Chewton-Mendip (St. Mary Magdalene)

CHEWTON-MENDIP (St. Mary Magdalene), a parish, in the union of Wells, hundred of Chewton, E. division of Somerset, 5¾ miles (N. E. by N.) from Wells, containing, with the tything of Widcombe, 1216 inhabitants. The village is situated amidst the Mendip hills, where are mines of lead-ore and lapis calaminaris: the former are not now worked, and the trade in the latter is much reduced. In the reign of Henry VIII., a dispute arose between the prior of Greenoar cell upon Mendip and the tenants within this manor, relative to some infringement on his rights by the miners, to settle which the lord chief justice came expressly into the county, and laid the basis of the laws by which the miners are now governed. Any miner considering himself aggrieved complains to the leadreeve, who summons a jury of 24 miners, from whose decision there is no appeal; various modes of punishment are applied, the highest being expulsion from the hills. There is a fair for toys, &c., on Holy-Thursday; and the pettysessions for the division are held here. The living is a discharged vicarage, with the livings of Emborrow and Stone-Easton annexed, valued in the king's books at £29. 11. 8.; patron and impropriator, W. Kingsmill, Esq. The great tithes of the parish have been commuted for £352. 10., and the vicarial for £235; the glebe comprises 31 acres, with a glebe-house. The church is in the decorated style of English architecture, with some Norman remains, and has a fine tower, 126 feet high, surmounted by lofty pinnacles. At Farrington-Gurney, in the parish, is a chapel of ease. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans; also a school supported from land on Chew down, inclosed a few years since, and the annual rent of which is about £20. Chewton gives the title of Viscount to Earl Waldegrave.

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

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