Victoria County History



R W Dunning, C R Elrington (Editors), A P Baggs, M C Siraut

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'Broomfield: Church', A History of the County of Somerset: Volume 6: Andersfield, Cannington, and North Petherton Hundreds (Bridgwater and neighbouring parishes) (1992), pp. 14-17. URL: Date accessed: 27 November 2014.


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There was probably a church at Broomfield in the late 11th century. (fn. 75) Maud Arundel, wife of Gerbert de Percy, gave Broomfield church to Wells cathedral c. 1175 at the request of Bishop Reginald to endow a prebend. (fn. 76) In the event Broomfield was excluded from the foundation and the Wells chapter seems to have retained only a pension of 2s. a century later, (fn. 77) although the parish was within the spiritual jurisdiction of the Dean of Wells until the 19th century. (fn. 78) The living was a rectory in 1296 but by 1334 the church belonged to Buckland priory which had earlier been given mortuaries of the tenants of Sir Matthew Furneaux. (fn. 79) From the 14th century the parish was served by chaplains or curates appointed and paid by the priory or the farmers (fn. 80) and after the Dissolution by the lay rectors, who from the later 18th century were the lords of Broomfield manor. (fn. 81) An endowment in 1764 (fn. 82) created a perpetual curacy, known as a vicarage from c. 1892, the patronage of which the Hamilton family transferred to the bishop c. 1964. (fn. 83) The redemption of a rent charge of £30 by John Hamilton in 1919 was probably to extinguish the lay rector's obligation to pay a curate. (fn. 84) From 1953 the benefice has been held with Kingston St. Mary, (fn. 85) and from 1981 also with Cheddon Fitzpaine. (fn. 86)

The church was valued at 10 marks in 1334 (fn. 87) and was farmed for £8 5s. in 1534. (fn. 88) To augment the stipend paid by the lay rector, Queen Anne's Bounty made grants of £200 in 1764, 1789, 1849, and 1858 to match sums and land given by Mrs. Horner's trustees (£100 in 1764), Mrs. Pincombe's trustees (£50 in 1764, £100 in 1789, £100 in 1858), the lay rector John Moss (£50 in 1764), the curate John Blundell (£100 in 1789), John Hamilton (land worth £360 in 1849, £270 in 1858), Miss Hamilton (£130 in 1858), and John Crosse (later Hamilton) (land worth £45 in 1858). (fn. 89) The income was £78 c. 1830, (fn. 90) and further gifts by the Hamiltons in the early 20th century increased it to £206 in 1931. (fn. 91)

William de Mohun (d. after 1190) gave half the tithes to endow Dunster priory, (fn. 92) but the grant was probably not fulfilled. The tithes of the whole parish belonged to Buckland priory at the Dissolution and thereafter formed part of the lay rectory. (fn. 93) By 1841 a small piece of land at Wembdon belonged to the Broomfield curacy. (fn. 94) In 1849 John Hamilton and in 1858 John Crosse (later Hamilton) augmented the curacy with gifts of land in the parish and by 1933 there was also glebe land in Creech St. Michael, the whole totalling nearly 15 a.; (fn. 95) the land remained glebe in 1976. (fn. 96)

A house was built for the curate before 1861 some distance east of the church on the edge of Broomfield common. (fn. 97) It was occupied by the incumbent until c. 1953 (fn. 98) and in 1988 was a private dwelling.

Broomfield had two priests c. 1175 (fn. 99) but from the earlier 14th century the parish was served by a succession of parochial chaplains. (fn. 1) In 1450 there was also an anniversary chaplain (fn. 2) and an endowed light in 1547. (fn. 3) In the later 16th century there were difficulties in finding priests to serve the church: a French priest lasted six weeks and 'upon the soden departed'. (fn. 4) In 1576 the church lacked a communion cup and there were no quarterly sermons. (fn. 5) Among the curates of the 17th century, some resident, were Hannibal Potter, ousted as president of Trinity College, Oxford, for reading the Book of Common Prayer, (fn. 6) and John Prince, removed at the Restoration. (fn. 7) George Hellier, curate c. 1678-c. 1710, was accused, probably unfairly, of being a nonjuror. (fn. 8) Thomas Milward, curate 1778-85, held four other local livings. (fn. 9) In 1815 only one service was held each Sunday, but by 1827 both morning and afternoon services were held. (fn. 10) There were resident priests from 1861 to 1953. (fn. 11)

A church house is mentioned in 1597; it belonged to Broomfield manor (fn. 12) and by 1664-5 appears to have been a poorhouse. (fn. 13)

The church of ST. MARY AND ALL SAINTS, apparently so called in 1443 as in the 20th century, (fn. 14) but known simply as All Saints in 1313, (fn. 15) is built of rubble with ashlar dressings. It comprises a chancel with north chapel, a nave with north aisle and south porch, and a west tower. The nave may retain a 12th-century plan, but a blocked 14th-century doorway in the chancel and the tower of the earlier 15th century are the earliest surviving parts, the nave, chancel, and porch having been rebuilt in the early 16th century and the north aisle c. 1535. (fn. 16) Richard Dulverton (d. 1443), chaplain of Broomfield who repaired and decorated the church, is commemorated by a brass in the church. (fn. 17) Nave and aisles retain their latemedieval roofs, and there are fragments of glass of the same period, including an inscription to Alice Reskymer, prioress of Buckland in 1436 and 1457, (fn. 18) and some early 16th-century heraldic glass. The bench ends, one with the name of the carver, Simon Warman (d. 1585), (fn. 19) are of the mid 16th century. The chancel was partially rebuilt and furnished in the 18th century (fn. 20) and the east window, inserted in 1913 in place of an altarpiece, was glazed by Morris and Co. (fn. 21) A gallery was removed in 1854. (fn. 22)

A cup and cover are dated 1635 and there are two patens of 1709 and a flagon of 1721. (fn. 23) There were five bells, the oldest by George Purdue dating from 1606, and there are two early 18thcentury bells. (fn. 24) The registers begin in 1630 and are complete. (fn. 25)

The churchyard cross is of the late 13th or early 14th century. (fn. 26)


75 S.R.S. vii, p. 38.
76 H.M.C. Wells, i. 25, 27; Sanders, Eng. Baronies, 72.
77 H.M.C. Wells, i. 149, 307.
78 Ibid. 203, 533; S.R.O., D/D/Pd 24-5; D/D/Vc 15.
79 Pole MS. 3766, 3777; S.R.S. ix, p. 224.
80 S.R.O., D/D/Vc 20; P.R.O., SC 6/Hen. VIII/3137.
81 S.D.N.Q. xv. 161; S.R.O., D/D/Pd 30; above, manors.
82 Below, this section.
83 Rep. Com. Eccl. Revenues, pp. 128-9; Kelly's Dir. Som. (1906); Dioc. Dir.
84 S.R.O., D/P/broo 3/3/1.
85 Crockford (1959-60).
86 Dioc. Dir.
87 S.R.S. ix, pp. 224-5.
88 P.R.O., SC 6/Hen. VIII/3137.
89 C. Hodgson, Queen Anne's Bounty (1864), pp. xix, xli, clxv, clxxvi; S.R.O., D/D/Bo; D/P/broo 10/3/1; ibid. tithe award.
90 Rep. Com. Eccl. Revenues, pp. 128-9.
91 Kelly's Dir. Som. (1931).
92 S.R.S. vii, p. 38.
93 Above, manors.
94 S.R.O., tithe award, Wembdon.
95 C. Hodgson, Queen Anne's Bounty (1864), suppl. p. xli; S.R.O., D/P/broo 3/1/2; board in ch.
96 Inf. from Dioc. Office.
97 P.R.O., RG 9/1622.
98 Crockford (1959-60).
99 H.M.C. Wells, i. 27.
1 Cal. Inq. p.m. vii, p. 481.
2 S.R.S. xlix, p. 40.
3 Ibid. ii. 53.
4 S.D.N.Q. xv. 161.
5 S.R.O., D/D/Ca 57.
6 Ibid. D/D/Rr, Broomfield; Walker Revised, ed. A. G. Matthews; Alum. Oxon. 1500-1714.
7 Calamy Revised, ed. A. G. Matthews.
8 Collinson, Hist. Som. i. 73; M.I. in ch.; S.R.O., D/D/Pd 30; S.D.N.Q. xvii. 182-3.
9 S.R.O., D/D/Bs 44; D/D/Vc 88.
10 Ibid. D/D/Rb 1815, 1827.
11 P.R.O., RG 9/1622; Crockford (1959-60).
12 S.R.O., DD/S/WH 209.
13 Above, local govt.
14 Proc. Som. Arch. Soc. lxxxvii. 73; Dioc. Dir.
15 Cal. Inq. p.m. vii, p. 481.
16 Wells Wills, ed. Weaver, 82; for a photo., above, plate facing p. 8.
17 Proc. Som. Arch. Soc. lxxxvii. 72-3, rendering Dulverton as Silverton; cf. S.R.S. xxx, p. 499.
18 S.R.S. xxv, p. xxvi; C. Woodforde, Stained Glass in Som. (1946), 41, 97.
19 S.R.O., D/P/bic 2/1/2; Som. Co. Gaz. 27 Feb. 1987.
20 S.R.O., D/P/broo 4/1/1.
21 Ibid. 6/1/1; Pevsner, S. & W. Som. 102.
22 Crosse, Memorials of Andrew Crosse, 332.
23 Proc. Som. Arch. Soc. xlvii. 154.
24 S.R.O., DD/SAS CH 16/1. A sixth bell was added in 1990.
25 S.R.O., D/P/broo 2/1/1-4.
26 Som. C.C., Sites and Mons. Rec.