Newton Bennet, 1854-1914
Elegant Company before Stocklinch Manor, Ilminster, Somerset 1875
Stocklinch Manor, Ilminster, Somerset
pencil and watercolour
8.1/2 x 13 in. (21.5 x 33 cm.)


The name of Stocklinch means 'the hill place' and the manor of Stocklinch Ottersey was held from the late 12th century (and possibly as early as the Norman Conquest) by the kings' hawker (otricer). Stocklinch Magdalen, its suffix taken from the church's dedication, comprises most of the surviving buildings in the two places and includes a surprising number of medieval thatched houses dating from the 14th and 15th centuries. Formerly held by the Beauchamps of Hatch, Stocklinch Magdalen manor formed from 1426 the principal endowment of Robert Veel's almshouse in Ilchester and many of these properties must have been built under the stewardship of the almshouse trustees. The church of St Mary Magdalene in the centre of the village is a small plain structure with three-bell bellcote. The west gallery has a crude picture identified as King David and there is a Norman font.

St Mary the Virgin, Stocklinch Ottersey: as much for its position as the building itself.  Standing in splendid but recent isolation, for in 1791 most of the houses were stated to lie around it. The church dates from the 13th century with 14th century chancel, and the south transept contains an elaborate Decorated south window. On the ledge below this window is a late 13th century female effigy, identified as the wife of William le Ostricer, probably once housed in the tomb recess in the nave. The south transept with its own piscina presumably accommodated the chantry founded in 1363 by her son, Ralph of Stocklinch. Since the 17th century it has formed a valhalla for the Jeffrey(s) lords of the manor and their heirs, the Allens. A spurious tale, suggested only by the lords' surname, told that Judge Jeffreys' coffin was secretly placed in the vault here, but no such relationship existed. The royal arms of 1664 bear an enthusiastic post-Restoration cry of euphoria: 'God save our Noble King Charles'. The church was declared redundant in 1973 but is excellently maintained."