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Blackmore Vale


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Is to the west of Charleton-Horethorne, very pleasant and picturesque, situated in a valley under a ridge of high hills, extending in a curve to the east and south, and commanding from one point an extensive view of all the middle part of the County, right down to the channel. Here was a large tree called Corton-Ash which was a feature and near it once stood a beacon.

In the year 1772, as some labourers were digging in the common field, in order to make an inclosure, they found an urn, which contained about two quarts of Roman coins, chiefly of Valerian, Gallienus, Aurelian, Tacitus, Florianus, and Probus: most of them were fair and plain, and were deposited in the hands of the Rev. Thomas NASH, Rector of the parish.

The Romans were therefore acquainted with the place; but the earliest account we have of it does not much preceed the Norman Conquest, when it was held by King William in demesne. "The King holds CORFU-TONE. In the time of King Edward it gelded for seven hides, the arable is seven carucates, of which in demesne are three hides and a half, and one ferding, [ten acres,] and there is one carucate, and three servants, and ten villanes, and eight cottagers, with three ploughs. There are six acres of meadow. The Wood, two furlongs long, and one furlong broad. It was and is worth feven pounds."

The manor obtained its additional title from the family of Dinham, its future owners. Oliver de Dinant came into this country with the Conqueror, out of Britanny in France where, at a place called Dinant, was the baronial castle of this ancient house. It does not say when they became possessed of Corton, but we find that in the sixth year of King John, Hawise de Dynant, and Sibyl her sister, gave to the King a horse of price, for having a precept against Oliver de Dinant, returnable before the King in 3 septiman. Michael, for the manors of Corton and Buckland (afterwards called Buckland-Dinham) both in this county, and Hartland in the county of Devon.'? The said Oliver de Dinant gave a fine of threescore marks for livery of his lordship of Buckland.

Gefferey Dinant, son of Oliver, inherited the manors of Corton and Buckland and from Henry III, obtained a charter for a market on Tuesday, and a fair yearly for three days, viz. on the eve, day, and morrow of the festival of St. Michael. He was summoned by Henry III, among many-others, to appear before the King at Bristol, on the octaves of St. Peter, well fitted with.horse and arms, to march against the Welch. He died leaving issue two sons, Oliver and Geffrey.

Oliver, his son and heir, had livery of his lands, and is certified to hold his manor of Buckland of the King in chief, as a member of his barony of Hartland. He procured a charter of free warren for that manor, and having been summoned to parliament among the barons.

He died leaving Josce his son and heir, twentyfour years of age, who doing his homage had livery of his lands. Which Josce died two years after, [viz. 29 Edw. I.] He married Margaret, daughter and heir of Sir Richard Hydon, by whom he was father of Sir John and Sir Oliver Diriham.

Sir John Dinham succeeded him, and married Joan daughter of Sir Guy de Brian, by whom he had issue another Sir John, who inherited the family estates. This Sir John married Muriel, one of the daughters and co-heirs of Sir Thomas Courtney, and by her had issue a son of his own name. Sir John Dinham, the third.of that name, married Elizabeth the daughter of John Lord Lovel, and possessed the lordships of Buckland and Corton, with lands in Corton, and the advowson of the church of Corton, which he held of the King by knight's service.

He was succeeded by the fourth Sir John Dinham, who married Jane the daughter and heir of Sir Richard de Arches. [8 Hen. VI.] being then a knight he was retained to serve the King in his wars with France, with eleven men at arms, and thirty-six archers. Solikewise [14 Henry VI.] to serve him again for the relief of Calais, with eleven men at arms, and seventy-two archers. He died [36 Henry VI], leaving John Lord Dinham his son and heir, twenty-eight years of age, who succeeded him in the estate; Margaret, wife of Sir Nicholas Carew; Catherine, wife of Sir Thomas Arundel of Lanherne; Elizabeth, first married to Fulk Bourchier lord Fitz-Warren, and secondly to Sir John Sapcotes; and Jane, wife of John lord Zouche.

John lord Dinham married Elizabeth, the widow of Sir John Radcliff, daughter and heir of Walter lord Fitz-Warren, and had issue Henry, who died childless. And so this manor, with the rest of his lands, came to the heirs general of his four sisters.

After this extinction of the name of Dinham, the manor of Corton was dissipated into a number of other possessors.

A mile eastward is a hamlet called Witcombe. The church is a rectory in the deanery of Marston, rated in 1292 at twenty marks. The patronage is in the lord of the manor; and the Rev. Dr. Wyndham is the present incumbent. It is dedicated to St. Andrew, stands on a rising ground, and consists of a nave, chancel, and north aile, covered with tile. On the north side of the nave is an embattled tower containing five bells. Members of the families of Brickenden and Nash, rectors of this parish, are buried here.

(Taken from - The History & Antiquities of the County of Somerset, by the Rev'd J. Collinson 1791 - Available on CD Rom from Archive CD Books)


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