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WITHERIDGE CANNINGTON the Rectorial property and Advowson not a DOMESDAY MANOR.

This is not a Domesday holding, but seems to owe its origin to the separation of Rectory and Manor in 1354, when the heir of the Fitzpaynes, Sir John Chidiok, bought the reversion of the Manor from the then tenant, and made over the Rectory to the Benedictine Priory of Cannington in Somerset.

1354 : Jan 24. Tower of London. Licence for the alienation in mortmain by John de Chidick and Robert de Sambourn to the Prioress and Convent of Canyngton of 12d of rent in Whytherigg, co, Devon, and the advowson of the church of the same town and for appropriation of the church to the prioress and convent (Patent Rolls).

1389 and 1426. Inspecimus and confirmation of the above for half a mark paid in the hanaper.

1427: 10 Martin V. To the prior of Plympton. Mandate on a recent petition of the Benedictine Prioress and Convent of Cannington in the diocese of Bath and Wells containing that at its foundation the same priory was endowed with the fruits etc. in the lowlying villages some of which are by the sea, and that the tide and other misfortunes the said fruits etc, have been much diminished, to appropriate to them the parish church of Wytherigg in the diocese of Exeter of their patronage value not exceeding 60 pounds sterling. A fit portion to be reserved for a perpetual vicar. (Cal. of Papal Reg. Vol.V111 p.512)

1428: Translated from the original Record now remaining in the Principal Registry of the Lord Bishop of Exeter. Parish chest copy)

ENDOWMENT of the Vicarage of WYTHERIGGE. To all the sons of our Holy Mother Church unto whom these presents shall come, EDMUND by Divine Permission Bishop of Exeter sendeth greetings, WHEREAS according to the Institute of the Sacred Canons the perpetual vicars to be instituted to Parochial Churches ought to be provided for and such a portion assigned them by their respective Diocesans out of the profits of the said Vicarage as may enable them to discharge the Episcopal claims and received a competent provisions for themselves any custom to the contrary notwithstanding, and WHEREAS our beloved son in Christ the Prior of the Priory of Plympton appertaining to our Patronage and diocese hath by virtue and authority of Apostolical letters to him for this special purpose directed by and with the consent of our beloved son in Christ the Dean and Chapter of our Church at Exeter and according to all due orders and forms of law appropriated incorporated and united the Parish church of Wytherigge in our said Diocese of Exeter with all its rights members and appurtenances to the Prioress and Convent of the Priory of Canyngton in the Diocese of Bath and Wells, and to their successors for ever and hath granted and assigned the said church with its rights etc. to be by them quietly and peaceably possessed in all times hereafter by virtue of the said Apostolical authority and special power being nevertheless reserved unto us as well by the said Apostolical letters as by the sacred Canons of making and determining a competent provision for the perpetual vicar to be instituted in and to the said church whereby the said vicar may be duly provided for and enabled to discharge the Episcopal claims and other burdens on him incumbent. WE therefore proceeding lawfully and canonically to the assignment of the said maintenance and endowment of the said Vicarage and for the purposes and intent of avoiding all uncertainty or matter of dispute in all times to come as touching and concerning the said Vicarage do appoint determine and decree as follows. IMPRIMIS, That the Vicar for the time being, shall have the whole great threat Courtlage for his, Manse and Residence together with the garden, adjoining to the garden a dovecote now within the same, the said Vicar shall like wise have three closes or fields containing eighteen acres on the western side of the Manse of the said Rectory together with a certain meadow of one acre at the upper end of which a certain Fish Pond is situated. He shall also have the smaller coppice namely that which is now the nearest to the Manse of the said Rectory and containing three acres, all other closes, Houses, Coppice, Lands and Tenements remaining solely and entirely to the Said Prioress and Convent as the lawful proprietors thereof. The said Vicar shall moreover have the Tithes of Beans, Peas and Apples growing in the ancient gardens and shall have the Tithes of Coppice Wood throughout the said Parish excepting that of the Coppice and lands reserved to and for the said Proprietors. The said Vicar and his successors shall also have and received the Tithes of Calves, Colts, Lambs, Sucking Pigs, Kids, Geese, Pidgeons, Eggs, Wool, Milk, Cheese and Butter throughout the whole parish, the said vicar shall likewise have the Tithe of Flax, and Hemp growing in the ancient gardens, he shall have also the personal Tithes and obligations in the said Church together with those of Chapels of Saint Margaret and Saint Peter and Saint Paul situate within the said parish, he shall moreover have the moiety of such mortuaries as shall be paid for persons dying within the said parish.

The others profits as well of the Sheaf, Hay, Moiety and the Mortuaries and other things whatsoever not otherwise given being reserved and to remain unto the said Prioress and convent. And as it is agreeable to reason that they who enjoy the benefits should not refuse the burthens WE Ordain and decree that the said Vicar shall perform all Divine Services and offices in the said Church and Chapels as have of ancient custom and usage been performed within the same and shall take upon him the continual repair of the Church and if need shall so require shall restore and rebuild the same. He shall also pay and discharge the Cathedraties, Synodals, Archdeacons, Procurations and Processional Pennies and the said Vicar shall also acknowledge and undergo all burdens ordinary and extraordinary under what name so ever the same shall be imposed that do not properly belong to the Parishioners to discharge and excepting also the payments of the tenth to our Lord the King and an annual Premium of Thirty Shillings to be paid to the Treasury of the Church of Exeter for the use and the benefit of the Choristers to be provided for the service of the said church which two payments shall belong unto and be made by the same Prioress and Convent. IN TESTIMONY whereof and of all and singular the premises WE EDMUND Bishop of Exeter and Diocesan have here to affixed our seal and that this appropriation and endowment may remain firm and inviolate have received the seals of our beloved sons the Dean and Chapter of Exeter likewise to be there unto affixed. Given on our part at our Manor of Clyst the sixteenth day of December in the year, 1428 and of our translation the ninth, and in order that the above Ordination and Endowment may received the greater force and confirmation WE JOANNA CHILDELDON, Prioress of the Priory of Canyngton in the Diocese of Bath and Wells and of the convent herein above named have affixed our common seal. Given on our part in our Chapter House the thirteenth day December in the year herein above mentioned.

1454 : 30th Oct and 1455, 6 Aug. The Prioress and convent were slow to pay to the Dean and Chapter of Exeter that due to them, and the fruits of the parish church of Witheridge were to be sequestrated by the Archdeacon of Barnstaple (Ep. Reg. Lacy)

1536 : At the Dissolution the Rectory of Witheridge was first leased to the insatiable Edward Rogers (who had the Cannington property) by indenture dated 29 May, 1536 with tithe, hay, corn, and lambs for 21 years for the annual rent of £7. Hugo, Somerset Nunneries). Rogers had difficulty in collection this and was forced to apply to Sir Richard Rich, chancellor of the court of Augmentations to enforce it. (Court Augment, P.R.O. Aug. Proc. 16 - 56) For the value of the rectory at this time viz. forty-two shillings with a chief rent of 3/8 payable to the Duchy of Lancaster see Dugdal's Monasticon, 1V, 416 et seq., Valor Eccles. 26, Hen. VIII, and Augment. Rec. 31Hen.VII

1544 : It was granted in reversion next to George Heydon, gent and Hugh Stucley Esq., for the sum of £301.7s. with lands in Broadclyst and elsewhere. The Rectory of Witheridge worth £9 2 4 including three cottages (Hugo, Somerset Nunneries and Hen. VIII. Letters and Papers, Vol,XIX,p.497)

1544 : (See also Grant by Hen. VIII in Benson family papers) The property was divided and Stucley took the Witheridge portion (ibid.p506)

1555 : Family settlement of Hugh Stucley of Affeton includes parsonage and shelf of Witheridge. (Deeds enrolled at Exeter, no 426)

1585 : Hugh Stucley's widow Barbara (Paulet) having married as his second wife Thomas Meluish of Witheridge, John son of Hugh Stucley and stepson of Barbara sold to Thomas Melhuish and Barbara his wife the shief and Manor of Witheridge (sic) Manor of Witheridge Cannington als. Witheridge Parsonage.

2 messuages or ten. Foxston and Downehair.
1 do Pyllaven (Geo. Tanner)
1 ten in occupation, of William Hodge.
1 ten do William Halle in the burrough.
1 ten do Stephen Borne.
1 ten do John Walle.
1 garden next to the vicarage gate.
1 ten in occupation of Robert Crosse
1 ten do David Parker
1 ten do Mariott Downe

To heirs male of Thos. and Barbara and remainder to heirs of Thomas.

Lease on tithes granted 10. Eliz. to George Martyn and William Downeman. One grant of the advowson. One lease of part of tithe of corn to John Maies, gent, and Susan his wife for a term of their lives.

It should be noted that the next presentation to the vicarage in 1587 was made by George Southcomb of Rose Ash.

Of the properties listed above Foxston, Downhay, and Pillaven were not of Witheridge, Cannington. It is hard to say which of the smaller tenements belonged to it.

1606 : I.P.M. of Thomas Melhuish. Jury say that the Rectory and Tythes, right of presentation to the Vicarage, and lands, messuages etc. in Witheridge-Canyngton etc. were held of the lord the king in capite by service of 1/20 of a knight's fee and rent of 18/4

1755 : Chapple. (Milles (Mss. Bodl.Lib) speaks of only two manors in Witheridge, one the manor and borough of Witheridge. The other is the manor of Witheridge-Cannington and contains all that part of the glebe and church lands which were appropriated to the convent of Cannington together with the Sheaf, tithes and not quite half of the original glebe. The manor or reputed manor becoming a lay fee at the Dissolution. It is now with the Patronage with the Melhuishes.

1757 : Purchase of advowson of Witheridge, Thomas Melhuish from William Melhuish.

1759 : Lease endorsed, manor of Witheridge. William Melhuish to John Nott. Cottage House at Witheridge Mill. Consideration £5, Herriott ¾, Yearly rent 3/-. Lives Mary Knott, Ann Knott. House in possession of Eliz. Foxford, widow.

Refers to the Courts of Wm. Melhuish of his manor of Witheridge. Presumably this is the rectorial manor of Witheridge-Cannington to which the cottage belonged. (Cutliffe deeds in possession of Mr Ernest Cutcliffe)

1799 : Feb 18. Same property, same consideration. Richard Melhuish to Thomas Elworthy of Witheridge. Lives Joannah Maunder, daughter of Wm Maunder, Jane and Susannah daughter of Thos. Tidbald. Same reference to courts.

1809 : Richard the last Melhuish died in 1809 and the property in

1821 : belonged to his nephew the Rev. W.P. Thomas. Witheridge Cannington, (Property formerly belonging to Priory of Cannington in Somerset now belonging to Mr Thomas together with the rectorial tythes and per petual advowson. With Mr Thomas's compliments to Rev. Mr Lysons, Jan 22 (Lyson's Correspondence, Brit. Mus)

1844 : March 4. Conversion of Recovery of a dwelling house (Cannington or Canning House, Mr Selley's dairy) W. Prockter Thomas to Edw. Smith Esq.

1945 : Much of the land has been sold but the advowson is still in the hand of Mrs Allanson-Bailey great granddaughter of W.P. Thomas.

The property seems to have been the present Mitre Farm and a piece of land south wards of the village probably including the cottage known as Little Cannington.

The Mitre Farm, built as a coaching inn but never so used, has been recently (1944) made over to Mr John Benson to trustees to be used as a social centre for the community of Witheridge.

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