|Wrington Village Records
Studies of the history of a Somerset Village
Manorial accounts, 1343-4 and 1491-2
Pages 20 - 22
There are, however, several other references to the hospitality extended to various officials from the Abbey passing through on business; for example, "For feeding one horse of the Cellarer when he came to the hall here on diverse occasions, going to Bristol to seek fish there, 4 bushels by tally (drawn) on John Sampson". Oats were the food on this occasion. Careful accounts were kept of the cost of these visits, and we find that John Seene stayed for two nights at a cost of 5s. 1½d. ; John de Sand hull and Robert de Wotton, one night, 18d. ; Reginald Leygrane and his friend, 16d. ; and John de Cant, 9d.
Many of the duties in the Park at Pilton and the vineyard at Panborough were still performed. (Compare the paper Customs of the Manor, 1238). However, it is of note that payments to avoid these and other duties have now reached very large proportions: 466 carriage duties are "sold" for a total of 38s. 1Od. ; 85 food allowances at 3d. each, total 21s. 3d. Harvest boonworks for "38½ acres and 1/3 part of an acre and two parts of a perch" at 4d. an acre, brought in 13s. Od. 48 workdays in binding sheaves "sold" at ½d. per day: 2s.
Many individuals paid to get out of part of their services: "And 6s. 10d. of John Matheu and Isabel his wife, holding half a virgate of land, in lieu of the services attached to the same tenure (except sowing, lifting the hay, ploughing half an acre which he shall plough every year, and saving their own personal service of fencing in the garden and the Park at Pilton, and except digging in the vineyard at Panborough, and except 12 cartage duties which they shall perform annually) to the end of both their lives, payable at the 4 quarters".
With so many exceptions, one wonders from what duties they had paid to escape!
Manorial duties were carried out as before; but by now there are payments being made in cash for work done over and above the normal. The agricultural routine of the manor was organised by the Reeve. The Bailiff was in overall charge of the manor, and probably lived at the Manor house for his term of office. There was also a "Custodian of the House". The Seneschal and Cellarer , who also appear, were important Glastonbury officials responsible respectively for the estate management, and the maintenance of manorial buildings, on all the Glastonbury properties. The other officials mentioned in the roll are purely manorial, and would all have been local, non-professional villagers: two Reap Reeves (appointed temporarily to help see to the harvest), the Aleconner, the Swineherd, the Beadle, the Marshwarden who looked after river and rhine embankments and flood precautions, the Hayward and the Granger.
A detailed analysjs has been included of the carpenters' work, for they were paid at piecework rates for specific jobs which were out of the ordinary run. In this case the "stipend" seems to be the price for the job, as opposed to the "expenses" of materials, etc. The alterations and erasures in the first entry are those of the disapproving auditors.
For the stipend of one carpenter dismantling 7 pierced yokes and
For the stipend of one carpenter making from the lord's timber 2 new
For the stipend of one carpenter for felling a tree, ( ? chopping) it, and sawing the same timber for the aforesaid 2 dyngpotts as piecework, 6d.
For the stipend of the same, for putting new axles on 1 cart, 1½d.
For 9 planks purchased, 12d. ; of which 4 for 6d., and 3 for 4d., and 2 for 2d.
For the stipend of three carpenters making from them and from other planks of the lord's, 6 window shutters, before Lord Abbot was there, for 2 days, 10d. ; of which each of them took on the first day 2½d., and on the second day 1d., with drink.
For a key purchased for the same, 1½d.
For 12 hinge-hooks and the same number of hinges purchased for
(Note: these terms, Latin, gumphus and vertinellus, are difficult to translate, but in fact describe very clearly a simple two-piece hinge; a rod bent into a right-angled hook (the gumphus) which dropped into a ring fixed onto the door or window jamb (the vertinellus).)
For purchasing 1 plank, 1½d.
For the stipend of one carpenter putting the said plank in the gate of the oxhouse, 1½d.
For a key purchased for same, ½d.
For 1 hinge-hook and 1 hinge purchased for hanging the aforesaid gate, 1½d.
For the purchase of 1 elm board 20 feet long, 1½d.
For the stipend of two carpenters making from the same and from other of the lord's timber 1 manger (or stall ?) for the Lord Abbot's stable, for 1 day, 5d. ; each of them took for the day, 2½d. "
Mention is made of people paying to avoid being aleconner (6d.), beadle (6d), and swineherd (6d.) - in each case for the duration of their lives. Reversion "fines" - or fees - were paid to ensure succession either to a parent, or upon
Some land was held as "Gavelond" (land for which cash rent was paid): usually lands recently brought into cultivation, as opposed to the older cultivated open fields, and so not incorporated into the older system of services. And an item appearing as "Overland" was literally that: the tenant having died and the land, being left without an heir or successor, had reverted to the lord of the manor.
The visit of the Lord Abbot was the dominating factor in the year 1343. It has already been noted that the carpenters were busy on improvements to the house and outbuildings. There is also a note that "10 acres were manured, 2 acres were marled, and brushwood cleared for 1 week before the arrival of the lord this year". Sixteen lamps "for lighting the great chamber and for the chamber over the gate" were purchased for 8d. (compare The Manor and the Manor House). During his stay the stores issued "by tally with cash" were: 9 quarters, 7 bushels of corn; 4 bushels of beans; 3 quarters and 3½ bushels of oats for the horses; 5 calves, 7 geese, 3 capons, and 1 tun ( !) of cider. The cash cost of the visit is given as £6 6s. 7d., by tally. This, however, is not the end: for there is a note of the lack of pasturage afterwards: "For pasturage in the Great Garden, nothing, because the whole was mown for the horses of Lord Abbot,
The tally system is also used in livestock transactions. Animals are grouped by age as well as, where appropriate, by sex, and changes are recorded in great detail. This abstract of the stock account shows the changes in livestock over the year, the shifting of animals into their next higher age-grouping, and also how much movement of animals there was between Wrington and the other Glastonbury manors. A balance for each group of animals is struck, exactly as if they were cash-in-hand; and a clue to their value is sometimes given.