|The list of incumbents of Chewton Mendip church lists the person who it is believed conducted the services and who his patron was. Compare with the Lords of the Manor.|
|The job titles of vicar and rector are confusing and the usage of these terms is not consistent in the historical record. The critical points are who was on site to provide the ‘cure of souls’ and who collected the tithes and what is as important, what form of tithe.|
|Research shows that some of the people listed as incumbents, who should have conducted the services and ministered to the parish, lived so far away that they would have employed a curate or somebody else to fulfill their spiritual and practical responsibilities. This has implications for where the various clerics lived. The most accurate definition of where the earliest priests lived is ‘probably somewhere near the church’. There are two main possibilities for the original centre of the village which have been named options A and B for simplicity’s sake. This research supports the traditional view that Chewton Priory was the site of priory buildings. Prehaps not a fully functioning priory but possibly some form of accommodation for curates, administrators and/or guests. Chewton House cannot be ruled out as the site of a vicarage house at one or more times in history.|
|The early patrons were monasteries and priories but their interest was financial, not religious. Most of the subsequent patrons were wealthy laymen and had not direct involvement with the day-to-day issues of the church or village. The Bishop of Bath & Wells played a dual role and many incumbents were prebends of Wells Cathedral. This meant that they were appointed by the bishop to represent the cathedral’s financial interests as well as provide spiritual guidance to the parishioners.|
|The table below is a simplified list of the incumbents. It omits the columns for the sovereign and how the post was vacated. Some of this information is included in the more detailed web pages but the sovereign is not always relevant to the significance of the story about the incumbent. The reason why the position was vacated is explained where possible.|
|This is ‘work in progress’ and new information is frequently added. The list is broken up into sections to identify where significant national events are reflected in the role of he incumbent. This differs from eras defined the main timeline.|
|The first section is about the early medieval priests because nothing has yet ben discovered about the individual Norman or earlier priests.|
Chewton Mendip had been assigned to the abbey of Jumieges at the time of the Norman Invasion in 1066. It is probably the Bishop of Bath & Wells exercised some control locally and may have been given one third of the rectory manor by by Queen Edith c1062.
|1235||Canon Roger or Roger Welllen.||Jumieges|
|1241||Simon de S Petro super Dinam|
|1314||John de Petrestre|
|?||John de Bristol|
The 100 years war meant is was no longer acceptable for English lands to be owned by French monasteries so Edward III reclaimed the land. Chewton Mendip was administered by Robert De Gurdeny but was assigned to Hayling Priory. Nicholas de Fiskerton may have died of the Black Death.
|1340||Philip de Burcrstre||Hayling|
|1348||Nicholas de Fiskerton|
|?||Thomas Symth de Lymyngton|
|1420||Robert Colney junior||Sheen|
The Tudor period was dominated by reformation and counter-reformation. It saw the end of monastic control in Chewton Mendip although the Bishop of Bath & Wells continued to have some financial interests as well as spiritual control. The Hampshire archives contain records that show that the Kingsmills ended up with two thirds of the rectory manor whilst the Bishop of Bath & Wells kept a third. The Clergy database begins to be of value so more information about the individual incumbents can be given. It is also possible to suggest where the incumbent may have lived. ‘A’ denotes the Old Rectory whilst ‘B’ is the Old Vicarage.
Richard Pugh and Robert Tounsend who were listed as the patrons in 1635 and my be evidence of the tensions that would lead to civil war in 1642. The Kingsmills still owned their two thirds but the Bishop was using his one third and position as spiritual head of the local church to impose his will on Chewton mendip and the subsidiary parishes. Cornelius Burges, Calvinist priest, acquired the Bishops lands which had been confiscated during the commonwealth period. The role of bishop was abolished and the ecclesiastical land was awarded to Wells corporation. The Rev Burgess duped them into selling the Bishop’s property and he was subsequently stripped of his newly acquired wealth at the restoration of the monarchy. The Stuart period extended into 18th century and more is known about the vicars of 18th century from a variety of sources.
|1635||Richard Long||Kingsmill (Pugh/Tounsend)||?|
An almost complete set of poor law records for the 18th century provides additional details of the activities of the incumbents of Chewton Mendip. A map dated 1794 clearly shows that th vicarage was at site B, or the Old Rectory in Lower Street.
|Kingsmills – Hodges
The Kingsmills have been absentee landlords since 1665 but a member of the family was resident from 1793 although the exact relationship is disputed. Some of the land held as part of the ‘Parsonage Farm’ was sold in 1785. A strong link to High Littleton and the coal mining was made during this period via the Hodges and Mogg families which had implications for the residents of Chewton Priory and Chewton House when the Goldfinch and Scobell families were residents.
|1814||Henry Hodges-Mogg||Kingsmill||Farrington Gurney/A|
1848 was a watershed year when the Kingsmills sold a large tranche of land they held. The advertisement for the auction provides details of what land was still held by the ‘Parsonage’. Not much is known about William Groves and recent research has shown the list of incumbents in the church is inaccurate in showing the Kingsmills ceased being rectors in 1858. What may have happened is that the ‘small tithes’ that belonged to the vicar were sold to David Drakeford but the Kingsmills retained the ‘great tithes’ due to the rector. The list of contributors to the tower restoration fund of 1890 shows they were still rectors at that date. It can be confirmed that Rev David Drakeford owned the Old vicarage because he sold it to William Blanning in 1859 but not the vicar’s tithes which may have been sold to the Rev Philpott.
|1846||William John Groves.||Kingsmill||B|
|1858||Richard Stamper Phillpott||Kingsmill/Self||A|