Combe St Nicholas Parish

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The following study was taken from Mark McDermott of the Somerset Vernacular Building Research Group. The early church and its history are traced by its former vicar, Rev G. de Y. Aldridridge (History of Combe St. Nicholas SANHS Proc. 73 (1927) 11-23)

Purpose of Timeline

Many Torreys through the centuries were buried in church yard of Combe St. Nicholas Parish, one of the most recent being of the Torreys being Phillip Torrey in 1621. Was there a "Torrey Bubble" established in Combe St. Nicholas? When did they arrive?

  • Norman
  • Anglican
  • Calvin
  • Fire

Manor and Church

Anglo Saxon to Norman Architecture: 11th to 12th Century Early History traced by former vicar G. de Y Aldrich [1] Suggested Sequence of Development St Nicholas Church Norman because

1) remains of a Romanesque doorway
2) survival of pilaster buttress at the former NW corner of the nave
3) a similar buttress on the north side of the corner before the north aisle was extended Wheatley (1848)
4) clasping buttress on the corner and a pilaster on the North wall of the Nave
Note: A Norman church would have had a simple plan of Chancel [5] and a long aisleless nave with an elaborate North doorway and possible a central tower.
5) It lacks diagnostic moldings, (What are diagnostic moldings) but the early font [6] may be pre-conquest (Anglo Saxon)
  • Manor: Azor, son of Torold in Edward the Confessor's reign. AngloSaxon [2]
Also see [7]
  • Acquired in 1070 by Bishop Gisold of Wells who held it in 1086 (Domesday) Bishop Gisold died in 1088 [8] Note: Doomsday makes no mention of a church "not conclusive evidence of absence.
  • Combe sometimes referred to as "Episcopi."
  • Bishop Reginald (1174-1191) assigned manor to the precentor of Wells. [Note: the Comba seats in the house of Wells] Subject to payment of 5 "prebends" (the portion of revenues paid to the canon nor member of chapter for his stipend)[9]

13th Century:

7) 13C renovations - lancet windows in the west tower and other windows that were altered, the tower arch and piscina in the chancel; the "chamfered rear arches in the north and south windows in the chancel die into the jambs in a similar way to those of the lancelets in the base of the tower - perhaps similar in date to later Traceries [see Pevsner]
8) White indicates an updating of the nave in the late 13th and early 14th century by illustrating former windows in the nave with Decorated-style intersecting tracery.
9) Prof. Hamilton Thompson believed short sided aisles were added in the 13C and then widened in the 15C but does not cite any evidence to support this claim.
  • 1217 Bishop Jocelyn increased payment to 10 each receiving 10 marks. (each?) one of whom was appointed by the bishop of Provost of Combe.[3] In addition to his 10 marks, Bishop Jocelyn held the Church of Combe in the position of Rector.
  • 1234 The vicarage was formed with the chapelry at Waterston (Weston). It included a vicarage house on the north side of the road to Whitestaunton. The vicar was presented by the provost.
Jocelyn ordered that the outgoing vicar should leave 107 acres sowed with wheat, 149 sowed with oats, 781/2 acres left fallow . 40 oxen or 5s per oxen below that number. 200 sheep or 12d (presumably representing the demesne[4])
  • 9 Aug 1239 the church (Alderidge refers to this as "the new church") was dedicated to St. Nicholas by the bishop of Waterford in the presence of Jocelyn.
Henry de Hampton instituted as vicar
  • In 1343-3 Edward III granted a "charter of free warren [5] to the provost. The provost had his courthouse in the field opposite the church (Aldridge)

16th Century 1519 - The dean presented the vicar for the first time (The provostship seems to have been merged in the deanery between 1502 and 1519).

The Torrey Family left Combe St. Nicholas in 1640

18th Century

  • 1748-1763 School in the churchhouse chamber
  • 1769 The church house in front of the church yard was refitted and used as a poorhouse/workhouse.

Records of Marriages, Births, Burials

FamilySearch:Talk [10]


  1. "History of Combe St. Nicholas SANHS Proc 73, (1923) 11-23"
  2. "Edward the Confessor [1]"
  3. "Head of a Christian Community [2] 2.2"
  4. "definition of demesne[3]"
  5. "Definition of a Charter of Free Warren [4]"
  • History of Church at Combe St. Nicholas [11]
1) Also see:
2) Blackdown Hills separating Somerset from Devon [12]

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