Michael Tighe has produced a guide to the historical roads around Mere - see below. A printed version of this paper is available for little cost in the Mere Information Centre in the library. Proceeds of the sales go to the Friends of St Michaels Church


10,620 words

Before the Roman came to Rye, or out to Severn strode,

The rolling English drunkard made the rolling English Road.

A reeling road, a rolling road, that rambles round the shire.


G.K.Chesterton’s understanding of British history may have been at fault in that there were no English in the country when the Romans came, but he neatly sums up the nature of the pre-XVIIIc English road system as it is typified round Mere.  It is hard for us to imagine to-day the difficulties which faced the would be traveller a mere three centuries ago, and in particular the complete absence of really hard-surfaced roads appropriate for wheeled traffic.   Though much was made in legal terms of “the King’s Highway” and its policing, central government assumed no responsibility for its upkeep, and the maintenance of roads was entirely in the hands of the individual parishes and their rate payers who were most unwilling to saddle themselves  with the expense of road making for the benefit of outsider users.  In any study of local roads we have to bear in mind that they were created and maintained by local communities with no access to outside funding.  


An important fact often overlooked is that until at least the XVIIc there was only minimal wheeled traffic on the so-called roads of Britain - the horse either ridden or pack-carrying was the basic form of transport.    Those places within reach of the coast or of navigable rivers relied on waterborne transport for the carriage of all bulk produce, be it corn, coal or cloth.    Mere was about as ill-served as could be in this respect - 35 miles from the coast, whether to the South or to the Bristol Channel, and even further from any inland waterway.   Roads generally were barely passable, maintenance being at the mercy of the local parish authorities, themselves in practice a continuation of the pre-Reformation vestries, on whom the responsibility, including the power to enforce parishioners to give a number of days labour on the roads, either in person or by paid proxy, had been placed by Elizabethan statutes - it is not surprising that this was fairly ineffectual.    Examination of the probate inventories of Mere residents of the XVI/XVII centuries does not so far reveal any local resident owning a wheeled vehicle other than a farm cart.   For instance, Thomas Aubrey of Chaddenwyke, who died in 1635 left assets of £136, a rich estate for the time; he was required to have a “light Horse” fully caparisoned available to fulfil his militia responsibilities, but in addition to this horse merely had one wagon and two wheels for other farm uses.   Michael Down, of Edge Bridge, who died in 1683, had a thriving business making edge tools, which involved the transport of coal from the Somerset coal fields to Mere, the collection of scrap iron, and the delivery of spades, scythes &c over quite a wide area, owned just four horses and a number of pack saddles.      In these circumstances we can assume that the local road network was of poor quality, and this was to obtain until the mid-XVIIIc.    


The Stage Coach, popularised by Dickens, has become a symbol of an era, and has long been a feature of Christmas cards and story books, but it is not always appreciated that that era was a comparatively short one, starting with the establishment of turnpike trusts in the early XVIIIc and ending with the arrival of railways a mere century later.   Another 150 years would see the advent of the motorway and the conversion of the A303 to a dual carriageway!    When Celia Fiennes of Newton Tony kept a journal of her travels around England  from 1685 to 1698, she travelled sometimes on horseback and at others in a “chariot“ with four horses and her maid.  More significantly, she managed to arrange her itinerary so that she could descend on friends and relations, and does not seem to have relied on inns.  In 1686 she passed through Mere and gives us the earliest tourist account of the remains of the Castle.   In the 1780’s another intrepid traveller, John Byng, later Viscount Torrington, also passed this way, but annoyingly makes no mention of Mere;  this omission is the more regretful in that he travelled solo on horseback, staying at inns, on which he made occasional caustic comments.  It would have been nice to have a contemporary account of the local facilities.


So, what do we know about the history of our local road system?  Going back to the earliest known tracks, it happens that we have in Mere a classic example of the underlying truth of Chesterton’s verse, albeit the track concerned is straight as an arrow, to the extent that many local people still persist in referring to it as “the Roman Road”!


In fact, no Roman road ever passed through the parish of Mere; the important trading route from the Mendip lead mines to the South East is thought to have crossed the infant river Wylie at Kingston Deverill.  Another road ran from Bath to Badbury Rings and on to Poole Harbour, but a long stretch of its track across West Wiltshire and South Somerset was not identified for many years, though the late G.B.Berry [i] claimed to have traced this missing stretch, passing close to Willoughby Hedge and to the West of Pertwood.    Substantial Roman remains are conspicuously absent in the Mere area, and there is no indication of prolonged Roman influence; however, one has to remember that all too often the absence of physical archaeological evidence may only reflect an absence of  past investigation.


Long before the arrival of the Romans, however, the track which now leaves the A303 at Willoughby Hedge and runs across Mere Down and Whitesheet towards Kilmington formed part of the pre-historic network of ridgeway tracks which allowed primitive man to roam much of the country without crossing the almost impenetrable river valleys.   Such tracks in some cases were pragmatically adopted by the Romans, provided they pointed the right way, but many of those not so taken over continued in use by the indigenous population, and remained so right through to the age of the turnpike and stage coach.   Our trackway, possibly running from the coast at Seaton to Canterbury, and known variously as the Hard Way or the Harrow Way, is an example of this continuous use.      In considering the earlier history of such ridgeway tracks - and indeed of all roads - it is important not to over-emphasise the amount of long-distance traffic they carried;  life was mainly lived on a local basis.


While Westwards from the parting of the ways above Charnage Hill the track of this ancient road is clear to us, the pattern of roads arriving at Willoughby Hedge from the East is confusing, thanks to the overlay of later turnpike and motor roads.   It seems most likely that our track followed the line of the present A303 as far as Chicklade Bottom, where at one time stood the New Inn; from that point it would have struck out across the Downs, through Grovely Wood towards Wilton, as the Ox Drove.  It is highly likely that it formed part of the long drovers’ route by which cattle were driven from the West of England to London.   Its alignment and direction hint that it could well have carried the stock known in early days to have been ferried from South Wales to the Somerset coast for the London trade, and it is highly probable that the Eastward course could have crossed the Avon at Ford and thence followed the  present A30 line across the Hampshire Downs through Stockbridge where an inn to this day carries a legend in Welsh aimed at the drovers.


For centuries, we have no reliable indication of what other tracks and roads were in use, though we know them to have been primitive.   The more settled political climate after 1688, and general economic growth, combined with the inventiveness and enterprise which was to lead to both Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions, threw an increasing load upon this poorly maintained network, just at the time when trade growth and improving technology had led to the production of faster and more efficient coaches and wagons which called for improved road surfaces.  Their needs produced the system of Turnpike Trusts, under which groups of local gentry and business men obtained Parliamentary approval for the establishment of Trusts empowered in effect to take over certain stretches of road and to improve and maintain them, usually for a term of twenty-one years.    This obviously required a considerable capital investment by the Trustees, who were in return given the right to erect gates and to charge tolls for the use of the roads.


Prior to this time our road from Willoughby Hedge to Kilmington had continued in use through the centuries as a through route, whether from Salisbury or the Amesbury direction, through to Bruton and the South West effectively by-passing Mere.    Interestingly, a few miles to the South a similar ridgeway ran almost in parallel from Salisbury to Shaftesbury and thence on to Exeter and the South West - the precursor of to-days’ A30, as our route foreshadowed the A303.    Both of these routes were to be abandoned on the creation of the turnpikes, in favour of valley routes passing through towns and villages  -  and both of them at one point or another bore the name of Ox Drove, recalling their earlier use.


These were lonely roads - not one house or cottage between Hindon and the Red Lion at Kilmington.   This latter Inn was obviously established to take advantage of the first point for many miles where the road dropped down from the bare hills, and where it crossed the local route from Mere to Frome.  On the opposite corner of the crossroads was a smithy, which did not finally close until the mid 1960’s  - inn and smithy would have served travellers both on the road over the downs and also on the N/S route.   On early maps, up to and including the 1886 6”OS, at the point on Mere Down where the Warminster road crosses the old road on the North side of the old road appears a building marked “Hut”; such amenities appeared at intervals along the old roads in such sparsely inhabited country - the forerunners of our “Little Chefs”, they could well have originally catered for the needs of the drovers, whose daily mileage, restricted to a pace which would not cause loss of weight in their charges, would have been modest.


The ridgeways’ long use from early days until the XIXc as drove ways for the movement of flocks and herds of sheep and cattle was recognised in the 1812 Enclosure Award for Mere, when the stretch of road across Mere Down & Whitesheet, already abandoned for years in face of the new turnpike, was ordered to be set out as a public carriage road with a width of fifty feet.   All the other public roads specified in the Award were of a width of only thirty feet, apart from the turnpikes which were allowed forty feet.   This width obviously was to allow for the special needs of driven flocks and to give them access to wayside herbage.   In the years after WWII some encroachments occurred,  and in 1971 the highway authority re-marked the bounds of the road to the original fifty feet after a number of public protests.


In Mere itself the main road pattern consisted of an East/West axis on the line of Salisbury and Castle Streets, linked to the South by two routes, one from Boar Street to Shaftesbury and the other from Dead Maid Quarry to Gillingham.    From these radiated lanes and paths giving access to other areas of the town and to the outlying areas of the parish; with traffic being only on either foot or horseback the resulting tracks only needed to be narrow to be serviceable, and alleyways such as Dark Lane and Church Lane, impassable to motor traffic, survive to remind us of this.    In a rural area such as Mere, survival of the ancient network of paths and tracks has been high, and many paths which are no longer of economic importance retain their status as public rights of way despite only occasional use by the dedicated walker.   Over the centuries there have been many changes, mainly unrecorded, but in a few cases observations by T.H.Baker, arising from his discussions with old residents, tell us of routes altered or abandoned.


The most significant change in road patterns occurred in 1756.   On April 7th of that year, Richard Willoughby, till recently owner of the manor and estate of West Knoyle, wrote to Joshua Cox, agent to Henry Hoare of Stourhead, advising him of the previous day’s meeting that he had chaired of the Trustees appointed to put into action the Act establishing the Wincanton Turnpike Trust; he sought Hoare‘s support - and an initial loan of £500, which no doubt was forthcoming. [ii]     Willoughby had sold the whole estate, owned by his family for two centuries to Hoare in 1735, but twenty years later he is still writing from there, and referring to a well-known landmark as “my hedge”.  Significantly he does not write to Hoare as a neighbour but to his agent in London.    He hopes for Hoare’s advance as a good example to other local people “for our great Dependence is on Mr. Hoare’s Protection of the Bill. I shall apply to Mr. Beckford and others for the same purpose”.


The Act for the new turnpike [290 Geo II c49] established the Trust for four roads:-


1. Eighteen Mile stone near Willoughby Hedge in East[sic] Knoyle  - Mere - Wincanton - Charlton Horethorne -  Milborne Port.

2. Willoughby Hedge -  West end of Long Lane in Kilmington.

3. Wincanton  - Sherborne turnpike cross gate  on Castle Hill on road to Ansford.

4. Wincanton  -  Sparkford Bridge.

 Later a new road through Bourton across Zeals Common at Queen Oak, a road from Charlton Horethorne to Seven Wells, and another from Zeals Green to Maiden Bradley were added.


Thus the Trust continued to have responsibility for the old road across Whitesheet but it fell into disuse, and its establishment was to have significant importance for the prosperity and development of Mere, bringing commercial traffic off the Downs into the town. 


The new road to be established under the Act was in effect to run along the pre 1960’s line of the present day A303 through Mere and Wincanton, in effect abandoning the old way across Mere Down and on towards Bruton.    The first toll-gate, Willoughby said, was to be “at the East end of my Hedge”, i.e.  where to-day stands the Willoughby Hedge Little Chef, and he had promised to build “in the next month” a proper house, 20 feet by 14 feet, for the gate keeper there, to be habitable by Michaelmas, by which time it was hoped to have enough of the road completed to justify fixing up the Gate and demanding the Tolls.   Would that 21st Century works could be accomplished so easily!  A weighbridge was incorporated in this gate; in a MS note Miss Joyce Rutter noted that during road works for widening the A303 the foundations of the toll house were found.   It is interesting that in August 1910 there was offered at auction by the Executors of John Walton “a cottage and garden at Willoughby Hedge”; there is a conspicuous absence of any such cottage today, so had Walton bought the toll cottage as a possibly poor investment? The remaining gates were to be on either side of Wincanton, with another “at the Cross Road leading to Charlton & Sparkford”; no provision was made for any gate at Mere itself.


The justification for the starting point for the new road was that the road from Salisbury to this point had already been turnpiked by the Fisherton Turnpike Trust, responsible for the roads from Salisbury to Heytesbury and towards Devizes as well as this one from Salisbury via Hindon.   It is apparent that around 1750 the old ridge road across the Down had been turnpiked, as milestones giving the distance from Salisbury survive along the stretch of it bearing that date.  These stones are of a different pattern from those of the Fisherton Trust, and were presumably erected by an earlier Trust, though enquiry so far has not been able to establish its name; it is unfortunate that few records survive of so many Trusts.   Early Ordnance Survey maps show the line of these milestones continuing across the present B3092 to Kilmington Common, over the ridge at Alfred's Tower and through Hardway to Redlynch, near Bruton, but these do not appear to have survived; thorough searches for them by G.R.Berry and others in the 1960’s failed to find any trace. [iii]    It is always dangerous to rely on the survival of milestones; as a result of the wholesale removal of milestones for security reasons in 1940; many got lost altogether, and others may not have been erected exactly in the original position.  Even some of those existing to-day have evidence of being post 1945 replacements.    What does appear from Berry’s researches is that the sequence of these stones would seem to be a continuation of others to the East along the original line of the prehistoric track, from Willoughby Hedge to Wilton through Groveley Wood, where the odd surviving milestone also bears the 1750 date. Like the Mere Down road, this one was superseded by the turnpike through Dinton and Hindon.  One thing remains a mystery - which Trust or Trusts were responsible for setting up these milestones over 250 years ago?   By 1824 it seems clear that the old road over the Down had been abandoned, as in “Paterson’s Roads” [iv] the traveller for Bruton &c is routed down to Mere and via Zeals to Kilmington.


Another mystery is the course of the original Hardway, and the turnpike which replaced it, after crossing the Bruton road at the Red Lion inn.   Some milestones have been seen in the past along the road from there to Alfreds Tower, but seem to have disappeared.   The logical reading of the orientation of existing roads Westwards from the Tower is that the route went down Kingsettle Hill and by way of the road still called “Hardway” to Redlynch, but from there on the route is a matter of conjecture.   However, from Redlynch House a clearly defined track runs due Eastward, straight as a die, for three miles before turning NE and climbing the Selwood ridge.  The strange thing is that this track has two milestones giving the distance from Redlynch House, and stranger still, at the point where it crosses the lane running from Brewham to Charlton Musgrave stands a farmhouse “Coachroad Farm”.    However, this is a problem best left to a Somerset historian!


No maps survive indicating what roads existed from Willoughby Hedge to Mere before 1756, so we do not know to what extent the turnpike merely upgraded existing roads or what were completely new routes.   Sometimes it is possible to deduce from later maps when an entirely new route for a turnpike has been taken, by detecting a continuity of field boundaries underneath its line, but so much of this one was originally on unenclosed land that this option is not open to us.  On a pre-enclosure map of Duchy land there is some indication of a such an effect at what is now White Road, where the turnpike ran across the area known as “Bowling Green”, which confirms other indications, such as the straightness of this stretch, that the length from near the present Fire Station down to the Old Brewery was a new creation.  However, a note by T.H.Baker [see below] seems to imply the existence of an earlier road.


Some doubt must be thrown on a statement by Baker [v] that in 1891 “he was told by James Cowley of Warminster Hollow, then a very old man, that his father who had died a few years back aged over 90” had worked at the making of the new road from Mr. Borrodaile’s [i.e.. Castle Hill House, now beneath the by-pass] to the Brewery”.   This cannot have been at the first making of the road, but may have been in 1824 when tenders were invited for the improving of a portion of the road “by filling up the Hollow, cutting off Angles and widening the Bridge and Road from the gate of Mr. White‘s farmyard to a close called Bowling Green”.  This must surely have been merely a tidying-up;  not only is the present line shown on Andrew & Drury’s 1773 map, but it appears quite clearly on the Enclosure Award map of 1821. 


Cowley continued to say that the road had previously gone down Old Hollow, and then up Steep Street, across Manor Road and then along the North side of Castle Hill.   No map shows any road, path, or track which would support the last part of the statement; the first part fits in with the suggestion made in “The Story of Mere” that “the road for coaches and wagons was down Old Hollow, up Steep Street and probably across Bishops Corner”, presumably into the Square at Waltons’ Corner.   One only has to look at Old Hollow to think it most unlikely that the builders of the Turnpike would have included such a hazard in their new road!    It is surely more likely that there were problems of flooding &c at Lander’s bridge, which led to the temporary use of this route till the repairs had been carried out.


Sometimes doubts have been expressed as to whether the road down Charnage Hill to Mere was an existing one improved by the Trust, or a new creation.  However on June 16th 1755 an advertisement appeared in the Salisbury Journal for the sale or lease of the Castle Inn, “good and commodious, pleasantly situated on the High-Road from London to Taunton and Exeter” [vi] .  It is stated to be very convenient for entertaining of fat or lean cattle, and it is clear from the wording that the road was a main route before the turnpike.   The inn is known to have stood at the junction between the Turnpike, which it obviously antedated, and the Warminster Road.  It was eventually bought by Isaiah Maggs Jupe who built a large Victorian House adjoining for his own occupation, keeping the old inn as a small house nearby.  These were the only buildings which needed to be demolished a century later to make room for the by-pass, which went right through the site.  


It is certain is that the opening of the new road brought new life to the town. In May 1763 Edward Davis of the Angel Inn proudly announced his acquisition of a new 4-wheel post chaise, with horses for hire, and three years later John Perman of the Ship advertised a similar vehicle for hire, complete with a careful driver to any part of England!  By 1810 John Harding’s old house in the Square had reverted to its earlier use as an inn, the White Hart, and in 1830 six coaches on routes between Barnstaple and Exeter and London delivered passengers and changed horses in Mere in the middle of the night.


The trustees found it necessary to set up additional gates to deal with the traffic; in 1818 a side gate was erected at Zeals Green to catch traffic from the road to Bonham & Stourton [and thus from the Bruton/Frome area] and in 1845 the Parish Meeting objected to the establishment of a gate in Warminster Road.    We do not know what notice was taken of this objection, but by the 1851 census Edward Young, a 30 year old tailor, appeared as also being gatekeeper at Warminster Road.  


Some light is thrown on this additional gate by a reference in one of T.H.Baker’s  MS notebooks [vii] :-  “At the bottom of Warminster Hollow where the direction post now stands was erected about the year 1855 a small brick house of one storey with two rooms for the gate-keeper who took the tolls here collected for the Turnpike Trust which came to an end in 1875, after which it was pulled down. When this house was built a portion of the bank of Mr.Jupe’s field was cut away to make room for the house and the skeleton of a man was discovered buried a short depth below the surface.  Before this house was built a wooden hut occupied its place a few years  where the gatekeeper stayed during the day going to his house to sleep.  This hut was not in existence many years.  It was put there together with the gate to stop the coal hauliers from evading the toll at Stourton gate, which stood at the four cross roads at the top of Crab Lane, and at Norton Gate, which stood between Norton Ferris and Maiden Bradley.   After the Warminster Hollow was improved by Uriah Cross when he was waywarden [he farmed Mere Down up to 1844  Ed.]these men never used this road to escape paying tolls.”


Baker’s dating must be slightly adrift, as the 1851 census records gatekeeper Young and his wife as present on the census night, so by that time they had made their home there. Presumably the gate was situated at the corner of the two roads, by the “Castle” inn, at the point now under the flyover at the start of the by-pass.


At first sight it seems surprising that it had taken so long to control the entrance to the turnpike of traffic from the Warminster Road, which one would have thought a long established  North/South route.  However, during a visit by Wincanton Field Club in August 1892, led by T.H.Baker, he refers to the “road which has been made passable for vehicles since the beginning of this century; previously it was only a track to the Deverells, the road to Warminster generally used for traffic being by Willoughby Hedge, Pertwood & Lords Hill”, i.e. the present A350.   This remark is interesting in that it also confirms the existence of the pre-turnpike road from Mere to Willoughby Hedge.


In the same talk Baker describes “The Quarry”, presumably the Chalk Pit on the W. side of the road, plot 1386 on the Enclosure Award map at the point where the modern OS map shows “Earthwork“, as having at a depth of some 20 feet a six-foot seam of cream coloured chalk “in good repute for road making” appearing beneath the upper white chalk.   He goes on to refer to crossing “the old road from Sarum to the West of England now almost disused.  Up to the opening  of the South Western  Railway thousands of Devon steers travelled over this road to fairs in the Eastern Counties and tens of thousands of sheep” for the various fairs besides those sent fortnightly to Salisbury Market and the regular contingent of carts carrying calves &c from Somerset.   He specifically refers to Mere Down Hut, which presumably must still have been standing there.


It would seem that the only major alteration to the route to be taken by the new turnpike was that already discussed above to replace the old road over Mere Down.   To the West of the town there is every indication that the new road followed the line of existing ones; a factor here is that is nearly all the land to be traversed had been enclosed for a long time previously.


It is often assumed that fatal road accidents are peculiar to the advent of the internal combustion engine.  In fact accidents to horse drawn vehicles were far from unknown and were quite regularly reported in the local press.    The most common seems to have been the driver, or a passenger or hanger-on, falling off a cart and ending up with the wheels passing over him; sometimes a suggestion of intoxication follows the verdict.   In 1838 John Larkham, the local solicitor, fell from his carriage in Castle Street and was killed instantly.   


The prosperity brought by the turnpike was not to last.   In 1859 the Salisbury and Yeovil Railway opened its station at Gillingham and the pattern of transport changed almost overnight. All over the country stage coach routes were being abandoned, and now the short ride in one of the twice daily horse buses, operated by the railway company, that soon started running brought Mere within the span of a far shorter and more comfortable journey.  Within a very few years the shrinkage in trade had led to the closure of both the Swan and the White Hart Inns.  Not many years later the turnpike trusts were not renewed, the gates were removed, and the maintenance of all the roads was handed over to the waywardens and in 1894 to the newly constituted R.D.Cs.   For the rest of the century surfacing was in the local stone, quarried at Dead Maid Quarry, which had opened in 1811, with gravel coming from the Grove estate at Grab Lane. This coincided with the opening of the Union Workhouse, where the stone was broken down to smaller sizes by the “casual” inmates.   The fact that Mere stone was very soft and not suitable for heavy wear did not matter until the early XXc, when the motor car, with pneumatic tyres which tore up the surface, appeared;   previously the iron tyres which every vehicle had used consolidated the surface, rather than wearing it, provided they were reasonably wide. 


At the start of the motoring age the main road from London to the South-West was that now known as the A30 through Shaftesbury and for a long time Mere remained something of a backwater.   It is significant that on the first 1/4” Ordnance Survey map aimed at motorists, the road through Chicklade is only shown as a minor road, with the main road going on to Hindon; even as late as 1930 the 1” map shows the present A303 as a minor road.   It was not to be until after WWII that the Ministry of Transport changed their emphasis and gave priority to the A303 over the A30.  By the 1960’s the weight of traffic through the town was such that Mere became a notorious blackspot on the route to the West; it was not until there had been two demolitions of property at pinch points in Castle Street and the Square resulting in the loss of old and interesting buildings that finally Mere was by-passed.


The 1821 Enclosure Award, with its accompanying map, is an invaluable source of information on the road network of Mere at that time.   Prior to Enclosure the greatest part of the roads locally had traversed the open fields and commons.   The arable open fields were all individually delineated and traffic was not allowed to impinge on the cultivated areas, so that the roads through them, and through the areas of old enclosure, had to follow a fixed route.   Over the commons however, and to some extent over pasture land, the road line was not delineated.    With the lack of maintenance already described, these tracks tended to become nearly impassable, and there was nothing to stop traffic moving over to one side or the other.    The Award finally laid down the exact line for all the roads and footpaths, together with their width, and the pattern remains on the landscape to this day.    The major roads were described as “public carriage roads”.    A large number of other roads, usually narrower, were to be “private carriage roads”, access roads to the owners of lands served; some of them were even given the landowners’ names as their title - e.g. “Lander’s Road”.   Most of these designations have lapsed, and some of the roads themselves have disappeared on the amalgamation of holdings.      A number of footpaths were also provided  - as with the roads, these usually recognised long standing rights of way.


So far as can be ascertained only one other road through the parish was turnpiked; the rest remained as local routes maintained [or neglected] by the parish authorities.    Three routes can be regarded as roads leading to other communities, rather than mere local tracks  -  those to Warminster by way of Mere Down, to Gillingham, and to Shaftesbury.        The road up Warminster Hollow by way of the lynchets and Bare Knap followed the same course as now through the open fields until their enclosure as pasture or corn land, and then went on over the downs past Mere Down Farm and down into the Wylie Valley.   The gradients up the side of the downs must have been too steep to make comfortable going, and the road cannot have been greatly used.  However, as quoted above, in 1892 T.H.Baker,  described the Warminster Hollow road as only having been made passable for vehicles in the early XIXc, it previously only having been a track to the Deverills.   Interestingly, both the Enclosure Award and Tithe Award Maps show a building in the triangle between the road and the old road to Willoughby Hedge, called on the Tithe Map “the Hut”.  It cannot by then have been put to its original use, and was probably a farm worker’s cottage;   later Down House was built on the site.


It is probably the Shaftesbury road which was at one time of greatest use, and was eventually to be turnpiked.   An indication of its ancient use as a through route is to be found in the 1540’s Itinerary of John Leland [viii] , who obviously took it on his way back North from his tour through Dorset, passing through Gillingham Forest to Mere.   This road left the Market Place by way of Boar Street and Pettridge Lane - the history of this part of the town will be discussed in another Paper in this series.    At Edge Bridge it left the bounds of the original town and assumed the name of Clements Lane, presumably named after the family known to have owned land at this point in mediaeval times - this lane continued Westwards as Swainsford Road, now Woodlands Road, with the Shaftesbury Road branching off to the South.    The road up to this point has assumed considerable importance in recent years, partly as a result of the growth in residential development South of Mere, but more on account of the greatly increased traffic dependant on The Hill Brush Company, who built their factory at the junction of Clements Lane and Shaftesbury Road in the 1930’s and whose trade has grown steadily ever since.   


At the Lawn cross roads, in Dorset some 2 miles South of the town, a cast-iron mile plate giving the distance of 5 miles to Shaftesbury survives; of the other five markers which appear as late as the 1903 revision of the 1“ OS map only two, in Motcombe, survive, both overgrown in hedges.  They explicitly show the distance from Shaftesbury Town Hall, though in one case the last two words are painted out.   Hardly any reference can be found to a turnpike trust covering this route, which Professor Good [ix] presumes, possibly on the absence of evidence to the contrary, to have been part of the Wincanton Trust.  We now know that it does not appear amongst those included in the 1756 Act, and the entirely different style of the mileposts suggests the probability of the road having been the responsibility of one of the Shaftesbury Trusts.  Just short of the junction of the road from Clements Lane the 1821 Enclosure Award map shows a gate across the road, with the legend “Clements Gate”. Neither the 1821 map nor the 1848 Tithe Map shows any building beside the gate, though if it had been a turnpike gate provision for a gatekeeper would have been expected.  Moreover,  the gate seems to have been positioned to cover also Clements Lane and the road to Woodlands and Swainsford, which certainly were never turnpiked.   It seems most likely that the purpose of the gate was to contain cattle; pre-enclosure both the roads went through open common pastureland, and it was not uncommon for such roads to be gated on the outskirts of settlements to keep the commoners’ cattle out. 


The 1821 Award provided for a “public carriage road of the breadth of forty feet [in contrast to the thirty feet allowed for ordinary roads] being the line of the present Turnpike Road leading from Mere to Shaftesbury, beginning at Clements Gate and extending Southwards over Whitemarsh and Whitehill Commons to its entrance into the parish of Gillingham at the North East corner of Hazlehold Close and from the said Close over the east end of  that part of Whitehill Common which is in the parish of Gillingham to the South East extremity of the said Common, which said road is described by the name of Shaftesbury Road”.   


The Shaftesbury Road still shows evidence of its pre-enclosure history to this day.  It is noticeable that for most of the way out to the parish [& county] boundary on either side of the road is a fairly narrow strip, some 50 to 100 feet deep, which as far out as White Hill has been developed residentially, in the odd case pre enclosure, largely post 1950, and occasionally in between.   Such building is upon the narrow common grazing land along this road, forming the White Marsh and White Hill Commons, which were enclosed under the 1821 Act.    Various small slices of these Commons were allocated to landowners and farmers in lieu of the rights which they had over the open fields and commons and over the ensuing couple of centuries have either been amalgamated with other lands or disposed of for development.     In those places where the boundaries do not fit this premise, almost invariably it is found that the land involved had been enclosed much earlier.


Some half dozen of cottages appear on the roadside on the Enclosure Map, on plots which were not affected by the Award, as they were already in individual ownership and occupation at that time, although clearly by their layout they were originally on the Common;  the inference is that these were examples of earlier “squatting”, recognised by the Manor as purpestures.    1835 Richard Sutton Brine and his two sons brought an action for trespass against the Overseers in respect of a plot of land on which they had earlier erected a hovel and as a result claimed ownership of a piece of ground, but it was proved that they had only been there since after the enclosure plots were marked out, so their action failed, leaving Brine to go to prison for non-payment of the legal costs involved in the case.


The stretch of  the Shaftesbury Road running from the Clements Lane junction to White Hill is known as “The Causeway”.  The origin of this name is not known - it was certainly used by the enumerator of the 1851 Census, implying that it was common usage at the time.  The word usually connotes a road or path artificially raised above the level of the surrounding land where the latter is waterlogged or liable to flooding, and one would expect physical evidence of such work;  at Maud Heath’s Causeway near Chippenham for instance a footpath is carried on a raised embankment for several miles.   No such work can be traced here, and indeed the line of this road runs on the highest, and best drained, course that could be found, with little chance of flooding.    A possible hypothesis is that here the word denotes that the road has been artificially made up, rather than being just an unmarked track over the common grazing land.   As early as 1758 a deed [x] describes the field “Addymead” West of the road near Chance Cottage as “situate between the Two Bridges called the Lambrook”;  these small bridges - in fact little more than culverts - can be identified to-day, but the two branches of the stream they cross are very insignificant and drain a very small area.   They must be regarded as strong evidence of the road having been properly made up. 


From White Hill three local lanes lead off.  One to the West  runs down to Hinks Mill, and then meets Woodlands Road, the continuation of Clements Lane running to the hamlet of Huntingford; it is significant that the line of this Hinks Mill Lane is continued Eastwards by a footpath  which runs for a couple of miles cross-country to Park Corner - a suggestion of a long established trackway.  Of the two lanes leading Eastward from Whitehill, one doubles back to Limpers Hill and Burton, while the other, delightfully called Wet Lane, leads South-East towards Mere Park, and the Knoyles.


Shortly after Whitehill the road crosses  the corner of the enclosed Whitehill Common, and then passes into Dorset, at just the point where the Gillingham Commons marched with those of Mere and were enclosed at the same time.  The Mere Enclosure Award included a substantial slice of the Common lying South of the present County/Parish boundary, including the portion allotted to the Churchwardens for the Forest Charity and that set aside as grazing rights for those entitled to leasing rights.   The farm now known as Two Counties Farm, a post enclosure creation, lies on the present boundary, but the area shown in 1821 as part of Mere included the small settlement Forest Deer.  It is of interest that Good [xi] quotes an 1867 history of Motcombe by Lady Theodora Grosvenor who refers to several houses on the road, just within Dorset, one of which was at that time “an isolated and dilapidated inn called The Forest Deer“.                        


The other road of importance leading out of Mere is that to Gillingham, which left the Wincanton turnpike to the West of the town opposite Dead Maid Quarry, and for a short length originally cut across the open pasture land of Bramble [nowadays Bramley] Furlong, enclosed under the 1821 Award.   Pre-enclosure this left a triangular 5 acre plot called Picked Piece; at this point the road met the line of the original boundary between the manors of Mere and Zeals - now the parish boundary - and turned sharply to follow it for the next half mile, after which it ran more or less straight across Mappledore Hill Common, and then across Gillingham’s Commons to Milton-on-Stour. 


The Enclosure Award established this as a 30 feet wide public carriage road “branching out of the Wincanton Turnpike” at Dead Maid  and “extending South Westward to Wood Lane”  and then going South over Mappledore Common “to the South side thereof where it unites with a newly made road in the parish of Gillingham”, i.e. the road made up on the enclosure of Gillingham’s commons.  On the award map the stretch of the road  from the South end of Picked Piece running along the edge of pasture land then enclosed for about 1/4 mile is designated “Wood Lane” before becoming Gillingham Road. The divergence of the road, leaving the five acre triangle is strange.  Andrews & Drury, 1773, appear to show the road going straight ahead but the scale is so small that this interpretation is not reliable; however it seems likely that the divergence already existed.  The actual award refers to “Pikes Piece”, as part of nine allotments made to the Dean in respect of various open lands owned by him and leased to the Grove family - i.e. part of the Parsonage lands.      The present parish, and old manorial, boundary, which coincides with the line of this road Southwards, continues to the North-West on exactly the same alignment up to the point  where it reaches Stourton, passing East of North Wood, which still exists, and West of Deverill Longwood, now the site of Wood Farm.   Did the earlier lane, which may have been little more than a footpath, originally continue along this line, probably up to Kilmington?   It is significant that the Enclosure Award created the “Stourton Pathway”, six feet wide, on a track parallel to the boundary but a short distance to the East of it.    To this day there is a public right of way along this latter path, which continues unbroken up to Search Farm and then up to the Red Lion corner where the old ridgeway route crosses the road to Maiden Bradley.  The appellation “Wood” Lane probably refers to the fact that the continuation leads to Nor Wood, a fairly large wood on the South side of Zeals Knoll.  One suggestion for the diversion is the obstacle that the opening of Dead Maids Quarry put in the way of the Northward route.


As late as the Tithe Map of 1848 there was no approach from the Gillingham Road to Zeals House, and the South Lodge with its drive must have been built between then and the 1880’s.   On the other hand a cottage and garden on the corner of Picked Piece do appear between Enclosure and 1848, and called Woodland Cottage on the 1891 6“ OS. 


Up to the point where the Zeals House Drive meets the road it passes through pasture land and lands enclosed much earlier.  From there Southwards, however, it ran across the very extensive Mappledore Common, parcelled up in 1821 into a number of rectilinear fields, bounded by thorn hedges in most cases still clearly identifiable to-day.   The present road to Wolverton was designated  a public carriage road, running from the Gillingham Road across the Common and then along  the North side of  the Ark Common  to “Wolverton Gate”.   This latter gate was shown as at the East end of Wolverton village, and so far from the turnpike that it could not have been a toll gate, but rather one to contain cattle onto the Common.


Provision was made for two private carriage roads, twenty feet wide, running off to the East of the road.  The first, Mappledore Road, remains to-day as an unmade farm road running from the Gillingham Road down to West Swainsford Farm, not a public right of way.   The second road, a field to the South, is the present public highway, connecting Swainsford Road to the Gillingham road; it is dead straight, showing its artificial origin.     It would seem that it was adopted as a highway later in the XIXc, as being a commonly used route.  Mappledore Hill Farm, opposite the West end of this road, was built on the former common land between 1848 and 1880. 


Amongst the private carriage roads is Deverill Longwood Road, running from Deans’ Close to an area called Lawn, by Deverill Longwood and the present Wood Farm  - the present Manor Road.   This was allowed the surprising width of forty feet;  the reason for this is that at the Longwood end it was joined by The Drove, running up to the North East with an initial width of sixty feet widening to a hundred feet where it entered the downs, and continued to meet the ridgeway.    This must have been to allow for access to the downland and to the droveways by flocks.  It is probably an indication either that the ridgeway was still in use at that time, or that there was still strong folk memory of such a use; Mere would have been well situated as an access point to the drove road from the Blackmore Vale area.


Apart from the by-pass and the various new housing developments there have been virtually no changes in the road pattern since it was established by the turnpike and the Enclosure Award.    One striking exception to this is at the Zeals end of the old parish of Mere.    The Enclosure Award shows opposite the main entrance to Zeals House a track branching off the turnpike and running North, referred to as Broom Foot Way;  this in fact is the present  B3092, now running North to Stourton and beyond , and then merely a footpath.     By the late XIXc this track had become Crab, or Grab, Lane, and, about half way to Stourton, turned due West  to go to Bonham, rather than proceeding North to Stourton;  at the turning earlier OS maps show a quarry, and a footpath towards Stourton.  Crab Lane crossed at right angles what was then the road from Zeals to Stourton, Bell Lane, leaving Zeals at the East end of the village, which had been turnpiked as the Bruton road.   This position obtained until 1940, when the airfield built at Zeals blocked Bell Lane;   the present gently curving road to Stourton  was then built to skirt the airfield, at first on the line of the Broom foot way, and then boldly across country.   After the closure of the airfield after WWII Bell Lane was re-opened, but is now merely a quiet by-way, with the B3092 not rejoining the original road till a couple of hundred yards to the North of the village.


Many of the short “private carriage ways” authorised by the Award have not survived, presumably because, for instance, like “Lander’s Road” running off Mill Lane, they were provided to give access to the lands of one particular frontager who either owned, or later acquired other neighbouring land and was able to merge the road into his land.   Hurle Scene Road, later to acquire the delightful name of Pettycoat Lane, survives as a public footpath running from the original vicarage Westward and runs through  the modern greenhouses and on to the Gillingham Road.  Some others have since 1821 become of greater local importance and are now public rights of way.   The Award established, or recognised, several quite long public footways, such as the Gillingham footway from near the Church across the Meads and the former commons to the parish boundary  and the Stourton footway from the West end of Long Hill to Zeals Knoll, and all have survived as rights of way to this day.    Perhaps this is the point at which the stalwart work in recent years of the Parish Council and of a small group of walkers in keeping the public footpaths open and passable should be acknowledged.


T.H.Baker recorded some interesting memories of elderly locals about changes in the local road system.  In 1891 [xii] he quotes John Wilton, then 84, who had retired from his wheelwright business at Burton, as recalling when the road from Charnage and Barrow Street ran through Burton Lane Copse [this has not yet been identified]. From this copse a road, which was gated by Phillips the farmer to keep the public out, ran through to the turnpike at Charnage Limeklin.  From Burton the road “entered the river”, and was the highway to Mere Mill by way of Holwell and to Water Street and the town by way of Ivymead.  These routes appear on the Enclosure Award Map as Burton Footway..  Elsewhere Baker refers to this as having been the route which Mere people used when taking their corn to be ground at West Knoyle Windmill; presumably this was cheaper than the easier option of going to Mere Mill.    The windmill has long since disappeared, but its site is readily identifiable, as it has been established that it was a post-mill whose builder had taken advantage of the mound of a prehistoric tumulus to raise the structure to catch the wind.   Long after the collapse of the mill, the tumulus was excavated and the mill use confirmed.


In 1847 at Hindon Petty Sessions some local ratepayers challenged the accounts of the Parish Surveyors,  who had repaired the road leading to Manor Farm, where the present farm buildings had recently been erected by the Duchy in place of those in North Street. Presumably they considered it to be a private road, to be maintained by the landowner, but they lost their case.


An often overlooked addition to road use occurred in the XIXc; the first reference to it locally was in 1863, with the report of the inquest on Frederick Heath who had fallen from the back of his son’s “velocipede” in Grab Lane and died two days later [xiii] .    This of  course was in the very early days of cycling, which by the end of the century was to become a very popular activity, particularly when eventually road surfaces were improved.  Not only did it give greater mobility to the vast majority who were horseless, but it opened up the countryside as a place of recreation.   It was probably this new market which led to the opening of a “Temperance” Hotel in part of the Angel Inn premises, and another in Castle Street.  The front wall of Jeans’ Electrical shop in Salisbury Street still carries the enamel plaque of the National Cycling Union from the days when  Jim Welch, who had learnt his engineering skills in Swindon, set up his cycle shop in the first decade of the XXc.


1903 saw the introduction of registration of motor vehicles.  At first the responsibility for the system was placed on County Councils, and in 2005 Wiltshire Record Society published a transcript by  Ian Hicks of the registrations from 1903 to 1914 which gives an insight into early motoring in the county [xiv] .  Whilst naturally the luxury vehicles of the Hoares of Stourhead and the Sebag-Montefioris of Zeals House catch the eye, it is the more workaday vehicles that are of importance to us. For the first few years there were more registrations of motor cycles than of cars - the Mitchell family of Manor and Park Farms obviously having been particular afficionados of the motor bike.  Right up to August 1914 Dr. F.B.Rutter had relied on a series of motor cycles, but he then acquired an 8hp Enfield 2 seater light car


The invention of the motor car and the rapid growth of its traffic brought many changes in its train.  The new machines needed skilled maintenance.   Blacksmiths, who of course had been of great importance in pre-motor days both in building and servicing the carts and carriages as well as acting as farriers to keep the horses on the road, were well equipped  to fulfil this role.   The first garage in Mere was almost certainly that of Whitmarshes in Castle Street, where they had had their forge for many years; recognised early by the AA, the business was only brought to an end in 1967 - ironically by the growth of traffic leading to the demolition of its premises.  Cowley‘s Central Garage in the Square, close by the Temperance Hotel, was the successor to another cycle engineer, Enos Cowley, who had a shop in Salisbury Street, and who was the first registered owner of many of the motor cycles pre 1914, presumably as the dealer supplying them .    Waltons, the Mere department store, at first hesitated to cater for the motorist, but eventually installed two petrol pumps outside their furniture shop in the old Triangle building, which also fell to the demands of 1960’s road widening.   They also catered for the motorist at their premises in the old Union building in Castle Street, which later became Hoare’s garage, which finally closed in 2003.


Jim Welch seems to have moved away from the cycle trade and to have spotted the possibilities presented by the car; in 1906 a twin cylinder 10hp Daimler was registered as a public conveyance in the name of Welch & Williams of the Motor Works, Mere, to be followed in 1907 by a 22hp Daimler, so he provided a bus and taxi service.  His cycle shop developed into a garage in more suitable quarters at Landers Bridge and the business continued there until the 1980’s . The site has since been completely cleared to form the garden of the earlier house on the East side of the stream - in the early days the forecourt, with its access to the stream, made a suitable refuelling point for steam lorries which continued in use till the 1940’s.


All of these garages have closed over the years, but one remains.   The Talbot Inn, which has now reverted to its original title of The George, was for many years owned and run by members of the Norris family, who also brewed there.  They obviously catered for the motorist, and early in the XXc the landlord’s son set up a garage in Salisbury Street opposite Dewes House; it was named Talbot Garage, commemorating the link with the family business, and the trademark of the Talbot dog was adopted.   In 1929 Frederick J.Chalke, son of a blacksmith at Corsley, came to Mere, lodging at what was then Curtis’ fishmongery in Salisbury Street.  He took over the garage and yard and rented them from Norris, and set up on his own, employing just one boy, Jim Hollis, and retaining the Talbot name.  Cyclists still formed part of the market, and an NCU plaque, similar to that on Jeans shop,  hung for a long time on the “rat-trap” bond brick wall flanking the entrance to the yard.   The family remained in rented accommodation until 1937 when they bought the brick house behind the garage in North Street.   Beside the garage was the shop of Bob Jeans, the baker,  which was bought in 1944 and eventually the business expanded into the neighbouring coal yard of Taylor & Sons.    In the 1950’s  Welch’s Landers Bridge garage was bought.  The next expansion was the purchase a year or so later of the old Victoria Hall in the Square, which for some years had to be rented out for dances &c, as the premises were subject to a covenant against use in retail trade.  This was eventually lifted, and the hall adapted for use as a car salesroom, which continued till the end of the 1980’s when the building was sold for conversion to a supermarket.   The company’s growth has continued,  with branches in Wincanton, Warminster, Yeovil and Gillingham,  and employing a staff of over 100.    


One difference from the early days is that no longer is the petrol pump an essential feature of every garage.   There may be something ironic in the fact that the nearest filling station for the Mere motorist now is at Willoughby Hedge, where the turnpike first started; it was once owned by Chalkes.


The continual growth of road traffic through the second half of the XXc brought serious problems to Mere, which over the years acquired the unenviable reputation of being one of the most notorious traffic jams on the road to the West.  Two ineffectual attempts were made to resolve the problem in the 1960’s to remove bottlenecks - the demolition of the mediaeval Triangle building, and of the range of buildings on the Castle Street frontage of the George Inn site, but in fact the narrowness of the streets on either side of these obstacles continued as an obstruction.   The Castle Street site was at first left as an open space, and referred to as The Green.   Human memory is short, and when a mere 20 years later houses were erected there was an outcry  at the loss of a traditional green!


Eventually Whitehall accepted the inevitable and in 1972 plans were prepared for a dual-carriageway by-pass to the North of the town, from Warminster Hollow to the entrance to Zeals House, and construction was completed in 1979, the only casualty being the demolition of Castle House.    In the early 1990’s a further by-pass of Zeals and Bourton connected the Mere by-pass with that of Wincanton, providing an unbroken dual carriage way as far as Sparkford.  Since then, plans to continue this standard of road Eastward, eliminating the notoriously dangerous Charnage Hill, have been casualties of spending cuts.    At the same time pressure on local authority budgets has resulted in neglect of some of the minor roads of the parish , which carry loads far in excess of their original design, with foreseeable problems.


This study has so far been confined basically to the roads and footpaths used by the locals or those of commercial use.   Over the centuries there were two types of road user who have left little mark on the landscape and who, by virtue of being at the bottom of the social order, have little or no written record, but in their time could not have been ignored.


The first such group are the “travelling” community, which embraced both the full “Romany” gypsy and also the “didikois”, who on the face of it led the same nomad life as the gipsies, but lacked the latter’s tribal history and family loyalties.   Both subsisted on seasonal casual work and trading, but the farming economy of the Mere area, and the poor employment prospects locally did not offer them much encouragement to linger.  When they did pass through the area, however, they needed to have some sort of site on which they could settle with their vans and assorted horses, dogs and children while exploiting what opportunities there were.   One traditional site they used was on Horsington Lane, at the extreme South of the parish, on a lane carved out of the original commons at the time of the 1820 Enclosure.   The old style gipsies are rarely seen in Mere to-day, though it has been suggested that there are local families whose origins go back to Romanies who settled locally.  Their successors, the “New Age” travellers, following a similar nomadic life, but in a more mechanised way, are seen from time to time, particularly in mid-summer making their way from Stonehenge to their spiritual home at Glastonbury.


The other road user, not seen these days, appears throughout history - the tramp or vagrant roaming the country.    In Tudor days strolling players and actors were classed as “rogues and vagabonds” and were liable to be pushed on to the next parish with or without a whipping; in deserving cases the overseers might make a small donation to see them on their way.  Until the establishment of Union workhouses no provision was made for accommodating the vagrant, but in the early XIXc these workhouses all had “casual wards”, where tramps had a night’s lodging paid for by a few hours manual labour before being put back on the road to walk to the next “spike”, as the casual wards were known.  This system lasted well into living memory, and in the early 1930’s unemployed men walking the country in search of work were all too frequent.    Mere Union Workhouse in Castle Street must have seen hundreds of such unfortunates over the years, but the casual tramp has been a rare sight since the establishment of the Welfare Society after WWII.


Before the building of the Unions tramps and vagrants had to take their chance of finding suitable spots to spend the night, and usually these resting places cannot be identified.   However, an area of rough pasture, separate from the neighbouring arable fields, on the NE side of the present A303 at the bottom of Charnage Hill [OS 844332], at one time bore the name of “Beggars Bushes”, and was referred to by T.H.Baker in reply to an enquiry [xv] as to the origin of this and similar place names.  He dismissed the suggestion that it was a corruption of “badgers” and advanced the theory  that it could have been a spot favoured by gipsies.   More recently, enquiries of local people have drawn a blank, apart from one octogenarian who thought it was Badgers on the ground that there was a large sett there, and another who said the old shepherds  called it Badders or Baddies.  This latter rather points to it having been the resort of vagrants - generally speaking the countryman differentiated between them and gipsies.  


Whilst there can be no certainty, it seems probable that this rough patch, on the parish boundary between Mere and West Knoyle, and on the track leading down to Mere which was later turnpiked, was a well known tramps’ haven, whose use has been remembered over the centuries by this name, long after the ending of the system which led to it.


The late XXc produced two of its own sites nearby linked to the road, which were the current replacements for the old Mere Down Hut.   In the narrow wedge of land between the A303 and the B3089, the old turnpike to Wilton and Salisbury,  has been built a petrol station, and beside it a “Little Chef”, selling refreshment to the passing traveller.   This latter, however, does not attract the driver of the long distance lorry - even in the relaxed XXIc social distinctions persist.  As a result, half a mile to the West a convenient lay-by affords a site, with parking, for a mobile snack-bar, which is steadily patronised by the HGV drivers, and indeed by a number of private drivers.    To this facility a practical local authority has added, and maintains, public conveniences.   Perhaps it is rather apt that this layby was created during the road improvement near a very old barn at just the spot marked on older maps as “Old Willoughby Hedge”, the parting of the ways in 1756!

[i]   A Lost Roman Road, Bernard Berry, 1963


[ii]   WSRO........... [Stourhead papers.


[iii]   Papers of G.R.Berry deposited at Devizes Museum


[iv]   Paterson’s Roads, Edward Mogg, London, 17th Edition 1824, pp49 & 79


[v]   His MS notes, property of Mere church, vol.2 p.396


[vi]   I am indebted to Robert Jago, archivist at WSRO for drawing my attention to this


[vii] Somerset RO, transcribed by Patricia Westwood, p48.


[viii] John Chandler’s edition1998, p142 - [5/110 in original]


[ix] The Old Roads of Dorset, Ronald Good 1966 p149


[x] WSRO 2776/4/2


[xi] Good, op. cit. p 94


[xii] Baker op. cit. vol.2  p.306 


[xiii] Mere Paper 14, p346


[xiv] WRS vol 58, 2006


[xv] Somerset & Dorset Notes & Queries vol iii, p 275, 1898.