Relics of the Civil War

Devon Notes & Queries, vol. I, (January 1900 to January 1901), pp. 118-9.


F.E.W. Langdon

Prepared by Michael Steer

In 1644 the Civil War came to the area – in April parliamentary Lyme Regis was attacked – in June parliamentarians passed through Chard followed by Charles himself in September; in November Royalist Axminster was attacked. The following year there were fatalities in Membury, at Forde, to the north, and in October of that year there was a skirmish in which royalists from Honiton attacked parliamentarians based in Membury. The event was recorded in a parliamentary report as, ‘the only affront the enemy put upon us’. The extract, from a copy of a rare and much sought-after journal can be downloaded from the Internet Archive. Google has sponsored the digitisation of books from several libraries. These books, on which copyright has expired, are available for free educational and research use, both as individual books and as full collections to aid researchers.

Note 85. RELICS OF THE CIVIL WAR. Since coming to Membury in October, 1897, some interesting relics of the Civil Wars have come into my possession, though one has since been deposited, at my suggestion, in the Exeter Museum by its former owner, Mr. G. Summers, of Rock Mills, Membury. These relics consisted of three cannon balls, weighing respectively nine, four and three pounds, and a bullet weighing one-and-a-half ounces, and it is the first of these that is now in the Museum. The three-pounder was given me by an old man living in a cottage close to the churchyard, who told me that, together with the bullet, it was found in the wall of the old cottage pulled down to make room for the present one. It is known that fighting between the opposing parties of King and Parliament took place here in 1645 on two occasions, and it is remarkable that in the register under date October i2th, 1645, is recorded the burial of a soldier that was ''killed by the Church." Could it have been by canon ball or bullet that did the deed? On February 4th, 1645, Sir Shilston Calmady was buried, having been killed in the gateway of what is now Ford Farm. When the church was restored in 1893, a Norman pillar was discovered built into the wall by the tower at the end of the arches between the nave and south aisle. If any of your readers have met with mention of a church at Membury in Norman times, I should be glad to know it. It is stated by Oliver that what is now called the Yarty Aisle was originally Our Lady's Aisle, and that what is now called the Brinscombe Aisle was called St. Catherine's Aisle. But the oldest inhabitant has never heard either of them called by those names. What is Oliver's authority? He further states that the church was ordered to be re-seated on May 15th, 1588. Again I should like to know his authority ?
                 F. E. W. LANGDON