. The
wandow painted by O'Connor, was presented by the Rev.
Prebendary W. H. Turner, of Trent, Somerset. The
north transept was also rebuilt, and the monuments to the
Medlycott family placed therein at the same time. The
organ was also renewed, and placed in tl'.e chancel aisle,
with the choir in the chancel, in lieu of the old gallery
removed from the west end at the restoration. The
register of the parish, dates from 1538, one of the earliest


being Austin Prankard, baptized 6tli day of March, 1539.

The following names of vicars are recorded in the
register : —

1781, John Butt. 1765, William Addisworth Purnell.
1770, Philip Williams. 1774, John Ballard. 1778, John
Lucas. 1778, G. Huntingford. 1778, Charles Blackstone.
1785, Daniel Williams. Bishop of Hereford; curate,
William Owen. Mr. Bowles, of Wimborne ; curate, William
Gane. 1836, Edward Walter West ; curates, Mr. Lyon,
Mr. Penny, and ISIr. Gillam.

At the death of the Kev. W. West the living was held
by the Rev. C. Gillam, as vicar, for the Rev. Hubert

In 1641, Colonel the Hon. John Digby, second son of
John first Earl of Bristol, was Member of Pai-liament for
Milborne Port, and Forster gives us an account of a scene
in the House of Commons, in which his name appears : —
"In 1641, before the recess, Mr. Richard King, member
for Melcombe Regis, Dorset, took upon himself to declare
that, in a particular rebuke which Mr. Speaker had
addressed to another honourable member, he had trans-
gressed his duty in using so disgraceful a speech to so
noble a gentleman, and, though the House interfered to
protect their Speaker, and Mr. King was commanded to
withdraw into the committee chamber, the matter ended in
but a conditional apology, with which the house was not
satisfied, but the Speaker ivas. The noble gentleman
whom it vexed Mr. King to see treated with disrespect,
was the younger brother of Lord Digby, Mr. John Digby,
who, on the day when his brother

1 3 5 6 7 8 9

Online LibrarySomersetshire Archaeological and Natural History SProceedings (Volume 16) → online text (page 3 of 9)
Using the text of ebook Proceedings (Volume 16) by Somersetshire Archaeological and Natural History S active link like:
read the ebook Proceedings (Volume 16) is obligatory.

Leave us your feedback | Links exchange | RSS feed 

Online library ebooksread.com © 2007-2014