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Sacrafield

The meaning of Sacrafield  was unknown even in the 18th century when Collinson’s History of Somerset made a special note that some farms were responsible for paying a special form or tax or tithe. The Rev Collinson was an ordained vicar, was fluent in Latin and had an interest in history but he was not sure what it meant so it must have been obscure.
Various sources and an internet site suggests some other meanings but they are all variations on the theme that it was something to do with a religious contributions, possibly linked to the lead mines that used to operate in the area.
The term was used in the 1740, 1766, 1794 and 1807 ledgers when  the  properties occupied by  the Curtis ,Halstone , Payne , Rosewell  and other families.
Several farms  between Eakers Hill and Tor Hole were described as Sacrafield properties  but the term was not used in the 1839 tithe map.
 A Waldegrave Tenants rent book held in the Somerset archives (DD/WG Box8/9 1740) dated 1695 confirm that the Curtis family were the occupants of the Eakers Hill property in the 17th century,  which was listed in the West End tithing,  whilst the Nedge/Tor Hole property was occupied by the Halstone family and was listed in Middlesex.
It is significant that the  Halstones were ‘copy holders’ which means they had a  copy of the legal agreement that allocated the land to them. This implies they had more secure tenure than the Curtis family who only held a lease. The Halstone family may have been related to the Thomas Halston who left “16d. to the building of the Tower of Chewton and 6d. to Saynt Andrews in Wellys” , in his will, made on March 13th 1541
 The Adams family held large tracts of land in the area early in the 17th centuries and both that family and the Rosewells appear to have benefited form the dissolution of Glastonbury Abbey which may have been due the Sacrafield rent.
 There was also Kingsmill land nearby who were the owners of the land once owned by the Carthusians of Sheen who may have collected the Sacrafield rent.
 The Bishop of Bath and Wells as a possible recipient of the Sacrafield rents. The mine workings in Tor Hole were called ‘Bishops’.
 The Knights Templars cannot be ruled out as the source of the Sacrafield rents but there is no direct evidence linking them to this part of Chewton Mendip.
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