The villages of Seavington St Mary and Seavington St Michael in South Somerset

History

Today the villages of Seavington St Mary and Seavington St Michael are treated as a single entity for the purposes of local government, postal services etc. A part of the South Petherton Hundred, originally the area included seven settlements (seven tons) which have gradually merged or vanished; even into the last century Seavington Abbots was still recognised as a separate entity.

The Fosse Way passes nearby and the area was well known to the Romans who settled here, living in some style. The influence of the Fosse Way at the southern end of the Seavington St Mary parish boundary, marked by an historic boundary stone at Crimbleford Knap, is felt together with the remains of old Roman villas at Longforward Lane, which have been the subject of a TV Time Team investigation. Nearby, other large Roman villas and agricultural buildings have been identified.

Evidence of sites of early medieval settlements can still be found at the earthworks opposite St Mary’s church, and at Seavington Abbots on the north eastern boundary of the parish.

The manor of Seavington St Mary was held by a Mary Vaux in about 1200, becoming known as Seavington Vaux. Around 1680 it passed to the Welmans and eventually to Vaughan Lees of Dillington in 1876. Another estate comprising Hurcott and Seavington Abotts was given by King Canute to Athelny Abbey around 1030 but was later acquired by the Welman family in 1699. Records also show that the Seavington windmill, the earliest recorded in Somerset, was given by Robert Vaux to Montactute Priory in the early 1200s.

The manor of Seavington St Michael was held by Siward the Falconer from some 20 years after the Norman Conquest. Following the Conquest land was taken by the invaders and distributed by William I to his barons, however in this, very rare exception, a Saxon, Siward, was allowed to keep his lands, because he was a recognised specialist at hunting with hawks. His lands lay between the rivers Parrett and Ile at Seavington and Dinnington.

However, by the mid 1200s these lands had passed to Adam the Dane and the parish became known as Seavington St Dennis. Later the manor became the property of Glastonbury Abbey before passing into the hands of Winchester College with the dissolution of the monasteries. The latter disposed of the property in the 1930s and the previous ownership is still recognised by, somewhat confusingly, two sets of “Winchester Cottages”.