HATCH BEAUCHAMP AND HATCH COURT.
The village of Hatch Beauchamp is about six miles from
Taunton. It is reputable as a
pleasant countryside, well wooded and watered, affording many agreeable prospects over the
Taunton Vale and away to the Blackdowns.
In Collinson's day (1780), there were thirty-six houses and a population of nearly two
hundred. He visited " Hache " and found " near the church, on elevated ground, an elegant house
(Hatch or Hache Court), the seat of John Collins, Esq., the surrounding park embellished with
fine plantations, gardens, etc." The historian Pheips, in 1820, recorded that Hatch Court was the
seat of H. P. Collins, Esq. (presumably a descendant of John' Collins).
In the Norman survey, Hatch Beauchamp is described under the title of Terra Comitis
Moritoniensis-" Robert holds of the earl Hache; eight acres of meadow, fifty acres of wood;
arable, six carucates; in demesne, two carucates, and three servants, eleven villanes, four
cottagers with three ploughs."
The first estate given to the newly constituted Dean and Chapter of Wells in the 12th
Century comprised the manors of North Curry, Wrantage and West Hatch (about 1180), by
Bishop Fitzjoceline, this prelate having obtained them previously from King Richard I. before he
set off on his expedition or crusade to the Holy Land in 1190.
For a market formerly held here on Thursdays, the license was procured by John de
Beauchamp, lord of the manor, 29 Edward I., 1301; but it has been long discontinued; also the
fair, permission for which was included in the same grant.
The noble family of Beauchamp came from Normandy, and held Hache with large
surrounding estates, which in the 14th Century became broken up. Hatch then passed to the Duke
of Somerset, and subsequently to the Rev. Mr. Uttermare (lord of the manor in 1780), whose
father acquired it by purchase. At that time, the Rev. John Cope Westcott was both patron and
incumbent, the perpetual advowson having been purchased by his grandfather.
Therefore, from Domesday Book, registers, Collinson's and Phelps's records, the following
chronological table concerning Hatch may be constructed
1180 Dean and Chapter of Wells.
1300 John de Beauchamp.
1400 Duke of Somerset.
1750 Cope Westcote.
1755 John Collins.
1780 Rev. -. Uttermare.
1817 H.P. Collins.
1819 Gore Langton.
1830 Squire Oakes.
1872 (d) Henry Hardcastle.
1886 (d) Elizabeth his wife.
1891 ((1) Richard Henry their son.
1891 Thomas Clifton and
1898 Henry Lloyd, Esq.
1917 Henry Lloyd, Esq.
1923 Reversionary interest purchased by Colonel A. Hamilton Gault, M.P.
Until 1898, some of the foregoing are only approximate dates. The Hardcastles and Squire
Oakes, also Mr. Henry Lloyd and his brother, are all buried at Hatch, and their respective
monuments attest the year of the demise of each.
The church of St. John the Baptist stands in the grounds of Hatch Court and is approached
by an estate road from the village. In the chancel over the altar is a fine large painting of Our
Saviour just taken down from the cross, with His Mother and Mary Magdalene weeping over
Him, and St. John looking on the Body. The origin and donor of this remarkable picture have
never been traced. On each side of the aisle are seven examples of 15th Century carved oak pew
Since 1898 local history can be vouched for fully. Mr. Henry Lloyd, after the Quaker
family of that name, lived here with his wife until his death in 1917. Mrs. Lloyd, now Mrs.
Gallimore, is the life tenant, and her niece, Mrs. Hamilton Gault, is the wife of Col. A. Hamilton
Gault, M.P. After her marriage in 1922, the Colonel acquired, by purchase, the reversion of the
property, comprising some 400 acres. It is their country seat, the Rev. Mr. and Mrs. Gallimore
occupying a residence on the estate.
The mansion is an early Ceorgian structure built about 1755. Subsequently, it was
subjected to redecoration which is believed to be not as good, architecturally, as the original.
This stricture, however, cannot apply to the admirable hall and staircase, with its wrought-iron
balustrade; nor to the Georgian transoms, loggia, china cupboard, and orangery, which presents
an excellent architectural example of a sweeping curved wing.
When Sir Edwin Lutyens was making an itinerary to various neighbouring houses he
visited Hatch Court and chiefly admired the staircase, transoms and loggia, mentioning the curve
of the orangery as satisfying. The original lead roof of 1755 remains an enduring testimony to
the quality of the metals and materials then used.
The orangery is now the repository of Colonel Gault's big game trophies, a numerous
series, which includes several heads mentioned in Rowland Ward's Book of Records." The
plaster ceiling of the drawing room, too, in full relief, representing the radiating sun, by some
Italian craftsmen, who since the 15th Century have left so much good and permanent work in
various other west country houses, remains in an excellent state of preservation. The rooms are
all well proportioned, the ante drawing room, with its curved mahogany bookcases and curved
mahogany doors, displaying splendidly finished workmanship.
On the south side of the house is a stone-built loggia, supported by six pillars, giving
distinction to the front of the building.
Family portraits are in the halls and dining room, including pictures by the brush of Shea,
who was P.R.A. about 1810-12, and Glyn Philpot, R.A.
Colonel Andrew Hamilton Gault has represented Taunton in Parliament since 1924.
His progressive national views as a Conservative are well known. He is deeply esteemed by
political friends and opponents alike, and the success of his ambition to serve all classes fairly is
reflected in the 1932 unanimous resolution of the Taunton Town Council to present him with the
freedom of the borough. Colonel and Mrs. Gault are closely identified with practically every
forward movement. Colonel Gault was born in England on the 18th August, 1882, the only son
of the late A. F. Gault, Esq., of Montreal. He married Dorothy Blanche, younger daughter of the
late C. J. Shuckburgh, Esq., and grand-daughter of the late R. H. Shuckburgh, Esq., J.P., in his
lifetime of Bourton Hall, Warwickshire.
Colonel Gault served in the Boer War as subaltern, 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles (Queen's
Medal, three clasps); in the Great War he raised and equipped for active service Princess
Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, commanding the regiment in the field and subsequently
becoming their Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel. He was mentioned in dispatches four times;
wounded thrice; received the D.S.O. in 1915; awarded third class Order of St. Anne, with
crossed swords, Order of the Crown of Belgium. He was a member of the Council of the
Montreal Board of Trade, 1912-14. His Quebec address is at St. Hilaire. Colonel and Mrs. Gault
are both qualified pilots and give a lead to local aviation.
Clubs: Carlton, Bath; Mount Royal, Montreal; York, Toronto.
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