History of Isle Abbots - Parts 6 to 10



    During the last ten years of his reign, Henry VIII dissolved the Monasteries. Muchelney and its manors became the property of the Earl of Hertford and his heirs. The Dean and Chapter of Bristol acquired the patronage of Ile Abbots Church.

    Queen Elizabeth 1 called a muster of fighting men in 1569, among the Ile Abbots quota were some familiar names. Thomas Lumberd was a billman carrying a kind of scythe, wearing a plated corselet and skull cap, he also carried a sword and dagger.  William Tyce was an archer with a bow of yew or one spliced with ash. His arrows were of hornbeam with quills of grey goose. Until a few years ago a cottage was named Tysons and another was named Lumbards Plot.

    The Lamprey family requested planning permission from the Earl of Hertford for a dwelling on a small piece of land known as White Barn Pound. Three hundred years later this reverted to the Crown and is now known as Manor Farm. Thomas Isham of Ile Brewers held copyholds of land in Ile Abbots under the same Earl.

    Well built stone cottages of this period remain in the village. Pitts carries a date stone of 1583, also Colliers and the earlier part of Bromes;   Cuff's Orchard is a half timbered cottage, unusual in this district, which has been protected by an outer addition. These among many others indicate that the village shared in the general prosperity of England. E.M.B.


   Towards the end of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I John Pitt was born, one of 4 sons to Robert & Mary Pitt of Ashford Old Farmhouse. This tenement was leased to Robert by Nicolas Wadham of Merrifield. The initials R. P. & M. P. are carved into the panelling at the house. John had a life interest in some of the lands as help towards “his finding at Oxford” but he had to make over the income to his Mother as soon as he had a “competent spiritual living for life”. This soon came about through promotions at Wadham College where he eventually became Warden. He held several livings, Chardstock and East Chelborough in Dorset also at South Braden. During the Civil Wars the Rev. Dr. Pitt was turned out of his college by the Parliamentarians, most of his possession being confiscated. He retired to Ilton where he lived a few years longer with his nieces. Among the possessions remaining to him he bequeathed to his nephew Robert a Gold ring set with Bristol diamonds; Religious books and a silver bowl went to his nephew James with 3 silver spoons which had belonged to his Father. The quarters rent which he owed to his niece Anne was paid from his lands at Braden. To the poor of Ile Abbots 20/- were allotted in varying portion divided among 10 named legatees. He asked to be buried in the chancel of Ile Abbots Church, dying a few days after this Will was made in October 1653. His tombstone is in a garden in the village.


    The Rev. Thomas Masters began the Baptismal, Marriage and Burial Registers in 1581; 16 men declared their assent to the Protestant religion when the articles of religion were proclaimed in Church. His vicarage was described in 1613 as having little orchard but no barn or stable and just less than an acre of ground with 41/2 acres of glebe land. The harvest of these lands was paid to the Vicar by the occupiers of the premises until they were taken over by the Walronds of Sea. William lived in the Vicarage but did not pay the rent. This house may have been Monk's Thatch near the Church, it seems that after the Dissolution there was no permanent vicarage for the parson. The Brome family were now in the house of that name, the south porch is dated 1627. Roger Baker "a poor man" of Ile Abbots lost £40 from a fire, he had a wife and "6 poor children and was given £5 by the Hospitals of the Western Division, witnessed by Nathanial Still, member of a family buried in the Churchyard, with a date stone on Sadlers. A labourer, Robert Back requested permission to build a cottage on the waste of the Manor although it lacked the statutory 4 acres, he had to obtain the consent of the villagers as well as that of the Lord.

    Christopher Lamprey was up before the Justices, Sir George Speke and William Walrond, concerning a bastardy order against him; This case went on for 2 years. The mother Alice had departed, the father made many excuses for not paying the weekly order of 6d


   During the Civil War an oath was required from every man of 18 by which he attested his allegiance to King, Parliament and the Established Church. 181 men and women are on the Ile Abbots list including Bromes, Viles and Tyces, Christopher Lamprey being the church warden. Henry Cattle signed as Minister, possibly as locum for the Vicar. The list was published in 1642 the names were also taken of those who refused.

   Inventories of this period relate to the goods of 2 farmers, They left John Perkins and John Tyse. They left several acres of wheat, beans and barley, farm implements and household goods. John Perkins left 5 cwt, of cheese; his family table tomb is in the Churchyard.

    During the reign of Charles II a hearth tax was levied on all rich enough to pay to “the Church and the poor". This unpopular levy was evaded by “beating down” a hearth before the assessor arrived. Two houses in Ile Abbots had 5 hearths both belonging to the Brome family. John Perkins paid for 3 hearths; one was beaten down and converted to a stable. Although John Vile was listed, he was excused for his one hearth by reason of his poverty. William Ilett paid for 2 and was not rated for his private oven. Altogether 40 homes paid tax.

    By this time the manor of Ile Abbotts was broken up much of the land including Ilemoor, Millmoor and Otterham was bought from the former owners by Laurence Drake whose tombstone is in the nave of the Church.

   Further documents show that the Brome family were related to and became heirs of another member of the Drake family with more increases of land:  however many of these fields were sold to a London Merchant as a dowry for his daughter on her marriage to Laurence Brome. The reign of the Stuarts came to an end, part of their coat of arms remains on the South wall of the bell tower.


   The names of at least 4 men from Ile Abbots were taken in the Monmouth Rebellion, William Mitchell, John Hendy, Edward Burmester and William Grange. These were either killed at Sedgemoor or remained in hiding until the King's Pardon in 1686. Until the last century there was a mound in the North East corner of the Churchyard which was considered to hold the remains of those “who went Dooking".  When Thomas Symes was sexton, he removed brambles and thorns from a very rough place and found a pit with bones, buttons from a soldier's coat and a bullet which may have been from the same corner.

    Robert Browning, the Vicar, lived with his wife and children in a single storey house having a hall, kitchen and one other room. He made a large quantity of cider having his own press. The house was opposite Manor Farm where the well still remains.

   Several members of the Illot family were buried in a table tomb on the South side of the Churchyard.

   The bells were rung for the Proclamation and Coronation of King William.

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