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Ditcheat,1845.

Ditcheat was a very large parish with a number of widely separated hamlets and tything’s within it. As a consequence it was inclosed no less than three times, although only one of these was done by John Martin. In 1843 Baltonsborough, Lottisham and Dyles Green were inclosed and in 1856 Wraxall and Kilkenny Green. The main parish was inclosed in 1844 by John Martin.

In July 1838 the proprietors of land in Ditcheat were invited to the Bell Inn to consider the expediency of inclosing the lands in Ditcheat. In 1839, the proprietors having agreed in principle they appointed John Martin to inclose the parish under the 1836 Inclosure act. John Martin of Shepton Montague that is. Unfortunately for him he was to die in April 1842 before completing his work and in June 1842 Harry Russ the “Clerk to the late Commissioner” held a public meeting to decide what was to be done. At some time after this John Martin of Evershot was appointed the Commissioner although we do not know when; the only notice attributable to him being in 1844.

The 1838 tithe map shows an unusual and very large parish; over four thousand three hundred acres of titheable land. There were several centres of habitation. Ditcheat itself, which was the largest, but also Wraxall Green, Kilkenny Green, Sutton, and Allhampton. Two large wedges from East Pennard in the north and Hornbloton [sic] in the south caused another area of the parish, Lottisham Green to be detached from the main part of the parish. There were 1687 individual plots of land and it was a real mish mash. There were no longer any readily identifiable open arable fields but this does not mean there were no open arable selions. There were. In fact there were hundreds of them but closes and open field selions were all intermingled. One area of twenty three selions, clearly ‘open’ strips had almost in their middle three large rectangular closes. Another close might be large but have within it one or two open strips known as quilletts. Amongst all this arable and pasture were numerous orchards and Ditcheat itself appears to be one huge set of orchards into the middle of which the village has been set down.

Kain attributes the map to John Martin of Evershot. The diary entries are from 1845.

5th August 1845 Mr Russ called respg the Ditcheat Inclosure Writing many Letters on Commutation Rates and working on Child Okeford Award Map
25th September 1845 Looking over the Ditcheat Inclosure Papers and writing to Mr Rufs [1] to fix a meeting at Yeovil on the Rate of Expenses
16th December 1845 Ditcheat Inclosure Went to Castle Cary to arrange with Mr Rufs respecting making the Rate of Expenses
17th December 1845 Ditcheat Inclosure Working in Mr Rufs’s Office the whole day and dined with him at 5 o’clock
18th December 1845 Ditcheat Inclosure Returned home £9 9 0d
31st December 1845 Made the Ditcheat Inclosure Rate and Dined at Mr C Jennings with my Brother Geo[rge] & others

One assumes that the bulk of the work of inclosure had already been done by John Martin of Shepton Montague and it is no known how much John Martin of Evershot did himself. No do we know when the inclosure was completed.

Next        Godmanstone,1838.

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1 Note the f preceding the s often used in old times for ss . Oddly in the entry for 5th August he does not use this device and the name is spelt Russ but in later entries it becomes Rufs.