Collated by Mary Mason.
The Church is dedicated to St. Mary the Virgin.
Portbury. This place, which gives name to the Hundred, and was in former times the principal town in all these parts.
It was anciently a town of the Romans, as appears from the indubitable evidence of coins of the Lower Empire, and massive foundations of old buildings; and also from the Military Way, traversing the hill hitherward from Axbridge.
Its present name is derived from the Saxon Port and Burg a fortified town, which is sufficiently expressive of its ancient consequence, and countenances the tradition that the towns of Portbury and Portishead were once joined, and that the latter was the port of this country before the city of Bristol had its being.
Revd. John Collinson. 1791.
The parish is divided into the following tithings:
1. Honour Tithing. 2. Court Tithing. 3. Abbot`s Tithing. 4. Cross Tithing. 5. Shipway Tithing.
6. Caswell Tithing. 7. Ham Green Tithing. 8. Peter`s Tithing. 9. Wick Tithing. 10. Wolcombe Tithing.
Very Near Caswell tything, was the estate of the Arthurs of Clapton, and there were anciently several other small manors within this parish, all held under the family of Berkeley. Many members of the Berkeley family are buried in the church and noted on a brass plate affixed to the wall of the north aisle.
Lord Thomas Berkerley gave lands in the parish to celebrate the anniversary of Lady Eve, his mother, on St. Nicholas`s day. Lady Eve Berkley, wife of the 3rd Lord Maurice Berkeley, with many others of the family, are buried in Portbury Church.
1066 Hardine or Harding, a second son of one of the kings of Denmark, had come over with the conqueror and was made Mayor and Governor of Bristol. He purchased the manor and advowson of Portbury, from Richard de Moreville, and his wife`s name was Lyvida.
1281 Death of Maurice Berkley.
1336 Thomas de Berkley founded the Chantry of the Blessed Mary in Portbury.
1344 Death of Thomas de Berkeley.
1345 Maurice de Berkeley held the Hundred of Portbury by knight`s service and half a knight`s fee in Portbury parish.
1348 Maurice Berkley received a grant for a market at Portbury.
1584 The oldest grave stone in the Church is dated 1584 and is in memory of William Godwin aged 95 years.
1616 On a sealed Vault inside the Church the following inscriptions:
1616 Here lyeth ye body of John Wallis, Gent. A Steward of the Hundred of Portbury, who departed this life ye 14th day of August Anno Dom.1616.
1621 A brass in the Church is in memory of Sara wife of Walter Kemish, Esq, who at the time lived at Nash House.
1660 Here lyeth the body of John Wallis, gentleman, who departed this life the 24th day of December, A.D. 1660, he being the age of 51 years.
1674 Here lyeth the body of John Wallis, of this parish, gentleman, who departed this life the 16th day of January, 1674, aged 40 years.
Two other inscriptions are as follows:
Here also lyeth ye body of James Thringe, of this parish, yeoman, who departed this life the 1st day of November, aged 30 years.
1661 Here also lyeth the body of John Thringe, of this Parish, who departed this life the 8th day of April 1661 aged 18 years.
1719 Mr John Chapp, Churchwarden and John Yeels, Overseer.
1720 Mr John Chapp continued Church Warden and James Watts, farmer, Overseer.
1721 John Ballard, farmer, Overseer and John Yeels, farmer, Church Warden.
1734 May 27th. Mem: Capt. John Covant appointed by his last Will, two Sermons to be preached yearly in the Parish Church of Portbury the One upon the 24th of April being the day of his birth, the other upon the day of his death which happened on the 13th of December; and ordered ten shillings to be paid for each Sermon and subjected his Estate to ye Payment thereof. (houses in Bristol) He likewise gave 10 shillings to be distributed upon Easter Day to such poor Parishioners as should then receive ye sacrament and ten shillings upon that Whitsunday to such poor as should then receive. John Sutton vicar.
(Names of the Rectors and dates of the Sermons are entered in the Parish Church Registers, under Captain Covants Gift Sermons.)
1746 July. A parish child was placed to the Vicarage and bound out by me. C. Goddard vicar.
1772 Mr. James Selby of the city of Bristol, gave one hundred pounds, the interest to be distributed to the poor of the parish for ever.
1776 Apr 11. At the assizes at Taunton, for the County of Somerset, which ended on Friday last, 9 persons were capitally convicted, and received the sentence of death; viz. George Bird, for the wilfull murder of Mary Bees, a poor collier woman, cutting her throat in a stable at Portbury. He was hanged on Saturday last, and his body given to a surgeon for dissection.
1863 Nov 21. Stephen Hall was summoned for being in pursuit of game on the lands of Sir William Miles, at Portbury. The case was heard in the absence of the accused, who was fined £2 or two months imprisonment.
1881 Jun 4.Quarter Sessions: Mr Charles Stokes of The Priory hotel, Portbury was summoned for selling gin to the prejudice of the purchaser, the same not being of the quality demanded. Some gin was purchased by P C Palfry and was afterward submitted for to the County analyst at Taunton. The certificate of the analyst stated that the sample was more than 28 under proof. Fined 10s and 17s 11d costs.
1899 Feb 4. It has been decided to start ambulance classes at the club room on February 8th. Dr. C Wigan is the teacher and Mr J H Giles the hon. secretary. The classes are held in connection with the Clevedon and Bedminster Technical Education Committee.
1899. In the little village of Portbury, England the only nonconformist place of worship is a disused railway carriage where the Weslyan society meets and where a Sunday school is taught. Bridgeport California Chronicle.