Parrett Works

The Title Deeds of the Parrett Works

This article is from a transcription of the original tiltle deeds held by Keith Shoemark at Carey's Mill. They have been painstakingly transcribed and summarised by Duffy's father in law, and kindly typed into computer format by Janet Short.

The site of the Parrett Works is thought to be one of the two mills mentioned in the Domesday Book in 1086. In 1767 Thomas Cary bought the mill which still bears his name.

The title deeds show constant flux due to the ups and downs of commodity prices, and also polygeniture. The biggest change took place when George Parsons bought the site in 1854. He was a flamboyant Victorian entrepreneur who built much of what we see at the Parrett Works (as he renamed it), much of it on borrowed capital.This fine complex was so well built that much of it has survived and which is today prized as a set piece of Victorian engineering.

The Parrett Works is situated in the Bower Hinton tithing of Martock.


In 1767 by mortgage, THOMAS CARY (snuffmaker) of Martock bought:- 3 ½ acres of meadow at MERE; JOANE’S tenement in BOWER HENTON [1] and 3 acres of meadow called MEARE which included trees, wood, a tenement, waters, watercourses etc. [no mention of Mill in Deed] and 3 ½ acres of meadow called OVERLAND, with a peppercorn rent for 5000 years! It would appear to be a mortgage of £200 plus cash £200 - £400 in all. Previous owners were said to be JOHN SEALEY followed by THOMAS HOPKINS, then THOMAS CARY and JOHN BULL. In 1772 THOMAS CARY died. All possessions as listed in 1767 were placed with Trustees Robert Cary (yeoman) of Long Sutton and John Lilley (Tobacconist) of High Ham, who continued the snuff business. The beneficiaries of the Trust in 6 equal parts were his wife Elizabeth, dau Deborah, son Thomas, son Robert, dau Anna, son Henry. In 1784 daughter Deborah married William Jefferys (cheesemaker) of Bath. ¼ share was leased @ 5/- for 1 year. The property description included: water mills and one Malt Mill called WATER’S Mill. The owners listed being Thomas Cary and John Bull. In 1793 John Lilly & James Patton as Trustees received £350 from the family members:- Robert Cary (Isle of Guernsey) tobacco manufacturer Henry Cary (Martock) “ Johnathon Wyatt Symes “ Anna Symes his wife (née Cary)

1767 Indenture between THOMAS CARY of MARTOCK (snuff maker) and JOSEPH HORSEY of MARTOCK (Surgeon & Apothecary)£200 3½ acres of meadow in Parish of Martock Joane’s Tenement in BOWER HENTON3 acres meadow called MEARE incl Trees/wood & water/paths & tenement Peppercorn rent for 5000 years (!) [if demanded]
1767 Bond sealing the above Indenture[confusion £400 or £200 ?]
1772 Nov 17 The Will of THOMAS CARY Freehold, lands, tenements etc. in Trust – benefits to 6 people equally Wife Elizabeth/dau Deborah/son Thomas/son Robert/dau Anna/son Henry Trust to Robert Cary (Yeoman) of Long Sutton & John Lilley of High Ham (Tobacconist)The Snuff business to be carried on by the 2 Trustees(NOTE – no mention of gift to church or place of burial which is unusual for this period.)Probate granted DEC 1772
1784 Indenture (Lease) between WILLIAM JEFFERYS (of Bath) cheesemonger & Deborah, his wife, one of the daughters of the late THOMAS CAREY snuffmaker and JOHN BULL Long Sutton yeoman and JOHN WILLY Tobacconist & JAMES PATTON clothier5/- is paid for ¼ of:- mesuage, tenement, water mills & one malt mill called WATERS’S mill owned by Thomas Cary & John Bull for ­one year.
1784 2 identical written agreements confirming the above c/w covering letter.
1784 Release for the above with appropriate signatures & seals.[effectively a copy in grander form]
1793 Indenture (Release) between JOHN LILLEY & JAMES PATTON and ROBERT CARY (Isle of Guernsey) tobacco manufacturer &HENRY CARY (Martock) tobacco manufacturer & JONATHON WYATT SYMES tobacco manufacturer &ANNA SYMES his wife(Robert Henry & Anna are 3 children of Thomas Cary dec.)£350 paidrefers to previous 1 year agreement @ 5/- & ¼ farthing c/w signatures & sealsi.e. John Lilly & James Patton received £350 from the family
1793 Indenture (Lease) to match above
1793 Indenture (tripartite) matching above including JOSEPH HORSBY & ??
1797 30 Sept

Indenture (of 4 parts) conveyance of [LARGE 1]Premises adjoining Cary’s mill in Martock from Mr. JOHN LILLY ( ?? ) gentleman Mr. J PYNE in Trust for Messrs Robert & Henry Cary 10/- duty for his Majesty. Signature & seal of the 3 men.Robert Cary of Cary’s Mill, tobacconist Henry Cary of Cary’s Mill, tobacconist John Pyre appointed Trustee by Robert & Henry (Martock gentlemen)Mentions release of 1786 in 3 parts between JAMES PATTEN gentleman & JAMES BUTLER clothier and JOHN LILLY tobacconist of Cary’s Mill.A piece of arable land known as Mill Close near Cary’s MillA piece of pasture ground known as STAGS HEDGE Meadow or pasture called Little Mill Close Ty?? of BOWER (4 acres) (Martock) HENTON Transferred for life and after death.Bought in fee simple for £420 Robert & Henry were previously tenants of JOHN LILLY on the land joined up to a garden/wood/waters/watercourses and they have now bought it complete using John Pipe as Trustee.

1803 Indenture (FFEOFFMENT)Between the commissioners of PETHERTON and ROBERT & HENRY CARY Re piece of land of 37 PERCHES in PETHERTON MEADOW Detail:- THOMAS ROSSITER commissioner on one hand. ROBERT & HENRY CARY on the other (snuff manufacturers)Act of Parliament – Enclosure of Common Land in South Petherton £23-15s paid for part of the common meadow adjoining the WHIRPOOL bounded on the west by…(no map)
1810 April 7 Marriage settlement between MR. THOMAS EYRE (Cornwall) (woolstapler) & MRS. ANNA SYMES (widow, of Martock)In 1799 Anna Symes dau of THOMAS CARY, inherited 1/6 share of estate. By her marriage she forfeits her share and £600 is to be paid to Robt & Henry Cary and George Lilly. Seals & signatures included.
1817 Sept 22 Indenture (Lease for 1 year) Anna (Dau of Thomas Cary) married Symes. Symes died – she married Eyre. But she had 3 children by Symes. They are now involved.When Thomas Cary and his mill are mentioned it says that previous owners of the malt mill called Water’s Mill and water mills formerly in the possession of JAMES SEALEY afterwards in the possession of THOMAS HOPKIND and since THOMAS CARY & JOHN BULL. Also meadow 3½ A + 3 acres etc.
1817 Sept 23 Indenture (Release) £1200 is paid by Henry Cary to various people Thomas Eyre and others.[5 pages v large NOT READ]
1818 Final Agreement 4 named Trustees for the King & others present between HENRY CARY, THOMAS EYRE, & ANNA his wife, SARA? SYMES, JONATHON WYATT SYMES, SAMUEL BROWN & EDWARD PRATT.1200 bales (?) etc. stables…. 10 acres of land, 10 acres of meadow, 10 acres of pasture. Pasture for cattle etc. in BOWER HENTON, Parish of MARTOCK.[Much more info contained]
1818 Duplicate of the above.
1825 Mar 24 Appointment & Release Mr. Malachi Blake lends £2000 to HENRY CARY Mortgage on messuage & mills in MARTOCK.[4 large pages not read]
1825 Mar 24 Bond for the above £2000
1825 Mar 23 Lease for 1 year from HENRY CARY to JOHN BUNCOMBE.Heredements, water mills & MALT MILL called WATER’S MILL.3½ acres of OVERLAND – JEANE’S TENEMENT – also houses, outhouses, edifices, buildings, barns, stables, mill trusses, bins, tackle, wheels etc. to do with the mills.
1823 Mar 27 The WILL of JOHN BUNCOMBE.He died 25 JULY 1836.
1826 Dec 29 Indenture Release CHARLLOTTE NORRIS sells land to HENRY CARY, land called OVERLANDS – 3½ acres late occupation by THOMAS UPSTILL (tenant) including waters, and watercourses – freehold sold.
1826 Dec 30 Release Indenture confirming deed above plus details of previous ownership.
1826 Dec 30 Assignment more detail on the above involving GEORGE WARRY CUFF (dec) CHARLLOTTE NORRIS, HENRY NORRIS, HENRY CARY, JOHN WHITEHEAD RICHARDS.
1844 Mar 27 Appointment Indenture from MARY BLAKE to WILLIAM BLAKE & DOWNING BLAKE regarding CAREY’S mortgage for £2000. Refers to all the info previously contained in 1825 Indenture, Lease, & Release. The interest is @ 4% p.a. MALACHI BLAKE died 1843 (will of 1839) and MARY BLAKE inherited the mortgage with HENRY CARY, she passes it to WILLIAM & DOWNING BLAKE.

Transfer of Mortgage Transfer of mortgage between WILLIAM BLAKE & DOWNING BLAKE to WILLIAM H. RICHARD & WILLIAM CHAFFEY.i.e. £2000 plus interest on messuage & mills at MARTOCK.[4 large pages not fully read]

1854 Oct 3

Conveyance The Devises in Trust for sale under the WILL of the late Mr. Henry Cary & others to Mr. George PARSONS. Persons involved – William Heggett RICHARDS; William CHAFFEY; John PYNE; Robert LYDDON.Mentions preceding Release of 1825The Estate of Malachi Blake (dec) receives £2000 from mortgage on the Mill etc. (Mrs. Blake & Downing Blake)Mentions preceding Release of 1797 Robert Cary died intestate & bro Henry Cary inherited.Henry Cary died 14 Dec 1839 and his estate passed to his brothers-in-law John Whitehead Richards & William Haggett Richards, William Chaffey & Robert Lyddon as executors of his Will. Probate granted 1841. Value of estate £1880.There has been an increase in buildings & change of fences so that the schedule now consists of:-
No. on the Tythe Appointment map of Martock Premises quality quantity A R P
1468 Dwelling house, Offices, Snuff Mill, Garden, Warehouse etc. 3-15
1467 Orchard Orchard 3-2-28
1469 Plantation Plantation “ “ 11
1468 House Garden & Mill “ “ 25
1471 East Leaze Meadow 2-1- “
1472 Mares Meadow 4-2-12
1524 Overlands 1-3-20
S. Petherton 823 Garden Garden “ “ 15
Signed & sealed by 5 persons.
1854 George PARSONS takes out a mortgage with Rev. W W GALE for £2300 & interest to secure Mills & lands at Martock. Various restrictions listed over 3 large pages but basically matching the purchase document dated Oct 3rd.A reconveyance occurs 1873 April 5 to Rev. HENRY GALE.
1855 Sept 28 Indenture: William Chaffey & George Stuckey, as executors of the Will of Christopher Lucas (died 14 Feb 1855) sell to George Parsons a Pasture called POOLE’S WAY in Martock, at auction for £210 (10 gns deposit)Signed & sealed by the 3 persons Also enclosed receipt from Mr. Adams for drawing up the paperwork – charge £7.
1856 Dec 24 George Parsons buys from William Chaffey for £480:- 2 closes of meadow or pasture called MILL CLOSES – 5 acres 22 perches – 1348 & 1351 on the Apportionment map including waters, watercourses, trees, woods, underwoods, hedges, ditches, mounds, fences, etc.”[This appears to be land adjacent to the Mill not previously owned]
1858 Oct 5 Conveyance George Parsons buys from Rev. John Barnaby Lewis Pasture land in Martock for £478=10=0.Tenancy of the land is listed (9 variations) over period 1788-1854 land known as HALLETS CROFT 3 acres 38 perches plus 3 orchards called HOME ORCHARD, HIGH PARKS, NEW FIELD orchard, arable called STONE HILL, pasture called FOUR ACRES, pasture called NEW FIELDS, NEWFIELD ORCHARD, LOWER NEW DITCH, HIGHER NEW DITCH all in BOWER HINTON HANGLAND and VIN PITS. LITTLE HILL CLOSE and GREAT MILL CLOSE and MANY MORE listed. 3 large pages not all read – hard to say just which land George bought.
1869 April 29 George Parsons buys from Rev. J. B. Lewis a close of land called Mill Close & part of close called STICKS HEDGE (Martock)4 large pages (not all read) giving ownership of land.1788-1862 proving J B Lewis ownership. He sells for £389=7=0 the Mill Close land shown on a map which is adjacent to the Mill and Cottage.
1873 April 7 George Parsons (gentleman) of the PARRETT WORKS MARTOCK sells the Mill and associated land to HENRY PARSONS (gentleman) of Haselbury Plucknett Somerset for £5600 in all 30 acres, 3 rods, 30 perches as MAP lists houses, manufactory, outhouses, edifices, buildings, courts, yards, gardens, mills, millstones, mill gear, fixtures, hatches, millstreams, waters, watercourses, fishing, fishing places, rights etc.
* This MAP is most important as it shows all the areas mentioned in previous Indentures (3 CHAINS TO THE INCH!] by name and links the past with the present.
1878 April 13 Henry Parsons Rents out the Mill complex to G H Smith & Co.A map indicates the area rented, which is much less than the total area shown on map of 1873. There is also access provided to field on south side of complex, owned by Henry.Rent is £421 p.a. for 21 years lease.2 mills are in use and fully maintained. Details of the 2 water wheels are itemised and a turbine wheel.Still designated PARRET WORKS.
1879 July 28 Henry Parsons mortgages all his property incl the Mill and owes £6325=8=7 to William Peters and BJM Donne.Appendix of 1895 added £200 to the mortgage.
1883 Dec 20 The Lord of the Manor of Martock JOHN LEACH demands 9s 2½d QUIT RENT for 3 fields based on Tithe maps of 1472 and 1524!! So Henry Parsons pays £10 !!
1895/6 July 23 Transfer of mortgage from William Peters & BJM Downe to BJM Downe and Henry Hole.There is a further charge of £500.Henry Parsons dies 8 Dec 1895 and in 1896 his wife & children, who inherit, sell up.
1896 Nov 14 Mrs. EMM Parsons, and others, sell the Mill complex to G H Smith & Co. who had been renting it.Only 8 acres are left from original 30 acres but the schedule lists 6 cottages, dwelling house, offices, yard, lawn and gardens, Orchard and FLAX PITS, new spinning yards and shed also 2 water wheels & turbine wheel. Includes sluices & weirs. A plan was annexed but is missing.Price is £5500. Sidley & Son are renting a room & remain tenants.Water wheel details are again listed.
1896 Abstract of Title of the Trustees of the Will of the late HENRY PARSONS to freehold premises known as PARRETT WORKS.10 pages repeats details of docs dated –1863 (new) 1873 1883 1879 1892 1895 1896 Mrs. EMM Parsons dies 1897 Jan 10