History of Merriott Homes

History of Merriott Homes

A few people currently living in Merriott have contacted me regarding their research into the history of homes they are living in.  I don’t have
expertise in this area – if anyone can help, please contact the people mentioned directly.  Thankyou in advance!

1. Christine Stigner – Chapel Cottage, Merriott

Christine emailed me this in 2004.  Here is an excerpt from her email:

Dear Sue, 

I have been reading your pages on Merriott with interest.  My partner, Paul, bought a cottage in Merriott 3 years ago. He has family who already live there. The previous owners of the cottage had carried out some research into its history and we are trying to build on their work.  The cottage is called Chapel Cottage. It is so named because it has, as part of the accommodation, a mediaeval chapel.  The ground floor has six mediaeval cinquefoil windows, two of which have since been bricked up to make way for a kitchen.  Upstairs
there is what is now a bedroom, which also has cinquefoil windows, the bedroom also has a barrel vaulted ceiling. These ceilings were often used for private chapels and churches. In the attic there is an inspection hatch, through which the remains of the original mediaeval roof can be seen beneath a later replacement.

We have been given an extract from the local parish magazine, dated 1959, which asks ‘could this be the lost chapel of St Catherine?’ This is one of the aspects of the house that we are keen to discover.

Chapel cottage is in fact half of a house, the other half being Millers cottage. The property is opposite Court Mill. According to the tithe documents the house, mill, orchard, garden, barn, cottage, stable and various fields were all owned by yeoman John Brown. We do have some details of the ownership of the property prior to this – back to mediaeval times. This includes mention of a man called Thomas Hallett who owned the house in the 1700’s and whose name is burned into the beam of the inglenook fireplace.

We have discovered that the house was once known as ‘Court Place’. The name of the house, mill and lane (Court Mill Lane), suggest that this would once have been the location of the manorial court. We have discovered that the court was most recently held at the pub, the Kings Arms, but we cannot find any definite proof that it was ever held at Court Place.

We have also discovered that St Catherine of Alexandria was a very popular saint in mediaeval times. She is the namesake of the firework, the Catherine wheel, due to the way in which she was martyred. It is also because of this that she became the patron saint of millers!

I would be really interested to know if any other visitors to your site have any further information about Chapel Cottage and Court Mill and if you would be interested in any further information about these properties should we be able to find it.

Thank you, Christine Stigner    christine.stigner@btopenworld.com

Bryan Morris – The Girdlers, Merriott

Bryan emailed me in July 2004.   This is an excerpt from the email:

“I was trying to get info’ on a house my family lived in during WW2 in Merriott when I came across your very interesting web site. This house was called ‘The Girdlers’ in Lower Street. It was built in the 1700’s and is a listed building. I was interested in its history.
My family moved there in 1940 when my father was posted to Moorlands in the Air Ministry. We lived there with a Mr Taylor. We rented rooms but in fact my mother soon took over looking after Mr Taylor as he was then in his late 70’s. He died in 1945 just before the end of WW2. In fact you have his burial noted under Other Churches, Merriott Burials. You have him as Arthur William Taylor age 56 but in fact he was 80.
The Girdlers was opposite the Osborne farm in Lower Street. We got all our dairy produce from there throughout the war. Milk was ladled out in pint and half pint measuring ladles into enamel jugs in those days. I expect that those Osbornes were related to you.
Through your web site I have got in touch with David Gibbs. We have lots in common. Thank you for setting up such an interesting source of information.
I am still looking for info’ on the Girdlers but no luck so far. I’ll probably have to look at the records in Taunton.
Thanks again.  Regards  Bryan Morris “

If anyone can help Bryan, please email him at:  Morrisbryanm@aol.com