Horsington & Stowell

pages 371, 372, 373, 379 from Collinson’s 1792 “History of Somerset"

H 0 R S I N G T 0 N, an extensive parish lying eastward from Charleton-Horethorne, including a considerable town, situated on the slope of a gently rising hill, in a pleasant and healthful country, the lands whereof are rich, and mostly pasture. Its ancient name was Horsenestone, and its first possessor after the Conquest was William Fitz-Wido, or William Fitz-Odo, a Norman. 

William the son of Wido holds of the King HORSTENSTONE. Sauard and Eldeva held it in the time of King Edward for two manors, and might dispose of it where-ever they went, and they gelded for eleven hides. The arable is ten carucates. In demesne is one carucate, and four servants, and twelve villanes, and ten bordars, and twelve cottagers, with seven ploughs and a half. There is a mill of two and forty pence rent, and one hundred acres of meadow. Pasture six furlongs long, and five furlongs broad. Wood seven furlongs long, and six furlongs broad. When he received it, it was worth eight pounds fifteen shillings, now as much. Of this land Ralf holds, of William one hide and a half, and has there one plough and a half. It was always worth twenty-five shillings.

This William Fitz-Wido resided in these parts, and possessed the vills of Cheriton, and Combe, the last of which one of his family gave in free alms to the knights templars, and it became a cell. In after times the manor of Horsington was possessed by a family denominated from the place, and was held by them of the honour of Montacute. John de Horsindon, by his charter dated 12 John gave, granted, and confirmed, to Robert de Braibroc, for his homage and service, and in consideration of sixty marks of silver, all the land of Horsindon, which was of the fee of John de Montacute. Hence it shortly after came by grant to the family of Newmarch, or De Novo Mercatu, descended from that Bernard de Newmarch, who attended the Conqueror into England; James de Newmarch was living 16 John and possessed this manor with many other estates in the counties of Somerset, Dorset, Wilts, and Gloucester. At his death he left issue two daughters, Isabel, the wife of Sir Ralph Russell, knt. and Maud. In the division of the estates Horsington fell to Isabel the eldest, and Sir Ralph Russell, 8 Henry III. had livery of the lands of her inheritance. By the said Isabel he had issue two sons, Robert, who died without issue 25 Edw. I, seized of lands in Horsington and Wilkinthrop in this parish, which he held of the capital lords of Horsington and William, who succeeded to the estate. Which William married Jane the daughter of Robert Peverel, and died seized of this manor 4 Edw. II. having held it by the service of half a barony. To him succeeded Theobald Russell, who 13 Edw. II. being found under age, this manor of Horsington was granted to Alice de Leygrave the king’s nurse, for her support during the minority of the said Theobald. He was twice married; his first wife was Eleanor, daughter and coheir of Ralph de Gorges, a baron, by whom he left a posterity called sometimes by the name of Russell, but generally by that of Gorges: to his second wife he married another Eleanor, daughter and heir of John de la Tour. By his first wife he had issue Theobald, who assumed the name of Gorges, and was ancestor of the Gorges of Wraxal, where their chief seat was, and in the account of which further notice will be taken of this family; and Sir Ralph Russell, knt. who was of Kingston-Russel in Dorsetshire, and of Dirham in Gloucestershire. By his second wife he had issue William) who was progenitor of the Berwick family and the dukes of Bedford. After the death of the said Theobald, Eleanor, who survived him, had an assignation of the third part of this manor in dower. After which the manor was divided between the descendants of the said heirs, till in the time of Edw. IV. it became reunited in the person of Richard Gorges, esq. He died 20 Edw. IV. and Maud his wife surviving him, married to her second husband Henry Roos, and died 1 April, 3 Henry VIII. seized of the manors of Horsington and South-Cheriton, and the advowson of the church of Horsington, and the chapel of South Cheriton. Marmaduke, the son and- heir of the said Richard Gorges, had died before, viz. I Henry VIII. and Elizabeth and Maud his two daughters were found to be the next heirs of the said Maud Roos. Elizabeth the eldest daughter was married to Thomas Shirley, who in her right enjoyed this manor,, and left it to his son Francis Shirley, who 2 Eliz. sold the same to Edward Ludlow and Maud his wife, and their heirs. Robert Ludlow, son and heir of the said Edward, 16 Eliz. conveyed the manor of Horsington, and Horsington-Marsh, to Matthew Smyth, esq; and it is now the property of Walter Spencer, esq.

HORSINGTON-MARSH, SOUTH-CHERITON, or CHURTON, (where was a chapel) WYLKINTHROOP, and Horwood, are all hamlets within this parish, and were chiefly appendant to the Principal manor of Horsington.

The living is a rectory in the deanery of Marston, valued in 1292 at twenty marks. James Wickham, of Frome, esq and Thomas Wickham, of Whitchurch, esq are the joint patrons thereof and the Rev. Mr. Whalley is the present incumbent.

The church, dedicated to St. John Baptist, is a Gothick structure, consisting of a nave, small aile, chancel, and porch, tiled; and a well-built embattled tower, fifty feet high, with a clock and five bells.

On the south wall of the chancel is a handsome mural monument of marble, terminated by a mitred pediment and urn. “Here lyes the body of Mr. William Gifford, gent. son of Benjamin Gifford, of Boreham in the county of Wilts, esq; who dyed the 30th of Nov. 1693, aged 36. Also Benjamin Gifford, esq; his son, who dyed June 13, 1713, aged 25. Likewise all that could dye of Alicia, daughter of the said William Gifford, and the beloved wife of George Doddington; esq; was buried June 27, 1745, aged 54 years.” Below are the arms cut in stone: Quarterly, first and fourth, three stirrups within a bordure engrailed. Second and third, a chevron between three lions rampant.

On a mural monument of white marble in the chancel: “The remains of George Doddington, esq; who died Oct. 27, 1762, aged 1 year and 8 months.” 

At the southeast end of the nave is an elegant mural monument of white and Sienna marble; on the tablet is this inscription: “Sacred to the memory of the Rev. Anthony Wickham, A. M. late rector of this parish, who departed this life April 15, 1767. With a hope full of immortality, through the revelation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He was pious without hypocrisy; charitable without ostentation; hospitable without extravagance. Such was his amiable disposition, that he was alike respected and beloved by the rich and poor; He had two wives; his first, Jane, daughter of Mr. George Brodripp, of the city of London. His second, Dorothy, daughter of John Lloyd, of Soughton in the county of Flint, esq. His remains, and those of his wives, are deposited in the church-yard near the south window. This monument was erected by his grateful kinsman the Rev. John Wickham, A. M. rector of Sampford; and James Wickham, of Frome, gent.” Arms, Argent, two chevrons sable,, between three roses gules.

On a fiat stone in - the chancel floor is an inscription to the memory of Rooke Doddington, esq. Arms, Three bugle horns.

On two black frames the following benefactions to the poor are recorded: “Thomas Abbot, gent.. gave North-Close in North-Cheriton, to the use of the second poor” “Thomas Rolt, gent. gave lands in Abbot’s-Combe, called Gadgrove, and other lands, after the death of Elizabeth Winscomb, for the use of the poor for ever.” “Memorandum: The parish exchanged the church-house for five houses in Broadmead-lane with Thomas Gawen, esq; for the use of the parish 1722.” “By the will of John Wickham, late of Sherborne, deceased, five pounds a year are given to the rector of this parish in trust for the poor to be paid on St. Thomas’s-day out of lands called Great-Lyes and Little-Lyes.

There is a charity-school here endowed with five pounds per annum, for teaching twelve poor children. 


Is the next parish southward from Horsington, comprising a small straggling village, situated in a woody vale, and watered by a rivulet, which rises in Charleton-Horethorne, and runs through Milborne-Port into the Yeo near Sherborne. Another brook rising in a wood here passes through the parish of Abbot’s-Combe. The lands are chiefly pasture. This place was anciently written Stanwelle, or the Stone Fount, and is thus recorded in Domesday-Book.

“Azeline de Percheval holds of the Bishop of Coutances STANWELLE. Turrmund held it in the time of King Edward, and gelded for three hides. The arable is four carucates. In demesne are two carucates, and two servants, and five villanes, and seven bordars, and two cottagers, with two ploughs. There are sixteen acres of meadow, and five acres of pasture, and six acres of coppice wood. It was worth forty shillings, now sixty shillings.” 

In the time of Edw. I. this manor was held by the family of Muscegros, of Chariton Musgrove, and consisted of two knight’s fees. Hawise, the heir of Robert de Mufcegros, was married to Sir William Mortimer, knt. who had the manor of Stowel, and died seized thereof 25 Edw. I. Ric. II. Sir Edmund Molyns, knt. held the manor and the advowson of the church jointly with Isabel his wife, of Sir Matthew de Gournay, as of his manor of Curry-Mallet. Sir John Tiptot, knt, Lord-Powis, was seized of this manor 21. Hen. VI; and 13 Edw. IV. Elizabeth the widow of Robert Cappes held the same at her death of Margaret Countess of Richmond, leaving John the son of Sir John Hody, knt. her heir. Christopher Hody, esq; died seized of the manor and advowson 15 Jac. I. leaving John his son and heir. Samuel Dodington, esq is the present lord of the manor.

The living is a rectory in the deanery of Mariton; it was valued in 1292 at seven marks, and is now in the patronage of Samuel Dodington, esq. The Rev. Mr. Pye is the present incumbent.

The church is dedicated to St. Mary Magdalen, and is a small building fifty-six feet long, and sixteen wide, being of one pace, with a square tower, rebuilt in the year 1748, and containing three bells.

On the east wall of the chancel are the following inscriptions: “Here lieth the body of Thomas Mogg, rector, who died Nov 27, 1708. Catharine Mogg, the wife of T. M. rector, was buried Aug. 14, 1684.” “Believe aright, and live as you believe; and you cannot but die in safety”

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