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Parish History

Information supplied by Stephen Bartlett

Mudford Birdge & Church - 1950Mudford is a parish and a village on
the river Yeo (or Ivel), north of Yeovil in the hundred of Stone, rural deanery of Merston. It includes the hamlets of Up Mudford, Mudford Sock, West Mudford and Hinton; and the deserted settlements of Woodcourt and Nether Adber.

The soil is heavy, sandy loam and the subsoil is clay. The area is 2,249 acres.

The church of St Mary is built of local lias stone with ham stone dressings in the decorated and perpendicular styles, consisting of a chancel, nave, north transept, south porch and an embattled western tower containing a clock and five bells, which were re-hung and re-cast in 1914. On the west side of the tower above the west door is an unusual panel of Christ crucified, damaged during the Reformation.

Inside are some good examples of Jacobean pews. The east window was erected by the parents of Lt CW Bown, killed in action in the First World War, while a brass tablet on the north wall bears the names of those who died in both World Wars. (The village hall is also a memorial to those of three parishes, Mudford, Chilton Cantelo and Ashington, who died.) Also on the north wall is a plaque describing the Whitby charity, given to the poor of the parish by William Whitby in 1617.

Historically the principle industry has always been agriculture, with craftsmen associated with the main road (A359) that passes through the village – blacksmiths, wheelwrights, carpenters. In the 18th and 19th centuries, there was a brick works that made use of the clay and river silt. There were three watermills, one of which remains.

The manor of Up-Mudford and the church was given to Montacute Priory in 1102 by the Count of Mortain and held by the Priory until 1539 when it became confiscated by the Crown during the Reformation, it was then passed to the Fermour family who divided it up and sold to various local landowners. The Harbins of Newton Surmaville began buying back the divided Manor in 1602 and rebuilt the Manor house then known as the Court house. Up Mudford remained with the Harbins until 1919 when the land was again divided and sold.

West Mudford and Hinton was another Manor which had a Moated Manor at Hinton now only the moat remains as a scheduled Ancient Monument. This manor was held by the Daunay, Courtenay Earls of Devon and Cholmondeley families before being sold to the Old and Goodford family who held it from 1711 to 1922.

Nether Adber or Thorney as it better known today was a small hamlet on the north east side of the parish. Held by Siward the Fowler before and after the conquest then later by the Huntley family, who sold it off field by field in the 17th century. Nether Adber is one of the best preserved deserted medieval settlements in the county and the village site is now owned by the County Council. In its heyday it had a moated manor and a chapel.

Woodcourt was a Grange held by the Lyte family of Lytes Cary and lies at the top of Drove way lane between Sock and West Mudford. Sock on the southern side of the parish, up until 1820 there was a great house in a field called ‘House Ground’ which was built by the Bois family later held by the Raymond’s before being demolished by the Goodford’s.

Stone also held by the Goodford estate which stretched from Chilton Cantelo into Yeovil, was only transferred into Mudford from Preston Parish in the 19th century. It takes its name from the Hundred stone at the top of the Farm which was an ancient meeting place for the hundred.

Family names with long association with Mudford include: Adams, Andrews, Appleby, Bartlett, Beaton, Brake, Brooke, Capell, Clarke, Collins, Colly, Ellis, Evans, Fathers, Flag, Ford, Frye, Gardner, Harding, Hodges, Holman, Lachmore, Lokier, Minchington, Phelpes, Rodd, Sampson, Savidge, Shepherd, Sprackling, Staunton, Stone, Taswell, Watts, Whitbye, and Young.

Please click here for information on Lords of Mudford Manor.