Many of the earliest Baber roots are not at Chew Magna, but at a place called either Rogelberry, or Regilbury, which is a village about 2 miles to the south west of Chew Magna, called Ridgehill, on the outskirts of which are two houses set in the remains of an ancient park. The properies extend along the top of a ridge, with steep valleys to either side. It is on a rich sticky reddish soil, which must have been very fertile.
The owners of both houses believe that they are living the in ancient Baber property. One house is mainly late Eighteenth Century, but incorporates elements of a much earlier building that is just a ruin. But the old garden wall and a barn are definitely of the right age. Apparently there was a fire in the 1660s. This property has clear remains of fish ponds and formal garden earthworks now covered in grass meadows. The other house is far more complete, and is a now very well kept Dairy Farm, called Regilbury Park Farm. The present owner Mrs Alvis has shown me a photocopy of a drawing from Collinsons History of Somerset which was published in the late 18th Century, Volume ii page 319. The house had been enormous with 7 triangular bays in the roof line. Normally even large houses have only 2 or 3 bays . Interestingly like many villages the fields and roads were realigned in the 18th/19th century as part of the enclosure acts when a revolution in agriculture causes most of the land in the English lowlands to be redistributed, and re-organised. The line of the footpaths usually preserves the old pre enclosure roads. At the southern end of the park a very old, very rough sunken track that leads into the park. It must be about the only bit of landscape which is largely unchanged from the time when the Babers lived there, which was until 1711.
For an Enlarged View of this Map [Click Here]
An extract from Benjamin Donns Map of Eleven Miles around the City of Bristol in 1769. Regil is at the left hand side of the map. The property is that shown as being owned by Mr G H Tynte.
The last Baber owner, an Edward Baber had married Frances Tynte, through whos will the property passed out of Baber hands. Edward died in 1711 aged 47. His wife died in 1713.
Below the "R" in Hundred is Knighton Sutton, which is now called Bishops Sutton. This property had been called Sutton in Chew Baber in the period after 1639 until the Eighteenth Century. The Somerset Records Office holds for instance the Court Roll of the Manor of Chew Baber, 1639 Ref DD/RN 69.
Immediately to the South of Knighton Sutton is a building labelled "Court", owned by Mr Strachey Esq. This is the Sutton Court previously owned by Edward Baber who lies in the tomb in Chew Magna church.
The map shows a considerable number of industries along the rivers in particular, including gunpowder making, copper mills, snuff and paper mills. Just north of Regil is an area marked "Redding Pitts". This red iron oxide material was dug to produce red dies and particularly "Raddle" stones. These were red stones tied across the chest of Rams, Male sheep in October during the mating period. The marks left on the rumps of the Ewes enabled the farmer to tell which had been mated.
Contributed by Nick Balmer
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