What work did Quantock people do in Medieval times?

This carving is about 600 years old. Perhaps it is based on a real Quantock child and her mother. Maybe this is the lady of the manor: she has got time to teach her daughter to read the bible. Most people, like the stone carver who made this beautiful font, had to earn a living and probably never learned to read and write.

  • Part of a carved, octagonal font in Crowcombe church where the Carew family were the Lords of the Manor. They paid for many improvements to the church over the years.

Most Quantock people, adults and children, were farm-workers of some sort, doing tasks for the lord of the manor or on their own plots of land.

Medieval landowners made good use of local water supply, and the wind. They built water-powered mills, and also windmills, which turned enormous heavy stones for grinding corn.

  • Manor Mill pond, East Quantoxhead.

They dug moats and fishponds to provide fresh fish and encourage water fowl. Sea fish were trapped by stone weirs built on the coast. All these jobs were done by the villagers.

  • Busy at the manor fishponds in Kilve.

There were other jobs to be done as well. Every village needed a carpenter, farrier, smith and miller. There was a whole variety of other jobs to do with cloth making. Water also powered fulling mills, for improving the texture of woollen cloth.

There was work for potters. Good clay could be dug from the ground and there was plenty of wood for firing the pots. The pottery kilns near Nether Stowey Castle produced pots for several hundred years. Other people worked at stone quarries or as stone carvers.

There were Morte slate quarries at Rook’s Castle, in Broomfield. These made very good roof tiles which were used in the best local buildings, like Bridgwater Castle.

Many people chose to follow a religious life: parish priests in every village, chantry priests at Kilve and Plainsfield Manor, monks, nuns and friars. The nearest religious house was a nunnery at Cannington, and the Abbey of Athelney owned the chapel at Adscombe.