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Milverton Local History Group
  • 2nd June 2016

    LINDSAY FORTUNE gave a talk on the Milverton Court Leet System which is still In existence today with 24 members meeting twice yearly. Although now with no legal powers its meetings are essentially social gatherings. Members must have lived within the Milverton Hundred for at least 10 years and have provided recognisable service to the community. Members are elected to serve as Portreeve, Bailiff, Ale Taster and Water Keeper for term  of 2 years. Minutes are still kept and a framed list of past Portreeves is displayed in the Victoria Rooms. The allegiance to the Monarch is still very important.

    Nigel Wood is looking at the Woollen Industry in Milverton and would welcome others to help with his research.

    Peter Hutchinson has been walking the boundary of the Milverton Hundred in his research.

    Elizabeth McDowell hopes to publish her much awaited book about Milverton in WW11 in the month of October.

    Steven Wort our new chairman has some new ideas for the group to take forward.

    Maggie had found some pictures of the Broadmead family using the Ancestory site.

    Our next meeting will be August 4th at 2.30 pm in the Reading Rooms

    All are very welcome only £1 entrance charge.

    Please contact Maggie on 400142 for more details.

    10th March 2016

    Tithe Map exhibition.


    1 Explanation of separation of Archives/history group

    Accounts The  Archive stands at £2247.18 and the History Group at £105

    2Discuss way forward  Chairman etc. Steven Wort may be in a position to take this on in 6months time.

    3 New Recording Equipment. Maggie has been researching this and has found a Sony CX240e which is around £100. Geoffrey suggested keeping to a format to assist memory recordings. David Dowling to take the project on.

    4 Street fair. Volunteers. Nigel to put on the Archive exhibition at the Church

    Open Forum . Approximately 23 attended the meeting with 5 apologies.

    Peter gave an update of his MILVERTON  Map project

    It was reported that Susie had suggested using the Jubilee Gardens as a site for the Archive/Heritage centre. This will go on the April Annual PC meeting April 13th.

    Gill Lumby is hoping to get the Coach House confirmed as a listed building to put pressure on the Diocese to repair the structure which is in a very bad state.

    Andrew Bowman reported that his Graveyard Plotting project was progressing well.He now needs to liaise with Helene to agree the format for sharing the final  document.

    Helene explained that Headstones are quite a recent addition sometimes just a flower vase was placed on the grave. Names are still being  sought for  those unmarked graves of which there are many including Helenes own grandparents.

    It had been a very difficult project and Andrew was congratulated on his hard work.

    He welcomed feedback on any mistakes.

    Linette informed the group that she was organising an Antique Valuation day at the church to raise money to repair the East facing clock. July 15th.11am-3pm

    Howard's Memorial stone was being prepared and will be installed at a date to be arranged.

    Mary Ewing introduced Paddy Thomson who had been researching the House Clothiers in North st. This did have connections with the Clarkes from Street.

    With a Thomas Pole being a cousin.

    Paddy Thompson gave her report on the Women in MILVERTON  using the probate records. Once Mark McDurmiett has passed this she will share this with the group.

    John Clements shared his thoughts on the Chantry lands being associated with  Lovelinch Woods and surrounding lands 

    Helene  was able to tell Paddy that if a husband died before is baby was born it was classed as  baseborn.

    Maggie explained the history of the Recreation Ground which had resulted from the sale of the Pencraig estate in 1922. Rev George Saville Lumely Little had died in 1914. His daughters stayed on until 1922 when they put the estate  up for Auction.

    The British Legion had organised Annual sports days using Fields offered by local farmers  So they organised fund raising events to buy the land and managed to raise £345 to buy the land for £400 ,the rest of the money being borrowed. In 1925 they acquired the near bye plot where the toilets now stand.

    It was acquired for the village to be used as a Recreation ground.In 1935 a cricket Pavillion was erected on the western boundary .

    Maggie Gill bought some old books with information on MILVERTON in them.

    Meeting closed 5 pm

    Thursday 21st January 2016

    The Chairman welcomed 17 members.

    It is proposed that , for practical and financial reasons, the Archive and the History Group should revert to being separate organisations, albeit working in support of each other. The Archives needs money both for immediate expenditure such as membership fees and storage materials, as well as the need to try and develop a fund for new storage facitlties in the future. The donation of Howard Davies' library to the archives by his family meant that the process of setting up a fund could begin, and Nigel Woods, our archivist, has been able to raise in the region of £2000 by disposing of those parts of the library which were of no historical interest to Milverton.

    The History Group itself does not need much money to carry out its activities, and the fees paid at the HistoryGroup meetings more than cover its requirements. Separate accounts are being maintained for both organisations.

    Peter Hutchinson gave a talk on his latest research into Milverton from 1000AD to 2000AD in maps with particular reference to the Milverton Hundreds and their related Shires. By using old maps Peter has been able to show the approximate area of some of the Shires and Hides (being an area that could be ploughed in one day by one man and  oxen.) His research to date has taken him from 1086 to 1842. 

    Suzie Lethbridge brought some maps showing land owned by the Wyndenham family, some of which were labelled 'Liberty' land, but it is not known why.

    Sue Rotheram reported on the brooch which she had found in her garden. The Somerset Heritage Centre have identified it as a Victorian copy of and Anglo Saxon design - not valuable but very interesting.

    Our vicar, Helen, reported that Milverton School were to visit the church to study its history.

    Nigel Woods reported an acquisition by the Archive of a diary of sea voyages made in 1899. The diary also contains some details of builders costing, with the name Pope inside, suggesting that soemone used the diary for dual purposes.

    Gill Lumby spoke about the Parish Council's wish to light a beacon to celebrate the Queen's 90th birthday. The church has a similar interest, but at the moment the suggested dates for the celebration seem to be different.

    Maggie Gill brought some of her finds for people to look at, which raised quite a bit of speculation as to what some of them might be.

    Eileen McHardy has been researching the existance of a laundry on North Street, possibly close to the Quaker House. She also discovered that coffins may have been made at the house known as Faircross. It seems that when it rained, the makers were paid a larger fee to transport them up to the church!

    Meryl Dowling also reported on the Knicker Factory which was next to Weavers Cottage. It seems that boxes of underwear had still been found in the house some years after it ceased to be a factory.

    Discussions were held about the involvment of the British Legion in the original purchase of the Recreation Ground. Steve Wort who is the British Legion standard bearer, offered to investigate.

    Maggie Dinning explained how the Somerset Records office could be be used to investigate the history of the village, and also pointed the Group towards the online British Newspaper site, which has lots of interesting reports about Milverton.

    Terry advised that he intended to step down as Chairman at the next meeting, and maggie Dinning has agreed to continue as Secretary and General Manager for the time being. Nigel will continue to look after the archives.

    New people will be needed, both to act as Chairman, and to help Maggie with other tasks and events connected with the Group.

    The meeting closed at 5pm.


    5th November 2015

    The last meeeting of the History Group was on the 5th November.

    Terry gave a big 'thank you to everyone who was involved in the Heritage Day, with special thanks to Jenny Fry for the refreshments and Gillis who very kindly donated the large advertising banner.

    Peter Hutchinson gave an overview of his latest project, reviewing and mapping the Milverton Hundreds and Parishes.

    Susan Lethbridge showed some photographs of the painted ceiling decorations, possibly dating back to 1801, which have been uncovered during some recent renovation work at Devonia House.

    Sue Rotherham brought along a small ornament which she had found in her garden and asked if anyone could identify it. Sue was advised to speak to the Finds officer at Somerset Heritage.

    Nigel gave an update on the Archives.

    There were two new donations; a brass box engraved with the name 'Charles Dyte'  and a Cassock with the name 'D Rimmer' on it. Mr Rimmer was a Server and a Churchwarden and the cassock, which was donated by Michael and Catherine Reynolds, was made in a workshop which is situated at the rear of their house.

    The Howard Davies collection has now been catalogued, and all the Milverton archive material has been extracted. The non Milverton material will be sold to provide funding for the archives, and this has been approved by Howard's brother Mansel.

    Nigel has recently given a talk about the Silk Mills in the area and said he was willing to give the same talk to the History Group.

    Nigel is now starting a collection of old Milverton building materials and has invited donations.

    Maggie Dinning reported on her research into the village pubs. The latest find is the Anchor, which was in the former Englett St, near to The Pound in the High Street. Other pubs which have been identified include The Anchor, The Bell, The White Hart, The New Inn, The Red Lyon, The Kings Head, and The George.

    Julian Dokowski showed his latest coin finds - a Cromwellian coin, an Irish Half Penny, andcoins form the era of Queen Mary and the Jacobites

    Maggie Gill mentioned the possibility of tunnels from the Globe to the Methodist chgapels, and it was recalled that the Methodist meetings were held in the room above the Globe before the chapel was built.

    Susan Lethbridge kindly offered the use of Devonia house for the next History Group meeting.

  • Please check the news section for the last meeting ,s report for the month of August.


  • The Milverton Local History Studies Group met on April 5th.2018.  Recordings were shown the first being Bruce Watkiss who had been evacuated with his brothers and sisters to Milverton in 1940. The next was Elaine Edwards nee Wyatt  who had memories of Geoffrey Godber Ford who had been a big employer in the village from during the War to the 60’s.

  • April 5th 2018