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James

There have been members of the James family in the area since 1471 when a Richard James was the only ‘free tenant in Emborough. Various member of the James family are recorded as farmers and overseers in the area until the modern era.
There was also wealthy branch of the family who owned land and mines in the area in the 18th and 19th centuries. There were several ‘farmer James’ with the first name of William and John but Mary Goldfinch was unlikely to have married a farmer. She was a widow when she married  John Scobell in 1816  (Somerset Archive record 0207/17). The Goldfinch family were either tenants or owners of Chewton Priory in 1807 whilst the Jenkins family were shown as the owners of Chewon Priory in the 1794 map.
The probability is that John James was related to William Cuxford James who is listed as the owner of Priory House in 1813 which is assumed to be Chewton Priory. This conflicts with the generally held view that Francis, Countess Waldegrave purchased the building from the Jenkins family in 1859. However, she is quoted as purchasing ‘Mr Jenkins’ fine house’ but that does not mean Mr Jenkins owned it at that time. She may have bought it from the Scobell, Armstrong  or James families.
The Goldfinch family had links to High Littleton and the Jenkins owned a large amount of church land in Somerset including the living of Dinder.  Richard Jenkins, who was a personal friend of the Robert Kingsmill took over as vicar of Dinder in 1824 taking over from his father so he had probably died by 1836. Other records show that William Cuxford James bought land, property and coal mines in Chewton Mendip and the wider area so he may well have bought Chewton Priory from Richard Jenkins by 1813.
 William Coxeter James of Timsbury  is mentioned in a legal transaction dated 24th June 1837 Somerset record BC153/50/2. He may have been William Cuxford James or some relative of his. Coxter could be a misprint for Cuxford but what is more significant is that he is mentioned in connection with Mary Anne Langford of High Littleton; John Usticke Scobell of High Littleton, and Francis Skey his wife née Langford.
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