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Tudor Cottage (Parsonage Farm?)

 Tudor CottageThe photograph on the left shows Tudor Cottage, probably soon after it was built in 1938. It was built for Margaret Bithiah Curtis (1869-1962).   She never married and lived with her uncle Cornelius Curtis at Manor Farm  who later retired to Homedene  which are all in the High Street. Tudor Cottage, which was built in the garden of Homedene in 1938, was built with rooms that are have more generous proportions than the name ‘cottage suggests’.
1859 mapIt is probable that there was a farm on the site. It is known that the site was an orchard before Tudor Cottage was built but the deeds of The Old Vicarage shows that there were a number of buildings on the site in 1859.   The outline of a window was still visible in a wall that forms the back of the garage which probably comes from the buildings seen in the bottom left hand corner of the 1859 map shown on the right. The 1794 map is not helpful because the whole block containing the site of Tudor, Cottage, Homedene, The Old Vicarage, the school and other buildings is left blank because they all belonged to the Kingsmills at the time.
 The Poor law records are also unhelpful when trying to identify who lived on the site. It is known that it was in the Town tithing but the poor law records are very imprecise.
 The list of fields farmed by George Roberts in 1785 are more helpful. He was living in ‘Parsonage Farm’ at the time which had an orchard attached which is not very helpful as most farms had an orchard but the same document also lists the fields rented by the Rev Annesley who was living in the vicarage shown on the 1794 map.
 The evidence is circumstantial but the buildings shown in the 1859 map may have been the remains of what is called Parsonage Farm in this website. An alternative name could be Glebe Farm or the farm that the vicar relied upon to support himself and his family. He would have some income from the tithes but he would have also had a farm which he may have farmed himself.
 The list of incumbents of the church suggest that most of the vicars may have sub let the Parsonage farm which explains why there may have been a rectory house and a farm close to the church. The Taswell, Culliford and Hunt families were both farmers and clerics in Chewton Mendip who may have combined both roles. The vicars personal farm should not be confused with a farm belonging to the bishop of Bath & Wells which may have been based at the site of the former Chewton Priory.
 It is possible that Parsonage Farm was tenanted by members of the Loxton family in the 17th century and was the Loxton’s estate referred to in the early 18th century.
 It is known that the vicarage was situated in the site of the Old Rectory by 1794 so Hampshire record 19M61/4013/2 which is a copy of a lease dwelling house, stable, garden and orchard dated 31 March 1782 could refer to Parsonage Farm. The owner was Robert Kingsmill and the tenant was James Curtis. It is possible that the Curtis’ lived in whatever farm was on the site and farmed what was previously described as Anstee’s estate. Veal Farm is another possibility but this site is more likely.
 The 1881 census describes a building next to Manor Farm called ‘Butter Villa’ occupied by a Theodore Mayo who was a “church of England priest without care of souls”. This may mean that he had retired or had some other role in the church. It is possible that “Butter Villa” was Homedene.
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