Chedder (St. Andrew)

CHEDDER (St. Andrew), a parish, in the union of Axbridge, hundred of Winterstoke, E. division of Somerset, 2½ miles (E. S. E.) from Axbridge; containing 2325 inhabitants. This place is of considerable antiquity, having been the occasional residence of the Saxon monarchs, and in the possession of Alfred the Great, who bequeathed his hunting-seat at Chedder, together with his brugge of Ax, and the wet moor, now Nedmore, to his son. The name is generally deduced from Ced, a brow or height, and Dwr, water; a broad, clear, and rapid stream flows through the parish, and turns some paper-mills. The surface comprises 6697a. 3r. 24p.; about 1140 acres are arable, 3136 meadow and pasture, 159 woodland, and 2261 in sheep-walks. Chedder Cliff, a vast chasm more than a mile in length, and appearing as if the mountain had been rent by an earthquake from the summit to the base, exhibits a combination of rocky precipices and gloomy caverns, some of the rocks towering 800 feet above the level of the valley. The principal cavern is about 100 feet high at the entrance, and afterwards sinks 300 feet beneath the rocks, branching out into several collateral apartments, and producing a perfect and pleasing echo; the sides and roof are covered with stalactites that have assumed a variety of fanciful forms. The village consists of three or four irregular streets, in one of which stands a dilapidated hexagonal market-cross: it was once a considerable market-town, the grant having been made to Joceline, Bishop of Wells, in the 19th of Henry III.; but it is now principally celebrated for its excellent cheese. Several of the inhabitants are employed in the tanning of leather, and the knitting of worsted stockings; and fairs for horned-cattle and sheep are held on May 4th and Oct. 29th. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £23. 16. 8.; patrons and appropriators, the Dean and Chapter of Wells: the appropriate and the vicarial tithes have been commuted for £400 each, and the glebe consists of 41 acres, with a glebehouse. The church is a large and handsome structure, with a tower 100 feet high, surmounted by pinnacles. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans. In 1751, Sarah Comer bequeathed £6052 three per cents., producing a dividend of £181. 11., which is applied to the instruction and the relief of the poor. A Sunday school was supported for 40 years, by the celebrated Hannah More.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.

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