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Whyttokes Johanna, Nun of Whitehall, 1423 Whittoke Marcus.


Wilmot John Eardley, Justice. 1767.

atte Will, atte Welle John 1370. atte Welle James 1427.

Woxbregge Roger de 1846. Uxbridge.

Wynforde John 1404. I427. Wyndame Francis, Justice. 1581.
Wytbryd Walter Hen. III. Wyttenstalle Thomas 1556.
Yartecombe Walter 1476. Yevele Webbe 1409,
Yeveltone 1402. 1566. Iveltone 1581.

atte Yerde, Robert 1366. Yerde in Ievelchester 1390.
Yerde, John Brice de, Atte Yerde John, alias Brice. 1391,
Yonge Robert, Vicar of the Church of Bradepole 1362.
Yonge Nicholas, clerk. 1400.

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Some brief Notices Topographical and Historical of Mediæbal Ilchester.

The substance of these Notes is derived chiefly from the foregoing Deeds; in part, from local tradition and personal investigation; and in some instances, recourse has been had to the Archæological researches of others.

The Antiquarian gleanings thus brought together, though of minor importance, may yet serve as a slight contribution to the meagre Topography of this now decayed, but ancient and once celebrated place.

In the time of the earlier Norman Kings, the name of this Town was written IVELCESTER; an euphonious appellation which was afterwards corrupted into Yevel, or Yevil-chester. This again, was subsequently improved into Ivelchester; and finally, by an awkward contraction of the first two syllables, the word settled down into Ilchester; the name by which the Town and Parish are now designated.


Among the most permanent features of a District, or a Town, may be reckoned its public Roads and Thoroughfares; and we find, that the lapse of six centuries has effected no material change in the course of the principal Thoroughfares of Ilchester. From a very Early Period, the Streets of the Town have been, as they now are, Five in number. 1. Chepstrete (Deeds, Hen, III. to 1428.) now Church Street. 2. West Strete (1369) also called High Street (1390) The former

name yet survives. 3. La Venele. Venella (Hen. III. to 1424) afterwards Abbey Lane; now Almshouse Lane. 4. La Lane (Hen. III.); called Back Lane, and terminating with Free Street, 5. A Street, no otherwise distinguished in the Deed which refers to it, than as the "Public Road on the South side of the Church of the Blessed St Mary Major." 1402. At that date, it was strictly a street within the Town Wall, but is now the commencement of the Road to Limington.

1. CHEPSTRETE. This Street began at the Bridge, and the North Gate; passing over the Roman road, or Fosse way, for the first sixty yards. Then making a turn to the left, it curved in a southerly direction towards Chilthorne and Yeovil, and terminated at the South Gate. Near the North Gate, on the West side of Chepstrete, was the Nunnery called White Hall; on the opposite side of the Road stood the church of St. Mary Minor; and considerably further down the Street, on the same side, was St. Mary Major, the present Parish Church; and the sole existing Church in Ilchester.

In Chepstrete much of the trade of the Town was carried on, in the Shops and Stalls with which it was lined, This was by far the longest, and probably the most populous and busy thoroughfare of Ivelcester. Houses extended on either side of it, from the North Gate at the Bridge, to the South Gate, which crossed the Yeovil Road at a spot somewhere near the present Turnpike bar. The orchard on the left, and the Rectory garden on the right, were then covered with dwellings, At no great distance from the South Gate, in Chepstrete, and just within the Town Wall, must have stood the Church of St. Peter, No manuscript indeed, makes special mention of St. Peter's Church; but the Cross of St. Peter is distinctly assigned to this precise locality; and the Church, it may naturally be presumed, was not far removed from the Cross.

2. WEST STRETE. 1369. West Street is a part of the ancient Roman Road, or Fosse-way; and beginning at the

junction with Chepstrete, near the Market Cross, continues its course South West in the direction of Ilminster and Exeter. The West Gate of the Town was the boundary of the Street in that direction. From the undeviating straightness of the Fosseway until it touched the Wall, the position of this Gate might be distinctly seen from the North Gate at the Bridge: and thus, the eye could take in at a single glance, a view of the Street throughout. In early times, the ancient Prison, or Common Gaol, stood near the Market Place, but withdrawn from the road; and was approached by the County Path, or "Shire Path Lane" At the other extremity of West Strete was the House of the Friars Preachers, having its Eastern Gate opening into the Road. Opposite to this Gate of the Friary was erected, in 1426, the Almshouse; at the North West corner of the Lane Venella, which led from West Street into Chepstrete. The diversified

aspect of this interesting Street in those early days, would contrast strangely with its present deteriorated appearancewith its long array of mean cottages, stretching from end to end in ugly uniformity. On the one side, the Precincts of the Friary extended from the West Gate for a considerable distance, presenting a handsome frontage towards the Street. From the Friary Northwards, the houses, built in blocks, or detached, disclosed glimpses at intervals of the Town Wall behind. While, near the Market Place, where the population congregated more closely, the dwellings doubled back from the street; to which they had access by an outlet or lane, opening opposite to the West end of the Guildhall. This outlet is called by Dr. Stukeley Shirepath Lane; and as such it continued to be known, until its final disappearance some fifty years ago, when the Street was remodelled after its present homely fashion. At the end of Shirepath, under the Town Wall Westward, ran another lane, leading to a place called The Yard, and hence deriving its name of Yard Lane. The exact

locality of "The Yard" is doubtful, and no trace is left to denote the kind of trade carried on there. The business, whatever its nature, was no doubt important and thriving; and in some of the Deeds the name of the place, after the manner of the time, was frequently substituted for the surname of the occupier. Thus, John Brice de Yerde, is commonly described as John atte Yerde, or John Yerde. The special business of the tenant, was most probably combined with Farming; to judge from the circumstance, that the names of "Great Yard" and "Long Yard" still attach to two large fields, comprising together forty three acres of the richest pasture land in the Parish. This fine tract of land lay close outside the Western wall, being bounded to the North by the Ivel, on the South by "Langport Way" or Pill Bridge Lane. In two of the earlier Deeds (Hen. III. Ed. III.) allusion is made to small sums paid annually out of certain tenements in Ivelcester, to "the Farm of the Town"-Firme Ville Ivelcestre. I think it very probable, that this Town Farm and the Yard were identical. Among several significations of the word Yard, formerly in use, was one now obsolete, applying to the measure of land. A yard of land was computed generally at about forty acres: but the measurement varied in different counties, from twenty acres or less, to forty acres.

Nor was the other side of West Street deficient in interesting features. From the West Gate to the cross street Venella, the space was covered by the Manor House and grounds, possibly the abode of Hugh de Venele in the reign of Henry the Third. Several centuries later, a large Mansion was erected on the spot by one of the Lockyers', then become the wealthiest and most influential family in Ivelchester. A portion of this edifice, comprising the two Eastern gables, was taken down many years ago: the remainder was converted into the Manor Farm House. Crossing Venella, the next object of interest was the Almshouse, founded by Robert

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