Friday, 29 July 2016

The Vanishing Tuttons of Othery

Clevedon was grey and a bit drizzly. 

Once there, I didn't much feel like walking Poets' Walk and neither did Ted. 

I toyed with the idea of going back home, but the combined presence of a decorator, open tins of gloss paint and a bored-er collie lacked appeal. On a whim I turned south on the M5 and headed for Othery on the Somerset Levels. 


Why Othery? Well, some months ago, I learnt that my maternal great-grandmother's family came from there when the last will and testament of George Tutton, my great-great-great-great-great grandfather, surfaced amongst my late Uncle's papers. 


Now I'm passionate about genealogy but only if someone else is doing the leg-work, as it would take from precious poetry time, so I didn't really have a plan, other than to wander around the churchyard looking at headstones. 


Some of them were sunken ... 



...some colonised ... 


... some weathered ...
... or broken beyond legibility ... 


... and Ted wasn't always the most helpful of assistants ... 

but I did have quite a list of names after a while, including Hamblin, Baker, Pester, Lockyer, Tucker, Fox, Kiddle, Keirle, Savidge, Gotfrey, Tremlett, Goodson, Chard, Winslade, Thresher, Jeffery, Lovibond, Jones ... but no Tuttons.


And so into the Church of St Michael, with its carving over the doorway, now bereft of the nest which was there when I visited in 2008.


This time I opened the door with its heavy latch, massive key hole and sanctuary ring with due reverence, knowing that my ancestors would have touched this iron and wood, pushed against the heft of it also. 

Inside there were lots of memorials. I spotted more Lockyers and Chards, Merriotts, Rouses, Herrings, Shiptons, Robertses,  but no Tuttons - not surprising, I suppose, given that they were farm labourers. 


On the Great War memorial plaque, Goodson, Tucker, Pester and others, but no Tuttons. And none on the handwritten Roll of Honour either. 



I turned my attention to other things, like the carved bench ends, some from the 14th century, some the 17th and some the 19th. Here's St Michael, still slaying the dragon. 


And there was a little mediaeval glass too - three of the four Doctors of the Latin Church, namely Ss Gregory, Jerome and Augustine (but no Ambrose). 


I got a bit excited when I noticed the angel roof in the chancel, but it's a lot more modern than other ones I've seen in Somerset; according to the church guide, that part of the church was almost completely rebuilt in Victorian times, and these angels date from 1851-52. Two of the windows there are boarded up, so it was a bit too dark to get a decent photo.  

There were some now familiar names in the church guide: Merriot, Chard, Keirle, Baker, Lockyer, and even a William Button, Bishop of Bath and Wells in 1268. But noTuttons.

I know, I should look in the Parish Rolls. Well, maybe when I've retired. 


Time to leave. I toyed briefly with the idea of taking the hound for a run on Berrow beach but it was still dank and overcast, so I settled on a more minor detour to the village of Watchfield and some liquid sunshine instead.





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