Chew Magna (St. Andrew)

CHEW MAGNA (St. Andrew), a parish, and anciently a borough and market-town, in the union of Clutton, hundred of Chew, E. division of Somerset, 6½ miles (S.) from Bristol; containing, with the tythings of Bishop-Sutton, Knowle with Knighton-Sutton, North Elm, and Stone, 2096 inhabitants, and comprising 4797 acres, of which 37 are common or waste. The village is beautifully situated on an eminence to the north of the river Chew, and commands extensive views of the surrounding country. At the north-eastern extremity of the parish is a ville, called Norton Hautville or Hawkfield, supposed to have been the property of Sir John de Hautville, who lived in the time of Henry III.: in Knighton-Sutton, at the southern extremity, stands Sutton Court, an ancient edifice pleasingly situated, by some thought to have been the residence of Fielding's Squire Western. The population is partly employed in coal-mines in Bishop-Sutton, and in the manufacture of stockings and of edge-tools to a limited extent; formerly there was a considerable manufactory for cloth. The living is a vicarage, endowed with a portion of the rectorial tithes, with the living of Dundry annexed, valued in the king's books at £30. 13. 4., and in the patronage of the Bishop of Bath and Wells, and others, in turn; impropriator of the remainder of the great tithes, George Smyth, Esq. The tithes belonging to the vicar have been commuted for £416. 15., and those of Mr. Smyth for £98. 3. The church is a massive and spacious edifice with a nave and aisles, 106 feet in length by 60 in breadth, and having a tower at the west end 103 feet high. In the eastern corner of the south aisle is a handsome monument of the Baker family, who formerly had large possessions in the parish, and from whom the manor of Chew-Baker has its name; and inserted in a window of the aisle, is a wooden effigy, supposed to be of Hautville: in the eastern corner of the north aisle are monuments to the Strachy family. There are places of worship for Baptists, the Society of Friends, and Wesleyans. At the western extremity of the parish, adjoining North Whitcomb, on an eminence which commands a fine view towards the Bristol Channel, is Bow Ditch, or Burledge, a circular camp with triple intrenchments. To the north of the village is a well called Bully well, the water of which is said to be efficacious for diseases of the eye.

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

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