This article came from the Chronicle published September 1978. Page 7
THE PARISH ANVIL
The letting of an anvil to augment parish funds in the first half of the 16th century is recorded in the accounts of the churchwardens of St John’s, Yeovil. The earliest of the entries occurs in 1516 when ‘2sh’ was received’ of Will’m Every of Dorset for the hyre of the Annevyle for half a yere the wyche Anvylde was of the Gyfte of John Donne’. In 1519 the entry reads: ‘Recevyd for an Andvele. which John Donne gave to the Church by this yere, iiijd‘. In 1541, however, only 4d was received ‘for the Curche Advil’ but the following year ‘John Smyth in the Sowth Street now called Bak street for the hyre of an anfld by the yere’ paid 2s 6d. Then in 1544 the following entries appear:
Of Mr Portryffe in earnest for the Church Andvill jd
Of John Smyth for the Andvill ¾ of the Yere ijs
Of John Hyll for the said Anvill one Qr viijd
Since the Portreeve had paid a penny in good faith, perhaps he was reserving its use for John Smyth. John Hyll who rented the anvil for the last quarter is subseqently described as ‘of Haselbury’ and he continued to rent the anvil at 4/- a year until 1553 when ‘Cope of Mudford’ was entered in the accounts as paying for ‘the hies of the anvill’. Hyll must have been unwilling to part with it, however, for the churchwardens paid 2s 6d ‘for a replevin to fetch the Anvil of the Church forth of Hills House’, and for the future ‘John Coppe of Moodford’ continued to pay 4/- for its use. One would like to know the reasons behind John Hyll’s having to relinquish the anvil which he obviously did with reluctance. Editor.