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Cutlers Green

Origional Cutlers Green cottage Cutlers Green is part of Chewton Mendip but, confusingly, the name of this cottage is just Cutlers Green. This picture was originally supplied by John Hewish who lived there when the picture was taken. A copy was kindly supplied by Penny Walker. Cutlers Green is now a T junction on the Embororough road from Bathway marked by the yellow dot in the extract from the 1794 map
Cutlers GreenCutlers Green used to be a busy cross roads but Honeywell Lane leading to East End is now just a grassy track.   The opposite  road that formed part of the cross roads is Dudwell Lane which leads to Quarrs and eventually Coles Lane (East).  Acridge Lane   in the top left is now known as Chapel Hill and connects to Bathway. The village of  Emborough is in the bottom right.
The only building marked in the 1794 map may have been what is now Cutlers Green cottage which would be to the right of this photograph but it is more likely that building was demolished and incorporated into the farmyard of Cutlers Green farmyard. Cutlers Green, or parts of it, may have been in the Town tithing but what is more significant is that most of it was Kingsmill property at the time. The Waldagraves only purchased Cutlers Green Farm, the foundry and the cottage below in the 19th century.
 Cutlers Green main ‘claim to fame’ is that it was the home of Mendip Motors. This is a major subject in its own right but the main points are that Victorian agricultural waggon makers briefly made and sold firstly steam waggons and then, even more briefly, cars.
 As usual, there are a number of theories for the origin of the name. One is that it is named after a family called Cutler. This is a relatively common name but one reference to a family called Cutler living in the village in the early 18th century has been found. There are no references to a farming family called Cutler in the 1766 records but that is not surprising because Cutlers Green farm was owned by the Kingsmills.
 Neither has any evidence been found to support the theory that this was the site of  industrial scale weapons manufacturer but the possibility that a blacksmith was based here is very strong.  There would have been plenty of farms for a cutler or blacksmith to work for. He may even have made some weapons but there are better sites in the village for a large scale  edged tool business that would have needed a river to power a watermill to grind the steel.
Villages were expected to provide four or five militia men who would have carried swords and wore simple helmets and breast plates up to the civil war period. These items may have been made locally. The increase use of guns and other technological improvements meant that specialist cutlers were required from the 17th century onwards.
Some ploughs may have been beaten into swords in the Napoleonic era to arm the local militia but the references to the Napoleonic wars involving Chewton Mendip have all been naval so far.
Williim Waldegrave (1753 to 1825) was the second son of the third earl and had a distinguished naval career. He was the third in command at the Battle of St Vincent in 1797 and included Horatio Nelson as one of his subordinates. Samuel Clarke was a resident of Chewton Mendip who fought at the battle of Trafalgar. He may have been bought up very close to Cutlers Green.
Another naval link was provided by Robert Kingsmill. He was the owner of most of Cutlers Green and had an even more illustrious naval career than William Waldegrave. One of his achievements was to help prevent a French invasion to support the united Irishman in 1798. This ‘near miss’ prompted a ‘call to arms’ for the militia and instigated the first census in 1801 to count the number of potential recruits.
There are other practical and economic issues to consider. Villages were self-sufficient in most things until the turnpike roads of the 18th century made transport easier. Cutlers Green would have been a good location for a blacksmith specialising in edged tools to be based and there are a number of family links.
The Salvidge family provide a possible link to gun making in the early 17th century. They were still occupying ‘Plumers’ which may have been the Kingsmill part of Cutlers Green in the early 18th century.  The Clavey family may have origionaly moved to Chewton Mendip to make edged tools in the late 17th century and were later involved in Mendip Motors.
There may have been a religious motivation in establishing a business in Cutlers Green. A link to the Methodists may be traced back to the 18th century and the last Mehodist chapel still stands at Bathway.
 The 18th century poor book records make no specific mention of Cutlers Green but research shows there were several farms nearby that would have provided a ready market for an edged tool business. The records also show that the East End tithing was the most lucrative.
 Browns, Clarkes, Greens, Mannings,  Rowdens, Taswell and York were all farms nearby which have now been absorbed into other farms or is a private house as in the case of what is now White Stile. Taswells may have also been a pub. The Parsonage farm may have also provided custom.
 Dudwell, Double Farm,  East End Farm, Franklyns Farm, Hippisley Farm, Lower East End and Quarrs are also close by and still standing although only Franklyns is still an operational farm. The construction of the turnpike road c1754 may have diverted some north-south traffic from Cutlers Green crossroads.
 The 1839 tithe map shows that the cottage was occupied by John Curtis and a number of the Curtis family were blacksmiths. Cutlers Green farm was occupied by John Sheppard. The site of the foundry was shown as field  and the village contracted in size and population after 1841 so Mendip Motors may well have moved to what they thought was a ‘greenfield site.
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