People

In these pages we share with you the stories of the people, families and characters of our village past.

From all walks of life. Rich and poor, good and bad we bring you some interesting tales of life in our village from times gone by.

Some of the families still in our parish have been here for many generations.

Many of these individuals and families enriched the lives of those around them. While others emigrated overseas for a new life in the mid 1800’s. But kept a link with the place of their birth.

If you have a tale to tell about your East Brent ancestors or family, or can add any information on the inhabitants of our village past. Please share it with us !  Even the smallest snippet or memory is welcome

It all helps to build a picture of our village past and its social history.

Sub Categories


Champion Families

Huett Family

Parish Vicars

Memories of Life in a Somerset Village

Emery Family

Salvidge Family

Fry Family

Latest Articles

Rev. Robert Harkness

T/PH/had1 These are documents held at Somerset Heritage Centre Will of the Rev Robert Harkness 12th Oct 1839   The Will of the Reverend Robert Harkness formally of Stowey House but late of east Brent in the  County of Somerset clerk ? Was proved at London on the Twelfth day of October 1839. 13 pages printed both sides   Abstract of the real and personal estate  of the testator. Dated 1st May 1840 after all the debts, probate duty, legacy duty...

Thomas C. Champion

East Brent and NSW Australia THOMAS CHAMPION was born 1800 in East Brent, SOMERSET (son of Edward Champion & Anne Naish). He immigrated to Australia 23.3.1842 aboard "Andromachie". He was married at St.Paul's London to HARRIETT WOODROUGH born 20.2.1805 London (daughter of John & Elizabeth Woodrough). She died 31.12.1887 at Windsor, just after Thomas. Thomas died 12.6.1887 Parramatta, NSW, and is buried at St.Matthews, Windsor, just across the road from his studio. Thomas...

Emery Family

George Emery of Rooksbridge was a farm servant and his wife Hannah was caretaker of 'The Chapel of the Good Shepherd' in Clare Street (Gills Lane) Rooksbridge. They had 15 children mostly raised while living in the tiny 'Mission House' cottage next to the chapel. Some of the descendants of George and Hannah would become interesting and important members of our community over the following 100 years or so, Please see the attached files that explain more about this particular...

Rev. George Denison

Rev. George Anthony Denison 11 December 1805 - 21 March 1896 The Rev. George Denison will be forever remembered by the people of East Brent for what he called his "Two hobbies" ! These were the "Construction of the East Brent Waterworks" on the side of the Knoll. Which brought clean drinking water to the village. Whereas before, water was taken from just two shallow wells which were prone to contamination from the drainage of the houses and land. His other hobby...

Rev. Archdale Palmer Wickham

Born in 1855, the Prebendary Archdale (Archie) Palmer Wickham was vicar of St Marys East Brent from 1911 - 1935 He was prebendary of Wells Cathedral and Rural dean of Axbridge and Burnham district. Rev. Wickham was related to the Palmer family who were important 19th century Tea merchants and owned Cheam Park House in Surrey.  The Rev. Wickham was a keen sportsman and played first class cricket for Somerset. The Somerset County Cricket team 1897 in which the Rev....

Rev. Frederick Samuel Pierpoint Seale

Rev. Frederick Samuel Pierpoint Seale       Vicar of East Brent 1900 - 1911 The memorial plaque on the south chancel wall. of St Marys East Brent Please see gallery for larger image. Reviewed 24 Jan. 2014  

Rev. Robert Harkness

T/PH/had1 These are documents held at Somerset Heritage Centre Will of the Rev Robert Harkness 12th Oct 1839   The Will of the Reverend Robert Harkness formally of Stowey House but late of east Brent in the  County of Somerset clerk ? Was proved at London on the Twelfth day of October 1839. 13 pages printed both sides   Abstract of the real and personal estate  of the testator. Dated 1st May 1840 after all the debts, probate duty, legacy duty...

Thomas C. Champion

East Brent and NSW Australia THOMAS CHAMPION was born 1800 in East Brent, SOMERSET (son of Edward Champion & Anne Naish). He immigrated to Australia 23.3.1842 aboard "Andromachie". He was married at St.Paul's London to HARRIETT WOODROUGH born 20.2.1805 London (daughter of John & Elizabeth Woodrough). She died 31.12.1887 at Windsor, just after Thomas. Thomas died 12.6.1887 Parramatta, NSW, and is buried at St.Matthews, Windsor, just across the road from his studio. Thomas...

Emery Family

George Emery of Rooksbridge was a farm servant and his wife Hannah was caretaker of 'The Chapel of the Good Shepherd' in Clare Street (Gills Lane) Rooksbridge. They had 15 children mostly raised while living in the tiny 'Mission House' cottage next to the chapel. Some of the descendants of George and Hannah would become interesting and important members of our community over the following 100 years or so, Please see the attached files that explain more about this particular...

Rev. George Denison

Rev. George Anthony Denison 11 December 1805 - 21 March 1896 The Rev. George Denison will be forever remembered by the people of East Brent for what he called his "Two hobbies" ! These were the "Construction of the East Brent Waterworks" on the side of the Knoll. Which brought clean drinking water to the village. Whereas before, water was taken from just two shallow wells which were prone to contamination from the drainage of the houses and land. His other hobby...

Rev. Archdale Palmer Wickham

Born in 1855, the Prebendary Archdale (Archie) Palmer Wickham was vicar of St Marys East Brent from 1911 - 1935 He was prebendary of Wells Cathedral and Rural dean of Axbridge and Burnham district. Rev. Wickham was related to the Palmer family who were important 19th century Tea merchants and owned Cheam Park House in Surrey.  The Rev. Wickham was a keen sportsman and played first class cricket for Somerset. The Somerset County Cricket team 1897 in which the Rev....

Rev. Frederick Samuel Pierpoint Seale

Rev. Frederick Samuel Pierpoint Seale       Vicar of East Brent 1900 - 1911 The memorial plaque on the south chancel wall. of St Marys East Brent Please see gallery for larger image. Reviewed 24 Jan. 2014  

Rev. John George Derrick

Rev. John George Derrick Although never actually a vicar of Brent, around the turn of the 18-1900's, the Rev John George Derrick had a holiday home believed to be on or near the site of 'Chestnut Farm'. Which, on an OS map of 1890s, appears almost opposite the original East Brent Post Office along Burton Row. His family residence was in Cheltenham. He loved the area and he and his family spent much of their time in East Brent.  His son Capt. John Leslie Derrick was...

Memories of Life in a Somerset Village - Contents

1 Earlier Days in East Brent by Ivor Punnett link 2 East Brent 60 Years Ago by Grace Hudson link 3 The Knoll Villages by Rosa Chivers link 4 Brent Knoll Station by Rosa Chivers link 5 Last...

Memories of Life in a Somerset Village - Gallery of Photographs

A Selection of Photographs from the booklet "Memories of Life in a Somerset Village"

Memories of Life in a Somerset Village - Gallery of Illustrations

A selection of line drawings depicting life in a rural village from the booklet " Memories of Live in a Somerset Village"

Earlier Days in East Brent

Weekly News, March 20th 1992 Feature by Ivor Punnett   Retired farmer Mr George Hill will be 91 in July and is one of the best known personalities in East Brent. He left school at the age of 12 but faced no handicap in life because he became a very astute businessman. "Like all country lads I would do anything to earn a bit of pocket money and when I was ten I Went off milking for local farmers. I used to milk in the fields before I went to school and when I got back...

East Brent 60 Years Ago

by Grace Hudson   At the centre of the village, and nestling at the foot of Brent Knoll, stands the lovely Parish Church of St. Mary's as it has done for many hundreds of years. The spire, with the golden weather vane, gives an imposing background to the surrounding roads and houses. The entrance gates were given and erected to the memory of Prebendary A.P. Wickham who, with his wife, were well loved and highly respected in the village. The Vicarage was at the centre of village...

The Knoll Villages

by Rosa Chivers (1972)   It takes fifty years to be accepted in a village - so they say. But does it take so long? I do not agree. I have now lived in a village community for 50 years and have felt “one of them” for most of that time. This is a tribute to the parishioners with whom I have lived and worked for many years. In August, 1922, a family consisting of father, mother and three Children moved from a London suburb to one of the villages at the foot of Brent Knoll....

Brent Knoll Station

by Rosa Chivers   When our family first moved to East Brent, we were welcomed by a friendly porter at the railway station. The station had obviously had much Care lavished on it. There were flower beds on either side of the railway line, sweet peas were climbing over lattice, the oil lamps, well polished, were hanging on brackets each side of the platform, and numbers of old-fashioned milk churns were waiting to go to London, and clotted cream in large tins, labelled Cheddar Valley...

Last Thatch at East Brent

Weston Mercury and Somersetshire Herald, May 1977   Clerk to East Brent Parish for more than 30 years until her retirement a short time ago, Mrs. Rosa Chivers, of Brent Knoll, has acquired a painting which shows what she thinks may well be the last thatched roof building in East Brent. She writes: “Recently an oil painting of Nut Tree Farm, East Brent, has come into my possession. It was painted by the late Mr. Ernest Bishop of Burton Row, Brent Knoll. The painting shows...

East Brent in the 1920s and 1930s

by Walter Champion (1996)   Life was very much slower in these early days. Most of the inhabitants were engaged in agriculture. There were some fifteen farms in East Brent then, and most had one or more workmen. Most of the work was done by horses as tractors were very few. It was chiefly dairy Cows with herds of 10-20 or 30. Milk was delivered to a collecting point at the South View Dairy which is the farm by the East Brent roundabout. From there the milk was taken in churns (the...

A Musical Note

by Freda Ham   I would have been about 16 years of age when as a special treat I was allowed to Cycle to St Mary’s Church to play the organ. There was no electricity at that time -therefore we had to rely on our local Sexton, Mr Ted Edwards. He would arrive on his tricycle, and for a fee of sixpence, he would unlock the small door at the back of the organ, and manually work the bellows. He had to continue this arduous task as long as I wished to play. Ted Edward was a stalwart...

A Journey Along Lifes Path

(There were many paths at East Brent) by Chrissie Strong (nee Edwards)   To start with, a few stories told by my father and other older people of East Brent. My grandfather could not do much work, he had been wounded in the Crimean War, and so grandmother earned a living by sewing ladies' dresses, handmade, for a few pence. She reared a family often, and lost two, a boy and a girl.. Grandmother used to sew by firelight, and when she had money to spare she would buy a few candles ...

Childhood Memories of Old East Brent 1906 -1993

by Ruth Rider (nee Hutson)   Chrissie kindly refers to the Hutsons as a jolly family - we were a very happy family. I was the youngest of six sisters. My parents came to live at Chestnut Farm in 1902. When my Grandmother died, my Grandfather Hutson (a dear old man, with a long white beard) lived on there with us until his death. My father kept cows and a few pigs, and two of us helped on the farm. We hand milked the cows, getting to know each one. My sister received a medal for...

East Brent Methodist Church

By Grace Hudson, June 1992   Interesting papers have recently come to light showing that alterations were made to the church in 1898. The entrance porch was originally at the side of the building. This was made into a vestry and the entrance with the porch made to the front of the church.  Photographs shown before and after (P45) The Cost was £150. In the 1930's it was the dream of the then Church Steward, Mr. G.E. Hudson that a hall, which was badly needed,...

Random Collections

by Connie Hudson   I think my strongest recollection of childhood in the village was the wealth of trees, edges and wild flowers along the lanes and in the fields. There were no areas, as local people acknowledged the rights of the farmers who owned the land, and appreciated the need to walk along the pathways and close gates firmly. The dogs, too, accompanying us, were never on a lead, but were free to scamper where they would, with none of today‘s restrictions. A favourite...

Raise the Song of Harvest Home

Weston Mercury & Somersetshire Herald - September 2nd, 1950 by Ronald Bailey   Few of the old­time rural festivities and junketings survived the frigid, straight-laced spirit of the Victorian age. Cromwell’s long-faced puritans destroyed most of the gay customs of "Merrie England" and our own side-whiskered grandfathers and whale-boned grandmothers swept away the remaining handful of festivals that had escaped the kill-joys’ severity of the Commonwealth. The...

The First Harvest Home in East Brent

Weston Mercury and Somersetshire Herald - September 16th 1950 by Ronald Bailey   In ancient Rome a harvest feast was held in honour of Ceres, the goddess of Corn and Virgil gives us a glimpse of the procedure: Before the sickles touch the rip'ning wheat On Ceres call; and let the lab'ring hind. With oaken Wreaths his hollow temples bind; On Ceres let him call and Ceres praise. With uncouth dances and with Country lays. The Ancient Britons and the Saxons also had their...

The Golden Age at East Brent

Weston Mercury & Somersetshire Herald - Date unknown by John Bailey In the story of East Brent's famous Archdeacon George Anthony Denison we have now reached the period in his ministry which his nephew, Prebendary Henry Phipps Denison, called the golden age of the village. As the country's most controversial ecclesiastic the Archdeacon never lacked a congregation. People came from miles around, and some even took houses in the village so that they might be near the church...

Somerset Year Book, 1933 (extract)

The following word picture by the Archdeacon [Denison] of the closing scene of the harvest Home in 1883, throws a light on his remarkable character and influence, “Then l told them they were to go. They cheered and thanked, and in ten minutes the tent was cleared and all went away quietly.” This smacks of an age more tolerant of autocratic ruling by the parish Priest than the one we live in. This is his description of the 1883 festivities - remembering that only teetotal...

Burnham Deanery Magazine (extracts)

Extracts from June 1929 issue ELECTRICITY INSTALLED IN ST. MARY’S CHURCH. On 13th at a late hour in the evening, a demonstration of the newly installed illumination was given to the members of the Church Council and was considered satisfactory. Owing to ‘daylight saving’ the Congregation has had little opportunity of judging the effect, but we are confident that when winter time Comes round again the change will be very greatly appreciated, The goal of the required cost...

Walter G Champion 1918 - 2009

Early Life Walter Champion was the first born son of Roger and Bessie Champion and was born at Knoll Farm on 12 March 1918.  At that time the farm was rented by Roger & Bessie but they were negotiating a purchase and it completed on 11 November 1918, a memorable date being both Bessie's birthday and although they did not know it at the time, the day that we remember each year as the cessation of hostilities on the western front of WWI. He grew up at Knoll Farm and was followed...

John Hucklebridge Huett

Article By John Riglarsford John Hucklebridge (Doc)? Huett Born East Brent 1820. Son of John and Eleanor Huett (nee) Hucklebridge. Died Tasmania 1905 At various times, Physician, Publican, Mail coach proprietor, farmer, landowner......!   BIOGRAPHY: JOHN  HUCKLEBRIDGE  HUETT by Sandra Huett.. By all accounts  John HUETT was a colourful character with an intriguing and mysterious past.   Born in East Brent Somerset, England,...