A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 10. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1975.
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The ancient parish of North Newnton consisted of two detached parts. (fn. 1) The tithings of North Newnton and Hilcott made up the greater part, 1,146 a. in 1961, (fn. 2) which lies in the Pewsey Vale 8 miles ESE. of Devizes and 3 miles south-west of Pewsey. The tithing of Rainscombe, some 250 a. in 1840, (fn. 3) lay 4½ miles north-east of North Newnton, 3 miles SSW. of Marlborough. In 1885 it was transferred to Wilcot parish. (fn. 4)
The main part of North Newnton parish, like the parishes of Woodborough, Beechingstoke, and Etchilhampton, differs from the typical long narrow parishes of the Pewsey Vale. The tithings of Newnton and Hilcott made up a compact area about 2 miles long and ¾–1⅓ mile broad whose boundary, essentially similar to that of 1971, was described in charters of 892 and 934. (fn. 5) Then, as now, it followed the course of a tributary of the Christchurch Avon from Bottlesford in Manningford Bohune to Newnton, and from there the eastern headwater of the Avon to where it crossed an old track, now a bridle path, at 'Stintesford'. In the south-west it followed one of the courses of the Avon for about ¾ mile north of Wilsford village. It was marked in the south by a path, and in the north-west by a road from Wilsford to Swanborough Tump in Manningford Abbots, possibly part of a great pre-Saxon highway. (fn. 6) The land enclosed by those boundaries contains a broken ridge, 350–80 ft., running north-west to south-east between the Avon and its northern tributary, but is marked by an absence of steep gradients. The highest point is Cats Brain hill, 387 ft., so called since at least 1773. (fn. 7) The name refers to the rough clay soil mixed with stones and is common elsewhere in Wiltshire. (fn. 8)
The land of Newnton and Hilcott is characterized by the geological outcrops typical of the Pewsey Vale. Lower Chalk outcrops on the central ridge including Cats Brain. Upper Greensand outcrops in the valleys to the north and south of it, overlain by alluvium in the upper parts of the valleys and by river gravel in the south-east and south-west corners of the parish. The Lower Chalk has been used for tillage and the Upper Greensand for meadow land, agricultural usages typical of the Pewsey Vale. Some of the alluvium has also supported woodland.
The tithing of Hilcott was a compact block of land in the north-west of the parish while the tithing of North Newnton consisted of almost detached blocks in the south-west and east. In 1803 the boundary between the tithings ran from a point on the northern parish boundary near Butts Farm southwest to a point about half-way along the southern boundary of the parish, following for part of its length the northern tributary of the Avon and Cats Brain way. Thence it ran north-west to the Avon. (fn. 9)
The bounds of Rainscombe were given in the charter of 934. (fn. 10) They cannot be plotted on a modern map but clearly enclosed land considerably more extensive than the later tithing of Rainscombe. Marching with Savernake forest the land extended westwards to Clatford bottom and northwards to Wansdyke, the course of which the boundary followed for some distance. The southern part of the Rainscombe land, however, was bounded by Maizley coppice and probably by Rainscombe drove, following a dry valley down from Martinsell Hill, both of which marked the boundary of the tithing in 1838. In the north-east the ancient boundary, probably marked by the road from Overton Heath to Clench in Milton Lilbourne, was followed by the modern one. The land of Rainscombe defined in 934 included a large tract of upland on the dip slope of the Marlborough Downs, land extensively wooded at that time. Intercommoning rights on it were shared at least by the men of Rainscombe, Oare in Wilcot, and Wick in Pewsey (see below), and probably by the men of villages in the Kennet valley to the north. (fn. 11) The history of that tract of land after the 10th century is a story of the closer definition of pasture rights, conversion to several use, and the ploughing of former wood and pasture land, and in that process the modern boundary of Rainscombe tithing gradually emerged.
By the 12th century all the Rainscombe land was within the royal forest of Savernake (fn. 12) but, although it was not disafforested until 1330, (fn. 13) the definition of boundaries and assarting progressed during the 13th century. In 1227 the Hill grounds above Oare Hill to the east of the Enford-Marlborough road, and most of the hill itself, ceased to be part of Rainscombe, but all pasture rights of the men of Oare over Rainscombe lands were eliminated and the modern western boundary with Oare thus established. (fn. 14) The south-east boundary of Rainscombe with Pewsey was fixed in 1280 when Rainscombe pasture rights on Martinsell Hill were given up and in exchange the men of Wick in Pewsey were excluded from assarted land at Rainscombe. (fn. 15)
The tithing of Rainscombe, thus largely defined by the late 13th century, consisted of an upland area with some land over 850 ft. and a lowland area between 550 and 650 ft. connected by a narrow strip of land running up Oare Hill. The upland, covered by Clay-with-flints deposits, was wooded. It was called Abbess Wood or, after clearing by fire probably in the early Middle Ages, Burnt Oaks. (fn. 16) After clearing it was used for pasture, (fn. 17) but, because it is level, may also be ploughed. The lowland called Rainscombe, in the coomb between Oare and Martinsell Hills, is on Lower Chalk and is similarly suitable for tillage or pasture.
The tithings of Hilcott and Newnton were crossed by the old Avebury-Amesbury road, roughly parallel to the northern tributary of the Avon. That road was crossed in the north-west of the parish by the ancient road from Wilsford to Swanborough Tump which by 1773 was no longer used from the cross-road to Wilsford. (fn. 18) In the south-east it crossed the Marlborough-Enford road which crosses the eastern headwater of the Avon into North Newnton at Wood Bridge. Until at least 1840 the two roads crossed very near the bridge whence the Avebury-Amesbury road ran down the east bank of the river. (fn. 19) That road was turnpiked under an Act of 1840, (fn. 20) diverted to the west bank of the river, and improved. Probably at the same time, at least before 1855, the Woodbridge Inn was built at the new cross-road with the MarlboroughEnford road. (fn. 21) That cross-road was widened in 1935. (fn. 22) Besides the three old main roads a number of small lanes and paths typical of the lower Pewsey Vale link the parish with its neighbours. Rainscombe tithing is served by the Marlborough-Enford road, part of which is within its boundaries.
Early-14th-century taxation returns show that, when the villages of Hilcott and Newnton are taken together, the population of the parish was average or slightly below average for the Pewsey Vale. (fn. 23) It probably remained so in the 16th (fn. 24) and 17th centuries (fn. 25) and in 1801, when the parish population was 221, it was still so. (fn. 26) The population rose to 374 in 1881. In 1885 Rainscombe tithing, with a population of 35 in 1891, was transferred but the population of Newnton remained about 330 until 1911. It stood at 279 in 1921 but had risen to 365 in 1971. (fn. 27)
There are several groups of houses in the parish. There is no evidence of settlement on or near the site of Newnton village before Saxon times. The church and surrounding farm-houses were built near the confluence of the northern boundary stream with the eastern branch of the Avon. The village was comparatively small in the early 14th century, and smaller than Hilcott. (fn. 28) There were 51 poll-tax payers in 1377, below average for the hundred. (fn. 29) The village, lying near the confluence of several streams in a low part of the Pewsey Vale, was affected by flooding in winter. An attempt was made to alleviate it in the 1530s when the northern boundary stream passing through the village near the east end of the church was diverted to the west. (fn. 30) That was said to have benefited the village, but the demesne farm-house, burnt down in the late 1530s, (fn. 31) was rebuilt on the other side of the parish. (fn. 32) The village was still small in 1773. (fn. 33) In 1803 it consisted of only three farms, a few cottages, the church, and the mill. The church and the mill standing together at the east of the village by the eastern branch of the Avon were approached by two paths, one in the north leaving an elbow of the Avebury-Amesbury road and making a direct path from Hilcott to Newnton church, and one in the south being a continuation of Cats Brain way. The farms stood where those paths left the AveburyAmesbury road and the cottages stood mainly between them and the church. (fn. 34) The population of the village was 61 in 1841. (fn. 35) and had declined even further by 1971. The village then contained only the church, farm buildings opposite Cats Brain way, a late-18th-century farm-house and an early19th-century cottage, both thatched, a pair of cottages dated 1907 south of the farm, and a pair of late-19th- or early-20th-century cottages at the bend in the Avebury-Amesbury road.
Archaeological discoveries of the Neolithic and Bronze-Age periods have been made at Hilcott, (fn. 36) thought to be the site of an early British settlement, (fn. 37) and so possibly an older village than Newnton. The village grew on both sides of the AveburyAmesbury road on land less liable to flooding than that of Newnton but still close to the northern boundary stream. It seems to have been more populous than Newnton in the early 14th century. (fn. 38) There were only 47 poll-tax payers in 1377, (fn. 39) compared with 51 at Newnton, and in the mid 16th century the two villages were of roughly equal size; (fn. 40) but by 1803 Hilcott seems to have been marginally more populous than Newnton. (fn. 41) In the 19th century Hilcott retained its size while Newnton declined. Its population was said to be 262 in 1841. (fn. 42) That total clearly included people living at Gores (see below), but Hilcott seems to have accounted for most of it. The population probably declined in the 20th century when little new building took place, and in 1971 Hilcott was no longer the largest settlement in the parish.
The village has kept its original arrangement along the Avebury-Amesbury road. An outlying farm, Butts, stands near Newnton village but the rest of Hilcott stands along less than ½ mile of the road. Most of the buildings are on the north side including, from the west, Hilcott Manor, a pair of 19th-century cottages, the chapel and village hall, a thatched 18th-century farm-house with later extensions, a house built c. 1700 against an early17th-century cottage, a house dated 1729, the Old Rectory, and a mid-19th-century farm-house. An 18th-century cottage, Hilcott Farm, farm buildings, and a few 19th-century cottages are the principal buildings on the south side.
The oldest of the more recent settlements is Gores. It was so called by 1773 probably after the two triangular pieces of land on the west side of the Avebury-Amesbury road separated by the path of the old Wilsford-Swanborough road, called Gores Lane in 1972. A few cottages stood on the waste at the former cross-roads in 1773. (fn. 43) About five cottages stood there in 1803 on the west side of the AveburyAmesbury road and about five more on the north side of the Pewsey road near Bottlesford. (fn. 44) By 1838 there were several new buildings including a block of six cottages south of the junction and a beerhouse, bearing the date 1839 and called the Sun by 1855, (fn. 45) on the north side of the road to Bottlesford. (fn. 46) The hamlet continued to expand after 1838. By 1886 there were buildings north of the junction forming an almost continuous line of settlement with the hamlet of Broad Street in Beechingstoke, and east of it making a similar line with the hamlet of Bottlesford in Manningford Bohune. (fn. 47) The Prince of Wales was built on the west side of the road between 1867 and 1872 and the Sun, a private house in 1972, was closed between 1903 and 1907. (fn. 48) A group of eight council houses was built on the north side of the Gores-Pewsey road in the 1950s and seven old people's bungalows in the 1960s. In 1971 there were at least 61 cottages and houses at Gores, most of them of the 19th century, making it the most populous settlement in the parish.
In 1838 a block of four cottages stood a short distance south of Gores where the AveburyAmesbury road is joined by roads from Beechingstoke and Wilsford. (fn. 49) Several more cottages were built in the 19th century and in the 20th century a few bungalows were built beside the Beechingstoke road and, before 1939, four pairs of council houses beside the Wilsford road.
West of Wood Bridge is another area of 19th- and 20th-century settlement. In 1886 the Woodbridge Inn, a cottage, and a small house were the only buildings near the new crossing of the AveburyAmesbury and Marlborough-Enford roads. (fn. 50) Between 1918 and 1939 seven pairs of houses were built on the south side of the road to Rushall and several bungalows and a house were built on the west side of the road to Upavon. In the 1960s Park Road, containing seventeen houses and bungalows, was built south from the road to Rushall.
A farmstead probably stood at Rainscombe in the Middle Ages, but there has never been much settlement in the tithing. Its population was 19 in 1841. (fn. 51) In 1971 the principal buildings in the former tithing were Rainscombe House in the coomb, Rainscombe Hill Farm with a 19th-century house on the down, and a few farm buildings and cottages beside the Oare-Marlborough road.
Manors and other Estates.
Alfred granted North Newnton and Hilcott to Athelhelm in 892. (fn. 52) The same land, with the addition of Rainscombe, was granted by Athelstan to St. Mary's Abbey, Wilton, in 934, (fn. 53) and the manor of NORTH NEWNTON AND HILCOTT remained among the nuns' possessions until the Dissolution. (fn. 54)
In 1541 the manor was granted to George Howard, the brother of Queen Catherine. (fn. 55) He surrendered it in 1547 when it was granted to Sir William Herbert, created earl of Pembroke in 1551. (fn. 56) The manor subsequently passed with the Pembroke title until the time of Philip, earl of Pembroke (d. 1683), (fn. 57) but was sold in lots from 1680.
The former demesne land, Cuttenham farm, was bought by Charles Garrard before 1693. (fn. 58) It was held by his widow Mary in 1719. (fn. 59) She died in 1748 when Cuttenham passed to her son Charles Garrard (d. 1761). Charles was succeeded by his son James who in 1767 sold the farm, 296 a. in 1775, (fn. 60) to Edward Poore of Rushall (d. 1788). Thereafter the farm descended in the same way as the manor of Rushall until 1917 when it was sold by the earl of Normanton to A. H. Clough. (fn. 61) It was sold to Mr. R. H. Nutland in 1921 and in 1971 belonged to his son Mr. Henry Nutland. (fn. 62)
Cuttenham Farm, replacing a building probably of the 1540s, (fn. 63) was built of brick with a tile roof in the 18th century. It is of two storeys with flanking chimneys and with another chimney south-west of the centre of the house.
A small farm in Hilcott belonged in the early 18th century to Nathaniel Rawkins, alias Romen, and passed to his widow Jane. (fn. 64) It later belonged to Edward Ballard, presumably Jane's next husband, who devised it to Samuel Mayell before 1736. (fn. 65) Mayell's farm was devised to Samuel's nephews Samuel, Joshua, and Robert Mayell who in 1785 sold it to John Clift. To it Clift added another small farm in Hilcott, Pyke's, bought from Stephen Pyke in 1797. (fn. 66) These two farms, one with buildings at the west end of the street on the north side, the other with buildings in the middle of the south side, with 43 a. in 1803, (fn. 67) formed the nucleus of Hilcott farm. After Clift's death in 1829 that farm passed to his son Job Clift (d. 1865). (fn. 68) In 1867 Clift's trustees sold it with the rest of his land in Hilcott to Welbore Agar, earl of Normanton. (fn. 69)
Lands in Hilcott belonged to John Alexander in 1736. (fn. 70) He sold them to William Dyke (d. before 1758). They passed to William's son Jerome (d. 1783) who devised them to his sons William and Jonathan. (fn. 71) Jonathan held them until 1791 and William until 1801 when they were sold as two farms. (fn. 72) One of them, possibly that called Wilds farm in 1971 and measuring some 71 a. in 1803, was acquired by Charles Alexander (d. c. 1810) but in 1803 was held by his nephew John Alexander (d. 1836). (fn. 73) After John's death it passed to his daughter Beata, wife of William Stead. In 1842 the Steads sold the farm to Job Clift. (fn. 74)
The Dykes' other farm, with buildings on the north side of Hilcott street and 92 a. of land, (fn. 75) was bought by Joseph Gilbert. He sold some of it to John Clift in 1806 and the rest to John Alexander in 1812. Alexander's part was acquired by Clift in 1823 and passed with the rest of his lands. (fn. 76)
Tomlins farm, possibly that called Butts in 1917, belonged before 1700 to Nathaniel Tomlins (d. before 1700) or his father Samuel (d. 1700), a former rector of Crawley (Hants). (fn. 77) It was held by Elizabeth Tomlins until 1784 (fn. 78) when the farm, then some 80 a., was sold to John Alexander (d. 1797). John was succeeded by his son John (d. 1836) with whose other land Tomlins farm subsequently passed. (fn. 79)
When it was sold to Lord Normanton in 1867 Clift's land in Hilcott amounted to 307 a. (fn. 80) It was sold by Sidney, earl of Normanton, in 1917. (fn. 81) Most of it was bought, like Cuttenham farm, by A. H. Clough and sold again in 1921. (fn. 82) Hilcott farm was bought then by A. G. Peacock and sold by him to the trustees of the Hon. Mrs. Annabel J. Garton in 1971. (fn. 83) The farm-house, on the south side of Hilcott street, is a thatched house of two storeys and flanking chimneys built in the 19th century. In 1972 it was no longer part of the farm. Wilds farm was bought in 1921 by E. J. Latham and belonged to his son Mr. A. R. Latham in 1971. (fn. 84) Butts farm was bought by J. M. Falkner and added to Falkner's farm (see below). (fn. 85)
A farm of 41 a. in Newnton with buildings at the crossing of the Avebury-Amesbury road and Cats Brain way belonged to Thomas Alexander of Manningford Bruce in 1803. (fn. 86) In 1818 it was settled on the marriage of his daughter Lucy with Robert Falkner who in 1831 bought other land in the tithing from Richard Hayward. (fn. 87) Falkner's lands passed before 1837 to his son Thomas (d. 1870), then a minor. (fn. 88) Thomas was succeeded by his second son J. M. Falkner (d. 1932) and he by his brother C. G. Falkner (d. 1932). (fn. 89) In 1971 Falkner's farm, 400 a., belonged to C. G. Falkner's son Mr. T. A. M. Falkner.
In 1780 Fowle's farm, with buildings at the elbow of the Avebury-Amesbury road in Newnton and some 69 a. in 1803, (fn. 90) belonged to Henry Fowle. (fn. 91) He held it in 1803 but it passed to George Fowle who held it in 1839. (fn. 92) By 1867 it had passed to T. E. Fowle (fn. 93) and was sold by W. H. Fowle to George Smith in 1878. Smith sold it to John Waters in 1880 and in 1895 Lucy Waters sold it to Samuel Farmer. J. M. Falkner bought it from Farmer in 1913 and it was added to Falkner's farm. (fn. 94)
Jessee's farm, also with buildings at the elbow of the Avebury-Amesbury road, belonged to a Mr. Jessee c. 1775. (fn. 95) In 1803 it was held by Grace Jessee, presumably his widow, but about that time passed to William Jessee, probably his son. (fn. 96) The farm, 105 a., still belonged to William in 1843 (fn. 97) and to Thomas Jessee in 1860. (fn. 98) In 1926 it was sold by R. Eavis of Beechingstoke to J. M. Falkner and added to Falkner's farm. (fn. 99)
Before 1086 the abbess of Wilton gave 3½ hides and ½ virgate to a knight. (fn. 100) Part of it was possibly the land in Hilcott, then described as a virgate, in the tenure of which Henry de Berners was confirmed in 1194. (fn. 101) The land probably passed in the de Berners family, members of which lived at Hilcott in 1324 and 1327, (fn. 102) but by 1341 it was possibly held by John Skilling. (fn. 103) In 1381 it was settled on presumably another John Skilling and his wife Faith and was still held by John in 1412. (fn. 104) In 1428 the land was held by John's heirs. (fn. 105) Thereafter it may have descended like other Skilling land at Charlton. (fn. 106) In 1535, the year of his death, (fn. 107) it was held by William Thornborough to whom it had passed presumably like the Charlton estate mentioned above and like land at Kimpton (Hants). (fn. 108) Walter Skilling was said to have held the land c. 1550 (fn. 109) but from at least 1555 to 1567 it was held by John son of William Thornborough. (fn. 110)
The subsequent descent of the land is obscure but it was possibly held by William Lavington in 1576, (fn. 111) another William Lavington c. 1638, (fn. 112) Richard Lavington in 1651, (fn. 113) John Lavington (d. 1677), (fn. 114) and by Richard Lavington in 1736. (fn. 115) In 1767 it was settled on Joseph Hayward (d. c. 1777) and his wife Ann. (fn. 116) The farm, then called Hayward's farm, 75 a. in 1803, (fn. 117) was held by Ann until at least 1780. (fn. 118) It passed after her death to her son Joseph Hayward but belonged in 1803 to Richard Hayward. (fn. 119) After Richard's death in 1839 the farm passed with other land to his nephew Thomas Chandler Hayward, after whose death in 1852 some of the land was sold. (fn. 120) Thomas Hayward held the farm in 1871 (fn. 121) but afterwards it seems to have been split up and sold. In the mid 20th century the farm, then called Hilcott Manor farm, was built up again piecemeal by Mr. W. P. Ford, the owner in 1972 when the farm approached 200 a. in extent. (fn. 122) The farm-house is a small thatched 17th-century house, extended in the 18th century, and almost totally refitted internally in the early 19th century, presumably by Richard Hayward and possibly at the time that a garden wall dated 1829 was built. The house is separated from the road by a low wall with early19th-century railings and gate. It was bought in 1914 by the Revd. E. G. A. Sutton, (fn. 123) rector 1898– 1937, and became known as the Old Rectory. In 1971 its owner was Brig. G. Wort.
A second farm in Hilcott, with a house at the west end of the village on the north side of the street, belonged to John Alexander in the earlier 18th century. He sold it to his tenant William Hazeland (d. 1756) who devised it to his grandson the Revd. John Hazeland. It passed after John's death in 1819 to his son John who sold it to Richard Hayward in 1831. (fn. 124) The two-storeyed and thatched farm-house, called Hilcott Manor in 1972, was built in the early 17th century parallel to Hilcott street. It was extended northwards in the late 17th century and in the 18th century the earlier part of the house was rebuilt and afterwards partly cased with brick. The three late-17th-century bays were built in plum-coloured bricks with stone quoins, first-floor string-course, and cornice. They have leaded windows with stone mullions and transoms. The house was occupied by Hayward's tenants in 1839 (fn. 125) and in 1972 belonged to Mr. W. P. Ford.
RAINSCOMBE was sold by Henry, earl of Pembroke, to Henry Pyke in 1582 (fn. 126) and was subsequently reputed a manor. Pyke died in 1584. He was succeeded by his son Henry (d. 1636) (fn. 127) who was succeeded by his son Thomas, on whom the land was settled in 1616. (fn. 128) Thomas Pyke settled it on his son Henry 1652–3. (fn. 129) Henry (d. after 1694) was succeeded by his daughter Ellen, the wife of the Revd. Henry Rogers of Heddington. (fn. 130)
Rogers died in 1721. (fn. 131) He was succeeded by his son Henry, also succeeded by a son Henry who in 1735 devised Rainscombe to his brother the Revd. Robert Rogers. (fn. 132) In 1752 Robert settled it on his second son the Revd. Benjamin Rogers (d. after 1788). (fn. 133) Benjamin was succeeded by his second, but eldest surviving, son the Revd. James Rogers (d. 1831), who was succeeded by his son Francis James Newman Rogers. F. J. N. Rogers died in 1851 when he was succeeded by his son Francis Newman Rogers (d. unmarried in 1859). F. N. Rogers was succeeded by his brother the Revd. Edward Henry Rogers who died in 1910 (fn. 134) when Rainscombe passed to his nephew F. E. N. Rogers (d. 1925), M.P. for Devizes 1906–10. Rogers was succeeded by his son Lt.-Col. F. H. N. Rogers. After the First World War the land on the downs was sold in lots. (fn. 135) The rest of the estate was sold in 1940 to H. P. Drewry (d. 1969), and in 1971 belonged to his widow. (fn. 136)
The main block of Rainscombe House was built to the designs of Thomas Baldwin, apparently soon after 1816. (fn. 137) A house built in 1715 or 1718, to which new buildings had been added, was mentioned in 19th-century descriptions. (fn. 138) The service buildings appear to be of various dates in the 19th century, much work having been done in 1857. (fn. 139) The northern porch was added c. 1960.
Newnton and Hilcott were reckoned at 10 manentes in 892 and 934. (fn. 140) T.R.E. the two villages were reckoned at 13½ hides and ½ virgate. In 1086 they had land for 10 ploughs. There were 2 ploughs and 4 serfs on the demesne of Wilton Abbey, reckoned at 3 hides, and the knight also had 2 ploughs on his demesne, formerly villein land. There were 13 villeins and 16 coscez sharing 5 ploughs and the knight's villeins also had a plough. There was a mill paying 12s. 6d., 30 a. of meadow, pasture 4 furlongs long by 2 furlongs broad, and woodland a league in length and breadth. The whole estate, worth £14 c. 1066, was worth £18 in 1086. (fn. 141)
Although part of the same manor the villages and tithings of Newnton and Hilcott had emerged by the 16th century, if they had not already been so in 1086, as separate economic units, each with its own common fields. The tithing of Newnton consisted of two almost detached blocks of land corresponding to the division between demesne and tenantry land. The eastern block included three arable fields used in common by the tenants, Wood Bridge field in the south-east amounting to 70 a. of tenantry and glebe land, Bush field in the south-west, 75 a., and Home field, 85 a. In addition the farmer had 6 a. in the fields. The tenants had some 5 a. of common meadow land and the farmer had 8 a. of meadow in which the tenants had certain rights of common pasture. The tenants had 14 a. of small several meadows and pastures north of the NewntonHilcott road, and some 11 a. in the Doles. The Doles was an area of woodland north-west of the village between the stream and the parish boundary in which common rights to wood and pasture presumably existed. Before 1567, however, the Doles was inclosed and the tenants allotted very narrow ½ a. strips. In 1567 every tenant held ½–1½ a. The farmer also held 10 a. of pasture land, some of it wooded. The western part of the tithing consisted of the farmer's three several arable fields, North field, 50 a., Middle field, 50 a., and South field, 60 a., and a several pasture of 8 a. near the Avon. Unlike most of the surrounding villages Newnton lacked an upland sheep pasture. Flocks were therefore small. The copyholders and the rector could keep 336 sheep, and the farmer could keep 300 sheep. There was a pasture called Cow leaze, 50 a., in the extreme west of the parish common to the farmer and to the tenants of Newnton and Hilcott. The tenants of Newnton, however, seem to have had few rights in it and, because of its distance from the village, can have derived little economic benefit from it. (fn. 142)
The demesne farm was leased in 1535 to John Ring (d. c. 1557) for £8 a year and to another John Ring in 1564. The farm-house possibly stood north of the church until it was burnt down in the late 1530s. Afterwards the farm-house stood in the southwest corner of the parish on a site near Wilsford village accessible to the land belonging to it and the farm was called Cuttenham farm. There were twelve copyholders in Newnton sharing ten yardlands in 1567. Their rents totalled £7 5s. a year in 1539 and were the same in 1567. (fn. 143) The arrangement of the farmer's fields and the tenants' rights in Cow leaze suggest that the tenants had once had land in the western part of the tithing and that there had been an exchange of lands, possibly about the time that the demesne farm-house was rebuilt.
In the mid 18th century Cuttenham farm was said to include 220 a. of arable, of which 50 a. was sown with wheat and 70 a. with lent grain, 24 a. of pasture, 20 a. of water-meadow, and 24 a. of dry meadow. There was a summer flock of some 400 sheep and about 160 lambs were bred. By that time, and possibly much earlier, Cow leaze was divided between the farmer and the tenants of Hilcott and inclosed. (fn. 144) In 1775 the farm amounted to 294 a. in the tithing. Its arable fields had been reduced in size and inclosed. They varied from 18 a. to 5 a. but by 1838 comprised a single field of 192 a. (fn. 145) The pattern of agriculture in the eastern part of the tithing changed little from the 16th to the 19th century, even though the farms became freeholds after 1680. The number of farms in the village gradually declined, however, until in 1803 there were only four or five. (fn. 146) The three open fields were then still cultivated in small strips but in 1840, when there were only three farms, the fields were inclosed. (fn. 147)
The tithing of Hilcott consisted almost entirely of tenantry land in the mid 16th century. There were 11 copyholdings, 16 yardlands, whose 9 tenants paid rents totalling £11 12s. The farms varied in size from some 22 a. to 55 a. with pasture rights. In addition two farms, 2 yardlands in all, were held of the freeholder. The arable land of the tithing was in four principal fields. In the south-east South Clay field, including Cats Brain, contained some 80 a. of copyhold arable. North of it and extending south of the village was North Clay field, 80 a. Nether field, 66 a., was east of the village and Sandy field, 64 a., was west of it. There were 12 a. of copyhold arable in West Highway field, west of the road to Cuttenham Farm, which also seems to have included some 20 a. of freehold arable. There were perhaps 340 a. of arable in the tithing. The copyholders had some 34 a. of several pasture around the village and the farmer held the Gores, 6 a., after which the hamlet was later named. There were three apparently common meadows. They were in Nether field, 8 a. between the arable and the boundary stream, Sandy furlong, 8 a. north-east of the village, and Oatlands, 2 a. north-west of the village. There were also two areas of common pasture, Cow leaze, a cattle pasture shared by the farmer and copyholders of Newnton, and Oatlands, a sheep pasture of 20 a. running south-east beside the boundary stream from the Wilsford to Swanborough Tump road. The copyholders could keep 560 sheep and 79 other animals. (fn. 148)
The fields of Hilcott were still commonable in 1679 (fn. 149) but seem to have been inclosed by private agreement in the earlier 18th century. (fn. 150) The typical allotments of North Clay field, apparently called Long Hedge field in the 18th century, South Clay field, and Nether field seem to have been of 10–20 a., (fn. 151) but Sandy field was divided into much smaller fields. (fn. 152) West Highway field became part of Hayward's farm. (fn. 153) Cow leaze and Oatlands were also inclosed. An allotment of less than 10 a. in each was apparently made to each of the farmers. (fn. 154) The size of all the farms in the tithing increased at inclosure but during the 18th century the number of farms decreased and disparity in size among them increased. In 1803 John Clift farmed 153 a. in the tithing, later Hilcott farm, and John Alexander farmed 172 a., Tomlins and Butts farms. Hayward's farm, 75 a., was the next largest. There were over 400 a. of arable, an increase over the 16th-century figure partly due to the ploughing of some of Cow leaze, 44 a. of meadow, and 71 a. of pasture and woodland. (fn. 155) In 1838 Hilcott farm amounted to 135 a., Hayward's farm to 157 a., and Butts farm to 127 a., and there were two or three small farms in the tithing. (fn. 156)
Farming in Newnton and Hilcott in the period 1840–1917 was dominated by Cuttenham, Hilcott, Butts, and Falkner's farms. Hilcott farm, some 200 a. in 1867, was leased with Cuttenham farm, some 300 a. in 1867, from at least 1870 to 1917. (fn. 157) In that time some land was converted to pasture. The two farms, 450 a. in 1917, then included over 200 a. of pasture and meadow. Butts farm, 66 a. in 1917, was largely made up of Cats Brain field, 55 a. (fn. 158) By 1971 Falkner's farm amounted to some 400 a. around Newnton. Cuttenham farm, 236 a., Hilcott Manor farm, approaching 200 a., and Wilds farm, some 110 a., were the other principal farms. The land of Hilcott farm, some 100 a., was worked from Manningford Abbots. (fn. 159) The farms were devoted principally to arable and dairy farming.
In the 1880s R. F. Ford started business at Gores as a distributor of grain and a supplier of seeds, chemical fertilizers, and food-stuff, and, in a small way, as a corn-grinder. The business subsequently expanded. The firm of R. F. Ford & Sons, corn and seed merchants, was carried on by R. F. Ford's sons W. P. Ford and H. C. Ford and in 1971 remained in the Ford family. The firm, still with its main premises at Gores but with others at Melksham, then employed modern loading and unloading machinery and about fifteen men in the parish. The nature of its business, the redistribution of grain purchased from local farmers and the distribution to the farmers of fertilizers and food-stuff bought from large manufacturers, was substantially unchanged. (fn. 160)
Rainscombe was assessed at 5 cassati in 934. (fn. 161) The economic distinction between the upland and the lowland, which was to be permanent, may already have existed since the upland, although said to be at the edge of Savernake forest, was probably wooded. T.R.E. the whole land, said to be part of the demesne farm, assessed at a hide and 1½ virgate, and valued at £14, was leased to Alvric the huntsman. Rainscombe, like other of Alvric's lands, passed by 1086 to Richard Esturmy who also held Huish. It was then valued at £18. (fn. 162)
By the 12th century Rainscombe was part of Savernake forest, of which members of the Esturmy family were hereditary wardens, (fn. 163) but by the 13th century the land was apparently no longer leased to a member of that family. It was probably exploited directly by the abbess of Wilton. The 13th century was a period of inclosure and assarting at Rainscombe. The abbess reached agreements with other landholders in 1227 and 1280 under which common rights over Rainscombe were extinguished and the abbess's land was inclosed. (fn. 164) In 1246 the forest justices pardoned the abbess for an assart of 19 a., (fn. 165) and it was arable land in the coomb, some of it newly assarted, from which the men of Pewsey were excluded in 1280. (fn. 166) Although all the wood was not necessarily from Rainscombe, clearing of the upland is indicated by the fact that the abbess was licensed to take 100 or more trees from her wood in Savernake forest in 1231 and 1246, and to take 60 trees in 1299 when firewood was already taken from Savernake to Wilton. (fn. 167) It may also have been a reference to the 13th century when it was said in the early 16th century that Abbess Wood above Rainscombe was burnt in 'ancient time'. (fn. 168) Rainscombe tithing was legally disafforested in 1330. (fn. 169)
The upland, Abbess Wood or Burnt Oaks, was a sheep pasture and the lowland in the coomb was arable probably from the early 14th until the late 18th century. In 1527 the land was leased to Simon Rydell, the upland for 20s. a year, the lowland for 26s. 8d. (fn. 170) It was leased at the same rent to William Marten in 1548 when there were 120 a. of arable and pasture in the coomb and feeding for 400 sheep on the down. (fn. 171) By 1567 the lease had passed to William's sons Christopher and William (fn. 172) but by 1581 the land was held by Anthony Webb. (fn. 173) Thereafter it was occupied by its owners the Pykes. In 1671 the land included, apart from upland pasture, three small arable fields in the coomb, the field next to Wick hill in the east, 15 a., the field next to Oare Hill in the north, 15 a., and the field next to the cow leaze in the west, 16 a. Also in the coomb were two small meadows, 5 a. and 3 a., 8 a. of woodland, and a cow leaze of 10 a. A small area of upland, the neck of land linking Rainscombe with Burnt Oaks, 6 a., had already been converted to arable and inclosed. (fn. 174)
Land use on the upland and in the coomb changed during the 18th century. By 1803 the Rainscombe estate comprised 138 a. of arable and only 13 a. of pasture on the down, and 26 a. of arable, 12 a. of meadow, and 41 a. of woodland in the coomb. (fn. 175) From at least 1733 the upland and lowland were leased separately. The coomb was then leased to George Gale of Oare for £55 a year. (fn. 176) In 1803, however, the farm in the coomb, Rainscombe Lower farm, was not leased. (fn. 177) Rainscombe Upper farm, called Starwell farm in 1839, (fn. 178) Rainscombe Hill farm in 1971, was leased to Samuel Jenkins. (fn. 179)
The upland farm, 157 a. in 1839, and the farm land in the coomb, 61 a., remained separate. (fn. 180) In 1823 the lower farm was increased when the Revd. James Rogers added a farm of some 100 a. in Oare, formerly held by Roger Gale and bought from Augustus von Dachenhausen and his wife Jane, the largest field of which adjoined Rainscombe land. (fn. 181)
Before 1886 a new farm, Rainscombe Farm, was built beside the Oare-Marlborough road on land in the ancient parish of Wilcot. (fn. 182) In 1971 the coomb was primarily pasture land and Rainscombe farm was a cattle rearing farm. Rainscombe Hill farm was an arable and dairy farm.
In 1838 an upland field adjoining the east side of the Marlborough-Enford road was called 'Brickkiln Ground', evidence of earlier brick-making there. (fn. 183) Production of bricks, however, had apparently ceased by then.
Mill. There was a mill paying 12s. 6d. at Newnton in 1086. (fn. 184) From at least 1535 the mill was held of the abbess of Wilton by lease with the suit of the tenants and was probably therefore formerly part of the demesne farm. (fn. 185) It was said to be in need of repair in 1679 but was sold with Cuttenham farm to Charles Garrard. (fn. 186) The mill passed with the farm to Sir Edward Poore who sold it to James Alexander in 1832 with the meadow on which the demesne farm had possibly stood until the 1530s. (fn. 187) Between 1839 and 1845, however, the mill was reunited with the farm when it was bought by Lord Normanton. (fn. 188) It was destroyed by fire in 1910. (fn. 189)
North Newnton mill was situated just south of the church beside the eastern branch of the Avon. In 1971 only the foundations of the building remained by the mill stream. When it was not part of Cuttenham farm the mill was apparently worked by its lessees, but, when it was leased with the farm, was usually sub-let. Millers included John Knight (1439), (fn. 190) William Thornhill (1535–60), (fn. 191) William Lavington (1560–81), (fn. 192) Maurice Jervis (1679), (fn. 193) Edward Bailey (1783), (fn. 194) and A. Potter (1910). (fn. 195)
There are records of manorial courts held by the earls of Pembroke 1558–9, 1566–7, (fn. 196) 1651, (fn. 197) 1667, 1670, 1676–9. (fn. 198) The courts, sometimes held at Stanton St. Bernard, another of the earls' manors, dealt with the usual business of the condition of customary holdings, the admission of tenants, and the year to year regulation of agrarian custom. As befitted their status of separate economic units the customs of Newnton and Hilcott were administered separately. The courts proceeded first on presentments of the homage of Newnton and then on those of Hilcott.
There are churchwardens' accounts for 1576– 1668. Two churchwardens were appointed. They administered receipts from church ales and from a small flock of sheep. At least until 1592 they leased the flock for half the lambs and half the wool and they lent small sums of money from the church box to parishioners. (fn. 199)
The parish became part of Pewsey poor-law union in 1835. (fn. 200)
A church stood at Newnton before 1291. (fn. 201) It was attached to the conventual church of Wilton as a prebend, apparently in 1299. (fn. 202) In 1299 it was proposed to ordain a vicarage and by 1308 the cure was served by a vicar. (fn. 203) The prebend and vicarage were united in 1869 under an Order in Council of 1841 putting into effect a scheme of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. (fn. 204) The benefice then again became a rectory and was held in plurality with the vicarage of Wilsford with Charlton from 1946 to 1956 when it was united with it. (fn. 205) The patronage of the united benefice is shared between the dean and chapter of Christ Church, Oxford, and the master of St. Nicholas's Hospital, Salisbury. (fn. 206) The church of West Knoyle, more than 20 miles away in a village which, like Newnton, belonged to the abbess of Wilton, was annexed to the church of Newnton as a chapelry by 1291. (fn. 207) It remained so until 1841 when the vicarage and chapelry were disunited. (fn. 208)
The advowson of the prebend descended with the lordship of the manor. Until the Dissolution presentations were made by the abbess of Wilton, except in 1374 when the king presented because the abbey was vacant and in 1533 when the abbess licensed Henry Norres to present. (fn. 209) The advowson was granted to George Howard in 1541 but he did not present to the church. (fn. 210) It was granted to Sir William Herbert in 1547 and from then until the prebend and vicarage were united sinecure prebendaries were presented by earls of Pembroke. (fn. 211)
In 1291 the church derived income from three sources, the tithes and glebe of the parish of North Newnton, the tithes and glebe of West Knoyle, and the tithes of land held by the abbess of Wilton in Hanging Langford in Steeple Langford. Excluding its income from Knoyle and Langford the endowment was worth £9 6s. 8d. (fn. 212) The value of the prebend was reduced by the endowment of the vicarage.
Its net value was assessed at £2 15s. in 1535. (fn. 213) After the Dissolution successive earls of Pembroke made it a condition of their presentation that prebendaries leased the whole prebendal estate back to them. (fn. 214) For this the prebendaries received a pension of £9 a year from West Knoyle but nothing from North Newnton. (fn. 215) The prebendal estate was split up into its three parts and the glebe and tithes of West Knoyle and the tithes of Hanging Langford were sub-let separately. (fn. 216) The earls of Pembroke usually sub-let the prebendal estate in Newnton, sometimes as a whole. It was leased, on a fine of £40, for a gross rent of £9 6s. 8d. in 1555. (fn. 217) In 1709 it was leased on a fine of £600 for £16 a year without the tithes arising from Cuttenham farm, which were then leased for £2 a year on a fine of £150. (fn. 218)
In the 16th century the prebendary was entitled to tithes of corn and hay from the whole parish of Newnton. (fn. 219) Those arising from Cuttenham farm were, in the 18th century at least, sub-let by Lord Pembroke to its owners or their tenants. (fn. 220) The tithes from the rest of the parish were often sub-let by Lord Pembroke's lessee to a farmer of the parish. (fn. 221) They were leased with the glebe to John Clift in 1789 for £180 a year. (fn. 222) The prebendal tithes were commuted for a rent-charge of £407 in 1840. (fn. 223)
In 1567 the prebendal glebe comprised a house, a barn, 20 a. of arable, an acre of meadow, and feeding for 30 sheep and 6 other animals. (fn. 224) The house was mentioned in 1709 but nothing more is known of it. (fn. 225) The arable land included 5 a. in Wood Bridge field, 3½ a. in Home field, and 6½ a. in Bush field. (fn. 226) Two inclosures totalling 15 a. were allotted to the prebendary in 1840. (fn. 227) The glebe and the tithe rent-charge subsequently became part of the endowment of the restored rectory. The glebe was sold in 1912. (fn. 228)
The advowson of the vicarage belonged to the prebendaries and presentations were usually made by them. (fn. 229) In 1361, however, the abbess of Wilton presented, and in 1453 the bishop of Salisbury collated by lapse. (fn. 230) Between 1573 and 1604 three presentations were made by Henry Willoughby of West Knoyle under a grant of the prebendary, but in 1611 his presentation was apparently challenged by the prebendary and William, earl of Pembroke, who also presented. (fn. 231) Willoughby's candidate was apparently instituted but in 1635 Philip, earl of Pembroke, presented a vicar. (fn. 232) Subsequent presentations were made by the prebendary. (fn. 233) Under the scheme for uniting the vicarage and prebend the advowson of the rectory thus recreated was vested in the earl of Pembroke, (fn. 234) and successive earls retained the patronage until the rectory was united with the vicarage of Wilsford with Charlton. (fn. 235)
The vicars derived no income from West Knoyle or Hanging Langford. (fn. 236) In 1535 the net value of the vicarage was assessed at £7 1s. of which £2 was paid as a pension by the prebendary. (fn. 237) After the Dissolution that pension was paid by sub-lessees of the Newnton portion of the prebendal estate. (fn. 238) The pension, in addition to the tithes and glebe, was increased to £10 a year by 1705, (fn. 239) to £20 a year by 1789, (fn. 240) and by 1851, when the vicar lived in the parish, a pension of £100 a year was paid by Robert, earl of Pembroke, the lessee. (fn. 241) After the vicarage and prebend were united the rector received the income from both and the pension lapsed.
The vicar was entitled to the tithes of wool and lambs and to the lesser tithes. (fn. 242) About 1750 the farmer of Cuttenham farm paid £6 a year to the vicar instead of the tithes of the farm, (fn. 243) and in 1783 the whole vicarial tithes were said to be worth £20 7s. (fn. 244) They were commuted for a rent-charge of £76 in 1840. (fn. 245) At least in the later 18th century the vicar allowed his curate to take his tithes. (fn. 246)
The vicar had no more than ½ a. of glebe, but received an acre of wheat from the demesne farm to pay for holy oil. (fn. 247) The wheat was valued at 20s. in 1705 (fn. 248) but the payment was presumably merged with the payment made to the vicar by tenants of Cuttenham farm in lieu of tithes.
There was a vicarage-house in 1567 but by 1674 the house had completely collapsed. (fn. 249) At least from the Restoration to the mid 19th century vicars did not live in the parish and a new vicarage-house was not built. (fn. 250) In 1864 the vicar lived in a cottage (fn. 251) but by 1886 the Haywards' house was apparently leased to him, as rector, and was bought by a later rector. (fn. 252) It became known as the Old Rectory but was not part of the glebe.
The prebendaries of Newnton were originally appointed to serve the nuns of Wilton and their parochial duties extended only to the presentation of vicars. They were often pluralists, sometimes royal clerks provided by the pope, (fn. 253) and the last of them instituted before the Dissolution, John Leland, Henry VIII's antiquary, recorded his visit to the parish without mentioning the fact that he was its prebendary. (fn. 254) After the Dissolution the earls of Pembroke used their patronage in the same way as the abbesses. From 1702 until the union of the prebend and vicarage rectors of St. Mary's church, Wilton, were usually presented to the prebend. (fn. 255)
In the later Middle Ages vicars presumably lived in the parish. In 1442 relaxation of penance was granted to penitents visiting the church on the feasts of St. James and St. John the Evangelist and giving alms for its conservation. A large number of people were said to visit it on St. James's day. (fn. 256) In 1550 a curate assisted the vicar. (fn. 257) John Hill, vicar for the year 1649, was a pluralist later ejected from the church of Newton Ferrers (Devon). (fn. 258) In the 18th and early 19th centuries the non-resident vicars were nearly all relatives of the prebendaries from whose sub-lessees they received a pension. (fn. 259) The cure was served by curates either allowed to take the vicarial tithes or paid a stipend by the vicar. (fn. 260) The curate in 1783, also rector of Manningford Bruce where he lived, claimed that the tithes were difficult to collect and of little value. He was unaware that West Knoyle was a chapelry of Newnton and anyway deemed it a matter of 'the utmost indifference' to him. He held a service in the church every Sunday, celebrated Holy Communion, poorly attended, four times a year, but no longer read prayers in the church on other occasions because so few people attended. (fn. 261)
A revival in religious life at Newnton took place in the 19th century. Joseph Stockwell, rector of Wilton, became prebendary in 1829 and vicar in 1832. (fn. 262) He resigned the vicarage before 1843 when William Radcliffe was admitted. (fn. 263) Radcliffe lived in the parish, (fn. 264) became rector in 1869, and thereafter received, in addition to the vicarial income, the former prebendal income. (fn. 265) In the early 19th century it was planned to rebuild North Newnton church in Hilcott. Richard Hayward (d. 1839) devised an investment worth £300 to help the plan, or, if it was not carried out, to educational uses. The gift was void in mortmain but Hayward's family agreed to carry out his intentions. The rebuilding plan was abandoned but in 1851 a building was erected in Hilcott which, although built ostensibly as a school, was fitted for divine worship and licensed for that purpose in the year of its erection. (fn. 266) It was licensed for the administration of the Sacrament in 1894. (fn. 267) The church was extensively restored in 1862 (fn. 268) and in 1864 the vicar held morning services in the church and afternoon services in the schoolroom, later called the mission church. Attendances averaged about 100; services held on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and Ascension day were attended by about 50; and 10–12 communicants attended Holy Communion services some seven times that year. (fn. 269) The church was closed for 'many years' before 1959 when it was restored and brought back into use, and in that period services were held in the mission church. (fn. 270) In 1971 services were held weekly in the church but only very occasionally in the mission church.
The church of ST. JAMES, so dedicated by 1442, (fn. 271) is built of flint rubble, brick, and ashlar, and consists of chancel and north vestry, nave and south porch, and west tower. The church was built in the 13th century with chancel and nave. In the 14th century the nave was rebuilt and a south porch added, (fn. 272) and in the 15th century the tower was built. In 1862 the nave and chancel were extensively rebuilt. (fn. 273) The chancel arch was replaced and in the north wall of the nave two new windows were inserted and a 13th-century window reset. The vestry was added and the porch rebuilt. The nave and chancel were reroofed.
There were two bells in 1553, one of which, assigned to the period 1380–1420, is still in the church. A tenor bell cast in 1606 presumably replaced the other. The peal was later increased to four by two bells cast in 1616. (fn. 274) The tenor was recast in 1862. The belfry was in poor condition in 1928 and even though the tower was repaired in 1959 the bells could only be chimed. (fn. 275)
The church had no plate in 1553. By 1576 it possessed a silver cup, a silver plate, and two vessels for carrying wine. In 1854 the old plate was given in part payment for new plate consisting of two chalices, a paten, a flagon, and an alms-dish, all in the parish in 1971. (fn. 276) Registers of baptisms and burials exist from 1757. (fn. 277)
There were four dissenters in the parish in 1676. (fn. 278) The curate claimed there were none in 1783, (fn. 279) but in 1797 a meeting-house was registered and in 1798 an Independent chapel was built at the west end of Hilcott village by the evangelist Robert Sloper. It was apparently the first to be opened in the area and because of its central position among a number of villages in the Pewsey Vale was thought by the evangelists to have great potential. (fn. 280) It may have flourished for a time but was apparently closed between 1848 and 1851. (fn. 281)
By 1855 there was a Primitive Methodist chapel in Hilcott, (fn. 282) presumably the building deserted by the Independents, and in 1864 the rector claimed that about 40 of his parishioners attended it. (fn. 283) It was closed between 1880 and 1885. (fn. 284)
In 1808 children from the parish went to the charity schools in Manningford Bruce, but by 1818 a day-school for twelve children was held by a poor woman in the parish. (fn. 285) There were two schools by 1833, one for 25 children, the other attached to an Independent chapel for 30 children and presumably in Hilcott, but neither was housed in a special school building. (fn. 286)
The Hayward charity was set up by Richard Hayward (d. 1839) who gave an investment of £300 either for the rebuilding of Newnton church in Hilcott, or for the building of a school in Hilcott and the salary of a teacher. In 1851 a 'schoolroom' was erected but, because it was licensed for divine worship and was fitted as a chapel, it was not used as a school. No part of the charity seems to have been applied to educational uses. A cottage in the village continued to be used for the education of 15–20 children who left when they were about twelve. (fn. 287) In 1872 Woodborough school, in Beechingstoke, was opened and Hilcott school was closed. (fn. 288)
The school in Hilcott was also intended to benefit from the charity set up by Job Clift (d. 1865) who gave £200 for it. Because that school was closed the income from the investment was applied from 1868 to 1897 to assist the Sunday school. Under a scheme of 1897, however, the income, then £6 5s. a year, was afterwards given as prizes to the children of Newnton and Hilcott attending Woodborough, Wilsford, and Rushall schools. In 1900 prizes were awarded to 38 children at Woodborough school, 5 at Rushall, and 1 at Wilsford school. (fn. 289) The annual income, about £5 13s., was still distributed as prizes in 1971. (fn. 290)
In 1971 most of the children in the parish still attended school in Woodborough, but those living near Wood Bridge went to Rushall school. (fn. 291)