Petherton People


In tracing family history we soon become familiar with using the various sources; civil registration, parish registers, census returns, wills etc.  It is easy to forget that record offices also contain a wealth of information about local people in documents that it would, at first sight, appear to be not very promising.


A search on for ‘North Petherton’ at the Somerset Record and Archive Service (Taunton Record Office) brings up 157 results.  (A search on produces 2007).


On a recent visit to the Taunton Record Office I looked at just three of these.


FILE - Ms. history of North Petherton by Rev. J.J. Toogood ref.  D\P\pet.n/23/7  - date: c.1845


This is a hand written book by the Rev. J. J. Toogood and contains a history of the church, listing all previous rectors, the history of Petherton Park, alterations to the rectory and to a church gateway and wall.  At the back of the book in faint pencil are recorded the various memorial inscriptions in the church.



FILE – North Petherton Household account and commonplace book - ref.  DD\SAS\C/795/PR/75  - date: 1759-1768
Giving general payments, 1759-65, names of fruit trees in garden[on fly-leaf],1759, and [at end reversed] payments for keeping horse,1761-4,surplice fees (at burials),1760-63, names of the children's godparents, account of brewing vessels, account of malt and hops,1761-5, small tithes of North Petherton,1767-8,payments of land tax and window tax,1762. [The book appears to have belonged to Nicholas Tanner,vicar of North Petherton in the 1760s. The arms of Tanner are described inside the back cover.] [Qto.vol: given by Mrs.E.M.Maynard,1940]


This book is real treasure chest for any family historian, packed full of names. The Rev. Tanner names the local trades people and farmers, with what he has purchased from them and how much he has paid.  A wonderful picture of daily life in North Petherton in the 1760s.  I have extracted some of the names as follows.


John                             Barber

Nanny                          Mop

Robert Bell                   Potatoes

William Bell’s wife        Potatoes

Mr Boon                      Farmer

William Burnett Cheese

Daniel Coate                Oats & Barley

Dr Colmer                    Loaf of sugar

Miss Colmer                 Tread & Tobacco

Mrs Hawkes                16 acres of clover for grazing horses

Mrs Gatcombe             For keeping horses

Mr Gristock                 Butcher

Mr Jollep                      Farmer

Dame Light                   Ham

Dame Light                   Orchard

Grace Lockyer             Milk, oranges & lemons

Farmer Loscombe        Cheese

Mr May                       Farmer

Mrs Morley                  3 towels

Mrs Palmer                  Loaves, milk & butter

Mr Parsons                  Butcher

Edward Price               Shoes

Mr Pocke Jnr               Farmer

Betty Porter                  Baking & bacon

Old Rossiter                 Coal Merchant

Jenny Slocombe           Baking

Mr Thirle                      Tailor

John Winslade              Pork


William Ash                  Work

Sal Barham                   Wages

Melior Bennett              Wages

Nanny Bennett              1 year’s wages

Jenny Couch                 Half year’s wages

Betty Couch                 7 days work

Nanny Fieldy                Weeding garden

George Gadd               Work

Francis Rich                 2 days work

Mary Trott                   2 days brewing

Jane Vinnecott              Wages


Paid a woman at Baymead for 7 children

Nurse Tiver                  For keeping Sally

Marmaduke Tiver

Nanny Collard              Nurses for Polly


Betty Walton                Schooling

29 October 1759 Jack & Poll to school – Mr Palmer

Schooling for Polly & Nancy



Out of the 36 names mentioned above, 21 families with the same name were represented in the 1881 census of North Petherton  a 120 years later.

Ash/Aish, Bell, Bennett, Boon, Burnett, Coate, Collard, Day, Gadd, Gristock, Knight, Lockyer, Palmer, Parsons, Rich, Rossiter, Slocombe, Thomas, Trott, Warren, Winslade




Small Tythes (sic) of North Petherton from Ladyday (sic) 1767 – Ladyday 1768


Thomas Dyke Acland                           for Parks

Mr Russel                                             Boomer Farm

Mrs Horsman                                       Goodings

Mr John Warren                                   Classay Farm

William Thomas                                    Hunting House & Nowells

Henry Major

Robert Day

Thomas Warren                                    Thurl Globe & Hill Farm

John Stevens                                        Farrington

Thomas Knight                                     Nappers

John Cole                                             Dobins

Mrs Allen                                             Kings

John Rossiter                                        Haddons

Mr Harrison                                         Leverdown

William Hock                                       Nowells

Widow Pocock &                               

William Pocock                                    Axtons

Mrs Morley                                          Melcombe

James Trott                                          Mill Dewdreys

Thomas Rossiter

Joseph Rossiter                                   

Young Kensy

Daniel Coat

Mrs Southey

James Dicker

Mrs Harris                                            Baymead

William Bell


PLANS OF SCHEMES - ref. Q\RUp/1-706

FILE - [Tone River to Uphill] - ref.  Q\RUp/3/1  - date: 30 Sept 1794
Proposed canal and land immediately in its path (in relation to river Parrett). Runs through parishes of Creech St. Michael, Durston, East Lyng, North Petherton, Bridgwater, Puriton, Pawlett, Huntspill, Burnham, South Brent, Berrow, Bleadon and Uphill. Churches in elevation - generally poor detail. Reference book names landowners and occupiers.



The third item I looked at was one of many plans for the canal.  At various times it was proposed to build a canal between Bristol and Taunton.  This particular document included 2 maps and 2 reference books.  These include the reference number of the plot, owners, occupiers and payments to be made for the land in the proposed scheme.  Two of those named were listed as ‘Leper’.


Route of Canal (1794)


No                   Owner                                                  Occupier

49                    John Slade                                            John Rowsell


46                    John Slade                                            Mary Murray

45                    Mr Clatworthy                                      Owner

44                    Mrs Gristock                                        William Jeane

41                    Mr Thomas Aclane                               Francis Coombs

39                    Musgrove Esq.                                     Ann Ingram

36                    Sir Thomas Ackland                             Henry Coles

30-34               Sir Thomas Ackland                             Henry Coles

29                    Henry Portman Esq.

28                    Mrs Matthew Lindon Leper                  Thomas Pitman


27                    Ditto                                                     Mrs Gilbert

26                    Ditto                                                     George Hearne

24                    Mrs Matthew Lindon Leper                  William Gilbert

22                    Henry Portman Esq                              George Hearne

20                    Henry Portman Esq                              Thomas Colhurst

18                    Andrew Guy                                         Thomas Coat

16                    Andrew Guy                                         Thomas Coat

14                    Henry Portman Esq                              William Fear

12                    Andrew Guy                                         Thomas Coat

10                    (Henry Portman

(Mr Robert Colthives Leper                  Himself

  8                    Corporation of Bridgwater                    Thomas Colhurst

6                                                                                                                                                                Robert Colhurst

4                    Mr Henry Coles                                   Thomas Toulmin

3                    (Henry Portman                                    Thomas Toulmin

                      (Andrew Guy Esq                                

1                    Lady Tynte                                           Thomas Colhurst



Four Hundred Years in North Petherton


In the following survey the surnames were taken from Kelly’s Somerset & Bristol

Directory 1889.  The Directory lists private residents and Commercial.  A later

survey  (see below) gives extra surnames extracted from the 1881 Census but does not

include all residents.


Number of that surname in the 1881 Census are counted as being those born-in and

living-in North Petherton.  If there are only 1 or 2 entries on the IGI this is indicated

in brackets.   Parish Register dates from 1558 and information was extracted using the

 LDS Website, as below and has not been checked against the original register,

therefore could be subject to errors.

Batch Number: P002591 Baptisms

Batch Number: M002591 Marriages


Surname                       No in 1881 Census       Earliest Occurrence in Parish Register

                                                            Baptisms                      Marriages

Adams                         18                                1593                            1588

Aish/Ash                      26                                1559                            1562

Bartlett                         19                                1632                            1681

Bennett                         2                                 1606                            1615

Bond                              2                                1578                            1626

Brewer                         10                                1764                            1613

Brice                              5                                1613                            1613

Browne                          7                                1563                            1584

Browning                        5                                1763                            1767

Burge                             3                                1564                            1573

Burrows                         9                                1573                            1573

Burston                        18                                None                            None

Callow                           4                                1565                            1831 (1)

Carkett                           1                                None                            None

Channing                        3                                1615                            1613

Chedzoy                       16                                1820                            None

Clatworthy                   17                                1637                            1654

Coate                             9                                1575                            1597

Coram                          18                                1794                            1793

Culverwell                    18                                1620 (2)                       1618 (2)

Day                                9                                1559                            1565

Dibble                            8                                1559                            1575

Durman                        17                                1793                            1834 (1)

Farthing                          1                                1585                            1559

Filer                              1                                None                            None

Fursland                         6                                None                            None

Haines                            3                                1630                            1629

Harden                           5                                1563                            1591

Heal                               5                                1652                            1688

Hodges                        17                                1563                            1637 (1)

Howe                           10                                1713                            1588

Irish                              10                                1703                            1762

Jeannes                          2                                1736                            1722

Knight                            5                                1607                            1630

Langford                        2                                1769                            1742

Nation                            8                                1559                            1574

Painter                            1                                None                            None

Pearce                            6                                1653                            1691

Phillips                           8                                 1612                            1604

Pocock                        19                                1624                            1622

Properjohn                     5                                1816                            1814

Radford                          3                                None                            None

Rich                             12                                1599                            1626

Ridge                             6                                1832 (1)                       None

Rogers                         26                                1566                            1565

Salter                             8                                None                            None

Saunders                        3                                1622                            1573

Shepherd                        2                                1563                            1571

Slocombe                       8                                1629                            1628

Smith                              7                                1566                            1565

Starkey                          4                                1572                            1559

Townsend                      8                                1801                            1568 (2)

Todd                              4                                None                            None

Tozer                             1                                1800                            1800 (2)

Tucker                           9                                1560                            1567

Venn                              1                                1613                            1571


Extra surnames extracted from the 1881 Census, does not include all residents.


Surname                       No in 1881 Census       Earliest Occurrence in Parish Registers

                                                                        Baptisms                      Marriages

Chick                           26                                1559                            1559

Collard                         48                                1589                            1591

Cottey                            8                                1776                            1809

Franklin                          8                                1563                            1613

Lavis                            17                                None                            1817

Marchant                      18                                1731                            1757

Parsons                        37                                1611                            1568

Pike                             12                                1613                            1698

Speed                          22                                1643                            1669

Waterjohns                     3                                None                            None

Western                       10                                1805 (1)                       1804 (1)

Williams                         5                                1562                            1628

Woodland                      4                                1564                            1561


A quick look at the 2005 Telephone Directory for North Petherton for names in the 1881 Census reveals that many surnames are still represented. 


Compiled by Jenny Sturges Email address

Somerset and Dorset Family History Society (Taunton Group)