The Historical Society’s Programme of Events
Membership £10.00 per annum. Visitors £3.00, Junior visitors £1.50 per session (This price includes Light Refreshments)
Evening Talks in the Autumn of 2017 and Spring of 2018 will take place on:
24th October 2017, 28th November 2017, 27th January 2018, 27th February 2018, 27th March 2018 and the AGM on 24th April 2018. All meetings start at 7.30pm. See details below:
Tuesday 24th October 2017 – At The Church, Ham Lane
Bryan Smith – The Smyth – Pigotts of Brockley
Dr Bryan Smith describes research done since 2003 on the lifestyle of the Smyth-Pigotts, how they accumulated great wealth and then lost it, and how they changed the landscape of Somerset.
Colonel Thomas Pigott purchased the manor of Brockley in 1661 and his family, later as Smyth-Pigotts, lived there until 1947. They became very wealthy and, at one time, together with relatives at Ashton Court, owned almost all the land between Bristol and Weston Super Mare. Bryan will show how their wealth was accumulated, including some from the Slave trade, but through poor land management, and addictions to gambling, most of it was lost. Their activities changed the Somerset landscape and you will see images of what they did and what can be seen today.
The Smyth-Pigott family had close connections with Kingston Seymour for over a century, owning much of the land, farms, farmhouses and other dwellings, living at the former Manor house and of course holding important administration at the Church and former School.
Two small books have been published on this research and Bryan will be bringing copies to the talk if you wish to purchase.
Tuesday 28th November 2017 – At Bulbeck, Bullocks Lane
Trevor Bowen – Coates Cider , Nailsea – illustrated with many archive photos
This works was established in 1925 by Redves Coate. Following the take over by Showerings in 1956 it became the second largest Cider Works in Britain with over 100 massive oak vats. The business was transferred to Shepton Mallet in 1974.
There is no meeting in December
Saturday January 27th 2018 – At the Village Hall
Chris Sperring- When Beavers Roamed the Marshes
Local naturalist and broadcaster, Chris Sperring MBE will talk about the fascinating wildlife that once roamed these parts, and discuss whether any of them can be brought back to where they belong in order to redress the natural balance and help fix some of the major problems facing wildlife conservation in the 21st century.
This lively talk will be both thought provoking and comical, in equal measure.
Tuesday 27th February 2018 – At The Old School, Ham Lane
Dr Amy Frost- Planning for Peace, Redesigning Bath in the First World War
A talk on the development of Bath.
Tuesday 27th March 2018 – At Hawthorn Cottage, Middle Lane
Clive Burlton- A pot-pourri of archive films
An eclectic mix and some amusing films/clips from the Bristol Archives Collection followed by “Not Forgotten”, a short documentary made in 2016, by Clive and his team on the tour to the Western Front. It tells the stories of three local soldiers in the First World War and we follow the families as we uncover their stories on the trip.
The film has been submitted to the Imperial War Museum as part of its annual film competition.
Tuesday April 24th 2018 – At Bulbeck, Bullocks Lane
AGM & Social
Articles about the history of the village appear below
The Old Manor House
The Historical Society has purchased for the village an original water colour painting of the original Kingston Seymour Manor (of the age of Edward IV) by the artist William Walter Wheatley (1811 to 1885).
This is the original Manor House that was burnt to the ground in c1851.
Plans for the safe storage and opportunities for viewing are being considered by the Society.
Village History Overview
It seems likely that there has been a settlement in this area since Saxon times or even earlier. The “Exeter” Domesday Book refers to the church at “Chingestone”, but nothing remains of the Norman building except the font. In the 12th century the Lordship of the Manor was granted to one Milo de Sancto Mauro. One of the tombs in the churchyard, thought to date from the fifteenth century, allegedly belongs to the Bulbeck family, but the oldest surviving houses are farmhouses of up to 500 years old.
For centuries, the mainstay of the village economy was agriculture. Until the end of the 19th century most of the land was held by a few large landowners, including the Church. By the 1920s, however, these large landholdings had been broken up and sold to individual farmers. The arrival of the motorway in the early 70s eased commuting as well as long-distance travel and in this decade several groups of new houses were constructed on former farmland. However the village school had already closed (1968) and despite the new housing, the shop and original Post Office was soon to follow, although the Community Post Office opened a few years later. The 1990s saw further house building on former farmland, as two more farms ceased business, and it was at this time that most of the remaining land within the settlement boundary was developed. At the end of the decade the Village Hall, by then more than 25 years old, underwent major refurbishment, fitting it for the new Millennium.
Kingston Memories of the First World War
Recently I was sorting out photographs for the 1914 commemorations at Yatton Chapter House and an old photograph came to some light of a First World Soldier whose photograph came from my grandmother Louie Kingcott’s collection. Unknown to most of us at the time, the photograph was a picture of Wilfred Pope, who lived with his family at Back Lane in one side of the Bullocks Cottages. On the back of the photograph, which was not named, it said he was killed in action. I thought I would take the photograph to an Uncle of mine who just may have been able to identify it. Immediately his wife identified it for me, she told me it was Wilfred Pope and that he had been engaged to May Plaister, a distant cousin of ours, whom they used to see regularly at Weston Super Mare, where she lived. When May passed away she left her photographs to my Auntie and one of them was the same photograph, this time labelled with the name on the back, also another photo of Wilfred in civilian clothes in a garden, possibly at Bullocks Cottages.
May Plaister was May nee Griffin and was brought up at Kingston Seymour for some of her growing up days. I also remembered that I have a transcript of a letter that May sent to her Cousin Frank Wallis in Canada dated 29th February 1956. In this letter it says that.
“These wars. All the young men that went from here went as it was supposed to be a war to end war. What an illusion. They have gone on ever since and still are raging. I lost many cousins and a young man I was engaged to for 5 years, only 5 weeks a soldier until he was killed and my husband was a prisoner of war in Turkey for 2 and a half years and was ill for 9 years out of 10 of our married life before he died of great suffering.”
I have discovered since that Wilfred Pope was involved in the Ypres Salient battle, a massacre, and that his name is commemorated on the Menin gate at Ypres, which means that his remains were not recovered. It states “North Somerset Yeomanry” and then the list of casualties by rank.
He is listed as POPE W.J. Wilfred Pope was in the North Yeomanry Battalion of the Household Cavalry and Cavalry of the Line Regiment. He was a private, regimental number 773, and was killed inaction on the 17th November 1914. In the 1911 census he appears as working for Belle Griffin (May Griffins auntie), as an assistant at the Kingston Seymour post office.
With thanks to Ann Turner nee Wallis in Canada for helping me with this information and Lorraine and David Kingcott from Weston super Mare
Yatton 2nd World War Home Guard
This photograph was found in an attic and has several Kingston Seymour Faces. Do you recognise anyone?
The Village War Memorial
The following is a copy of an article written by Wilfred Griffin
1607-The great Severn Estuary flood
The flood of 1607 (30th January) is generally acknowledged to have been the greatest natural disaster to affect communities along the Bristol Channel and Severn Estuary. The enduring images from the pamphlets of the day ensure that it is remembered more than 400 years later and its cause is still being debated.
Members of the Historical Society were enthralled by a talk at their March 2017 meeting given by Rose Hewlett – who is currently undertaking a research degree at the University of Bristol studying the response and recovery aspects of the event.
The storm surge affected both sides of the estuary from as far south as Barnstaple & Bideford, across to the South coast of Wales and as far inland as Gloucester. From what records exist, many lost their lives and it seems that most of Kingston Seymour was under at least five feet of water. The plaque inside the church doorway shows the water level reached.