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annum.* He also left behind him a son under age,

John de Meryet, in the wardship, I presume, of Sir
John de Acton, who by reason of his ward's minority
presented a clerk named Geoffrey to the church of Cape-
londe, xij Kal. of July, the 20th June, 1328. t

Of the date of the death of this John de Meryet I am
ignorant, but he was succeeded by

Walter de Meryet. This Walter was he who in the
year 1341 attempted to found another Religious House in
Taunton for a community of Carmelites, ordinarily called
W^hitefriars, all the known particulars of which are re-
lated in my History of Taunton Priory.J For some
unexplained cause the endeavour was fruitless, and the
lands with which he had intended to endow his foundation
remained in his own hands to the time of his decease.
He died on the I8th of May, 1345, without issue. By a
writ dated at Westminster, the 6 th of June, 19 Edward
in., a jury was assembled which returned a verdict that
at the time of his death he was seised of the manors of

* MS. Harl. 4120. p. 103.

t Reg. Drok. f. cclxxj. MS. Harl. 4120. p. 122.

t Tnq. ad q.d. 15 Edw. III. (2 ns.) n. 58. Pat. 15 Edw. III. p. 2. m. 44.



152 FArERS, ETC.

Combe Florey and Hestercombe, and of nineteen acres of
meadow land in Taunton, called Coke's Mede, to which
reference was just now made, &c. ; and further that

Walter, the cousin of the deceased Walter, was his heir,
and of the age of thirty years and upwards.*

This Walter also died without issue, and was succeeded
by his nephew,

Simon de Meryet, son of John, brother of Walter. At
his presentation the Bishop admitted, viij. Id. Feb., the
6th of that month, 1348, John Stille, priest, to the chantry
in the chapel of Blessed Mary by the church of Combe
Flory ;t at the presentation of the same Simon de Meryet,
expressly styled in the Register "his beloved son,'' "dilecti
sui filii" — a very unusual mode of recording such transac-
tions — ix. Kal. Apr., 24th of March, 1350, Bartholomew
de la Ryxyn, to the same chantry ;| and also to the same,
and at the presentation of the same, William Assheleigh,
chaplain, on the iv. Kal. Sept., the 29th of August, 1351. ||

To the same Sir Simon de Meryet Bishop Ralph de
Salopia on the 17th of March, 1354-5, at Wyvelescumb,
granted his licence for the celebration of masses and other
Divine ofl&ces in his chapel of Hestercombe. The licence
was to last from that date until the following Michaelmas. §

It may strike the reader as a thing unaccountable that,
with the church of Cheddon Fitzpaine so close to Hester-
combe, and to which access was so convenient at all times,
and under all circumstances, there could be any necessity
for a chapel at the manor house, or for the licences which
we have seen to authorise its use. The simple explana-

* Inq. p.m. 19 Edw. III. (1 ns.) n. 55.
t Reg. Rad. f. cccxxxvj b. J lb. f. ccclxxxj.

II lb. f. ccclxxxviij. § lb. f. ccccxxxij.



HESTERCOMBE. 153

tion of this difficulty lies in the fact that Hestercombe is
not in the parish of Cheddon, but of Kingston, and it was
the strict rule of mediaeval times that everyone should
resort for the Sacraments to his Parish Church. The nearer
neighbourhood, and consequently greater ease of access,
was not allowed to avail those who, in despite of their
parish priest, should presume to betake themselves to
other churches for the Divine offices. This state of things
is hardly intelligible to ourselves, who, without molestation
if not without remark, attend what church we will, or, if
we will have it so, no church at all. As much as any,
perhaps, is the writer himself an instance of the change,
in whose congregation may be found persons from half a
dozen parishes, and a score or more of ecclesiastical districts.
This, of course, is even now far more the case with urban
or suburban than with country parishes of small popula-
tions. But in ancient times the rule was as I have stated,
and was rigidly enforced. I will offer in proof an example
or two from the contemporary records of this very diocese.
On the xj. Kal. Oct., the 21st of September, 1351, not
four years before the date of this second licence in behalf
of the chapel of Hestercombe, the same Bishop Ralph
addressed a missive from Banewell to William atte Stone,
the vicar of Taunton, reminding him that, according to
the canonical statutes, people belonging to one parish are
not to be admitted to the Sacraments in the churches of
other parishes, especially on Sundays and Festivals ; and
drawing his attention to the fact that certain of the
parishioners of Monketon, in contempt of their own pai'ish
church, were in the habit of frequenting that of Taunton
on such days, whereof complaint had been made to him by
John of Bath, the rector of Monketon. We who know
the country have no difficulty in understanding the

VOL. XVIII., 1872, PART II. u



154 PAPERS, ETC.

cause of this breach of duty on the part of the Monkton
parishioners. The distance was long, and the roads were
bad — sometimes impassable from the inundations. All
this, however, availed nothing with the administrator of
the law. He, therefore, positively orders and enjoins the
vicar that on all such days, before he, or any one by his
authority, proceed to the celebration of mass, he enquire
if any one from another parish, in contempt of his own
priest, presume to be present, and, if he shall find any
such, that he drive them out and compel them to return on
pain of canonical censures, to be launched against them
by his authority. And, further, that he should carefully
furnish him or his commissary with an exact account of
what he should do in the matter, together with the names
and surnames of any who should resist this order, in a
formal letter under his authentic seal.* Even-handed
justice was the rule of those times, and the same authority
which had vindicated the prerogative of the Monkton
rector soon asserted against him the equal rights of a neigh-
bouring incumbent. On the ix. Kal. Sept., the 24th of
August, 1362, the same bishop wrote from Wyvelescumb
to the rector of Monketon, inhibiting him, under pain of
the greater excommunication, from meddling with the
tithes, great or small, or oblations pertaining to the Church
of Crich ; and, also, forbidding under the same penalty all
chaplains from presuming to administer the sacraments or
sacramentals to the parishioners of Crich, and the said
parishioners from receiving the sacraments from such
without his special licence. If he found any of the par-
ties rebellious, he was to inform him of their names
and surnames.t

* Reg. Rad. f. ccclxxxxj b. Appendix, No. VI.
t Reg. Rad. in Drok. f. cclxxxxiiij.



HESTERCOMBE. 155

Hence the necessity for the chapel of Hestercombe,
and for the episcopal licence for its clue employment.

Simon de Meryet, in favour of whom the licence was
granted which has been the subject of this digression,
married Margery, whose name I find associated with his in
a fine passed at Westminster, in the octaves of S. Hilary,
30 Edward III., from the 13th to the 20th January, 1356-7,
between them and John Ruspyn, parson of the church
of Wydecombe, in respect of the manors of Combe fiElory
and Heystercombe, with appurtenances, except two acres
of arable land in Heystercombe, and of the advowson of
the chantry at the altar of the Blessed Virgin in the
church of Combe flSory. It was agx'eed that the manors
and advowson aforesaid should be held by Simon and
Margery and their heirs male, and that in default of such
they should go to the heirs male of Simon, and in default to
Thomas, son of Sir John Tryvet, Knt., and Alice his wife.*

John de Meryet succeeded Simon soon after the last-
named date. Between him and Sir Edmund de Arondell,
Knt., John Benyn, John Stokes, and others, a final
concord was passed at Westminster, in the octaves of S.
Michael, 34 Edward IH., 30 Sept.— 6 Oct. 1360, con-
cerning the manors of Dondene, Brodemershton, Meriet,
Great Lopene, Great Stratton, Hestercombe, Wyke, and
Combeflory.f He died in 1369. His son, another

John de Meryet, the last of the name who owned Hester-
combe, was a party with Henry Molyns, John Benyn, and
John Stokes to a final concord respecting the same manors
and other property in the 47th year of Edward III., 1374.|
He leased a messuage, a mill, and a carucate of land at

*Ped. Fin. Somers. 29-38 Edw. III. n. 11.

t Fed. Fin. Somers. 39-51 Edw. III. n. 88.

+ MS. Lansd. 306, p. 152.



156 PAPERS, ETC.

Meriet to John Canon, of Leghe (? — a great part of the MS.
is illegible,) and Isolda, his wife, at Croukern, on Saturday
next after the feast of the Purification {?) of the Blessed
Virgin, 47 Edw. III., the 4th of February, (?) 1374, ter-
minable at the death of the lessee.* The same John
excepted Combeflory and Hestercombe from a deed of
feoffment of his estate, dated 48 Edward III., 1374.t He
was summoned to parliament in 1379, and died in 1391, J
leaving an only child

Elizabeth. This lady married John la Warre, son, I
believe, of the hero of Poitiers, who in her right became
the possessor of Hestercombe, and from whom for a very
long period descended the successive owners of this in-
teresting place. It would appear, however, from the final
concords, that the family of Warre was mixed up with
various transactions connected with the estate of Hester-
combe some time before the death of the last de Meryet.
In the years 1375 and 1390, for example, a William,
son of John Warre, was a party in legal proceedings
affecting the ownership of the manors of Hestercombe and
Combeflory. II

Of most of the Warres I have but little to add beside
the mention of their names, the families into which they
married, and the dates of their several successions to the
estate. This can hardly be called the History of Hester-
combe in the sense in which I have endeavoured to present
it to the reader, though here and there some particulars
are narrated which are strictly in order as minutely illus-
trative of the place and neighbourhood.

* Inq. p.m. 47 Edw. III. (2 nos.) n. 84.

+ CoUinson, from Sir W. Pole's MS. p. 545.

J Add. MS. B.M. 5937, f. 50 b.

II Ped. Fin. Somers. 1-11 Eic. II. n. 27. 12-20 Ric. II. n. 14.



HESTERCOMBE. 157

It hardly admits of conjecture, in the first place, that
the stately tomb, which is so great an ornament of the
church of Kingston, and where so many of the race lie
buried, was erected in the time of the John la Warre,
husband of Elizabeth de Meryet, the first of his family
who was master of Hestercombe. He was here durins:
the last ten years of the fourteenth century, the period to
which the tomb must be referred.

Eichard la Warre, their son, married Joan, daughter and
heir of John Atwood. Some of the windows of the house
appear to be of this period.

John Warre, son of this Richard Warre, married Joan,
daughter of John Combe, of Dalwood, in the county of
Dorset. He was High Sheriff of Somerset and Dorset,
2 Henry V., 1414, and 8 Henry VI., 1429.

His son, Robert Warre, married Christina, sister of
Sir Richard Hankford, of Annery, in the county of Devon.
He was sheriff of Somerset and Dorset, 36 Henry YI.,
1457. He made his will on the 7th of July, 1465,
5 Edward IV., the day before his death, wherein he de-
scribes himself as resident in the parish of Kyngeston,
of sane mind and good memory, but weak and at the
point of death. He bequeaths his soul to Almighty God,
and his body to be buried in the conventual Church of
the Monastery of Athelney. He leaves to Cristina his
wife a silver ewer and basin ; to his son Richard a silver
ewer and basin ; to Richard Saleway, vicar of Kyngeston,
Yj« viij


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