Skip to content


The Mogg or Magg family  appear in the records of Chewton Mendip from the 17th century onwards. Articles published in the Radstock Museum magazine, Five Arches explains the link to coal  coal mine owners based in Farrington Gurney. Analysis of the 18th century churchwarden accounts show that members of the Mogg family held land in Chewton Mendip based on what is now Barrow Farm in the Town tithings but they also held land in the Widcomb tithing.
 A Henry Vahan? and Mary Mogg were married in Chewton Mendip on 5/1/1624. Marriges tended to be where the bride lived so her parents would have lived in Chewton Mendip.
 Ann the daughter of John & Joane Mogg was christened in Chewton Mendip on 5/5/1639.
 A Richard Mogg died in 1641.  His branch of the family may have originated from Cameley but he built Farrington Gurney manor and various members of the Mogg family lived in Farrington Gurney until the modern era.
 A John Mogg is listed in the Protestation and Lay Subsidy rolls in 1641 for Chewton Mendip. A John Mogg, presumably the same one, was churchwarden when Richard Long was the vicar and was given instruction to copy the old registers into parchment books c 1650.
 Another John Mogg was the son of Richard Mogg of Farrington. He married Mary Moore, daughter of John Moore. This John Mogg died in 1677.
 Mary Mogg, widow, was paying poor rates in Widcomb from 1701 to 1705 whilst another John Mogg was paying poor rates in East End   at about the same time.  The dates are roughly consist with this being the son of John Mogg and Mary Moore and married Dorothy Hippisley, daughter of Edward Hippisley. He was High Sheriff of Somerset in 1703 and died c1728. There are references to a John Mogg paying poor rates after that date but it as quite common for the records to refer to the estate of a person paying the rates rather than the individual. Another possibility was the John Mogg who was the son of Richard Mogg and Elizabeth Turner. He married Joyce Harris and lived at Cholwell.
 William Mogg as paying poor rates in East End by c1720.  Philip Mogg or Moor  was paying poor rates for what may have been the same holding c1721 to 1724.
 A Richard Mogg as paying poor rats in East End from c1719 to c1725. He may have been born in 1690 and was the son of John Mogg and Dorothy Hippisley. He married Elizabeth Turner, daughter of Reverend Turner. Richard Mogg died in 1729. A Widow Mogg continued to pay poor rates for a few years but other people were paying poor rates for Mogg’s Parks from the mid 1730 onwards.
 George Mogg was a Justice of the Peace in the mid 18th century. He was countersigning some of the Poor Law accounts in Chewton Mendip. It is believed he was the father of Jacob Mogg described below.
 Somerset record (DD\MGGJ) is summary of the Mogg family of High Littleton It describes how Jacob Mogg married Sarah Hodges, the daughter of George Hodges of High Littleton and property of the Hodges family descended into the Mogg family via this line.
 Dorothy Mogg, the daughter of Jacob Mogg married John Stephens  in 1793 who was the vicar of Chewton Mendip. He became John Kingsmill in 1805 so she is usually referred to as Dorothy Kingsmill. They were the incumbents of Chewton Mendip church at the same time as the Goldfinch family were living in Chewton Priory. Their similar social status and the High Littleton link probably meant they would have been well acquainted.
 Her husband died in 1814 and for reasons that are not fully understood Dorothy went to live in Malines in the Netherlands.  There are a series of letters held in the Hampshire archive, given the reference numbers 19M61/2602-2612, between her and her brother George Mogg  from Malines which show how difficult her financial position had become.
 Part of the reason for her financial difficulty were two sets of legal disputes. The Kingsmill  inheritance that  had made her husband wealthy was contested by the irish branch of that family and there was also some legal dispute between the Hodges and Mogg family. Somerset archive record DD\MGG/1/93 lists that Dorothy and Robert Mogg, who was living in Florence at the time, released their claims against the estate of George Hodges in 1821.
A breif description of the background  is that Jacob Mogg, Dorothy’s father,  had married Sarah Hodges, the daughter of George Hodges so the dispute about which line had the right of inheritance.
A letter  dated 30/10/1815 was sent from Farington Gurney by George Mogg (19M61/2602) It is assumed he was living in Gurney Court. The describes that Mr Marshall was appointed as a receiver. Other family and financial matters were discussed in a matter of fact way.
19M61/2603 was posted from Farington Gurney by George Mogg dated 29/6/1816. It described how money would be transferred by either a Mr Clement or Mr Tredwell regarding to payments Mr Marshall and questions regarding taxes relating to Mr Miles who was some form of estate manager. The letter makes references to canal shares and the family coal mines at Wythy and Old Grove.
19M61/2604 was sent by George Mogg dated 13/8/1816. It explained how Mr Parsons would be allowed to pay rent on a yearly basis and other financial matters. There was also a reference to Charles Mogg, their brother and General Moore, who was married to their daughter Charlotte. General Moore was taking an active role in financial matters, possibly as an administrator of the will of Sir Robert Brice Kingsmill.
19M61/2605 was sent by George Mogg dated 26/12/1816 and the tone is getting colder and more desperate. The letter confirms that Dorothy was established in her house in the Netherlands and suggests that the cost of living was cheaper there. Bread was 4d per pound in Somerset which was considered expensive and the cost of living in the Netherlands was considered to be generally lower in most respects.
A Mr Lord was the tenant of the Parsonage House and Mr Osborne had mended the tiles on the house which was in need of repair. The specific reference to mending tiles  is significant because the current building has the original slates. Therefore, this is a reference to an earlier building that occupied the site of the existing Old Rectory. The reference to Mr Lord is also significant because there is a prestigious, but badly eroded gravestone in Chewton Mendip churchyard that may read Elizabeth Phipps Lord of Jamaica who was buried in 1817.  Elizabeth is described as the daughter of Caroline but no father’s name can be discerned. Sir Robert Brice Kingsmill was stationed in the West Indies for several years and Jamaica was the most important island so an introduction could have been made there. Eliza Goldfinch was born in Barbados which is another possible connection.
Dorothy had another well-to-do tenant in Chewton Mendip. A Mr Parsons was due to pay £100. This was probably John Parsons Gent referred to in the Somerset Archive DD\MGG which is a bundle of papers about the Mogg family of High Littleton.  Clements Bank was also referred to and that may have been Hampshire or London  because there is no reference to it in the Somerset Archive but several in the Hampshire Archive. There is a suggestion Mary (Kingsmill or Mogg?) had married somebody called Plenty which was a common name in the area at the time.
19M61/2606 was from George Mogg in Farington Gurney to Dorothy Kingsmill in Malines dated 5/4/1817. The financial situation was bleak and getting worse. Their brother, Robert, had resigned his one sixth share coal mines at Wythy [Withy?] and Old Grove which was due to him based on their father’s will. This meant that Dorothy’s percentage increased to one fifth but this was not a generous act on behalf of Robert. The pits were in decline and only produced 50% compared with the previous years and the rent on the land hade been reduced one-fourth. Even then there were difficulties in receiving the reduced rents. George stressed that this dire financial situation applied nationally as well as locally. Not only was the actual income less, Dorothy’s liabilities had increased. Wythy and Old Grove collieries required investment which Dorothy could not afford.
There was further talk about Mr Lord’s rent being due and Mr Clements Bank and. Jacob Mogg was not financial embarrassed and he had purchased the mansion at High Littleton and the paddock adjoining for a price of £1260. One seventh belonged to Dorothy but there was doubts about some money owed to the family but the cost of recovery would have been born by Jacob. There are a series of records held in the Somerset Archives with reference numbers such as 0504/11/6, A\BIK/2, DD\BR/A/3291,  DD\CC/B110305, DD\FS/33/1/8 and DD\CC/B110366  listing the land holdings of Jacob Mogg in many parts of Somerset and beyond. It is assumed that the Jacob Mogg who bought the High Littleton mansion was the son of Jacob Mogg senior who had married Sarah Hodges. He was wealthy but it was through inherited wealth. The financial situation was bad for everyone else.
19M61/2607 was sent by Dorothy Kingsmill dated 15/4/817. Her tone was desperate, even angry.  She wanted to know how much money she would receive because she was in such straightened circumstances. Her letter could be summed up as ‘do not give excuses, give me facts’ but her upbringing and the language conventions of the time would not allow her to be so direct.
 She was facing double dilemma of needing to cut back on her expenditure to reflect her reduced income whilst she was required to invest in the collieries in the hope of future income and to fulfil her social obligations.
 The Somerset coalfield was notorious for its narrow, and irregular seams of coal that were difficult to dig and ran out quickly.   The seam in the Wythy and Old Grove collieries were running out so at least some of the miners were employed to dig through the hard but unproductive rock to look for new seams. This was unpopular with the minors because they were paid less for harder work but George Mogg makes it clear that part of the reason for employing the miners was to parent them becoming a burden on the parish. The Tudor Poor laws were still in operation and unemployed miners would have been eligible for poor relief that the Moggs would have had to pay for.
George Mogg had made it clear he believed that more coal would be found but he could not guarantee so Dorothy decided to sell her portion of the collieries but she did not specify who.  She makes bitter comments about how some unspecified speculator would benefit from her short-term difficulties and reap great rewards in the near future. She did not name any names but there are plenty of prospects for the coal barons who may have been of noble or common birth.
Dorothy made a point of saying she would not sell her share of the High Littleton property and she sent a donation to support the poor in Chewton Mendip.
9M61/2608 is copy of the of the letters recorded as 19M61/2606 and 19M61/2607 which is evidence of how serious and contentious the issues were.
9M61/2609 was from George Mogg in Farington Gurney to Dorothy Kingsmill in Malines dated 2/5/1817.  George confirmed that be believed the  two pits (Wythy and Old Grove) would be profitably but he could not guarantee it . He received £340 9s 10.5d which was less than he expected. Imported coal was preventing the sale of the locally produced coal so he could only sell 50% of the amount of coal he sold the year before. ‘Mearns’ coal-pit was no longer profitable so it was kept open to employ the workmen and to prevent their being a charge on the land. Rents of land were reduced by about one fifth part. The property duty which was 10% was no longer being levied which it made up half the loss. However,  the occupiers of lands were so distressed it was difficult to get rent from them. George received £75 house rent from Mr Lord paid into the Clements Bank. This may represent a 25% reduction of the £100 rent mentioned earlier. This statement confirms that Mr Lord was still alive and the old Parsonage House was still standing. This was at a time when the Blannings were getting richer.
9M61/2610 was sent by Dorothy Kingsmill dated May 1817 in response to George’s letter dated 2/5/1817. Dorothy has relented somewhat and is more conciliatory but  she still had to sell due to he dire financial position. She stresses that, as a mother, she has to put her son’s current interests first and confirms her determination to sell her share of the colliery business.  She had to sell to pay for ‘bread today’ at the expense of potential ‘jam tomorrow’.
 She makes reference to a Farrington property which she was expecting some income from. This may have been one of the collieries or another house, possibly one occupied by the Rev Henry Hodges Mogg
who was  a nephew of Dorothy Kingsmill and  was the Vicar of Chewton Mendip at the time. There is little doubt that Mr Lord was living in the Parsonage House in Chewton Mendip so the Rev Henry Hodges Mogg had to live somewhere, probably the Rectory in Farrington Gurney.  She states that Mr Lord took position of her house on 16/8/1816 which left 6 weeks rent unpaid which he disputed because he moved in after the beginning of the lease. She was borrowing money from friends which would be dealt with by William Curtis, her servant. The reference to William Curtis is also significant because this family has been subject to a lot of scrutiny and study but this William Curtis has yet to be properly identified.
9M61/2611 was from George Mogg in Farington Gurney to Dorothy Kingsmill in Malines dated 24/6/1817 . This letter gives more details of the sale of her part of the collieries. George confirmed that rent and tithes were overdue because the price the farmers were getting for their produce was reducing in value and the farmers were struggling to pay. He refers to more dealings with Mr Parsons and somebody who looks like ‘Gandal’ who may have been Waldegrave’s steward. The purpose of these conversation was on the exchange of land. Specifically the land the Kingsmill held at the Turnpike.
 Part of the deal involved exchanging a sheep walk at Ager (Eaker?) Hill and Tor Hole and land at the farmyard at Shooters Bottom. The deeds of Cutlers Green suggest that these lands were sol to the Waldagraves some time after this date but before th 1840s.
  Part of the deal involved receipt of a field next to the Parsonage house, these lands may appear in the earliest deeds for the house that were produced in 1858 and are the source of the site plan. The lands given up were all the detached pieces or intermixed in common fields. George Mogg was in favour of trading some woods but h General Moore objects to part with but ‘…Lord Waldegrave makes a point to have…”. George agreed that the wood should be kept for timber but not sport. Mr Lord still disputed the terms but this confirms that he was living in the parsonage. Mr Lord was considered a good tenant for a house of type of house despite quibbling about the rent. The Parsonage was fully furnished so it required a tenant of some social standing to do it justice. This adds weight to the theory that the Lords were known to the Kingsmills or Moggs before the tenancy.
9M61/2612 was from George Mogg in Farington Gurney to Dorothy Kingsmill in Malines dated 9/7/1817. This is just a brief note stating that George had sent land tickets which were securities for the ownership of the land.
Tragicaly, Dorothy’s maternal efforts were all in vain. Hampshire Archive 9M61/2621 states “…Certified extract from the Register of Deaths of the City of Ghent of the death on 29 Jun 1822 of John Kingsmill, aged 17 years…”He drowned in a canal. This meant that his younger brother, William, inherited most of the Kingsmill money.
19M61/2628 dated 1828 “…Share of the estates of Jacob Mogg of High Littleton, esq, deceased. Also refers to the will of Dorothy Kingsmill…”
 Another member of the Mogg family was involved in the sale of what was probably Charlotte’s house, now called the Old Vicarage. An advert in the Times dated 25th February 1854 offers a recently built vicarage for sale. The advertisement was placed by “J & W.Rees-Mogg solicitors, Temple Cloud”. It is possible that Thomas Melhuish was acting for the Rev David Drakeford who eventually bought the ‘new’ vicarage in 1856.
Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: