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Shattock Property in Staplegrove

by John Shattock

The farmers would pass down land and the business to their eldest sons, but not all of their sons could be running the same farm so there would be a need to branch out into other actvities, such as carpenters and blacksmiths. These were professions that were highly valued and required a person to be apprenticed to a professional for a period of 7 years, usually without pay. This usually meant that the parents of apprentices had some substance because poorer families would want their children to get out into the fields to earn a wage to support the family rather than be supported until they became so called journeymen.

I have a theory about what may have happened. It is of course only a theory and may not be true at all but this is what I think could have happened.

Our Henry Shattocke was clearly a large land owner, a "gent", and although I don't subscribe to the literal square mile around Hope Corner House I would not argue the fact that he might have owned a substantial area of land that would cover and overlap the area to the north and west of Hope Corner House extending along Langford Lane (or Street as it is referred to in the Census). 

Even today Estate Landowners may own but not operate the farms that they own because they are rented out to tenants, who may or may not be their own relatives. I live about 2 miles from a village called Barkby and a hamlet called Barkby Thorpe. In the village there is a large estate house called Barkby Hall. Barkby Hall, like most estate properties has a "Home Farm" which is a common name given to the farm closest to the House. There are then several other large farms that make up the Barkby Estate extending over hundreds of acres. These farms are operated by Tenants, who are successful business people in their own right and pay a tenancy to the "Lord of the Manor" or the Pochin family who have been there since 1447 AD (they don't look that old) but the Estate dates back to 1271 AD. They don't just own the farms they own the village with its cottages and pub (The Malt Shovel). There are some workshops housing some independent business people, including a blacksmith and a carpenter/cabinet maker (who made my bespoke kitchen units). In typical Estate fashion all of the doors to the cottages and buildings, apart from the pub, are painted in a miserable dark green paint. The tenant farmers have rights that allow them to pass on their tenancies to their own sons.

Anyway - that was an illustration to support what may have happened in Staplegrove and Langford.

Back to our Henry Shattocke. I think that he might have owned a number of farms in the parishes of Norton Fitzwarren as well as property in other parishes, such as Creech St Michael. The farms along Langford Lane lie to the west of Hope Corner House. There is no chance that there was a significant area of land to the North or East (or the "square mile") because these were part of the very large estate of Pyrland Hall in Cheddon Fitzpaine and its associated farms with Taunton lying to the South. Langford Lane follows round from Langford NF past Yard Farm, Burlands, Stone House, and Smoky to Whitmore Lane that comes out onto the Kingston Road opposite Hope Corner. All of these farms have past associations with Shattocks. There are no properties between them prior to the middle of the 19th century, other than farm cottages that would have belonged to farms as accomodation for agricultural labourers. Could these have been gradually sold off to pay debts because in later times the only Shattock living in any of them in 1841 was a Louisa Shattock living at Stone House with her aunt Sarah Sheppard as head of the household. Louisa was described as a "landed proprietor" suggesting that she owned substantial amount of property in more than one parish. By 1861 the only Shattock resident in Stone House was nurse maid Harriet Shattock and Louisa was located at Ford Farm on the opposite side of Norton Fitzwarren.