The description of Marston Bigot, Somerset, England which follow is taken from ‘Somersetshire Delineated’, published in 1822 by Christopher and John Greenwood, Surveyors, a Topographical Description of each Town, Parish, Chapelry, etc. in the county.
A parish in the hundred of Frome, 2½ miles S. S. W. from Frome, containing 86 inhabited houses, and as many families, 55 of whom are employed in agriculture : on the south-east of the turnpike-road is the elegant seat of the Earl of Cork and Orrery. Dr. Collinson relates the following anecdote respecting an ancestor of the present noble lord :—
“Upon the death of King Charles the First, Roger Earl of Orrery quitted the service of the parliament in Ireland, and retired to his seat at Marston, which his father had purchased of Sir John Hippisley; the parish church was very near the mansion, and Lord Orrery never failed to go thither on Sundays ; but having one day sat there some time, and being disappointed of the then qualified minister, his lordship was preparing to go home, when his steward told him a person in the church offered to preach : his lordship (though he looked on the proposal only as a piece of enthusiasm) gave permission, and was never more surprized or delighted than with the sermon, which was filled with learning, sense, and piety. His lordship would not suffer the preacher to escape unknown, but invited him to dinner, and inquiring of him his name, life, and fortune, received this answer—’ My lord, my name is Asberry; I am a clergyman of the church of England, and a loyal subject to the King; I have lived three years in a poor cottage under your garden-wall, within a few paces of your lordship’s house; my son lives with me, and we dig and read by turns; I have a little money, and some few books, and I submit cheerfully to the will of Providence.’ This worthy and learned man (for such Lord Orrery always called him) lived some years longer at Marston, under an allowance of .£30 per annum, which his lordship obtained for him, without an obligation of taking the covenant, and died there deservedly lamented.”
A neat cottage, consisting of one room only, was fitted up in the pleasure-grounds belonging to this seat, by the late Earl, in commemoration of the above circumstance. The church of Marston-Bigott is a small modern structure, dedicated to St. Leonard, and is a rectory, in the deanery of Frome; Rev. R. J. Meade, incumbent; instituted 1821 ; patron the Earl of Cork and Orrery. Population, 1801, 366 — 1811,301 — 1821, 471.