This article came from the Chronicle published May 1983. Page 58



Author: Leslie Brooke


In his ‘Churchwardens. Accounts’, published in 1913, the Rev.J.Charles Cox wrote that ‘gifts of livestock to the Church were frequent. Occasionally such gifts or bequests were speedily sold and the cash received entered in the accounts. But in other cases they were retained and farmed out at so much the year by the wardens, pledges being expected for their safe custody’.

That Yeovil’s churchwardens were possessed of such a stock is indicated in their accounts for 1457-8 (1) when they recorded under ‘Gifts Pledged’ (Receipts) the following: ‘And sixpence for three woollen fleeces sold to Guy ‘Corveser (one of the churchwardens) shorn from, church stock this year 35th’ (of Henry VI), and further, under ‘Expenses’: ‘For pasture bought, for two owes from the parish stock, eightpence.’

Further livestock was bequeathed in the following century. This is shown in two wills, printed in Somerset Record Society publications. The first is an item contained in the will of John Walle alias Hamlyn, dated 26 October 1526: ‘To the same church (of Evill) to the maynteyning of the bells and other ornaments there. 10 yewes and a kowe for to contynue in a stock for the said Church bohove’ (2). The other, an undated will of the same period in Wells Diocesan Registry, made by John Perkins alias Tyncker, which itemized: ‘To the same church j mare the price of xs., to be brought in the commonwealth and to be prayed for’ (3). This latter bequest was made for the donor’s name to be placed on the parish bede roll recited annually in Lent.

(1) Nicholls,J.B. & Son: Collectanea Topographica et Genealogica: 1936 – Account of the Proctors of the Church of Yeovil, co. Somerset, 36 Hen.VI, 1457-8.
(2) SRS Vol.XIX, p.258.
(3) SRS Vol.XL, p.130.

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