POST DISSOLUTION to 1700 The monastic buildings and the surrounding land - probably all that lying within the Park boundary walls - were immediately sold to Sir Walter Hungerford while the rest of the monastic lands in Hinton and Norton remained in the hands of the Crown. The Kings Commissioners, perhaps due to a misunderstanding, had the lead stripped out of most of the Priory roofs while Hungerford was in London on business. In a furious letter to Thomas Cromwell he complained that they had `sold and despoiled, and quite carried away a great part of the church and other superfluous buildings' and begged for compensation. He also complained that in this brief interval Champneys of Orchardleigh and other local gentlemen had looted the deeds and charters from the Prior's cell. However matters got much worse for Sir Walter. His own unpleasant misdeeds and his friendship with Thomas Cromwell led to him falling foul of the King and in 1541 he was executed with Cromwell on Tower Hill and the Priory reverted to the Crown. A few years later the Priory buildings and land were bought by Matthew Colthurst. His son, Edmund, lived at Hinton for a number of years and it was this Edmund who bought the Abbey Church in Bath and presented it to the citizens. In 1578 he sold his land in Hinton back to the Hungerfords, who were already renting the Grange Farm and its land from the Crown. The present Priory house is generally agreed to have been built around a 15th century monastic gatehouse or guesthouse and this was extended and altered in the reign of Elizabeth. In the 1950's the architect, C.S. Railegh-Radford, an authority on ancient buildings was of the opinion that these alterations and additions were made in the last quarter of the 16th century, which would point to the Hungerfords as the builders. A lease in the Hungerford rent book dated 1582 seems to suggest a house that has been recently modernised. The building is described as: `a feyre house for a gent to dwell in, all covered with slatte, with courtes gardens and orchard very orderly and it inclosed with a stone walle.....' Other Hungerford leases confirm that a number of new houses were being built at the time and alterations and additions to this house may well have taken place then. Over the years members of the Hungerford family lived at the Priory. Captain Antony Hungerford, Captain in the Queen's Army in Ireland, died in 1594 and lies buried under the Victorian tiles in Hinton church and in the early years of the 17th century a Hungerford daughter, Mary Shaa, lived there for some while with her husband, whose family were London goldsmiths and whose grandfather had been Lord Mayor of London. The only other substantial building in Hinton at the Dissolution appears to have been the Grange Farm near the church. This was not destroyed by the Commissioners and just a few years later in 1541, John Leyland, the Tudor traveller and writer, passed by and described the scene: I ridde a mile of by Woddy Ground to a Graung great and well buildid, that longid to Henton-Priorie of Charthusians. This Priory stoudith not far of from this Graunge, on the brow of a Hille, ......I rodde by the space of a Mile or more by Woddes and Mountaine Grounde to a Place, where I saw a rude stone Waulle hard on the right hond by a great lenghte as it had been a Parke Waulle.He then rides on to Midford and crosses the stone bridge and continues to Bath.From an ecclesiastical return of 1559 an interesting fact emerges - Hinton is shown as having only 22 households - less than half of that of Norton's total of 54. This seems to suggest an extremely small work force for such a large agricultural area, but these statistics may well have ignored any `squatter' cottages and shacks built on waste land. The next mention of the Grange is in a Hungerford lease of 1589 when it was still owned by the Crown but leased to Sir Walter and sub-let to a farmer:the tenament or Farme house called Henton Graunge .....with the garden & orchard adjoyning the old barne the South end of the oxehouse with ii feildes belonging to the Graunge, the old Kytchyn and the Dovehouse.....The lease also lists a number of field names, some of which are still used to-day. It also lays down how much wheat and barley are to be sown and what proportion is to be brought to the Lord's barn in payment. At this time it seems little had changed since the departure of the Carthusians . There were still two open fields in the village - the North and the South. The South appears to have originally stretched from the area of the New Town lane westwards to the road to Norton St. Philip and then over more fields to Tuggy's Lane, while the North field, which would have been much more hilly, lay between the Wellow Lane and Midford. By this time areas within these fields had probably been enclosed and most of the land was being let out in tracts of several hundred acres rather than under the older strip system. The year 1603 was to see Elizabeth's death and the arrival of James I. It also saw the growth of the witch hunts, which were to continue for the next hundred years or so. These seem to have had a number of triggers - the loss of the dispensing of medicine and alms by the monks and nuns and the resulting importance given to women who knew the power of herbs. Another factor may have been the unpopularity of single women who now needed to be supported by their neighbours, and finally James I's known obsession with the subject. Hinton had one instance of witch persecution in 1610 when 11 local residents signed a petition to the Justice of the Peace at the Quarter Sessions at Taunton asking that `one Elizabeth Busher, wiffe of one Robert Busher' may be apprehended and punished. They accused her of keeping a bawdy house, having a number of base born children, disturbing her neighbours and threatening mischief against them and `lastlie both reputed and feared to be a dangerous witch thorow the untimely Death of men, women and children which she hath hated, threatned and handled'. She had been up before the Justices previously and ordered to live more peaceably, but to no avail and had even `railed at the officers' who came to execute the Justices warrant. `And so doth live about woods and obscure places without obedience to the lawes of god and this land, and to the terrour of her neighbours'. She may well have been a neighbour from hell and possibly mentally ill, but the justices in Taunton appear to have disbelieved she was a witch as the only outcome was a Warrant for good behaviour against her. She does not appear in the Church records, although the death of a Robert Busher occurs some years later. In 1617 King James I granted the revenues from Hinton and Norton to his son Prince Charles and the Crown lands were surveyed. This is known as Norden's Survey. Norden seemed surprised that Hinton was attached to Norton: Henton is now a member of this manor (Norton) being as it seemeth of itself in former times a manor for it hath all that it requireth to make a manor, demeses, freeholders and customary tenants...However, by far the largest land holding was still that of the Grange, which he noted had `fayre barnes, stables, etc.' By this time the Earl of Rutland had taken over as the main tenant having married a Hungerford widow and the Grange was sublet to `one, Wright, ...who fells yearly many timber trees, the best oaks, without number'. The Grange's pastures, woods and other lands are all listed and amount to the huge total of 1,513 acres. Of these 800 acres were in arable land, divided equally between the two open fields. The rent for this was £49.8.8d and its value was £567.0.0d. Apart from the Hungerfords' ownership of the Priory there were few other freeholders. Tobias Horton owned Iford mill. (He had been among the signatories of the petition against Elizabeth Busher - had she lived in Friary wood?) Edward Popham owned 120 acres somewhere below Cleeve wood, while Henry Davison of Freshford had 70 acres of pasture & meadow. A few years later there was to be a major change in ownership. Charles I was having difficulty in raising money through Parliament and found it necessary to sell off a number of estates still held by the Crown. Thus it was that around 1630 the royal holdings in Hinton and Norton were sold to Lord Craven, a courtier and a staunch supporter of the Royalist cause. He was also immensely rich and financially supported the King's Sister, Elizabeth of Bohemia, when the King could no longer do so. He was abroad fighting on her behalf during the whole of the Civil War and it is probably for this reason that his agent, Samuel Parson, who had roots in Norton, was never able to deliver the survey he completed in 1639. In Parson's Survey we glimpse Hinton again. According to Parsons the village no longer has the work force to farm the land. The tenant farmers at the Grange - two families called Wickham - are farming 1,331 acres and have 740 acres of arable in the open fields. Parson writes that Lord Craven's rents should be worth far more than he is receiving. He complains that there is much abuse of the woodland and that Mr. Giles Hungerford (from Wellow) has cut down 10 or 12 oaks in Edge Wood, which lies to the west of the village on the edge of the Wellow valley (Samuel Parsons never hides his dislike of the Hungerfords!). He also has a long list of the abuses committed by the Wickhams. They are selling wood, saying it is for the sheep hurdles they need; they give wood to Bakers pretending it is for them to bake the farmers' bread, and they do the same with wheelwrights saying it is for cart wheels and ploughs. They fell trees and let them die and then say it is windfall wood, etc. etc. However Parson's most significant comment is that: The very Tythe yearly and the Sheepe pasture in those open fields are of more worth yearly than the ground is rented at in this survey. Both the pasture and earrable land would be much ymproved if the tennants were sufficient and able men fully to stock and manage the same but they are poore and live uppon the spoyle and wast of wood and tymber and none lookes after them.This was a very bad time for farming. Only a few years before wagons, loaded with corn travelling from Trowbridge to Bristol to relieve acute shortages there, were attacked by Hinton villagers on Midford Hill. They were angry that the supplies should leave the area. At the time only magistrates could authorise such movements and in this case such permission had been obtained. Only the arrival of Mr. Wickham managed to calm the situation, but the incident gave rise to a government inquiry. Samuel Parsons comments on the serious shortage of farm workers in Hinton and at the same time notes that Jeffrey Flower, who farms the Grange in Norton, `claymeth that 15 cottages built upon the wastes & lanes in the manor of Henton are within his lease.... they are worth 3s 4d apiece'. These suggest labourers' cottages. The Flowers were a well-to-do family and he may well have been rich enough to house his workers in Hinton, while Hinton Grange was so reduced. It begins to look as though Hinton, reduced to part of Norton, had become a backwater, while Norton, with its annual Fair and weekly markets was more economically sustainable. It seems very probable that in earlier days the Carthusians' building works in Norton had far outstripped those in Hinton. They had realigned the streets and caused houses and the George Inn to be built and made Norton their commercial centre. They had had the Hinton Fair moved to Norton to ensure their own peace and quiet, and may have only allowed those necessary to the running of the Grange to remain in Hinton. By the 1630's the vast Grange Farm could no longer be worked economically. The Civil War saw much hardship in the villages with both Parliamentarians and Royalists taking advantage of pasture and corn for their horses, (Paul Hart of Hinton complained that he had lost a whole field of grazing), while pigs, cattle and other supplies were taken to feed their troops. Sir Edward Hungerford, a staunch Parliamentarian, battled with his cousin, a Royalist, for Farleigh Castle and took over all the land in Hinton that belonged to Lord Craven - absent in the Netherlands. Sir Edward died in 1648 and was succeeded by his nephew, another Sir Edward. With the Restoration of 1660 Craven could safely return to England and the lands that had been confiscated during the Civil War were legally sold to Sir Edward. However this Sir Edward was a very different person to his late uncle and by 1668 he had mortgaged the Manors and Granges of both Hinton and Norton for £2,500 . Not many years later he was to be bankrupted by his gambling and extravagances at Court and this was to lead to the break-up of the great Hungerford estates and have a considerable impact on the inhabitants of the small village of Hinton Charterhouse.
ARCHIVE EXTRACTS FOR SIXTEENTH TO TWENTIETH CENTURY (From the WI Village History 1953) There is a large oval shaped depression near Norwood between Norton and Hinton which is called the Bull Pit, and tradition has it that it was used for Bull Baiting at one time. A great many houses have completely disappeared and the village is much smaller now than it used to be, the largest number being in 1841 when 70 people were employed weaving and the population numbered 795 - as compared to a population of just under 400 to-day. The old Crown Inn, which stood where the water-tank now is, was burnt down in the 1880's. Sparks from Mr. Colborne's traction engine having set fire to the thatch in passing. Mrs. Ottery remembered being brought to see it and how frightened she was, "the Inn had railings, steps, and a Barton." There were cottages past the school opposite the old oak tree which, according to an old picture was the same size in 1803 as it is to-day. There were 3 cottages on the Green, which having become derelict were pulled down in 1901, and the extra land given to the Church Yard by Mrs. Roberts of Homewood. There is a memorial Tablet on the Church Yard wall commemorating this gift. Mr. Clark of Hinton Field remembers there was a Farm House called Tait Farm below Tait wood which Mr. Foxcroft had pulled down. The well is still there and the stone was used in Norton Barn. Hinton Farm was considerably larger than it is now, but when Mr. Willis built Innox Lodge a good part of the farm was pulled down and the farm garden became the garden of the present Innox Lodge. In the old days, before motor transport, all villages were very self contained, and Hinton village had its forges, one near the post office and later another near the Green. Its shoemaker, Mr. Clements, was at the Cross Roads by Wellow Lane, and also opposite, its saddler. In what is now Mr. Lambert s farm there were five Malt Houses. These were:1) One where the schools now are, which previously had been a poor House, according to tradition. 2) In Mr. Colborne`s yard.3) Opposite Mrs. Bailey`s where Mr. Mopsey's house stood.4) Near the Shop where cars are now garaged 5) In the Garden behind "Moonta".Beer was brewed at the Crown and at the Masons's Arms. Mr. Fred Andrews was the last man to make malt in the village before World War I. Miss Wiltshire says her house in the street, with the Bow window, was originally a Butchers Shop and we know from the Pioneer Corp Papers there were several Bakers. One of them, Mr. Mopsey,had his bakery just inside the wall almost opposite The Stag, and there were other houses pulled down there. People can remember a sweet shop near the Green, and Mr. Clark can remember being sent to fetch Lardy Cakes from the Stag Inn. The Village water supply was very inadequate and Mr. E.T.D. Foxcroft decided to install a Ram, to pump up water from a very good spring near Norton Barn, which was able to supply the House and Village. The Ram was made by John Wallis Fiff of Warminster and exhibited at the Bath and West show at Taunton in 1895. It was fetched from Taunton by two men who charged 52/- to fetch it from Taunton with a waggon and horses.