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The Earle/Erle/Earl  family can  probably be traced back to Henry de Earle, Lord of Newton of Somerset mentioned in 1251.  A Robert Earle (1567 – 1617) was a preband or rector appointed by Wells Cathedral to the living of Litton. This is an example of where the Bishop of Bath &Wells, or the dean and chapter acting on his behalf, had direct financial control of the church land of Litton. Robert Earle’s  relationship with the other Erle/Earle families  who were prominent in several counties is unclear.
 One of his duties was to get his parishioners to sign a declaration in 1616 that they would agree to follow the religious practices that had been agreed in 1562. That was the time when Sir Edward Waldegrave was imprisoned for practicing his Catholic faith. 1616 was when the conflict between the ‘high church’ Wells Cathedral and the mainly ‘low church’ parishes was an issue that would contribute to the civil war that broke out later.
 The first direct link to Chewton Mendip is when a member of the family was countersigning the Vestry committee’s accounts. A signature dated 1728 is not clear but William Earle is clearly identified as a Justice of the Peace from the 1730’s.
 Goodenough Earle was a frequent rate payer in the West End tithing up to around 1750 after which it may have been tenants paying the rates.
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