The Somerset Lloyds

The Somerset Story Develops

At the Somerset Record Office

The Sunday visit to the churches at Kingston St Mary and Broomfield turned up no indication that there had been Lloyd families in either of these parishes. Although no booking had been made at the SRO, the staff were most helpful in making an overseas visitor very welcome. The microfilms for baptisms and marriages were searched but no evidence of Lloyd families came to light so I was guided to a useful starting point, Dr Campbell's Card Index which was a massive collection of baptisms in the Somerset area west of Bath. An earlier investigation of the IGI had revealed that there were a number of Samuel and William Lloyd baptism entries at Muchelney, a village about 20 km due east of Taunton, the county town of Somerset where the SRO was. The Campbell Index began to reveal all sorts of fascinating information about Lloyd families in the Muchelney Parish when account was taken of four different surname spellings - Lloyd, Lloyde, Loyd, Loyde.

Joel Lloyd had married Sarah Gillard in 1835 at Muchelney Parish Church but Sarah was born in Drayton on 15 August 1813 as the daughter of Robert Gillard, a carpenter, and Joan Gillard nee Whorrod. William, Sarah's first child, was baptised at the same church on 10 April 1836 and Frederich her second, on 9 September 1839 (just under five days short of 150 years from the SRO search on that day). But no Samuel as yet!

Further consultation with SRO staff brought the suggestion that Samuel may have been married in a nearby parish, the closest being Curry Rivel (pronounced rival). Astonishment reigned when the date of Samuel's marriage to Mary Martin was found and shown as 20 April, 1841, after banns. Samuel was listed as a mason living in Curry Rivel, his father was a carpenter Joseph Lloyd, and the first witness signature was that of Joel Lloyd. From that point on, the family tree began to take form because much of the action and the entries in the Muchelney Parish Register showed how closely connected with that Parish the Lloyd family was. Coupled with the 1841 and 1851 census data, there were three Lloyd families living next to each other in the village of Muchelney, mostly with the name spelt Loyde.

The Parish Church of St Andrew at Curry Rivel

Since it was the marriage of Samuel Lloyd and Mary Martin that made the search in Somerset worthwhile, a visit to Curry Rivel was made first, due east from Taunton. The highest ground around this area is only about 50 metres above sea level so that it was natural that it had been chosen as the site of the Parish Church of St Andrew. It is mentioned in the Domesday survey of 1086 as the site of a Saxon church. While no part of this Saxon church survives, the present church has a surviving North Chapel which had been originally added to the old Saxon part in the 13th Century.

On the left, sketches of the Parish Church of St Andrew at Curry Rivel, circa 1698 and 1791.
On the right, the same church in 1989.

A Little Curry Rivel Side-Line

Local contacts are always worthwhile, especially when it is after midday and one is looking for lunch. Nothing seemed to be open but a small group of men were working on the renewal of the front of a restaurant. When I asked where one could get a meal, they looked at me funny like as they say, and began laughing. There was nowhere they assured me because everyone must be asleep. The boss, a rosy-faced man with twinkling eyes, said that the best place in the district was in Somerton and explained very accurately how to get there. His description of home-made jam and clotted cream was too good to ignore. Thanking him, I remarked that he obviously did not come from Curry Rivel and must surely be a Somerton man. He looked at me, rather astonished because he had already divined that I was an Australian. I grinned at the others and left amid great peals of laughter - they were still laughing when I rounded the corner. The Somerton restaurant lived up to the description, especially eating delicious scones, spread with home-made jam and clotted cream while sitting beside a lovely pond with a view out through the hedge to the distant hills!

Thus fortified, it was time to look for Muchelney over the main road and south. It was a surprise to find the Parish Church of St Peter and St Paul to the north of Muchelney Village, with the ruins of the Abbey south of it and the Abbot's House still standing on the far side of the ruins. The Priest's House was just over the road on the north side and, at the junction of the roads just north of the Church grounds, stood the 15th century Cross. More surprises awaited on moving south from the Church and into Muchelney Village. But that is all for the Muchelney page now completed.

The page was first developed by John Lloyd Symonds as at 24 June 1996. Modified last on 4 October 1997.