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PewTemple Cloud now merges into Clutton as you approach Bristol along the A37. It is easy to miss the sign that marks the boundary between those two villages and even easier to miss that Temple Cloud is in the parish of Cameley. Cameley now consists of a splendid 12th century church and a few houses and farms nestling in a little valley about half a mile from the rest of the ‘village’.The picture on the left is an example of an 17th century box pew that can be seen in the church.
Cameley used to be part of the Chewton Hundred but it was assigned to Geoffrey De Mowbray, Bishop of Coutance by William the Conquer who was holding it at the time of the Doomsday Book.  Geoffrey De Mowbray was William’s right hand man as was a politician and soldier as much as he was a cleric so he may have held all of the land at Cameley. He led the men of London, Salisbury and Winchester to suppress a Saxon revolt in Montecute, south Somerset in 1069.
Geoffrey De Mowbray also held land at Clutton, Emborough, Farrington Gurney, East and West Harptree,  High Littlton, Keynsham, Mells, Stratton on The Fosse, Ston Easton, Stoney Littleton, Timsbury and many other villages. He was awarded 280 manors in 1071 for suppressing a rebellion by the Dukes of Norfolk and  Hereford in his military role. He held some of the lands with Azelin ‘the Wolf’  who was purely a military man and some manors had been sub-let to  various knights. In other words, he was the major land owner at the time of the Norman Conquest and Cameley was part of a relatively large block of land held by Geoffrey De Mowbray.
As a comparison, Litton and Chew Magna were held by the Bishop of Bath & Wells. The Abbot of Jumiege probably only held the church land at Chewton Mendip. Hitton Bluett was sub-let by Ralph Bluett from William D’Eu.
Geoffrey De Mowbray died in 1093 or 1094 and left his lands to his nephew, Robert De Mowbray who became Earl of Northumberland. He blotted his copy book by getting involved in a rebellion against William Rufus and was put into the tower of London for 30 years. He may have lost some land at the same time possibly Cameley which may have been given to Bath Abbey.
According to research by Julliete Faith, King John granted Cameley to the Knights templars in 1201. It as  them who gave their name to the temple at what was probably then an isolated spot on the outskirts of the village now known as Temple Cloud.
The Prior and Chapter of Bath were holding Cameley in 1297 according to the list of rectors on display in Cameley Church and continued to hold it until 1465 when the patron of  David Herries is left blank. No patrons are listed for John Bennet in 1488. Other sources identify that  a Sir John Byconyll died in 1501 and  his manors of Cameley, Nunney and Lyde were transferred to Glastonbury Abbey with the condition that the Abbey use the income from these lands to maintain scholars at Oxford.
A local historian, Geoffrey Loxton, identified that John Hippisley I bought Ston Easton manor from Bruton Abbey in 1544. A William Rowsell of Dunkerton was involved in the same transaction. It is beleived he was related to the Hippisley’s by marriage and is described as something of a ‘fixer’ who ended up with land in ‘Littleton’ which used to belong to Keynsham Abbey. It is assumed this was High Littleton but it could refer to Stoney Littleton.
Somerset archive records DD/HI/A/52 and DD/HI/A/53 are deeds for Cameley held in the name of Watkyns. DD/HI/A/52  dated 1546 is a grant and quit claim to Richard Watkyns Vaughan of property and rents at Temple Cloud formerly belonging to Buckland Priory. Buckland Priory is in Devon but the records in the Somerset Archive suggest it had links to Glastonbury Abbey. Perhaps  Richard Watkyns Vaughan was involved with William Rowsell as well?
No patron is quoted for  William Tybbot who was deprived of his living by Mary I in 1554 but Thomas Ffroster was appointed by John Griffethe, Gent, in 1554. This means they would have both been Catholics. The implication is that John Griffethe had bought the lands at the time of the dissolution of the monasteries which would have made him a protestant or opportunist (possibly both). Mary was trying to reverse the reformation but her financial and health problems prevented her. John Griffethe may have avoided having his newly acquired lands confiscated because he had reverted to the Catholic faith.
 William Tybbot was restored but the date is not given but that would have been after Mary had died in 1558 but no patron is listed.
“Some notes on the Hippisley family,” states that John Hippisley (II) bought the manor of Cameley from “Polydore Watkins alias Vaughan” on 12 Jul 1561, including the advowson of the living and further land in Cameley, Temple Cloud, Hinton Blewitt and Clutton. This information is consistent (more or less)  with the list of incumbents on display in Cameley church and other sources. The inconsistency is there is no evidence of transactions in which John Griffethe sells the land  Polydore Watkins (alias Vaughan) or any evidence how Polydore acquired the land or any explanation why he had an alias.
Some anomalies may be clarified by Somerset archive record DD/HI/A/60 which refers to deeds of Hinton Bluett c 1250 to 1603. The information provided online refers to miscellaneous  and unconnected deeds… by Polidore Watkyns to John Hegges of Stanton Drew of ruinous tenement or farm called Abbotts Barne, 1557; lease of moiety of mess, and lands (incl. arable in North and South Fields), Maggs of Farrington Gurney, 1581; quit claim by John Hippisley of interest in manor, 1596; conveyance of moiety of a mess. by John Hippisley, 1603. One explanation could be that the  land holdings had become fragmented and several people held lands and other rights independently.
Another Somerset archive record, support this theory. DD\S\GLY/110 refers to a grant of the manor of Holwall, Somerset, formerly of the monastery of Abbotsbury, Dorset, to Humfrey Watkyns? Dated Westminster, 5 Jul 1543. The accompanying typed notes by the depositor state that the document appears to be unfinished and that in the immediately preceding days large amounts of land were granted by the Crown to Andrews [or Andrewes] and Temple, who quickly obtained licences to alienate much of the property to others. Holwall does not appear under the alienations dated 5 Jul 1543. This record includes more information about the bad state of the Latin documents but what information is transcribed suggests that the Watkyns family may have been one of the ‘fixers’ who were exploiting the confusion  caused by the dissolution of the monasteries. It was not just ‘little Jack Horner’ who was putting his thumb into plumb pies at the time.
John Hippisley is an example of somebody who made fortune out of the dissolution of the monasteries.  Being ‘tenant in chief’ was a major advantage. Only the king owned land but the tenant in chief could sub-let land at rates that were advantageous to him. Former monastery land had the additional benefit that the owner did not have to pay tithes. The lands bought by John Hippisley in Cameley had the third advantage of the advowson or the right to collect tithes from all the land. The Hippisley’s were paying tithes for their lands in Ston Easton and Emborough to the rector or lay impropriator of Chewton Mendip which eventually bought them into conflict  with the Kingsmill family.
The will of Thomas Tegge of Stoke Lane (Stoke St Michael) dated 1627 implies that Cameley was still a significant place. He left the ‘living’ of what is believed to have been Hington Bluett which was described as part of Cameley. There is no doubt that Samuel Oliver was the incumbent of Cameley and he had a fine pew built for himself which is a sign of wealth and prestige. This is the pew see at the top of the page. His patron is listed as John Hippisley who would have been the fifth to bar that name. The list of incumbents of Hinton Bluett does not list the patrons and is vague about the dates of Thomas Dyer or Dier who was the vicar of Hinton Bluett in 1627. Perhaps there was some form of dispute about who had the right to the living of Hinton Bluett?
 Dwelly’s transcriptions show that a Samuel Sage was having children baptised in Cameley in the early 17th century. John Sage was also a parent and a churcwarde in the middle of the century. It was probably them whogave their name to the now runied Sage’s farm behind the church. It may be co-incidence that there is a Sages Farm in Chewton Mendip but a family link between two farming families cannot be ruled out. The clergy database identifies a William Sage was a curate in Chedzoy in 1606. He had been ordained by the Bishop of Bath & Wells but nothing else is known about him.
The Hippisley’s continued to be the patrons of the incumbents of Cameley until the modern era but the former hamlet of Temple Cloud became the more significant part of the parish when the turnpike road was built-in the mid 18th century. This process was well under way by the 1780s when Edmund Rack conducted his survey, he counted 46 houses in the village as a whole of which 34 were in Temple Cloud. He estimated the total population to be 260. Edmund Rack confirmed that the patron of the vicar was Richard Hippisley Cox. Camely is also influential in the history of the Rees-Mogg family.
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