MUCHELNEY PARISH AND ITS RECORDS

Parish Clerks and the Lloyd Family

Finds at the Somerset Record Office

In the first visit to the Parish Church of St Peter and St Paul at Muchelney, the discovery of the burial place of Joel Lloyd and its small monument to him indicated that he had served the Muchelney Parish in some important role over a period of 45 years up to his death in 1870 at the age of 66 years. On the occasion of the second visit to Somerset, the urge to find out about this role led to a search at the Somerset Record Office for some documental evidence. The records of the Muchelney Parish Council produced some surprises as Joel was not the only Lloyd who had served the Parish. In addition, there were Tithe Apportionment records and maps.

The Muchelney Vestry Book and Poor Book

When staff at the Somerset Record Office were asked whether there were likely to be records for the Muchelney Parish, the answer was very definite, "Yes, where would you like to start?" The look of surprise on the face of their visitor must have made their day from the merriment it caused. One can only hope that other visitors have such success. The first handwritten pages of the Vestry Book of 1794 (ref:D/P/much 9/1/1) caused just as much merriment from the visitor, because here was a record of problems with young people that appear to be repeated today unfortunately:
At a Vestry held ye 16th day of March on thousand seven hundred and ninety six, we whose names are hereunto signed do agree to prosecute the several offenders that were so riotous in the Church if they do not come forward and have the same properly repaired and we do desire the Church Wardens T. Cullen and H. Gillard to conduct ye same.
Signed: William Stuckey, M. Biddlecomb, John Horrod, F. Stuckey.

This was followed some time later by another minute referring to the same incident at the Church:
At a Vestry held ye 8th day of August one thousand seven hundred and ninety eight - Henry Gallard having proposed to make satisfaction for the damage done by him in the Church we desire the Churchwardens to have it viewed and receive the damage as proposed -
It is not evident why young Henry Gallard took so long to get round to owning up to the damage he had managed to do and to having the repair work done, nor what happened to the others of the "several offenders". Nevertheless, the Churchwardens appear to have been satisfied in the eighteen months passed.

The real surprise in this section of the Vestry Book minutes appeared with the surnames of the Churchwardens of the time - Biddlecomb, Gillard and Horrod - all of which had a connection with the Lloyd family ancestry. The name Stuckey was of considerable interest too, as there had been Stuckey emigrants to South Australia in the mid-1800s who had made themselves notable. The next minute had really valuable content!

At the same Vestry of 8 August 1798, the Churchwardens had agreed, "We appoint Wm Loyd to serve in the office of Clerk in the room of Hy. Gillard." The surname Lloyd has many different spellings in the Muchelney Parish records that it was quite clear that this William Loyd would have been the father of another William Loyde whose son was Joel Lloyd, the SRO visitor's GGGrandfather, whose grave headstone had been the reason for the SRO visit.

From this point on the Vestry record is very lean on minutes from meetings. There are some interesting notes on how the Churchwardens appointed as Overseers of the Poor undertook their work for the Parish. As an example, dated 25 August 1834: Ann Lloyd is given 2d (pence) per week for keeping Caroline Scriven. Also pay Charlotte Wood 6d per week for keeping 3 of Robert Scriven's children and also we agree to give Eliza Sharman 3s 3d per week for infant Mary Scriven, daughter of the afforenamed Robert and Mary Scriven. There is no indication how these five children appeared on the Poor Book but the cause must have been rather desperate to spread the children around in this way.

Ann Lloyd who is mentioned in this part of the record is almost certainly the wife of William Lloyd and mother of Joel Lloyd. From the Vestry Book, with gaps in the records over time, Joel Loyde (also Lloyd) suddenly appears in relation to the examination of accounts which were fixed to the Church door on 18th March 1843 and the appointment of Churchwardens. This document was signed by four Churchwardens, one of whom was Joel Lloyd. Furthermore, on 21 February 1849, Joel Loyde is noted as attending a Vestry meeting for choosing Parochial Constables but the record was made by someone else who chose to spell his surname that way.

There were increasing indications in the Vestry Book that Joel Lloyd had been involved in some position as he was there in 1851 and 1852 for Waywardens' resolutions, defining how responsibilities for this role were to be divided. In 1854, he was named as a Waywarden and as an Overseer of the Poor. The records seem to have tapered off, making a further enquiry for other records essential. More documents promptly appeared, the first being "Apprenticeship Indentures" (ref: D/P/much: 13/6/1) and the second "Churchwardens' accounts, account books and so on" (ref: D/P/much: 4/1/1).

Apprenticeship Indentures 1716-1794

Little can be said about the details of the individual records though it was clear that the Parish had some real problems in looking after children of poor families of which there seemed to be many.

It is interesting to note here that the indentures were for children described as 'a poor child of the said Parish', often about seven years of age. They were apprenticed to local people for such work as learning the art of "Housewifery" or "Husbandry" affairs. The apprenticeship indenture would run to the age of 21 years (or sometimes even 24 years). In the case of girls, the indenture would include "or day of marriage".

The Indenture was a legal document, carrying a Royal shield, made up of a printed set of words with spaces for various names,dates and relevant data to be entered, witnessed by a Churchwarden for the Parish, signed by two Justices of the Peace and by the man who was to the Apprentice Master, under seal. If the reader wishes to see the content of one Indenture, unfortunately not entirely copyable, it is possible to go to the text of that Indenture file and some copied parts of the document.

Churchwardens' Accounts and Account Books

The accounts give the disbursements of Churchwardens for any given year. Those for Thomas Stuckey and John Horrod, Churchwardens for the Parish of Muchelney for the years 1791, 1792 and 1793 were written in the form:
Apr 3 Paid Wm Loyde and John Pa...? for making and painting the Church Windows 0-8-4
Apr 27 Paid John Gileard for lime 0-4-6
At the end of those entries there was: Also we Nominate and Apoint Thomas Cullen and Francis Gileard to serve as Churchwardens for the ensuing year.
The Clerk's fees were set at 1-10-0.

The Churchwardens in Vestry set the rates for the Parish each year and the 1793 Rates include:
Roger Balch 0-0-9; Betty Balch Wid. 0-0-7; Francis Gillard 0-0-4; John Grinter 0-2-3; John Horrod for Cinklets (possibly a piece of land) 0-0-4

Once again, familiar names appeared in the records. There followed a group of people named as "out Tenants" and four of them had the surname Taylor, the surname of the wife of William Lloyd the elder. Ann Lloyd mentioned above was born Ann Baulch (or Balch) and Joel Lloyd's wife was Sarah Gillard - it seemed that there were relations all through these records!

From here on through the disbursements from 1800 onwards, William Loyde was paid usually regularly (but sometimes erratically!) for work done at the Church and as Parish Clerk together with expenses incurred as a part of those duties. The Parish Clerk's fees during this period were listed as 2-2-0 or 2 guineas. "William Loyde's Bill" for his expenses ranged from around 15 shillings to as high as 5-3-6 in 1808.
In 1810, there was an interested payment to Grace Loyde (William Loyde's mother) for 0-1-4 for Menden the Surples. It is not evident whose surplice this was but the spelling was fascinating.

This William Loyde Snr was the Parish Carpenter as was his son William Jnr after him and his grandson Joel in the future. In 1810 and 1811, William's bill came to 12-15-9 for carpentry carried out for the Parish, no doubt in and on the Church. In addition, he was paid 7-6 for one year's mowing of the Churchyard, an extensive area.

In 1821, there is an account clearly prepared by Wm Loyde himself as he recorded a bill:
For 2 days for myself and 3 days for my sons (probably William, George and Joseph) rising and repairing the bell 0-10-0
do. For repairing the wheels of the bells and repairing the belfry door and fresh hanging the Church door 0-4-0
For making a new pair of stocks and Labour and Timber 0-7-6 (Amazing! they must have still been in use in 1821.)
For Paint, Oil and Turpentine 0-2-2

In 1822, William Loyde Snr died but the records continue to show one Wm Loyde operating as Parish Carpenter and also as Parish Clerk. This can only have been William Loyde Jnr. In 1824, there were a long list of payments to Wm Loyd, including payments and general expenses as Parish Clerk. Apparently the Churchwardens had some genuine problems with the structure of the Church because the disbursements for 1827 after a Vestry meeting on 22 August 1827 required the payment of 37-0-0 for "repearing the Roof of the Church". This payment was made to Joel Loyde who was now Parish Clerk and the Parish Carpenter organising the repairs. Somewhere in the interval, his father William Loyde Jnr had given up the position or had died; it is not clear which event took place. In the year 1826, the record did not show who the Parish Clerk was but Joel Loyde's bill in 1827 included Clerk's fees, washing the Church linen, cleaning the Church, providing Sacrament Bread, Mowing the Churchyard, repairing the Great Bell, making a new wheel for the Little Bell.

Joel Loyde continued as Parish Clerk from 1827 and was still in that role in 1841. He was evidently very busy on Church repairs in 1837-9. Just what these repairs were can only be guessed at but there were some most interesting entries relating to the removal of birds and animals which must have been creating damage in and around the Church. For example, there were many payments for killing sparrows ("81 Duzson!"), stoats (5) and Crows (36).

In 1842, Joel LLOYD is appointed as Churchwarden, together with Charles Baulch. However, Joel remained as Parish Clerk and Sexton as well. This situation must have held up to Joel Lloyd's death in 1870. Thereafter, the Lloyd family continued to be involved in the work of the Church and on it for repairs. Joseph Lloyd was carrying out repairs in 1875 and seems to have been the son of Joseph Lloyd Snr who was Joel Lloyd's uncle, living in Muchelney village and himself a carpenter/blacksmith.

With all the activities in and around the Church and in the community at large as Churchwarden, Overseer of the Poor, Waywarden and friend to many, the words on the headstone are worth repeating again here, noting that the little footstone gave the date as 1870:

IN MEMORY OF
JOEL LLOYD
During 45 years
in the service of this parish
who died peacefully
Aged 66 years
This monument is erected
by the inhabitants of this parish
and friends who long knew &
valued him and mourn his loss.

So ended fascinating information about families in the Muchelney Parish, many of whom were related to the Lloyd family through marriages down the years from about 1750 or so - Taylor, Baulch, Gillard (spelt variously as Gaylard and Gileard) and Horrod (also spelt Whorrod). There is more from the Tithe Apportionments of about 1841 and the maps which went with them but that will have to wait for further preparation.

And Grateful Thanks to the SRO

For those in the Somerset Record Office who made this collection of family history possible, our grateful thanks is recorded herein. It will demonstrate, to the many people who view these pages on the Web, what a magnificent collection of material is available in the Archives of that Office of the Somerset County Council, for the asking.

You can go back to: [Page 1:From Somerset to South Australia] or [Page 2:At the Somerset Record Office] or to [ the Homepage].


This page was prepared on 10 November 1997 by John L. Symonds from material collected from the Somerset Record Office in October 1992 and supplemented further after that date.