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Culliford

John Culliford was a Churchwarden in 1719 and various members of the family appear in the records of Chewton Mendip. He, or possibly his son, was the John Culliford M.A. vicar of Chewton Mendip appointed on 29th August 1754 replacing John Taswell . The Rev John Culliford remained as the vicar of Chewton Mendip until he died in 1764 when he was replaced by Arthur Annesley. John Culliford’s patron was George III because the unfortunate William Kingsmill was not fit to fulfil his duties.
 A John Culliford was listed as a gentleman who was qualified to serve of juries, probably for the Town tithing in 1745. He may have been the same person who became the vicar in 1754 but he was probably a different person, perhaps the vicar’s  father. The extract from the poor book dated c1759 shows that the Cullifords were fairly wealthy and held land in a number of holdings in their own right.
 Culliford VicargeOne of the few certainties is that vicarage house was in the Town tithing. The records should be read as the vicarage farm which would have included the glebe land and the parsonage or rectory farm.
Vicarage 1794John Culiford the vicar may have lived in a house on the site of the Old Vicarage or he may have built the vicarage house shown in the 1794 map. However, he may have lived elsewhere and employed a curate to conduct services  and installed a tenant to work the farm but he probably was resident in the  village and the 1794 vicarage is the most likely location.
 The evidence discovered so far regarding where the vicar lived at this date can be made to fit several scenarios but this is one date when it is possible that a ‘new vicarage’ house was built. The Taswells had built  themselves retirement at what is now called White stile and the new vicar may have wanted to build himself a new home c 1754.
The 1766 ledgers show that various members of the Culliford family held leases from the Waldegraves. The significance is that the Waldegraves were lords of the temporal manor so the leases were not related to church land.
 A John Culliford was 62 and held a lease for the Royal Oak which was on or near the site of Blackmans farm which is on the site of the modern Waldegrave House. He had two sons, William who was 21 or 26 depending on which lease you read and Thomas who was 28. The ages on the leases are not very reliable.
 The lease is described as ‘A tenement called the Royal Oak viz A cottage house and garden…” so this is where they lived but they may not have run the pub. Several fields are listed but everybody needed somewhere to keep a few animals and grow some of their own food.
Another lease shows they were the primary tenants of a grist mill situated at the rear of Old Ford Farm but Richard Whitcombe was a sub tenant and may have been the miller. There was a building halway that could have been either where the Cullifords lived or the mill but the building was too modest to be either.
 A third lease shows that a John Culliford, probably the 62 year old, held leases on two cottages in Chew Hill which were sub let to Richard Curtis and John Salvidge. This may have been the cottages shown in the engraving dated c1800. There are cottages still standing on what was the left of Chew Hill which belonged to the Kingsmills so these cottages may have been on the right of the pictures. foundations of buildings can still be seen where the engraving show the cottages  should be.
 A fourth lease verifies the information held in the  matrix of estates and apprentices compiled in 1754 which shows that James Culliford’s estate included Redsheards part of ‘Halstones’. This lease also provides an example of a fardell or ‘dificult’ holding. In this case, the house and land may have been separated or the ownership disputed. Redsheard is between Bathway and The Folly whilst some of the land may have been next to Sages Farm.
 Another Thomas Culliford was mentioned on the lease held by Anne Taswell in 1766 which also referred to a brew house. Anne Taswell was living on the other side of the village in White Stile but the link to  brewing may have been co-incidental. It was common for widows to run pubs to make a living and vicars would sell beer to supplement  their tithes and she was the widow of the vicar before John Culliford. The ecclesiastical link may have been strong but the Thomas Culliford who was listed in Anne Taswell’s lease had an 18 year old daughter, called Hannah.
The leases are consistent with the Cullifords being prosperous an educated people with a reasonable degree of social standing at the time even if the relationship between the men is not clear. Yeomen farmers could climb the social ladder if an educated son became a vicar. The Rev John Culliford contrasts with the His predecessor and successor who were from the gentry.
However, not all members of the Cullifords were so well off. A Richard Gulliford was transported from Midsomer Norton to Chewton Mendip in 1761. A Richard Culliford was paid poor relief by Chewton Mendip in 1762 so he was probably the same man. Hannah Gulliford was paid poor relief when her husband was in the militia so she could have been Richard’s wife.
 John Culliford  died in 1811  is buried in Chewton Mendip church close to the tower. The gravestone is barely legible but it is in a privileged position and indicates high social status.
 There is an unconfirmed reference to a  Richard Culliford who was born in 1825 and living in Lower Street in the late 19th century.
 John Culliford was a farmer in Chewton Mendip in 1839. He was occupying several properties but may have been living in Grove Farm. Some of the other properties he was occupying were Clouds/White house which may have been a labourers cottage by then. Bendles Grove and Payne’s Pond were also part of his holding which accounted for a large percentage of the West End tithing.
The John Culliford identified in 1840 may have been related to the William Culliford who was described as a 50 year old farmer in the 1841 census. The 1839 tithe map shows he was living in what is now Batch Cottage but owned what is now Ford House where John Habgood lived.
 Culliford appears as a the second name of a number of people which is a sign that they wanted to keep the family name alive.
 Charles Culliford Salvidge married Christina Curtis in 1819.
 Margaret Culliford Habgood was buried in 1923. She was a member of the Salvidge family before marriage.
 Christina Culliford Thayer was buried in 1937. She was a Habgood before marriage.
Some of these other families are known to be prosperous farmers but there is no evidence that Cullifords ever owned the  advowson or the right to appoint vicars. It is probable that the Cullifords were farmers who benefited from the general increase in prosperity during the 18th century but the male line did out in the 19th.
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