Just south of the centre of Timberscombe, in a secluded valley, lie the crumbling ruins of a small settlement called Clicket.
The medieval origin of Clicket farmstead is implied by the Lay Subsidy of 1327 and it is shown as a small settlement on the Tithe Map of 1844.
Up until the end of the 19th Century it was a thriving community. It had a mill that serviced local farms and several quarries that provided lime, but by the start of the 20th Century it had been all but abandoned and there were just three people living there.
The lime quarries were situated on what is now Allercott Farm and two lime kilns still survive. At SS 9625 3920 is a kiln built into a bank which is in poor condition. At SS 9610 3920 is a kiln in good condition with typical stepped front retaining wall. The kiln was served by a tramway which terminated at the kiln head. Some rusting sections of rail can still be seen at the top of the kiln. Typically a kiln took a day to load, three days to fire, two days to cool and a day to unload.
Clicket had no church, shop or school and residents would have travelled to nearby Timberscombe or Luxborough for church services. A large house in Clicket was reputed to have been used for meetings, religious or otherwise. A Bible Christians magazine mentions a congregation of 70 at one gathering.
School children had a difficult walk through the valley to Timberscombe, sometimes in poor weather. In snow, travel must have been arduous, and possibly dangerous. Attendance of some of the children at school was sporadic, especially at harvest time when they would have been expected to help out.
Towards the end of the 19th century economic changes affected many rural communities. Competition from more efficient mills making use of mechanisation, coupled with Clicket’s poor access without carts, meant that the mill was abandoned by 1900. Most of the villagers had already left to seek a better life elsewhere.
The image below is reputed to be a photograph of the last residents of Clicket taken in 1890. The man on the right of the image is wearing an apron and a watch on a chain, suggesting he could have been the miller. The man sitting front left with a dog on his lap has a basket of tools at his feet, suggesting he may have worked in the village quarry.
The Allerford Museum also has a 4-page document entitled ‘Clicket – Lost Hamlet in Somerset’ which was compiled by a John C Robins in 2002.
Census Records for Clicket
1841- Census shows two families living in Clicket, both with the surname Williams:
Martin Williams aged 55, his wife Ann also 55 and sons, John and Martin born 1811.
James Williams aged 30, wife Elizabeth aged 40, and 3 daughters, Mary Ann 11, Eliza 8 and Elizabeth 4.
(Nb Some names in the Timberscombe census are the same as those living in Clicket so it seems likely that there was an overlap in the records.)
1851- lists the residents of Clicket as:
John Cole aged 51, born in Luxborough, his wife is Elizabeth (nee Milton) aged 48, daughter Elizabeth 20, Martha 10 and John 7.
Robert Tarr 55 born in Kings Brompton and wife Elizabeth 54, their son Robert 22 and his wife Sarah aged 21.
Martin Williams, 68 born Exton, farm labourer, wife Ann 66 born Timberscombe, also son Martin aged 41 born Kings Brompton.
James Williams 46 born Luxborough and wife Elizabeth born Torrington
All the men’s occupations are listed as farm labourers.
1861- lists the residents of Clicket as:
Ann Williams age 77 widow and son Martin 51
Robert Tarr, 66 and wife Elizabeth 65 with grandson Robert aged 9 born Cutcombe.
William Webber, 38 born Timberscombe and wife Mary Ann 31 born Cutcombe, daughters Dina aged 6 and Lucy aged 4, son William aged 2.James Norman aged 65 bornWinsford was lodging with them.
Thomas Webber 30, occupation shepherd born Carhampton and wife Sarah 22 born Cutcombe, and their son William aged 1. Lodging with them was Elizabeth Baker aged 60 born Cutcombe.
The two families living at Clicket Mills (later called Bickham Mills) were James Coles age 36 (b.1824) and wife Mary nee Graddon 33 (b.1827) and children, Ann 9, George 8, John 6, William 1.
Second family are James’s parents, John Coles 60, Elizabeth 58 (as in 1851).
George Floyde and his wife Mary were living at Thorne with grandson George aged 12.
William 41 and Betty Taylor 56 with son Edwin 13 were living at Woodlands which is listed under Clicket Mills.
1871- It appears that the residents of Clicket have all been listed under Allercott as they are back in Clicket in 1881.
Listed under Bickham Mills are James Coles 47, wife Mary 45, John 16, William 11, Henry 9, Mary 8, James 5 Elizabeth 1.
John Coles 71 & Elizabeth Coles 69. (John Died in 1871)
John Greenslade 39, wife Sarah 35 and children William 10, Jane 5, and George 3.
John Scriven 30 and William Scriven 37 both unmarried
George Hole 37 wife Mary 39 and children William 13, Thomas 8, George 6, Sarah Jane 4, James 1.
1881- shows 3 families living in Clicket.
William Webber, 59, his wife Mary Ann is 49, daughter Mary is 19 sons John 13, George 11,James 7, Tom 5 and Charley 3.
John Webber 35 and wife Fanny 36 born Luccombe and 4 sons Jessie 11, Harry 8, John 6, Willie 4.
George Hole 47 born Cutcombe, his wife Mary 49 born Wootton Courtney and 3 sons George 16, James 11 and John 5 and a daughter Mary Ann aged 8.
Living at Thorn Farm are John Greenslade widower 51, son William 20 and 3 daughters Elizabeth 17, Jane 15 and Blanche 10
James Coles 56, Mary 53, William and Elizabeth are living in Clicket and have a 14 yr old servant George Greenslade.
John Coles 26, wife Rliza 26, George 5, Martha Jane 3 and Harry 1 also listed under Clicket.
1891- lists Clicket as 4 uninhabited houses.
1901– lists the residents of Clicket as:
A Henry Sweetland (b.1870), his wife Annie (b.1873), son Henry John (b.1898) and Mary E Garrett(b.1887), his wife’s sister.
The last people to live in Clicket, albeit unofficially after it had been deserted, were an elderly couple. Desperate to avoid going to a poorhouse after being evicted from their cottage, they moved into the derelict mill despite it having no windows or doors. It is thought that the woman had no choice but to go to the poorhouse when her husband died about a year later.
Article by Lesley Webb.
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