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Egelfelde House

map of the Mendip Forest  held in the Somerset archive (DD\WG/MAP/3) shows Eglefelde house near Priddy.  There are a number of theories to explain why this building was there and where it was.
 Eagle’s Field
It is possible that the name ‘Egelfelde’ is a contraction of  ‘eagle’s field’. There was a lot of activity in the area in the Roman period and the eagle was a powerful symbol for the Romans but both parts of the  name Egelfeld have Germanic roots.  The modern German for ‘eagle field’ is ‘adler feld’.
 A connection may have been made between an eagle and a field  in Saxon  times  because there is evidence of  the involvement of West Saxon royalty in the area. Alfred the great personally held Chewton Mendip, possibly because of lead mines, and there are several references to West Saxon, then English, Kings holding large tracts of land in the vicinity. The land may have been part of a Royal Hunting Forest which was based around Axbridge and Cheddar.
 Monastic buildings
 It is possible that Knights Templar or some other religious order held the land but  it is known that the  Carthusians of Sheen Priory owned most of the centre of Chewton Mendip  prior to the dissolution of the monasteries. The Carthusians did not have large dormitories or refractories so they may have lived in the relatively modest buildings shown in the map.
 It is possible they built what was later Egelfelde House because the remote position suited their austere regime or it was built for the lay brothers who controlled their mining interest. The documentary evidence that does exist suggests they were likely to have been based at Bathway on the site of Chewton Priory.
Anthony Eglelsfield
Anthony Eglesfield  was appointed as vicar of Chewton Mendip in 1588 by Elizabeth I and Roger Manners of Uffington who had been awarded the former Carthusian lands of Chewton Mendip by Elizabeth I. This Roger Manners was the uncle of the Earl of Rutland who was also called Roger Manners and both men lived in a part of Lincolnshire that boarders Rutland.
Sir Edward Waldegrave had been awarded the temporal lands of Chewton Mendip by Mary I for supporting her along with a Sir Francis Englefield. It is not known what happened to sir Francis or if he was related to Anthony Eglelsfield. The difference in the spelling of the names was within the usual amount of variation for the time. The vicar’s name was spelt Antony Eiglosfield in the 1611.
A post-nuptial marriage settlement dated 1659 (Somerset Heritage Centre ref A\BDB/2/1/1) identifies a link to between the Waldegraves and Englefield families.
 The agreement was made by Sir Charles Waldegrave, son of Sir Henry Waldegrave, late of Staninghall, Norfolk, deceased, and Jane Helen his wife  with Anthony Englefyld of White Knight, Berkshire, Esq., and Anthony his son, gent., William Thorold of Panton, Lincoln, Esq., and William his son, gent., Henry Clifford, of London, Esq., and Robert Kinsman and John Wolfe of London, gents. Either of the Anthony Englefylds could have been the vicar of Chewton Mendip who did not appear to have died until 1659. Bible
 Two of the properties involved were  a lead mine at Mendip Common, which could have included Egelfelde House , and Chewton Park which could have been one of several areas of parkland. The site where Mr Jenkins later built his house was probably owned by the Kingsmills at the time.
 Earlier records show the Bonvilles owned land in Westbury but makes no mention of Priddy so it is possible that the batch of land containing Egelfelde House had been awarded to the Eglesfield family. The inclusion of William Thorold of Lincoln may also identify a link back to the Manners family.
 Ralph Egerton was the controller of Mary Tudor’s (later Mary I) household in 1525 when she was ‘Princess of Wales’ and Egleton is the name of a village in Rutland which may also hint at link to the Manners family who were Earls of Rutland. The Hippisley family also had links to that part of the country.
 Eglefeld House is not mentioned in the list of tenants of the Waldegraves in 1696 and The 1740 map shows that Egelfelde House was no longer standing. Both sources refer to  Wills and Alford  farms in the approximate location.
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