Claverton

CLAVERTON, a parish, in the union of Bath, hundred of Hampton and Claverton, though locally in the hundred of Bath-Forum, E. division of Somerset, 2½ miles (E. S. E.) from Bath; containing 177 inhabitants. This parish, which is situated on the new road to Warminster, and separated from Bath by a hill round which the river Avon winds its picturesque course, comprises by computation 1200 acres: there are some quarries of excellent freestone. The old baronial manor-house, which retained the marks of an assault from Cromwell's army, who fired some cannon-shot, by which the walls were perforated, was removed by the late John Vivian, Esq., who had recently purchased the property and erected a handsome modern seat on a different site. The village is situated in a romantic valley, which is environed by bold and beautifully wooded hills, and through which passes the Kennet and Avon canal. The valley is remarkable for its rich variety of botanical specimens. In the reign of Henry III. a grant was obtained, whereby Claverton and the village of Hampton were exempted from the jurisdiction of the hundred, and constituted a liberty. The living is a discharged rectory, valued in the king's books at £10. 6. 10½., and in the gift of George Vivian, Esq.: the incumbent's tithes have been commuted for £162. 11., and a rent-charge of £18. 10. is paid to the rector of St. Mary's on the Hill; the glebe contains upwards of 34½ acres, with a glebe-house. The church is an elegant structure in the later English style, having a square embattled tower overspread with ivy, and from its beautiful situation forms an attractive feature. A sunken tract across the Downs, said to be traceable to the river Severn, is supposed to be the Wansdyke, which formed the boundary of the West Saxon kingdom. Richard Graves, author of the Spiritual Quixote, and other works, was rector of the parish, where he died in 1804, having held the incumbency fifty-four years. Mr. Allen, the inventor of the plan for the cross-post delivery of letters, who built the mansion of Prior Park, and was the friend and patron of Pope and other poets, was interred in a large mausoleum in the churchyard.

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

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