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The Thiery family provide an example of where Britain provided a welcome to people suffering from religious persecution. A memorial in Hinton Blewett starts with the following information.
 “In memory of Lewis Thiery who was born in France and (being persecuted for the true religion)  came over to this free happy kingdom in the year of our lord 1656.”
 The term ‘free and happy kingdom’ was a loaded with more than the usual emotional piety. 1656 was the at the end of the commonwealth period after the Civil War. Freedom only applied to protestants and some of the more extreme versions of the puritans were also in dispute. John and Constance Beaumont of Ston Easton were reported by the Churchwarden as Papists in 1657. It is possible that the Plaister family left Chewton Mendip in the early 18th century for religious reasons. It is claimed that there is a priest hole in Manor Farm but the structure is not very secret and the estimated date of construction  of Manor Farm (c1700) makes it too late to have a genuine priest hole.
Lewis was a Huguenot and this was the time when Cornelius Burges, a fellow Calvinist, was in possession of the lands of the Bishop of Bath and Wells.
Lewis married Grace and they had five sons and one daughter  “… who were most of them buried near this place…” [Hinton Blewett].
One of their sons, Bevis Thiery was a hosier who died at Coly and was buried in Hinton Blewett on 25th April 1746 aged 82. He was married to Mary and they had three sons and five daughters, Richard, Lewis and Bevis, Grace, Hanna, Dorothea, Mary & Betty. It is assumed that this Lewis Thiery was the man paying  poor rates in the East End tithing of Chewton Mendip. He started paying in 1731.
 It is not known what relationship  Richard Thiery of Winford  was to Lewis Thiery but Richard was  a hosier. Windord is a few miles from  Chewton Mendip in the direction of Bristol. Richard Thiery  took John Taswell as an apprentice in 1729. The Taswells were related by marriage to the Kingsmill family and John Taswell senior was the vicar of Chewton Mendip and the son of a wealthy man but the Taswell fortunes were on the way down whilst Richard Thiery was probably a man of substance.
 A record dated 1745 defines the  state of Lewis Thiery as Acridge & Clarks which was probably based on Acridge Lane.  A list of leases granted in 1766 identifies that Lewis Thiery aged 70 and James Clark his nephew held the lease for Acridge. The ages may not have ben that accurate because the records were more concerned with how long the lease may last.
A Lewis Thiery and Widow Chelves were  referred to in a record possibly dated 1784 but none of these records specify the location of his estate and were probably first recorded in 1754. This Lewis Theiry could have been the Mr Lewis Thiery of Litton who was buried on 4th August 1769. He was married to Mary was buried on 20th April 1756.
Records held in the Somerset Archives (DD\SAS\H/70/11/3a/DD\SAS\H/70/11/3b) state that  Richard Thieary the elder of Coly in the parish of Hinton Blewett, clothier, was the occupant of land which belonged to  “…Joseph Bond of Bristoll, gentleman, only son and heir at law of Joseph Bond late of Bristol, glover, deceased...” when it was sold  to John Dory of Chewton Mendip in 1745. He may have been the Rihard Thiery referred to earlier.
This transaction is also of interest because it lists a member of the Yorke and Dix families as witness and lists the names of the fields sold which helps to identify the lands held by the Thiery family in the East End tithing. Richard Thiery was identified as one of the men qualified to serve on juries for Hinton Blewett in 1745 (Q/SR/313/230).
The Hinton Blewett memorial stats that “…Dorothea was the last of the line and died in Litton on 24th November 1788 aged 88. She lived to see 64 grandchildren, 44 of whom are now living…”
The memorial finishes with the following paragraph.“…The above family (though not all of them possessed of abundant riches) lived well by honest industry , respected by their superiors and equals and beloved by all men. Reader, let their bright examples provoke imitation…”
  1. Robert Masters permalink

    My name is Robert Masters and I am descended from Hannah THIERY who was born at Hinton Blewit to William And Betty Thiery in 1786. Hannah married Charles JAMES in 1806 and it is from these that I am descended. Working back from the death of William Thiery in 1788 he was born in about 1733. I have no documentary proof of the connection with the Lewis THIERY mentioned on your webpage because the parish registers on fiche are difficult to decipher.

    My strongest reason for believing that they are is that the name BEVIS has been perpetuated through the JAMES family ever since and indeed my father’s first name was BEVIS. Furthermore Hannah’s brother was also named BEVIS. Hannah was living as part of his household at the time of her death in 1868.

    Although I have never had the opportunity to visit the location some of the inscriptions on the memorials at Hinton Blewitt are familiar to me but I would be very pleased to hear if the above connection between Lewis and William has been made has been made.

    • There is no record of the Thiery family in the area before Lewis Thiey arrived but there were other Huguenots in the area before him.
      A William Thiery, the son of Thiery and Mary Thiery of East Harptry [East Harptree] was baptised in Litton on 20/6/1742. He may have been the William who died in 1788 because the Thiery family were found in all of these villages which are contiguous with Widcombe, the detached tithing of Chewton Mendip.

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