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Loxton

 Samuel Loxton on Deeds of Old VicarageThis is not a family history website but one of the motivations for initiating research about Chewton Mendip was identifying the name of people called Loxton who were involved in th purchase of my house 110 years before I bought it. The image is taken from the parchment deeds of my house. A William Blanning bought what was then a newly built Vicarage in 1859 from the Reverend David Drakeford. William Blanning had married into the Loxton family of Emborough which explains their involvement in the purchase. The link was established when Peter Loxton of Emborough married Susanna Blanning who was the sister of William Blanning.  Susanna was the daughter of Samuel and Mary Blanning and was baptised in Chewton Mendip on 20/3/1811.
 Peter Loxton was born in 1805 and he married Susanna Blanning some time before 1843 when they had two sons baptised in Binigar. It is probable that the Samuel Loxton mentioned in the 1859 sale was Peter’s brother and was born about 1811 and died in 1867. The vicarage, which they probably renamed Pleasant House, was put into trust to Samuel Loxton probably because William Blanning had remarried to Rebecca
This precaution was not necessary because William Blanning outlived Samuel Loxton so William Blanning appointed his second wife and William Loxton as his executors in 1876. This William Loxton was probably the son of Peter Loxton and Susanna (nee Blanning) born in 1841.
However, these facts prompted many questions and surprises, one of which is that I am not directly  related to the Emborough Loxtons despite coming from a Somerset Farming family. A well-known local historian, Geoffrey Loxton, can trace his probable ancestry back to 1445 in Emborough. As far as I can tell, the earliest record of my direct line is in  North Wooton in the 1760s.
Recently re-discovered material identifies there are many indirect links between the t Emborough and North Wooton branches of the Loxton family. Material published by a number of people identifies a common heritage of Loxtons in Somerset. Richard Loxton January 2013.
 The Loxton ‘clan’
Loxton is  not a common name,  it is the  5,027th most common name in Great Britain, 1,643 people share the surname with 5 % people whose name is Loxton live in Vale of Glamorgan. This may conflict with the widely held view that it is a Somerset name linked to the village of Loxton. However, a lot of people left the north Somerset coalfields to work in South Wales. The circumstantial evidence tha links the name  to Somerset is so strong that few people doubt the link between the name and the place. It is thought that the name of Locking, near Weston Super Mare, is also linked to the same source. Farming has been important in Somerset since the introduction of domesticated animals and plants and some Loxtons can be traced due to their links to the land. It may not be possible to prove direct family links but he concept of a ‘clan’ of people linked by a sense of place and social connections is appropriate.
 Luxton and Laxton are common variations of the name which may have come from the same source or may have evolved separately. There is a village called Laxton in Nottinghamshire which may have been the root of the name of Richard of Loxley, better known as Robin Hood. The variations of the spelling of the name is beyond belief with the phonetic ‘Lockston’ being the most common but ‘Lauchstone’ and other exotic versions appear frequently.
One theory for the origin of the name Loxton (or Laxton) is that it is derived from “lax ton” or salmon town. The biggest problem with that theory is that the Somerset village of Loxton is not on a river capable of sustaining salmon although it is claimed the Lox Yeo on its boundary once held salon. Refer to the Loxton village website (www.loxtonsomerset.org.uk/) for more information about the location of the village.
Another theory is that the name is derived from some Celtic description of a lake as in the Scotish ‘loch’, a variation of this theory is that it describes a pathway across swampy ground. A related theory is that it is the truncation of the name of a person so the villages could be named after somebody called Lock or Loki who could hae been a Celt, Saxon of even a Viking. DNA analysis shows that there was more assimilation between these ethic groups that was previously thought. DNA links hae been made between modern inhabitants of Somerset and the ‘Cheddar Caveman’.
Glastonbury Tor is within sight of most parts of the Mendips and the word ‘tor’ for hill is one of the reminders that some Celtic words survive in Modern English. Avon or ‘afon’ for river is another name for a feature in the landscape that has Celtic roots. The proximity to Glastonbury is also a reminder that it is difficult to differentiate between history and myth during this period.
Loki was a character from Norse mythology who was a bit of a joker and a ‘shape shifter’ who would take many forms to create havoc. One of his forms was a salmon which might explain the salmon connection. The Norse theory works better in Nottingham which was part of the Danelaw than Somerset which was never ruled by the Vikings. However, the Anglo-Saxons shared many cultural beliefs with the Scandinavians.
The first person who can defiantly be linked to the village of Loxton was Wulfeva, a Saxon who held the estate prior to 1066. If he did not die in the battle of Hastings he may have perished in the subsequent ‘pacification’ of Somerset by the Normans. Wulfa may have simply been disposed but  Count Eustace, of Boulogne who held Loxton in 1086.
 Gervase de Lokeston, lord of the manor of Loxton, is mentioned three times in the Buckland Cartulary c 1250. Various spellings of his name were used and he was probably the Gervase de Sparkford  who gave the manor of Lokeston as his daughter Jordana’s dowry to Philip de Insula. It was common for people to use a variety of second names in those days.
 The tendnecy to swap second names may explain why John de  Loxstone granted his land at  Loxstone to Sir William de Weylande and his wife Elizabeth in c1311. John may have been related to the de Weylande family or he may have sold his land to finance a military expedition of some kind.
 The record of Loxtons between 1311 and the middle of the 15th century is almost blank which has led to speculation that they may have become outlaws. A more prosaic explanation is that the records of their existence are missing.
 A John Lokestone was a tenant in Emborough in 1448. He paid the substantial sum of £8 as an entry fee so he was a reasonably wealthy man and it is unlikely that an outlaw wold want to be a farmer or be accepted as a tenant.  There were plenty of other opportunities available to somebody who wanted to use the skills gained as an outlaw to make money in a legal way. He was farming the ‘manor farm’ of Emborough which further suggests that he was a substantial man and raises a ‘what if’ question about how things may have turned out differently if the Loxtons, not the Hippisleys, bought the monastery lands at Emborough and elsewhere during the dissolution.
 William Loxton obtained a tenancy in Ston Easton in 1490. He may hae been the William Loxston accused of illegally ploughing part of the Whitnel Common land in 1516.
 Nicholas Loxton of Shepton Mallet was fined for aiding the Cornish rebels in 1497. The cause of that rebellion was  the objection of the Cornish tin miners to paying taxes.  Nobody likes paying taxes but the Cornish tin miners were  previously exempt from paying taxes. The Mendip lead miners may have enjoyed similar privileges which suggests that Nicholas had some interest in lead mining. He may have been the same man the same man mentioned in wills dated 1511 and 1529.
John Loxton took a lease of land from the Marquis of Bath in West Horrington in 1538. It was probably him who  was listed as the oldest inhabitant of West Horrington aged 60  according to the Hobhouse map.
 The first confirmed record of a Loxton with archery skills was when  William Loxton of Horrington was mentioned in a certificate of muster for 1569 as an archer. John Loxton [of West Bradley?] was mentioned as a pikeman and another William Loxton  from the  same place as John Loxton was mentioned as a billman.
 The muster may have been called because a rebellion broke out in the North of England against the government of Queen Elizabeth I. The motivation of that rebellion was an attempt to restore the Catholic religion.
 William Loxton of Montecute had twin daughters, Grace and Sarah,  baptised in 1589. Henry Loxston took a lease in Wells in also in 1589.
 John Lockstone had several children baptised in Emborough from 1594 onwards. He married Dorethe Cheesman in Emborough in 31/5/1594. The record of Loxtons in Emborough is fairly consistent from that date up to the Peter Loxton identified above and onwards into the modern era. Click here for a family tree.  Peter Loxton is often identified as the earliest erifiable member of a cluster of Loxtons based in the North Somerset part of the Mendips.
 There were also Loxtons in Ston Easton, Litton, the Harptrees and Priddy.  It is inevitable that there are marriage links to other Chetwon Mendip families. The Burgess, Chard , Flower, Hoskins  and Webb families appear on the Emborough family tree. The Parsons, Selway,  Wookey  and families  are also known to have links to the ‘Mendip’ Loxtons. The name Anstice also appears so there may hae been a link to the Anstee family.
 Gideon Loxton, who was baptised in 1753, married Hester Bush in Chewton Mendip in 1780. One of their sons married Mary Dando who was baptised in Chewton Mendip in 1795. Another son of Gideon and Hester was George Loxton who was baptised in West Harptree in 1795. George had a son, also called George, who was baptised in Chewton Mendip in 1819. He married Eliza Guppy of North Wooton who was baptised in 1818. George died in 1897 and Eliza in 1906 and is buried in Priddy. Eliza’s brothers, Walter and James Guppy emigrated to Australia.
 The Loxtons were also part of the emigration that saw Wm Charles Loxton establish the town of Loxton in South  Australia. He was the son of Albert Richard Loxton who  born in North Wooton in 1821 an baptised in Southover, Wells in 1822. Albert Loxton married Grace Lintern in 1846. They had 13 children altogether and the Wm Charles who founded Loxton in Austrailia was born in 1848 in Staines, Middlesex near London. Some sources trace him back to Thomas and Betty Loxton  from Pilton who are may be seen as part of the ‘lowland’ cluster of Loxtons described below.
 The Cape Archives of South Africa identify Loxtons in that country as early as 1834 and there is a town in the northern Cape called Loxton named after them. Loxtons were also recorded in the Transvaal in the 20th century. Some sources trace the South African Loxtons back to Thomas and Betty Loxton who may have lived there for a while.
 Joseph Henry Loxton was born in 1860 in Wells. He ran away from home and joined a crew of a ship when he was between 13 and 15 and arrived in Galveston in Texas. He joined a wagon train to San Antonio in Texas. He worked as a cowboy which included a stint shooting buffalo in Montana. He eventualy returned to Texas and married Mary Slaughter and settled down to have a family. This story is based on the memories of his grand daughter, Susan Loxton Clines who recorded the story in 1990. Click here to read her full account.
 Chewton Mendip Loxtons of the of the 17th and 18th century
 The Hampshire archives contain records that show that a Richard Loxton was living in Chewton Mendip in the 1690s. These records are the earliest definition of what was the Loxton Estate but there are earlier accounts of people called Loxton living in th area. The limited information about the property suggest that Richard Loxton was a reasonably wealthy man.  The wealthy branch of the York(e) family took over the estate and they continued to be responsible for the Loxton’s estate for the next 100 years or so.
 The Chewton Mendip vestry committee records ar full of references to Loxtons in the 18th century, unfortunately mainly as recipients of poor relief. The Loxtons’ estate is mentioned frequently but this was farmed by other people in the 18th century. The King family was frequently mentioned as paying poor rates for part of Loxtons. A William Loxton was a regular recipient of money and clothing from 1730 to 1745 when he became ill and died. His sickness was not specified but small pox was a common killer and usually referred to by name. Cholera was known to have ben common at the time. The Chewton Mendip Loxtons appear in a range of roles and social classes.
 The link from North Wooton to Chewton Mendip
 Martha, the daughter of Martha Loxton was baptised in North Wooton on 25/6/1760. No father is listed in the FreeReg record and no link to Christopher Loxton has been proven. A Martha Loxtone was buried in North Wooton 0n 29/6/1761 who could have been either the mother or child born in 1760.
Christopher Loxton was buried in North Wooton in 1766. He is a good prospect for the father or grandfather of Christopher Laxton or Loxton.
 A Christopher Laxton  or Loxton was having children baptised in Pilton from 1786 the North Wooton from 1803.  They may have been the same person  because Ann or Anne was specified as the wife of all of the children. This Laxton almost probably could trace his lineage back the Somerset village of Loxton if the records exist. There are probably Loxtons whose family originally came from the Nottingham village of Laxton.
 Sarah Millard Married Christopher Loxton in St Cuthberts  church, Wells on 29/7/1792. It is possible that Sarah was part of the Millard family of Chewton Mendip. There were very few Christopher Loxtons around at the time but a surprising number of Sarah Millards so she may have been from a different branch of the Millard family.
George Loxton was born in West Pennard c 1801. He could have been the son of Christopher and Sarah Loxton but there was also families of Loxtons in west Pennard, Pilton and other villages. His wife  was probably Mary Stevens who he  married 5/5/1831 in North Wooton.
George Loxton, the son of George born c1801 was born in North Wooton c1837.
 Another source identifies that a different George was the direct descendent and was the son of Thomas Loxton and Betty Parson who married in 1807 in Pilton. Their son George was born in 1813 and some records show he lived in Chewton Mendip for a while.  This branch of the Loxtons were involved with the Turnpike roads which may explain their presence in Chewton Mendip. This also  supports the theory that they were linked to the Anstee family who were the  waywardens and may have farmed part of the former Loxton Estate. Most sources agree that it is difficult to identify the precisie relationship between the Christopher Loxtons and the subsequent generations.
James Loxton was born in North Wooton according to one source or Henton according to one version of the Loxton-Parsons family tree but both sources agree he was born in c1863. James bought Hurn Farm, Easton but there is some discrepancy in his age in 1881.
James Loxton married Henrietta Vining on 8/4/1890 and moved to Lower Leaze Farm Bleadney. They had four children. William was born in 1891, Charles 1892, George 1894 and Ivey 1901.
William Loxton was the eldest son of James and Henrietta Vining. He was born in Wookey and son of the above, married Minnie Hale from Priddy in 1916 just before he went of to fight in WW1. He returned and started to farm at Honeysuckle Farm, Easton. He can be seen  in the page about ploughing.
 Rupert (Jim) Loxton  was the son of William and Minnie, born in 1919. He married Kitty Mullins and moved to Home Farm Dinder after WW2. He was christened Rupert to please his mother but his father refused to call him that so he was always known as Jim. He is referred to in the article about cricket.
Richard Loxton, the seventh of eight children of Jim and Kitty, bought the ‘Old Vicarage’ in Chewton Mendip in 1995 and is the author of this website. I am very proud to be married to Wendy with two sons, Alexander and Nicolas.
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