Collinson on Langford

The Rev. John Collinson’s remarkable three-volume The History and Antiquities of the County of Somerset was published in 1791.  It is organised by hundred and parish, with the result that “our” Langford is partly described in Volume 1 under Burrington and partly in Volume 3 under Churchill.

In the Burrington entry, Langford is described as a tithing, containing sixteen houses, situated half a mile west of the village.  The ‘manor of Langford Court’ is described as having ‘belonged to the Creswicks, and afterwards by marriage to the Jones’s, of which last family Edward Jones, esq; left one only daughter and heiress Elizabeth, who was first married to John Withers Sherwood, esq; and secondly to the rev. Mr Whalley, who now owns the manor’.

In the Churchill entry, the hamlet of Lower-Langford is described as standing on the ‘great road from Bristol to Bridgwater’, ‘at the eastern extremity of the parish … in a pleasant situation’.  It is said to contain ‘several very neat dwellings and large tanning yards’.  Collinson continues: ‘A small stream at the eastern end of this hamlet divides the parish of Churchill from that of Burrington; and a ford through it, before the erection of the bridge, gave the place its denomination.   On this stream, northward from Langford, and between it and the town of Wrington, is the hamlet of Blackmore, …’.

Collinson then goes on to detail the Domesday Book entry for the manor of Blackmore, which is now believed to refer to the area around Blackmore Farm, near Cannington.  Other writers have often in the past made a similar mistake by confusing “our” Langford with Langford Budville, near Wellington.  Interestingly, in 1086, the manor of Blackmore was held by Roger de Courseulles, whose more than one hundred holdings in Somerset included 1½ hides in Wrington, held from the Abbot of Glastonbury.  He also held Shipham and later came to acquire holdings in what is now Churchill, whose name derives from his.

Collinson continues: ‘Near Blackmore is a small hamlet called Stock.  Between the hamlet of Langford and Mendip-hill is a moor called Smeath’s Moor, containing about twenty-five acres, and belonging to the Bishop of Bath and Wells, whose tenants departure their cattle thereon in common’.  Smeath’s Moor lies in the area bounded to the north and south by the roads through Lower and Upper Langford and in the east and west by Langford Brook and Says Lane.  It was enclosed by Act of Parliament in 1797.  The apportionment and accompanying maps are held at the Somerset Heritage Centre, Ref. Q\RDe/42.

John Gowar   22 Nov 2016