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LOCAL HISTORY

Hundreds of Carhampton

Taken from History of the Hundred of Carhampton

Cutcombe is an extensive parish, bounded on the north by Stoke-Pero, Luccombe, Wootton-Courtenay, and Timberscombe; on the east by Carhampton and Luxborough; on the south by Exton and Winsford; and on the west by Exford and a detached part of Timberscombe. This is the largest parish in the Carhampton Hundred; it extends from east to west seven miles, and from an actual survey made in 1824, contains about seven thousand and seven acres of land, of which about one thousand one hundred acres are in commons, roads, and wastes; three hundred and fifty acres in wood, and the rest in enclosed, meadow, and pasture. The commons, consisting of six hundred and fifty-five acres, form part of Dunkery, and the beacon. The name of this parish is written in Domesday Book - Udecomie, Woodeombe.

There is no manor house but Miss Hales, lady of the manor, has lately built a handsome lodge called Raleigh cottage, on a piece of rising ground, above a wood in the principal valley, which commands most delightful views of the surrounding country. Here her steward, Mr. Howe, of Tiverton, holds her mannerial courts. The principal landed proprietors besides Miss Hales, are, the Earl of Carnarvon, Sir Thomas Dyke Acland, hart., Beach, esq., who has lately purchased a considerable property of Sir Thomas Buckler Lethbridge, bart., Mr. Edbrooke, Messrs. White, Mr. Evans, Vye, esq., Mr. Escott, the Misses Kent, Francis Pearse, esq., Mr. Brewer, Mrs. Burnell, and Mr. Burnell, of Putham.

The parish of Cutcombe is intersected by deep valleys, the greater part of which are woodland and cultivated meadows; through one of these valleys the new turnpike-road runs from Timberscombe to Bampton. The village of Cutcombe is about eight miles south from Minehead, by the turnpike-road, but there is a nearer way over Grabhurst. Here are four hamlets, namely, Luckwell-Bridge, Codsend, Wheddon Cross, and Watercombe. The first is about two miles south-west of the church, and a fair is held there about Michaelmas for sheep and cattle ; the turnpike-road, before-mentioned, passes through Wheddon-Cross, and a toll-gate has been lately erected there. In Codsend moor a small stream rises, called Quarm Water, or Wester River, which runs under Luckwell Bridge, and after turning, with a tributary stream, two mills, and passing under two small bridges, leaves the parish and falls into the river Exe, near the village of Exton. A second rivulet rises in Hart Cleeve, about a mile and a half south-east of the church, and after driving a mill, and running under an embankment, over which the new road, before-mentioned, joins, near Short House, the residence of the Misses Kent; another rivulet which rises on Dunkery, and after leaving this parish, receives into its channel several other streams, and passing by the village of Timberscombe and the town of Dunster, and dividing the latter parish from that of Carhampton for more than two miles, to its very mouth, falls into the sea, and is there called the Hone. All these rivulets abound with trout and eels; salmon also come up the Hone, and some fine mullet are caught a little way up from the sea.
Cutcombe is called a hill-country parish ; the soil is generally a white rag, or as it is here called, a shellety soil, lying over a kind of bastard slate, not fit for roofing. The herbage which grows on it seldom burns, even in the hottest summer. The farms here are mostly occupied in the business of the dairy, and in breeding cattle; the proportion of ground in tillage is very small, especially in the western part of the parish, where it is the custom after breaking up a piece of ground, and taking a course of crops from it, sowing with the last crop a fair proportion of grass seeds, 46 to let it lie down in grass for six or seven years, or more, until it becomes mossy, or is growing to furze, when it is again broken up, and the same course renewed. Very little barley is grown in this part of the parish, but on the eastern side, where the land is better, though still high, the farmers grow fair crops of wheat and barley of middling quality. When ground is preparing to be laid down to grass for a long time, a large proportion of the seed sown should be Dutch white clover, which posleues the quality of lying longer in the ground than any other sort.

There are three lime rocks worked in this parish; one on Stowey farm; another on Kersham farm; and the third in a field on the south side of the valley, in front of the church. Most of the farms have a portion of woodland belonging to, but detached from them. This division of the woodlands, or something similar to it, may probably have originated with the swineherds, the Porcarii of Domesday Book, of whom the reader
will find an account in the sequel.

 

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