The Overseers records began in 1673 and books exist of their accounts up to 1836 when they ended. Several pages are missing and a few are torn so these records in themselves are not 100% complete. They record the rates collected from the wealthier inhabitants and property owners and show how these sums were distributed. Other money was also received, such as from the Dyer Symcockes bequest and the John Rocke bequest, money to be distributed amongst the poor. There were fines such as in 1683 when William Kelway buried his wife in linen instead of woollen, as had been ordained by Act of Parliament and again in 1713 when Katherine Webb was similarly buried. When people receiving relief from the Parish died, their goods could be sold to cover the cost of burial [as happened to the Brownings in 1683/4].

Many children were orphaned and old people became sick and destitute. At first one sees the Overseers distributing clothes and shoes to them, wood for heating etc. and families taking in such unfortunates and the thought occurs - what an idyllic and charitable world it must have been. Imagine little Joan getting a new frock and shoes and running home hand in hand with her foster parent. It was nothing of the kind - in most cases these destitute people were forced upon the other inhabitants [and once or twice they had to be taken to court to ensist that they accepted their obligations] it was not as pleasant as it could have been. See pp 46-47 of Volume I for the terms agreed by the parishioners in 1686 with Henry Bull JP – it set them apart from their more fortunate brethren and they had to bear the stigma of being poor, even to the extent of wearing badges on their clothing – a little like the Star of David during the Third Reich in Germany. It was also difficult to move into the parish if you were poor and several families were escorted out who it was considered might become a burden on the parishioners, including the earliest recorded Higginses, sent back to Lydford!

The PDF files are as follows, with some additional notes of their contents below. Personal names are printed in bold. Click on the [Vol] number to see the file. [the files are large and take a while to download] – I have had to split some volumes because of their size. Good hunting – and be aware that many names are mis-spelled – almost unrecognisably so in some cases.

These volumes of transcriptions were made from fiches acquired from the Somerset Record Office;

Vol. I...................................................................D\P\Butl/13/2/1 - 1673-1742, Rates and disbursements ----266 pages

Vol. IIa [1742-71] Vol. IIb [1771-90]….................D\P\Butl/13/2/2 - 1742-1790, Rates and disbursements ----317 pages

Vol. IIIa [1790-1810] Vol. IIIb [1811-28] ….........D\P\Butl/13/2/3 - 1790-1828 Rates ------------------------362 pages

Vol. IVa [1763-77] Vol. IVb [1777-87] ….......….D\P\Butl/13/2/4 - 1762-1787 disbursements ---------------257 pages

Vol. Va [1787-97] Vol. Vb [1797-1804].......... …..D\P\Butl/13/2/5 - 1787-1804 disbursements ----------------289 pages

Vol. VIa [1805-15] Vol. VIb [1815-25].............….D\P\Butl/13/2/6 - 1805-1825 disbursements ----------------332 pages

Vol. VII …..............................................................D\P\Butl/13/2/7 - 1825-1836 disbursements ---------------187 pages

Vol. 1 - additional information to the rates and disbursements:

Page 1 - List of apprentices

P. 32 - The disbursement of John and Dorothy Browning’s goods

P. 46, 47 - The rules concerning the distribution of assistance to the Poor

P. 57 - Some burials for 1688

P. 61 - Some burials for 1689

P. 64 - Some burials for 1690

P. 68 - Some burials for 1691

P. 71 - Some burials for 1692

P. 146 - Fines money distributed to the Poor

P. 194 - Notes of some apprentices in 1726

P. 220 - Election of Constable of the Hundred 1732

P. 263/265 - A List of the Churchwardens and Overseers 1673 - 41

P. 265 - List of the Poor receiving relief in 1724 and disbursements of Constable George Rood

P. 266 - List of Overseers of the Poor 1651 - 1673

Vol. II - additional information to the rates and disbursements:

P. 1 - List of Churchwardens and Overseers from the year 1700 - 1784

P. 89 - The Window Tax rates for 1759

P. 90 - George II’s Land Tax assessment 1759

P. 166 - John Rocke’s scheme for apprentices 1772

P. 171 - Caleb Dickinson’s complaint concerning the above

P. 172 - Summary of rates disbursed 1742 - 1771 and comments thereon [p. 173]

P. 219 - Ditto for 1772 - 1778

P. 282 - Slip demanding that Hannah Dominy quit the property of Joshua Difford

P. 304 - Second version of John Rocke’s apprentice scheme

P. 309 - A survey of the Parish by single rate 15th March 1771

P. 312 - Inquisition into the ownership of Sedgemoor 1279

P. 312 - Single Rate according to a survey of 1765

P. 315 - Ditto 1758

Vol. III - additional information to the rates and disbursements:

P. 1 - List of Overseers 1789 - 1813 plus list of persons fit to serve in 1808

P. 2 - A receipt for repairs to Mary Hodges house 1809

P. 54 - First account of Kings Sedgemoor Ground 1796/97

P. 87 - Memo about the provision of Barley, Pease & Potatoes for the Poor 1800

P. 93 - Memo - employment of George Chant of Somerton as Doctor for the Poor

P. 97 - The purchase of dowlas, linsey and blankets for the Poor

P. 129 - List of Bastardy pay received 1805

P. 161 - The repair of Mary Hodges house for Parish use

P. 185 - The employment of Richard Wheeler as molecatcher 1811

P. 207 - The accounts for draining Sedgemoor 1813

P. 213 - The acquisition of Sealy’s Row for use as Poor House [and Sweet’s House]

P. 244 - The costs of repairing Butleigh Drove on the King’s Sedgemoor 1817

P. 258 - The costs of throwing the rhynes belonging to Butleigh Allotments 1818

P. 259 - The building of two cottages in Sealy’s Row 1819

P. 265 - Employment of John Tucker as perpetual waywarden and Overseer 1819

P. 269 - Employment of Dr. George Bond and father to doctor the Poor

P. 297 - Rate collection for drying and cleaning Rhynes on Sedgemoor 1822

P. 319 - The Grenville Bequest

P. 336 - The proposal for a survey and Map of Butleigh Parish 1825

P. 336 - The letting of several droves at an annual rent

P. 342 - Rate collection for throwing rhynes belonging to Butleigh Allotments 1826

P. 348 - Further on the Butleigh Survey 1827

P. 354 - Assessment for the relief of the Poor 4th Oct 1827

P. 358 - Assessment for the relief of the Poor 28th Feb 1828

Vol. IV - additional information to the rates and disbursements:

P. 1 - Agreement to build or buy a house for the Parish Poor 1782

P. 5 - Expenses for repairing Highways 1761/2

P. 75 - Poor House repairs

P. 221 - The enlargement of Sweets as Poor House 1784

P. 246 - [List of bastardy payments and fathers] 1786

P. 251 - Application for repair of Highway and Wallyate Bridge 1768

P. 257 - Loose leaf of extraordinary payments 1786

Vol. V - additional information to the rates and disbursements:

P. 234 - [List of Bastardy payment and fathers] 1801

Vol. VI - additional information to the rates and disbursements:

Vol. VII - additional information to the rates and disbursements:

P. 63 - [Bastardy - father’s names] 1829

P. 72 - [Bastardy - father’s names] 1829

P. 102 - [Bastardy - father’s names] 1831

Further references - not transcribed:


Poor Rate book 1830-1836 D\P\butl/13/1/1

Poor Rate 1846 D\P\butl/13/1/2

Survey and Valuation for a Poor Rate c. 1833: D\P\butl/13/1/5

Vestry Minute Book listing those qualified to serve as constable 1842 D\P\butl/9/1/1

Church Rate Book 1830 - 69 D\P\butl/4/3/1

Churchwardens Accounts mixed disbursements 1793-1938 D\P\butl/4/1/1

Rates to 1829 (with gaps), including rate based on survey of 1826 and 1827 (back of vol.). Some vestry minutes and associated memos. 1825-29: church alterations, 1825-1827; Bishop's visitation report 1826; church inventory, 1828; rules for bell-ringers and duties of parish clerk, etc. 1829; investment of legacy of John, Lord Glastonbury, 1829. Memos.: repair of church bells, 1906; repair of organ, 1915; church roof disaster, 1919