EAST BRENT CHURCHWARDENS’
1677 to 1693 and 1737 to 1775.
by Robert Sherwood.
This feature shows the important role of
the church in governing the parish and its people before the days of
the Welfare state'
Published by kind
permission of Robert Sherwood (Australia)
(Rob Sherwood is related to the Fry, Norvel and Edwards families of
Roberts superb website
contains in-depth histories of these local family names etc.
St. Marys church, East
The church in
which the Fry, Norvel and Edwards family members were
the Churchwardens’ Accounts[i]
for East Brent, are the rates collected from the land
owners in the parish. Money raised from these
rates was used to maintain the church, care for the poor
and fund a hospital for injured soldiers. The
churchwardens’ accounts along with the church registers,
vestry minutes and highway accounts were once kept under
lock and key in the parish chest. They are now stored at
the county records office.
The rate in the
Churchwardens’ accounts was set by the vestry. The vestry was
the governing body of the parish and got its name from the small
room in the church where the minister put on his garments and robe
before conducting a service. Members of the vestry were the
vicar, the two churchwardens, the two overseers of the poor and a
several other members of the parish. The Vestry nominated the
Constable, who acted as the village law officer, the Churchwardens,
the Overseers’ of the Poor and the Surveyors of the Highways. These
nominations were subject to approval by the Justices of the Peace.
The vicar may have chaired the meetings. He was the first sign the
vestry minutes followed by the two churchwardens. In East Brent the
number of vestry members present at each meeting varied from six to
ten. For East Brent two churchwardens were elected each year.
They were required to keep a written account of the rates they
collected and how this money was spent. Money spent by the
churchwardens was referred to as ‘Layings Out’ or ‘Disbursements.’
These disbursements along with the rates were entered in the
Churchwardens’ Accounts each year.
For East Brent, two lots of Churchwardens’ accounts survive. They
cover the years 1677 to 1693 and 1737 to 1775. The earliest
accounts (1677 to 1693) cover a 16 year period. Some of the
handwriting is very hard to read and I wouldn’t be surprised if I
have made some mistakes when transcribing the records. A typical
entry in the accounts book for the years 1677 to 1693 begins as
For the year 1677. A rate made for the hospital and maimed
soldiers at the vestry, of one shilling in the pound by us Edward
Williams and Nicholas Isgar, churchwardens. Robert Dod and George
Browne, overseers of the poor.
on from the entry above, are the names of the land owners in the
parish. Against each land owner’s name is the annual
value of their property in pounds and shillings. Next to this
is the amount of rates or tax they paid. If
the vestry set the rate at one shilling in the pound, then a
property owner whose land was valued at 10 pounds paid a tax of 10
shillings that year.
The Fry name
appears in the Churchwardens’ Accounts for 1677. The given or
first name cannot be read because the page has been torn. The person
referred to here was more than likely William Fry. William (Will)
Fry appears in the rate assessments from 1678 to 1682, again in 1683
and for the last time in 1688. In each instance William Fry’s
land was valued at six pounds.
In 1684, a George Fry is listed in the accounts book. His land had
an annual value of four pounds, ten shillings and he paid rates of
three shillings and nine pence. George Fry also appears in the
accounts books in 1688 through to 1690. In 1691 his land is valued
at six pounds. In 1687, 1688 and in 1690, George Fry signs as a
member of the parish vestry. In 1689 and 1690, he appears in
the churchwardens’ accounts as one of the overseers of the poor. The
churchwardens’ for those two years were John Parrott and W’m Bagg.
The two overseers of the poor were W’m Symes and George Fry.
George Fry may have been related to William Fry. William may have
died sometime around 1688. George Fry married Elizabeth (surname not
known) about 1690. They had at least five children, four daughters
and a son George who died soon after he was born.
George’s wife Elizabeth was buried in East Brent September 22, 1705.
The appearance of William and George Fry in the Churchwardens’
accounts in the latter part of the 17th century is
interesting. Add to the mix a Robert Fry who also appears in these
records at this time (1679) and a John Fry whose wife Mary was
buried in East Brent in 1741, and things become even more
Just exactly who these men were and their relationship (if any) to
James Fry (c.1710-1776) is not known at this stage.
Hopefully evidence will be found to link them all and take us
further back in time with our Fry ancestors.
Following the list of names of rate payers in the parish are the
disbursements made by the two churchwardens. A typical entry
preceding the lists of disbursements for this period reads…
The layings out of Edward
Williams for Church and hospital for the year 1677.
In their disbursements the
churchwardens recorded payments made to the hospital, to individual
parishioners and for work done by tradesmen and others on
maintaining the church. I have selected half a dozen or so
entries from the first Churchwardens’ book to show how money raised
from the rates was spent to cover the cost of repairs to the church
and meet other church expenses. In 1677, the churchwarden Nicholas
Isgar paid three shillings for bread and wine at Easter. The
following year the churchwarden John Chappell paid
four shillings and nine
pence for bread and coins at Christmas. That same year Chappell
recorded in his accounts.
Allowed myself for to (two)
days work for mending the rails and bording (boarding) to (two)
windows.’ ‘Paid for boards which I used about the tower windows and
the lids, 6 shillings.
An entry further down the
Paid to John Nell?
of Bridgwater the sum of five pounds, five shillings for glazing the
windows and mending the leads.
This entry may refer to
replacing the glass in the two windows which were ‘boarded up’ by
Chappell. The repairing of the lead probably meant that they were
leadlight windows. The church organ would have been played at each
church service and the organist was paid for his efforts as the
following entry shows.
Paid the organ
man one pound two shillings and six pence for playing the organ.
Chappell ‘Paid to
Fry six pence for a book of Canans.’ Canons are sacred
writings included in the bible. I assume this book was intended for
the church. Perhaps it still exists and can be found somewhere in
In 1679, fifteen sacks of
lyme (lime) were bought at one shilling and tuppence a sack, at a
cost of seventeen shillings and six pence. John Gast may have been
the plasterer. He was paid a pound for ‘plastering and white lyming
That same year…
Received by me Christopher
Crosman, Churchwarden for this present year 1679, one silver challis
with a cover, one flagon, one napkin and a table cloth, one woollen
table cloth, one pulpit cloth with a cushion, one woollen surplis
with other goods belonging to the church this 8th day of
In 1680 a fence was built
around the churchyard. An entry in the accounts book tells us that
timber was purchased for one pound and eight pence and was used for
‘rayling of the churchyard.’ Workmen were paid two shillings when
they ‘rayled in the churchyard.’ The following year two shillings
and six pence was ‘Paid for the Lord’s rent for the church house’
The vicar of St. Mary’s church at this time was
He was vicar from 1670 to 1681.
In 1682, the churchwarden
John Burrow paid eight shillings and sixpence for 3 bell ropes,
which were no doubt used to ring the church bells.
church’s two oldest bells date from 1440 and 1450 and are still in
eight pence for a lock for the church box and then paid six pence
‘for putting on a lock on ye church box.’ He gave the mason five
shillings and four pence for tyling and plastering. John Barnes was
given 5 shillings ‘for three days work and nails about ye gutter.’
The following year the two
churchwardens’s for the parish wrote…
Rec’d by us
William Morris and Thomas Martin, churchwardens for the year 1683.
One silver chalice at…and flagon, and white table cloth and
napkin and communion table cloth and pulpit cloth and cushion, and
green cloth …and other things belonging to the church this 15th
day of May 1683. Signed by William Morris. The mark x of
Also that same year. ‘Paid the Lord’s rent for ye church houses.’
The amount appears to be five shillings. Similar entries appear in
subsequent years. Could the church houses have been the parish poor
house? A ‘poor house’ is referred to in the second book of
In the Churchwardens’
accounts for 1687, four pounds was spent on lime for the (church)
steeple and six shillings and eight pence was ‘spent upon ye workmen
and others of the parish when the steeple was pointed.’ Two pounds
ten shillings and six pence was paid ‘to Walter Hancok for ramps and
boults (bolts) and other things when the steeple was pointed.’ And
John Barnes was paid a shilling for a door for the steeple.
In 1689, Andrew Hurd was paid a shilling ‘for playing y’e organ at
In 1679, the
churchwarden Christopher Crosman wrote ‘I paid Robert Fry two
shillings.’ No reason was given for Fry’s payment. There
are numerous entries where men were paid for stones which were used
to fill the holes and ruts in the parish roads. In 1681, the
churchwarden William Show wrote ‘I owed myself for stones to mend
the hi wayes, (highways) five shillings and sixpence.’
William Pope was the vicar of St. Mary throughout
this period, from 1681to1687.
From 1677 to 1693, part of the revenue raised from the rates was
used to pay for the hospital and to provide money for maimed
soldiers. Those maimed soldiers may have been Somerset men injured
in the first two civil wars fought in Britain. The wars were fought
between King Charles 1 and the Parliamentarians who believed they
should be able to govern without interference from the king. In 1634
Charles 1, demanded that Somerset provide £8990 for ship money.
Nearby Axbridge (which I would imagine included the surrounding
parishes such as East Brent) was asked to contribute £30. The first
civil war began in 1642. An all day battle was fought in Somerset,
at Lansdown Hill in 1643. The Royalists lost between two and three
hundred men with many more wounded. The Parliamentarians lost
possibly twenty men with less than sixty wounded. The wars ended
with the capture, sentencing and beheading of Charles 1. Following
the wars there were requests for assistance by injured soldiers and
the widows of those men who had lost their lives in battle.
regular sum was paid quarterly "to the hospital for poor maimed
soldiers", and it seems likely that this was the former Woodspring
Priory near Weston-super-Mare. This had become a hospital
after the Dissolution of the Monasteries, and remained so until well
into the 18th century. Many parishes in the locality contributed
regularly to its upkeep.
East Brent was one of the parishes which contributed money to the
hospital. Following the names of landowners in the parish (in the
Churchwardens’ accounts) are the ‘layings out for the church and
Ospitall.’ (Hospital) The two churchwarden’s for the year 1677, were
Nicholas Isgar and Edward Williams. Payments to the
hospital were made on a quarterly basis. They were made at
midsummer, ‘Paid the Ospitall at Midsomor…’ The amount paid can’t be
read because the page is torn. The amount was most likely eight
shillings and ten pence. Another payment was made at
Michaelmas. ‘Paid the Ospitall at Michalmas, eight shillings and ten
pence’ and at Christmas, ‘Paid the Ospitall at Chrismos, eight
shillings and ten pence’.
The first Churchwardens’ book gives us some idea of the people and
life in East Brent in the 17th century. In the book are
the names of the churchwardens and overseers of the poor, along with
each land owner or occupier of land in the parish. It also records
payments made to individuals. There are numerous references to
payments made to men and at least one boy of the parish for
hedgehogs, polecats, foxes and sparrows. According to the dictionary
a hedgehog is a small insect-eating animal with a pig-like snout and
a back covered in stiff spines. The hedgehog is able to roll
itself up into a ball when attacked. A polecat is a small dark brown
animal of the weasel family with an unpleasant smell. In
America they are referred to as skunks. These animals were
considered vermin and a bounty was paid on them. In 1677 Nicholas
Harris was paid one shilling and sixpence for nine hedgehogs. Mathew
Dod and Rob Huxley were each paid two pennies for two hedgehogs they
had caught. The going price for each hedgehog was tuppence. Tom
Fuller was paid four shillings for foxes and John Shepheard was
allowed a shilling for his foxes. James Harris was paid eight pence
for polecats. In 1678 William Isgar was paid sixpence for
three dozen sparrows. George Fry appears in the Churchwardens’
accounts in 1681. There are three entries that year where George was
paid for hedgehogs.
Paid to George Fry for 2 hedgehogs, 4 pence.
Paid to George Fry for 8 hedgehogs, one shilling and four pence.
Paid to George Fry for 7 hedgehogs, one shilling and tuppence.
In 1683, George was paid
tuppence (2 pennies) for a hedgehog and in 1684 he was paid for two
polecats and two hedgehogs. The payment can’t read because the page
has been torn.
Money raised from taxing the land owners was also used to care for
the needy. There are numerous entries where money was given to men
and women who held a ‘pass.’
They were usually wayfarers (travellers on foot) who asked for help
as they passed through a parish. In order to receive help they had
to produce a pass or certificate of need. Entries appear as follows.
Gave to three
women with a pass, sixpence. Gave to an ould woman with a
pass, sixpence. Paid to one man and woman and four children, one
accounts of churchwarden George Browne in 1679, two shillings was
given to eight ‘souldiers’ (soldiers ) with a pass. In the
churchwarden Christopher Crosman’s layings out for the same year
(1779) six seamen were paid one shilling and sixpence. In 1688 three
pennies were given to a poor woman who came from Ireland and a
shilling was given to a man and his wife and four children (who)
‘came out of Ireland having a pass.’ A Dutchman and a boy were given
sixpence. The following year four seamen who ‘suffered a shipwreck’
were given a shilling. In 1690 fourteen Irish people with a pass
were given a shilling and Nicholas Harris was paid 8 pence ‘for
throwing ye (rope?) at ye cow by his hous.’(house)
The first churchwarden’s book ends in 1693.
Churchwardens’ book spans thirty-eight years. It starts in 1737 and
ends in 1775. The first two pages show the rates collected
from land owners in the parish. Most of the rate payers’ names can’t
be read because of damage to the pages.
No dates are visible. On page three the list of rate payers
continues for the first half of the page. These are followed by the
‘Layings Out’ (payments) made by James Edwards for 1738.
James Edwards was my 5th
great grandfather. James’ daughter Ann married James Fry junior in
East Brent in1769. James Edwards appears often in the Churchwardens’
Accounts. He was a churchwarden and Overseer of the Poor in East
Brent for more than thirty years. His parents were James and Ann
Edwards. James was baptised November 23, 1714 and buried March 24,
In his ‘Layings Out’ James was required to give a detailed account
of the payments he made from the money he collected from the rates.
His entries on page three begin with…
The layings out
of James Edwards for the parish of East Brent for the year 1738 as
I paid John Voan for making a stem to the little bell clapper.
Putting him up and expenses, 12 shillings and 4 pence.
The bell clapper is the tongue or striker of the bell. ‘Putting up
Mr. Voan’ more than likely meant finding him a room to stay for the
Spent when bargained
with the glazier, 2 shillings and 9 pence.
Paid for glazing the church window and expenses, 9 shillings.
Paid the vicar’s dinner, 2 shillings and 6 pence.’
The vicar of St. Mary’s at
this time was John Wickstead.
I paid for horse hair when I fetched the things
Bridgwater, one shilling.
I spent at that time 3 pounds and one shilling.’
Bridgwater is a major town fifteen kilometres
from East Brent.
Paid John Isgar for blowing the bellows (for the
2 shillings and 6 pence.
Gave John Isgar for cleaning the church. 2 shillings.
On page 6, the
names of the two churchwardens for 1738 appear. They were James
Norvil and James Edwards.
James Norvel was
my 6th great grandfather. His granddaughter Ann Norvel
married James Fry senior’s grandson John Fry in 1804. The
following are some of James Norvil’s ‘Layings Out’ for the church in
Paid for bread and wine
at Easter, 7 shillings and 8 pence.
Paid for bread and wine at Christmas, 7 shillings and 8 pence.
Paid John Isgar for mats for the church, 2 shillings and 6 pence.
Paid for two bell ropes, 8 shillings
Paid for the caryon cloth. 19 shillings
Paid for the burial cloth, one pound one shilling.
Spent when I bought the caryon cloth and burial cloth, 9 shillings
and 8 pence.
Spent when I fetched the caryon cloth and burial cloth, one
Paid James Yortham for playing the organ, 6 shillings.
Paid for making my rates and on grossing (working out) my accounts,
3 shillings and 6 pence.
On the same page below James Norvil’s account is the following.
May 12, 1739.
Received the full content of this account. I say recorded by me.
mention of James Fry senior in East Brent is found in the
Churchwardens’ Accounts for 1741. He is listed as one of the land
owners in the parish. His land had an annual value of six
pounds and he paid rates of three shillings that year. In 1748 the
Churchwarden Tho’s Hicks wrote…
Paid for liquor that Fry had in his
work. 2 shillings and 4 pence halfpenny.
It is the second
last entry on the page and more than likely refers to James Fry
James Fry was my 5th
great grandfather. In 1752, he appears in the churchwardens’
accounts as one of the Overseers of the Poor for East Brent.
James Fry appears with two other
members of the family, James Norvel and James Edwards.
The entry appearing in the churchwardens’ accounts reads…
A rate made for repairing the church
and other uses by James Norvel, James Edwards, Churchwardens and
James Fry and Richard Day, Overseers of the Poor for 1752.
In his role as one
of the Overseers of the Poor, James Fry had to keep a record of his
disbursements. That is, any money, clothing or help given to
the poor of the parish. These payments would have been recorded in
The Overseers’ of the Poor Accounts Books. These books do not appear
to have survived for East Brent. That they did at one stage exist is
confirmed by the following entry in the Churchwardens’ book for
Then received of Thomas Colstan and
George Gamlon Overseers for ye year 1750, ye sum of 9 pounds and six
shillings being money due from them to ye parish as will appear by
ye poor book in order to balance ye above account. I say
received by me John Ille. (Churchwarden)
1767 Ap’l 20th
at a legal Vestry John Day & James Fry were nominated
Churchwardens & John Edwards & Robert Champion Overseers for
y’ year ensuing by us: Tho: Sparry. Vic’ (Vicar)
holding the office of Overseer of the Poor, James Fry was
also a Churchwarden. The earliest record of James holding
the position of churchwarden is for the year 1765. The names
of prospective churchwardens were put forward at a Vestry
meeting and after gaining approval from the Justices of the
Peace they were elected to office. Opposite is James Fry’s
nomination for the job of Churchwarden for the year 1767.
In his role
as churchwarden James was required to keep a written account
of the rates he collected and how this money was spent
(disbursements). The entries were made in the
Churchwardens’ Accounts Book.
See below for the rate assessment made by John Day and
James Fry. The rates that year were six pence in the
pound. The far left column of the transcription shows a list
of land owners in the parish. The next two columns is the
rateable value of their properties in pounds and shillings.
The last two columns show the amount of rates to be paid.
For example Mrs. Bryant’s property was valued at one pound
and she paid six pence in church rates.
March the 28 1768 a Rate
then made By John Day & James Fry Churchwardens for
repairing the parish church of Eastbrent and other uses at
ye value of sixpence in the pound for ye year 1768.
|A page headed ‘Disbursements’ followed the list of rate
payers in the Accounts book. The disbursements itemised the
spending of money collected from the rates. The
majority of the rate receipts were used to make repairs to
the church and cover other church expenses. On some
occasions entries refer to payments made to poor members of
the parish who fell on hard times. Below is a copy of the
original document with a transcript. It shows James
Fry’s disbursements for the years 1766 and 1767.
Disbursements of James Fry, Churchwarden for 1766 and part
Disbursements of James Fry Churchwarden for the Parish of
Eastbrent for ye year 1766 and Part of 1767. ₤-s-d
Paid the Clark his salary.
Pd for cleaning the lids
for cleaning the towar.
Pd for a pint of oyl.
Spent Count Day
Spent at the vesittation
pd for the presentment
pd for a form of prayer
Spent the fifth day of November. 0-11-3
gave to a poor woman with a pass
Pd for one pint of oyl.
gave to a poor man with a pass
gave to a poor man with a pass
gave to a poor man with a pass
Spent Easter Monday
gave to a poor woman in distress 0-0-6
pd mr James Edwards for what he was out
for the year 1764
pd William Baker for cleaning ye
Church windows for ye years
1765 and 1766.
for cleaning down ye l…?
pd William baker one day about the bells
P’d William baker for Cleaning round the
P’d mr James Edwards a bill. 4-6-0
On next page of the
Accounts book, James’ list of disbursements for the year 1766 and
part of 1767, continues.
James Fry’s Disbursements for 1766 and part of 1767.
Disbursements of James Fry Continued
gave to the
P’d for a book of articles. 0-4-0
Spent at visitation. 0-5-0
Spent Ye 20 9 of may. 0-6-0
gave to a poor man with a
for making my rate To?....
for work done about the church. 0-3-10
Pd for half a bushel of hair 0-0-8
Pd for drink about ye work 0-1-5
Spent when I put out ye work 0-1-0
Ye sum of my Disbursements ?
The following is an explanation of some of the terms and occupations
which appear in James Fry’s disbursements. The first entry refers to
him having ‘Paid the clark his salary ₤ 5-13-0.’ (5 pounds, 13
The role of the
parish clerk was certainly varied and would have differed from one
church to the next depending on the clerk’s age, skills and
expertise. One skill he needed to have was the ability to read
and write. It was often the clerk’s job to enter baptism,
marriage and burial information in the church registers. He
may also have been required to dig graves, open and close the church
and ring the church bell. In East Brent throughout
the 18th century the clerk’s wages were paid out of the
rates collected by the Churchwardens. There are entries which refer
to the clerk being paid for a day’s work for cleaning the tower.
This was the church tower for which he was paid at least a shilling.
In another instance he was paid a shilling for cleaning ‘ye lids.’
In most instances the clerk was not named. Entries usually
appear as, ‘Paid the Clark his salary.’ In Tho’s Wall’s
disbursements for 1746, he names the parish clerk.
my part for William Dinwidy for being Clark. 1-0-0.’ (One
Churchwarden Wall paid William
Dinwidy one pound for playing the (church) organ. There
was also a payment to Dinwiddy ‘for carting ye stones in ye
churchway (and) ye street. 5/- (5 shillings)
It is not known how long William
Dinwidy was employed as the parish clerk. He continues to appear in
parish records for nearly forty years. In 1766 William Dinwidy was
one of the collectors of a land tax imposed on property owners in
the parish. He collected 6 shillings and 8 pence from James
Fry that year. His name appears on vestry meeting minutes, and as a
witness to many marriages in the parish. He was one of two
witnesses to sign the marriage entry for James Fry’s son James
junior when he married Ann Edwards in 1769.
disbursements 22 November 1767
The disbursements of Jo’n (John)
Edwards for the parish of East Brent for the uses for the poor 22
One shilling and five pence was
paid for a bedcord for Frances Millard.
(A bedcord was
a cord or rope interwoven in a bedstead so as to support the
Paid the Lord’s rent for the poor
house, one shilling.
Gave 11 poor people with a pass, one
Bought Geo Gatt? A pair of stockings
(cost) one shilling and 9 pence.
Bought Rich’d Champion a yd? of
dowlas at 11 pence per y’d.
Buttons and thread 3 shillings a 9
Bought 8 y’ds of serge 1.2 per yd.
Serge is a strong twilled (woven) worsted fabric used for making
Three quarters of a y’d of body
lining at ?
Half oz (ounce) of thread at 3
pence? Per oz for to make Joan Champion a gown. 10 shillings and 2
Redeem’d (bought back) Frances
Millard’s bed 16 shillings. \
P’d for the carriage of Frances
An Act was passed
in 1723 enabling individual parishes to hire premises to house the
poor. The parish of East Brent may have rented such a building to
accommodate its poor and elderly, especially those who had no one to
care for them. There are entries in the first
Churchwardens’ accounts in the later part of the 17th
century that refer to the church house and church houses.
‘Paid for the Lord’s rent
for the church house.’ These buildings may have housed the
homeless members of the parish. In the latter part of the 18th
century there are a number of entries that refer to ‘the poorhouse.’
Funds raised from land rates was used
to pay a tax or rent for this building. The first reference to the
poorhouse appears in John Edward’s ‘Disbursements for the uses of
the poor.’ and is dated 22 Mar 1767. It reads…
‘P'd the Lords
rent for the Poor House. 1/- (one shilling)
John Edwards may have been the brother
of James Edwards.
Part of James Fry’s disbursements
in 1769 read…
‘for two locks for the porho’s.
2/- 6d’ (2 shillings and six pence)
‘for flint? and nails yoused at the poor hose’ 3/- (3
The next entry follows the two
above and may refer to payment for work done at the poorhouse.
‘for labur. 2/-6 (2 shillings
and six pence)
The last entry on the page reads…
Paid a tax
for the poor hous. 6 (pence)
On the first day of May 1770, the
following entry appears in the churchwardens’ accounts book. ‘Paid
the tax for the poorhouse. 2/-
December 11th 1774, according to the monthly pay and
disbursements of James Edwards the following appears…
Paid the Common fine for the poor
Churchwardens’ Accounts help was given to those in need. This help
was given in the form of monthly payments, clothing and medical care
In James Edward’s
disbursements for 1774, he lists the following payments (Not all
payments have been included here) Seven poor members of the parish
received a monthly pay. They were Clement Cook and Mary Watts
who both received 8 shillings. Betty Phippon, Jane Vincent and
Rob’t Hardige got 6 shillings and Sarah Watts, Ruth Yendols and Jane
Gills all received 4 shillings that month. Eight pence was paid for
mending Jane Vicent’s shoes and 6 shillings and 10 pence for buying
her a coat. Betty Hobs was paid one shilling in time of need
and a payment of 4 shillings was made for ‘the tending of Mary
Watts.’ Four pounds 6 shillings and 6 pence was paid ‘for a warrant
and expenses and keeping John Willcoxs family.’ John Edwards was
paid 4 shillings ‘for guard over Jn’o (John) Willcox.’ John Edwards
may have been James Edward’s brother. And ‘charged for our/own?
horsehire (2 horses, 2 days ?) 10 shillings and 6 pence.’ ‘Paid John
Day for horsehire, 4 shillings.’
The following year
1775, James Edwards made the following payments to the poor of the
parish. Joan Vincent, Robert Hardridge, Sarah and Mary Watts, Joan
Giles, and Betty Yendols continued to receive their monthly pay.
Elizabeth Hobbs was given a pair of shoes, Joan Vincent a ‘change’
(underwear?) and a pair of bodices. (This could be bodice the upper
part of a woman’s dress down to the waist) Joan Baker was paid 5
shillings for delivering a baby, John Tilby? was given 2
shirts, and wood was given to Mary Watts. When Sarah Watts was
buried, a shroud and coffin were paid for by the parish at a cost of
16 shillings and one penny.
Other expenses ab’t
Sarah Watts burial? One pound one shilling and a penny.
Land tax assessments
Churchwardens’ Accounts gave a good listing of the land owners in
the parish as well as the annual rateable value of each land
holder’s property, they gave no indication as to where each property
was situated. With the Land Tax Assessments[ii]
we can get some indication of where their land was located in the
parish. According to a land tax assessment made April 22,
1767, James Fry was a farmer and landowner in the tithing of
Snighampton, East Brent.
The parish of East Brent was divided into four regions or tithings,
one of which was known as Snighampton. Rooksbridge appears to have
been included in the Snighampton tithing. A rate of 5 shillings was
levied against James Fry’s name that year. There
is an entry for the previous year, 1766. The surname Fry appears
with the given name erased by a watermark on the page. A tax
of 6 shillings and 8 pence was levied on the property. The tax
collectors that year were William Dinwidy and Richard Day junior,
two local men from the parish. Land tax records only exist
from 1766 up until 1832. Records do not survive for the
years 1768 through to 1781, a gap of thirteen years.
19 September 2006