Farleigh-Hungerford (St. Leonard)

FARLEIGH-HUNGERFORD (St. Leonard), a parish, in the union of Frome, hundred of Wellow, E. division of Somerset, 7 miles (S. E.) from Bath; containing 154 inhabitants. This place derives the adjunct to its name from the distinguished family of Hungerford, for more than 300 years lords of the manor, which was sold in 1370, with the hundred of Wellow, to Sir Thomas Hungerford, steward to John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster. The parish is on the river Frome, and comprises 937 acres, of which 26 are common or waste; the surface is diversified, rising into hills of various elevation, clothed with forest-trees and thriving plantations. The substrata are chiefly forest marble, grit, and oolite freestone of good quality. Farleigh Castle, the manorial seat, is beautifully situated in a well-wooded park, approached by a pleasing carriage-drive from the new turnpike-road between Warminster and Bath. The living is a discharged rectory, valued in the king's books at £8. 11. 8., and in the gift of Mr. Houlton: the tithes have been commuted for £107, and the glebe consists of 47½ acres. The church is an ancient structure, with a tower, and a south porch, over which is a circular stone with a monkish distich in Latin; the interior was repaired and beautified by the late Lieut.-Col. Houlton: in one of the windows is a portrait in stained glass of Sir Thomas Hungerford, speaker of the house of commons. The castle of Farleigh is of uncertain foundation; it was enlarged in 1378 by Sir Thomas Hungerford, with four towers, of which two are remaining. The building was quadrangular, and some of the walls are still pretty perfect. The chapel and the mausoleum within the walls are in tolerable preservation, and contain some sepulchral monuments of great beauty, among which are, a panelled altar-tomb with the recumbent effigies of Sir Thomas Hungerford and his lady Joanna, and a black and white marble monument with the effigies of Sir Edward Hungerford and lady; the walls of the mausoleum are covered with armorial bearings, and those of the chapel with pieces of ancient armour. A Roman tessellated pavement was discovered in 1685; and more recently, a bath and other vestiges of a Roman villa were found, on digging in a field about half a mile north-westward from the castle. During the wars of the roses, the castle was the birthplace of Margaret, Countess of Salisbury, daughter of George, Duke of Clarence, and mother of Cardinal Pole. The Rev. B. Richardson, late rector of the parish, was one of the founders of the English school of geology.

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

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