Securing our history for the future



Church Cottage 170 years in the life of a cottage

church cottage

The deeds of ‘Church Cottage’ tell the life of the cottage since 1850. The first recorded sale was dated 23rd May 1850 when the old Poor House, as the plot was known, was sold to the Rev. John Warren.

“The Guardians of the Poor of Bridgwater Union and James Rood and Edward Collings the churchwardens and Joseph Good and Thomas Crane the overseers of the Poor of the Parish of Bawdrip in consideration of £50 paid by the Rev. John Warren of Bawdrip to Richard Woodland treasurer of the said Union to be placed in the Bawdrip Parish Property account did grant and convey all that dwelling house known as the old Poor House with frontage and garden situated near the Church belonging to the parish of Bawdrip and lately used for the reception of the poor thereof.”

The next sale was made on 26th August 1882. This time Mr Thomas Hurman purchased “all that piece of land whereon formerly a dwelling house known as the old Poor House stood with the frontage situated near the church but excepting and reserving to John Warren the garden opposite” for £10. The garden was kept by Rev. John Warren to become part of the current churchyard. It also appears that the old Poor House had been removed.

The plot changed hands again on 18th February 1885. Mr. Thomas Hurman (now of Weston super-Mare) sold to Mr. Samuel Shorney for £80. However, this time the conveyance is for “firstly all that Old poor House measuring in length 33 feet and in width 17ft having the north end on the wall of the churchyard and the east side on that on the parish Pound, formerly in the occupation of John Brewer and Jane Hunt as tenants and before then belonging to the parish of Bawdrip and used for the reception of the Poor. Secondly that piece of land whereon formerly a dwelling house known as the Old Poor House stood.” So, it now appears that the increase in price was possible due to Thomas Hurman building a new ‘Old poor House’ which provided two homes and selling that and the plot of the original ‘Old Poor House’. (The capitalisation of the names is as on the deeds).

To finance this purchase, Mr. Shorney, a labourer, raised a mortgage of £45 via George Winter, yeoman of Chedzoy and Theophilus Maurice Reed, gentleman of Bridgwater. Mr Shorney promised to pay interest at the rate of four pounds ten shillings per centum per annum in two equal parts at 6 monthly intervals, the 8th August and 8th February.

After 10 years the property changed hands again on 8th March 1895 when Samuel Shorney sold to Mrs Mary Petheram widow of Bawdrip. This time the property changed hands for £65 of which £45.12.6 was paid to the mortgage holders (Winter and Reed). Mrs Mary Petheram made a will in August 1897 and appointed William Petheram (her son and gentleman of Churchill) and her daughter Lavinia Petheram as trustees and executors, bequeathing all her estate in trust so that the income from it could be used for the maintenance and  advancement of her two youngest children, May Jarvis Petheram and George Jarvis Petheram until they reached their majorities and to then sell and convert the estate and distribute the proceeds.

Mary Petheram died on February 11th, 1898. Lavinia Petheram married a Mr Harold Holmes in 1902 and ‘went to reside in Kimberly in Cape Colony South Africa’. Mr. James Holmes (gentleman of Burnham) became a trustee in place of Lavinia and with the two children reaching the age of 21 the property was sold by auction at the Knowle Inn to Mr. George Sellick (labourer) for the sum of £93. For the first time the property is now being referred to by its current name of ‘Church Cottage’. The description in the papers announcing the auction is of a house containing ‘four good rooms, is stone built and tiled’ and has a large productive garden with useful outhouses.

To finance the purchase George Sellick raised a mortgage of £97 with Mr John Marks, licensed victualler of Bridgwater, paying interest at £2.10 per centum per annum.

Moving on the property was then sold to Albert George Sellick, a labourer of Lake County, Libertyville, Illinois, USA for £70. Then in 1928 the property was again sold

through auction to Mr. Charles Henry Wheeler for £107.10. Mr Albert Sellick was now giving an address of Ridge Farm, Deerfield, Illinois, USA.

Charles Wheeler died in October 1991 and the cottage was sold to Mr. and Mrs. Gratton in May 1992 and to Bill Hubbock in 2007 when he moved to Bawdrip. Bill left the village in 2019 to live in Chedzoy with his daughter.

Another chapter begins.