A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 10. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1975.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
The ancient parish of Rushall, 2,204 a. lying between Charlton and Upavon, is a long narrow parish typical of Salisbury Plain and the southern side of the Pewsey Vale. (fn. 1) It lies north-east to southwest. Nowhere is it a mile broad. Its church stands at the north end of the parish some 5½ miles from the south end and equidistant from Devizes, Marlborough, and Amesbury, all 9 miles away.
Rushall village lies ¼ mile west of the church. Just south-west of it the parish has a neck ¼ mile wide. North-east of the neck the parish boundaries in part follow the eastern headwater of the Christchurch Avon, the Upavon to North Newnton road, and a green road. They enclose a small area in the south of the Pewsey Vale, level land below 350 ft. crossed by the Avon, where river and valley gravel and alluvium extensively overlie Lower Chalk. North of the village, however, the lower slopes of Cats Brain hill in North Newnton extend into Rushall and the Lower Chalk outcrops. Until the 19th century the river and valley gravels were ploughed. The alluvium of the Avon in the village and of its eastern headwater along the parish boundary provided meadow land. (fn. 2)
South-west of the neck the parish runs back to Salisbury Plain. There its boundaries are sometimes marked by ridges or dry valleys but for the most part follow straight rather than contour lines and are extensively marked by mounds. Upper Chalk outcrops on about four miles of the down, interrupted at Water Dean bottom where Middle Chalk is exposed. Between Rushall Hill and the Marlborough-Enford road Middle and Lower Chalk outcrop. The relief is a complex one of ridges and dry valleys with land over 600 ft. in the north and 500 ft. in the south. Until the 19th century the land was ploughed as far south as the Ridge Way except where the steep sides of hills, Goddard's Cleeve and Old Cleeve, prevented it. (fn. 3) South of that road tillage was impossible on the steep slopes of Water Dean bottom and further south there was no ploughing on the Upper Chalk possibly because of poor drainage. The land was left as pasture nearly two square miles in extent.
Partly because of its great length the parish has long been crossed by several of the roads across Salisbury Plain. (fn. 4) The principal one of these followed the Ridge Way and was part of a road from Devizes via Redhorn Hill in Urchfont to Enford and thence to Amesbury, crossing Casterley Camp in Upavon. That road seems to have remained in use until the lower Devizes-Enford road was turnpiked (see below). Other paths led from Rushall to Tilshead and Shrewton. Because of its position at the confluence of the Avon and its eastern headwater, however, the parish was also crossed by lowland routes. The Avon was followed by a lower DevizesEnford road, thought to have been a summer alternative to the Ridge Way, (fn. 5) which seems to have passed close to Rushall church and into Upavon village. The other river was followed by a Marlborough-Enford road which crossed the Devizes-Enford road just south of Rushall village where the stocks used to stand. (fn. 6) At least by 1729 (fn. 7) the road from Rushall church to Upavon had been reduced to a path which was later imparked (see below). Instead of crossing it the road from Devizes thereafter met the road from Marlborough in a Tjunction and followed it to Enford. Before the mid 18th century the Avebury-Amesbury road crossed the eastern headwater of the Avon at Wood Bridge in North Newnton and passed through Upavon parish and the Avon valley east of the river although a road also ran from Wood Bridge through Rushall parish to Upavon market-place. Under an Act of 1762 the road from Chirton to Ludgershall was turnpiked, completing a Devizes-Andover turnpike road incorporating the existing Devizes-Enford road as far as Upavon. (fn. 8) In 1803, as part of inclosure in Rushall, minor diversions were made to the road from Wood Bridge to Upavon between Wood Bridge and Gales or Cales, later Scales, Bridge, and the Marlborough-Enford road as it passed through the northern part of Rushall. (fn. 9) The AveburyAmesbury road was turnpiked under an Act of 1840. (fn. 10) As a result it was diverted west of Wood Bridge and the road through Rushall parish from Wood Bridge to Upavon, which was part of it, was improved. It joined the older Devizes-Andover turnpike road in Upavon creating a DevizesAmesbury turnpike road. (fn. 11) Its effect was to take much of the Marlborough-Amesbury traffic off the old Marlborough-Enford road from Wood Bridge and to keep it away from Rushall village.
There was much prehistoric activity and some settlement on the downs above Rushall. Archaeological discoveries of the Neolithic and later periods have been made. (fn. 12) There are also several prominent earthworks including Slay barrow, a bowl-barrow, and Church ditches, a rectangular Iron-Age hillfort. (fn. 13) Long ditch and Old Nursery ditch both cross the parish. (fn. 14) A Celtic field-system was based on Old Nursery ditch. Most of it was in Upavon but it extended over land now part of Rushall. (fn. 15) It was overlain by a Saxon strip system. (fn. 16) Other Celtic field-systems overlapped into Rushall from Charlton and Orcheston. (fn. 17) Amid the field-systems were two Romano-British villages established on earlieroccupied sites, one of which was probably in Rushall on a spur above Water Dean bottom. (fn. 18)
Later settlement in Rushall was beside the Avon where the church, medieval rectory- and manorhouses, (fn. 19) the demesne farmstead, and presumably the mills were built. Some of the tenants' farmhouses may have stood near them. By the late 18th century, (fn. 20) however, they lay away to the west along the Marlborough-Enford road, possibly as a result of 18th-century imparking (see below). In the 14th century Rushall was apparently of average wealth among the villages of the hundred. (fn. 21) That still seems to have been so in the 16th and 17th centuries. (fn. 22)
In the mid 18th century Edward Poore seems to have greatly enlarged, or perhaps replaced, the manor-house and to have imparked the land around it. By 1803 the house and park dominated the old part of the village. (fn. 23) The house stood behind the church. It was approached by a road and a drive from the road junction in the village. In front of it was a lawn and west of it ornamental gardens. Behind it the Avon had been widened from the Marlborough-Enford road almost to Scales Bridge and an ornamental bridge built near the house. (fn. 24) The old demesne farm and farm-house (fn. 25) and the Rectory and barn all stood near the house. North of the Avon the park, some 37 a., (fn. 26) was ringed with wood. In front of the house were inclosed pastures, 47 a., (fn. 27) extending the park-land to the DevizesAndover road and the eastern parish boundary. South of the road a new house was built in the late 18th century with gardens adjoining the parkland.
In 1801 the parish population was 157, below average for the villages of the hundred. (fn. 28) In 1803 there were, besides the old demesne farm and old buildings behind New House, farm buildings on both sides of the village street near its junction with the Devizes-Andover road. (fn. 29) With them were two farm-houses both on the east side of the street, the southernmost, called Old House by 1886, (fn. 30) a large 18th-century brick house with a thatched roof. Cottages stood along the Marlborough-Enford road from where it crossed the Avon in the north to New House. To the north was the Baptist chapel, opposite which were several cottages of stone, brick, and thatch. At the bend in the road west of the chapel was an apparently poor group of cottages including a 'very old' one of stone and thatch and a mud hovel. There were several pairs of cottages near the farms, mostly stone and thatched, and south of the main road junction were four pairs of cottages, three of them apparently recently built. A school was built among them between 1808 and 1819. (fn. 31) A short way along the Devizes road was an ornamental cottage.
Between 1803 and 1838 the demesne farm buildings were demolished and the farm-house converted into three cottages. They were replaced by a bailiff's cottage and farm buildings, (fn. 32) called France Farm by 1842, (fn. 33) in the south-east corner of the park. The manor-house was demolished in 1840. (fn. 34) The result of these changes was to leave Rushall church alone in an extensive area of parkland. In the north of the village a block of four cottages was built in 1831 (fn. 35) and Rushall House, later called Rushall Lodge, was built before 1842 behind the east side of the street facing the Avon. In 1841 the village population reached a peak of 283. (fn. 36)
In 1872 a new school was built on the east side of the village street and the old school pulled down. (fn. 37) There were only two farms in the village, reduced to one in 1873. (fn. 38) The northernmost of the two farmhouses in the street was demolished before 1871 and a barn erected in its place. (fn. 39) The population was 211 in 1871, still below average for the villages of the hundred, and, possibly because there was only one farm, continued to decline until in 1971 it stood at 110. (fn. 40)
As the population declined some of the cottages at the bend of the Marlborough-Enford road were demolished. One or two houses were built in the village in the early 20th century and four or five between the World Wars, but many of the buildings there in 1803 were standing and in good repair in 1972. They included New House, without the farm buildings behind it and called Rushall Manor, the Old Rectory, the 18th-century demesne farmhouse, again a single house, two 18th-century cottages beside the road to the church, one possibly of 17th-century origin, the four pairs of estate cottages west of the Devizes-Upavon road, Old House, several late-18th-century cottages near the farm, a 17thcentury house cased in the 19th century opposite the chapel, and a possibly 17th-century cottage west of it. The village still straggled along the Marlborough-Enford road from the Avon to the parish boundary and the church remained isolated. The site of the manor-house was marked by a large mound on what was the front lawn.
The only other modern settlement in the parish was on the southern Rushall Down where there were a farm-house and a pair of cottages. They were built between 1803 and 1838 (fn. 41) but presumably abandoned soon after 1898 when the down became part of an army firing range. (fn. 42)
Manors and other Estates.
Rushall was among the estates of the house of Godwin. It was held T.R.E. by Gytha, the widow of Earl Godwin, or by her son Harold. (fn. 43) After the Conquest it was added to the demesne of William I. (fn. 44)
The manor of RUSHALL was possibly granted to a member of the de Aunay family T.R.W. It was in the king's hand again in 1161 but probably only temporarily. (fn. 45) In the late 12th century it was held by Alexander de Aunay and in 1202 by his son Fulk. (fn. 46) In 1207 seisin of the manor was granted to Isaac son of Cresselin, a Jew to whom Fulk was indebted. (fn. 47) Fulk paid scutage for it in 1218 but William, earl of Salisbury, had seisin in 1225. (fn. 48) In that year, however, Godfrey son of Fulk impleaded his father for the manor (fn. 49) and in 1227, after Fulk's death, it was restored to Godfrey (fn. 50) who died holding it c. 1258. (fn. 51) He was succeeded by his son Alexander (fn. 52) (d. between 1275 and 1279) (fn. 53) who granted Rushall for fourteen years to Sir John la Warre (d. 1277 or 1278). (fn. 54) In 1279 Godfrey de Aunay, presumably Alexander's son, ejected the tenant of Sir John's executors from Rushall and apparently established his title to the manor. (fn. 55) In 1285, however, in an exchange of lands, he granted it to Sir John's son Sir Roger, Lord la Warre (d. 1320), (fn. 56) who in that year was granted free warren in his demesne lands in Rushall. (fn. 57)
Lord la Warre granted the manor in 1285 to William Hambleton, later archdeacon and dean of York, and his brother Adam for, in effect, fifteen years, and William still held it in 1298. (fn. 58) Lord la Warre granted it under royal licence to Roger Stokke and his wife Alice for their lives in 1302, (fn. 59) and in 1312, under another royal licence, he granted it to Adam Stokke, presumably Roger's son, and his wife Gena, and to Adam's heirs, apparently in perpetuity. (fn. 60)
Adam Stokke died holding the manor in 1312. (fn. 61) Gena had married Robert Hungerford by 1316 (fn. 62) when the manor was settled on her and Robert for their lives. (fn. 63) Gena died in 1337 and Rushall was held by Robert Hungerford until his death in 1352. (fn. 64) It then reverted to Edward, son of Roger (d. 1331) and grandson of Adam Stokke, who entered the manor in 1354 and in 1355 settled it on himself and his wife Joan. (fn. 65) Edward Stokke died in 1361 (fn. 66) and the manor was held by Joan, later the wife of William Hornby (d. in the period 1402–4), until her death in 1404. (fn. 67)
Since Edward Stokke's son John had died without issue in 1376 (fn. 68) the manor passed to Sir Walter Hungerford in 1404 under the terms of the settlement of 1355. (fn. 69) Sir Walter, then Lord Hungerford, died in 1449 and was succeeded by his son Robert. (fn. 70) Rushall was among the lands settled by Robert, Lord Hungerford, in the year of his death, 1459, on trustees to the use of his wife Margaret, later Baroness Botreaux (d. 1478). Robert's son Robert, Lord Hungerford and Moleyns, who confirmed that settlement in 1460, (fn. 71) was attainted in 1461 and executed in 1464. His lands were granted to Richard, duke of Gloucester, but in 1463 Margaret was confirmed in her dower lands and her trustees were allowed to retain lands, probably including Rushall, to her use. (fn. 72) Following an inquiry into Robert Hungerford's lands they were divided between Margaret and Gloucester in 1469 when Rushall was allotted to Margaret as dower. (fn. 73) In 1474, however, the manor was included in a further grant of Hungerford lands to Gloucester. (fn. 74)
After Gloucester's accession in 1483 he granted the manor to John, duke of Norfolk, killed and attainted in 1485. (fn. 75) It was then among the Hungerford lands restored by Henry VII to Mary, Baroness Botreaux, the granddaughter of Robert Hungerford (executed 1464) and the wife of Sir Edward Hastings (d. 1506). (fn. 76) Mary died before 1533 and the manor passed to her son George, earl of Huntingdon, (fn. 77) with whom it remained after arbitration between him and Mary's uncle, Walter, Lord Hungerford (attainted 1540), over some 70 manors in 1535. (fn. 78)
The manor was settled by Lord Huntingdon (d. 1544) on his son Francis (d. 1560) and his wife Catherine. (fn. 79) They sold it 1548–9 to William Poole and his son John. (fn. 80) In 1565 the Pooles sold it to William's nephew, Sir Giles Poole of Sapperton (Glos.), (fn. 81) who was succeeded in 1589 by his son Sir Henry Poole. (fn. 82) In 1616 Sir Henry was succeeded by his son Henry (fn. 83) who in 1626 sold the manor to trustees, apparently of Henry Danvers, earl of Danby. (fn. 84)
Danby died in 1644 having settled the manor on his nephew Henry Danvers (d. 1655) who left as heirs his sisters Elizabeth, the wife of Robert Wright (later Danvers, d. 1674), and Anne, the wife of Sir Henry Lee. (fn. 85) Anne Lee died in 1659 (fn. 86) when Rushall was among the manors held in trust for Elizabeth Danvers and Anne Lee's daughters and heirs Anne (d. 1685), the wife of Thomas Wharton (later marquess of Wharton and Malmesbury), and Eleanor (d. 1691), wife of James Bertie, Lord Norreys (earl of Abingdon in 1682). (fn. 87) The trustees bought out the interests of Robert and Elizabeth Danvers in 1673 (fn. 88) but the Danby and Danvers estates were partitioned only after litigation by Wharton and Lord Norreys and their wives and a Chancery decree of 1679 providing for the fulfilment of the trust. (fn. 89) The manor was apparently allotted to Anne and Thomas Wharton (fn. 90) and sold to Thomas Yate (d. 1681), principal of Brasenose College, Oxford. (fn. 91)
Yate's lands were partitioned in 1683 when Rushall was allotted to his brother Jonathan (d. 1690), rector of Blisworth (Northants.). (fn. 92) In 1684 Yate settled the manor on himself and, after his death, on his daughter Ellen (d. 1702) and her husband, William Giffard (d. 1717). (fn. 93) William was succeeded by his second son Thomas (d. 1746), rector of Rushall, and he by his son William who in 1749 sold the manor to Edward Poore. (fn. 94)
In 1788 Edward was succeeded by his second son John, knighted in 1795, who was succeeded in 1820 by his grand-nephew, Sir Edward Poore. (fn. 95) By the early 19th century the manor included nearly the whole parish (see below). It was sold by Sir Edward Poore in 1838 to Welbore Agar, earl of Normanton, (fn. 96) and thereafter passed with the Normanton title. In 1898 the downland, about half the parish, was sold to the War Department. (fn. 97) The rest of the manor was sold to Frank Stratton in 1917. (fn. 98) Stratton sold it in 1920 to his relative Joseph Maggs who sold it in 1945 to C. P. Wookey (d. 1964). (fn. 99) Wookey was succeeded by his son Mr. C. B. Wookey, the owner in 1972.
In 1332 there was a manor-house in Rushall occupied by Robert Hungerford. (fn. 100) The history of that house, and whether any of it formed part of the 18th-century manor-house, is, however, unknown. In the mid 18th century the manor-house, occupied by Edward Poore, was probably greatly extended or rebuilt. It was shown on a map of 1803 as a very large house set in an extensive park (fn. 101) and was said c. 1857 to have been 'of some age but greatly modernized'. (fn. 102) It was demolished in 1840. (fn. 103)
In 1771 nearly half the manor was settled on the marriage of Edward Poore's son Edward (d. 1795). (fn. 104) Probably soon after, certainly between 1773 and 1803, (fn. 105) a house was built on that land. It was called New House, later the Cottage, and Rushall Manor in 1972 when it belonged to Capt. W. Larken, R.N. Retd. The house is of two storeys and attic with a slate roof. Only the kitchen of the present house survives from the small probably 18th-century house. Early in the 19th century a much larger square house was added on the south. Extensive repairs were made to it in 1874 (fn. 106) and it was probably then that the house was given a superficially 'Gothic' character by the alteration of many doors and windows. New windows and chimneys were fitted after 1917 (fn. 107) and between 1970 and 1972 the house was extensively remodelled. The exterior was restored to an early-19th-century appearance and the interior was replanned. When it was built thatched farm buildings stood behind the house. They were still there in 1917 (fn. 108) but were subsequently demolished.
In the late 12th century two hides were settled on the marriage of Beatrice de Aunay and Ellis son of Ralph de Wroxale, to which gift Beatrice's brother Alexander later added ½ hide. (fn. 109) The land was settled on Hawise, daughter of Beatrice and Ellis, and her husband Simon de Borard (fl. 1217). (fn. 110) Simon was succeeded by his son Simon, who held it in 1261, (fn. 111) and he by his son Richard (fl. 1293) who held it in 1264. (fn. 112) Richard's heir was his daughter Joan, wife of Thomas Reynes. (fn. 113) Thomas and Joan had a son Ralph (d. before 1310), and he a son Thomas (a minor in 1310, of age by 1316, and still alive in 1354). Thomas was succeeded by a son Sir Thomas (d. c. 1388) and he by his son Sir John who held the land in 1412. (fn. 114) Sir John's son Thomas died in 1417 leaving a son John who died without issue in 1421. Sir John's other son Ralph surrendered his rights to the land to his father in 1422 when it was settled on Sir John and his second wife Alice. (fn. 115) In 1427, the year before Sir John's death, it was settled on Sir John and Alice and the heirs of Alice (fn. 116) but in 1431, presumably after Alice's death, Walter, the son of Sir John and Alice, conveyed the land to trustees. (fn. 117) Like the manor of Upton Scudamore (fn. 118) it was subsequently sold to Sir Walter Hungerford, who held the manor of REYNES in 1444. (fn. 119) Thereafter it was merged with the manor of Rushall.
Land in Rushall, later described as a virgate, and pasture rights for 150 sheep were granted by Fulk de Aunay to Bartholomew of Upavon in the early 13th century. (fn. 120) Bartholomew was succeeded by his son Michael, vicar of Charlton, (fn. 121) to whom Bartholomew's widow Margery gave up her rights in the land. (fn. 122) Michael granted it, with pasture for 250 sheep, to Stanley Abbey and it remained among the abbey's possessions until the Dissolution. (fn. 123)
The estate, 37½ a. with pasture rights for 205 sheep, was sold by the Crown in 1546 to Sir Richard Graynefeld and Roger Blouett to the use of William Thornhill (d. 1557), then its tenant. (fn. 124) William was succeeded by his son Robert (d. 1573) and he by his son William who died holding the land in 1611. (fn. 125) William was succeeded by his son George (d. 1624) and his grandson George (d. 1656–7) but by 1628 the land, called Plants after Osmond Plant who leased it for many years in the later 16th century, (fn. 126) had passed presumably by sale to William Maundrell. (fn. 127) It was leased in smallholdings and in 1653 William's son Robert sold it, mainly to the tenants, in seventeen holdings. (fn. 128) Each holding thereafter descended separately but by a process lasting from 1751 to 1783 they were bought up by Edward Poore and added to the manor of Rushall. (fn. 129)
Fulk de Aunay granted a messuage and ½ virgate to Thomas Brende in the early 13th century. (fn. 130) It was possibly the land held by a Thomas Brende c. 1275 and 1295. (fn. 131) Simon Brende held it in 1339 but his heirs sold it to Michael Skilling in 1364. (fn. 132) Michael was succeeded between 1376 and 1381 by his son John (fn. 133) whose son John sold this and his other land in Rushall to Sir Walter Hungerford in 1433. (fn. 134) It was thereafter merged with the manor of Rushall.
Fulk, Godfrey, and Alexander de Aunay made several other grants of land in Rushall in the early 13th century. (fn. 135) The descents of the small freeholdings thus created cannot be traced, but it was presumably in them that several small estates of the late 13th and 14th centuries had their origins. One of them was acquired by John atte Marshmill in 1306. (fn. 136) It was apparently divided between his sons William and John in 1349 (fn. 137) but was sold by John to John Skilling in 1392. (fn. 138) Another was held by Robert Mulle in 1333. (fn. 139) By 1343 it had apparently passed to his son Peter but in 1349, after the death of Peter, was sold to Sir Robert Hungerford. (fn. 140)
From c. 1275 John Clarice built up an estate by purchasing several small ones from Richard at the water, John Gernon, and others. (fn. 141) John was succeeded by his son John who in 1329 granted the land to religious uses. (fn. 142) It was held in 1342 by presumably another John Clarice. (fn. 143) In 1350 John granted it for his life to Thomas Hungerford of Salisbury. (fn. 144) In 1358 John's heirs granted reversion to Michael Skilling (fn. 145) and the land subsequently became part of Rushall manor.
In the late 16th or early 17th century a small estate in Rushall belonged to William Wormstall. (fn. 146) It had apparently passed to John Wormstall by c. 1638 (fn. 147) and to Anne Wormstall alias Tyler by 1684. (fn. 148) She was possibly the Anne Wormstall alias Tyler who held it until her death c. 1764. (fn. 149) It was sold to Edward Poore in 1765. (fn. 150)
John Gifford died in 1601 holding another small estate in the parish which probably passed in the Gifford family in the same way as land in Warminster. (fn. 151) It was sold by Benjamin Gifford (fl. 1663) to a Wormstall, presumably John Wormstall. (fn. 152)
Before the Dissolution the prebendal estate of Upavon included land in Rushall. (fn. 153) It passed with Upavon priory lands until in the early 18th century John Moore sold most of it in lots later acquired by Edward Poore. (fn. 154) Some common rights, however, converted to 10 a. of land, passed to William Wyndham who sold the land to Sir John Poore in 1807. (fn. 155)
Celtic field-systems were established on Rushall Down south of Slay barrow and on Thornham Down. (fn. 156) The fields were later ploughed according to a strip system. (fn. 157) Although there was an above-average number of ploughs at Rushall in 1086 (fn. 158) upland ploughing had probably ceased by that time.
In 1086 Rushall was so highly assessed at 37 hides that it seems possible that royal estates at Upavon and Charlton, not mentioned by name in Domesday Book, were included in the assessment. The Rushall estate had 37 serfs and 12 ploughs on the 19 demesne hides and 28 villeins and 40 bordars shared 14 ploughs. Attached to the church were 2 hides on which there was 1½ plough. There were 112 a. of meadow, pasture 3½ leagues long and 1½ league broad, and woodland a league long and ½ league broad. The king's estate was worth £32 10s., the church's 40s. (fn. 159)
Agriculture at Rushall was from the early Middle Ages typical of the sheep-and-corn husbandry of the Wiltshire chalkland. In the early 13th century there was a simple two-field rotation. The arable north of the Ridge Way lay in a south field (called South field a century later) including the south coomb, and a north field, with the north coomb, presumably separated by Rushall drove. (fn. 160) In the 14th century two coombs called Free coomb and the lord's coomb presumably corresponded to the north and south coombs. (fn. 161) The north field extended round the west of the village to take in the arable land north of the Avon. (fn. 162) By the 13th century ploughed land south of the Ridge Way road was not mentioned so that by then the two Rushall Downs, Water Dean bottom, and Thornham Down were probably permanent pasture. Sheep stints certainly allowed very large flocks. (fn. 163) How they were organized at that time is not clear but both the freemen's and parson's flocks were mentioned, (fn. 164) perhaps suggesting the existence of demesne and tenantry flocks as well. In the 14th century there was a flock called Wardens flock and a large wether flock. (fn. 165) The common meadow north of the Avon called Man mead was mentioned in the 13th century (fn. 166) and there was a common cattle pasture. (fn. 167)
It is not clear where the demesne lands lay in the 13th century but many 1 a. and ½ a. strips were described in terms of the land adjacent to them, which did not include demesne. (fn. 168) The demesne arable therefore probably lay already in complete furlongs in the fields, subject to common cropping arrangements and pasture rights, as was certainly so in the 14th century. (fn. 169) Rushall manor was apparently leased in the 13th century. In 1279 the lord tried to eject the tenant who, however, held it until 1284. (fn. 170) The demesne was probably not leased in the 14th century (fn. 171) and, judging by taxation lists, there was not a large tenantry. (fn. 172) The manor was leased in 1378 with all the tenants' services. (fn. 173)
Although it belonged to the Hungerfords in the 15th century Rushall was not among their manors organized for large-scale wool production. (fn. 174) The demesne, with its pasture rights, was held on a lease for £20 6s. 8d. a year in 1414. Assized rents totalled £13 a year. (fn. 175) By 1449 the rents of the tenants of Rushall manor were leased with the demesne for £40 a year. Assized rents of the former manor of Reynes were £9 15s. a year. (fn. 176) Although not part of the Hungerfords' sheep-farming organization wool production at Rushall was probably important since in 1449 the farmer gave fourteen sacks of wool as part of his rent. (fn. 177) By 1475 total annual rents from Rushall manor had fallen to some £30. (fn. 178)
Sheep-and-corn husbandry practised in common at Rushall was uninterrupted before 1750 but the medieval pattern was much amended. Agriculture there in the 16th century is not well documented but by the early 17th century the simple two-field rotation had been supplanted. Before the park was created the arable probably measured some 850 a. (fn. 179) In the later 17th (fn. 180) and later 18th centuries it was said to lie in four fields, perhaps corresponding to four rotational courses, but in the early 17th century it was divided topographically into many more. There were then about fifteen fields. Easily the largest was North field over the water, measuring some 185 a. South of the village the fields included Shepherds Path, Middle, and Home fields north of the drove, and Whitefoot Hill field south of the drove. Garston field was presumably the field south of the church later imparked. On average the fields measured perhaps 50 a. and apparently contained about five furlongs. The demesne arable seems to have remained largely in complete furlongs. (fn. 181)
Arrangements for upland sheep pasturage were also changed, clearly before the early 17th century. (fn. 182) South of the Ridge Way the down was divided into two long narrow pastures, Farm down in the north, the tenantry down in the south. Farm down was grazed by the farm flock with which at least 150 freeholders' sheep could feed. (fn. 183) Tenantry down, for the freeholders' and copyholders' sheep, was divided into four sections. Nearest the arable was Summer down, 56 a., presumably for the nightly use of the common field flocks in summer. Beyond it, as far as Water Dean bottom, was Cow down, 162 a., for 100 cows from May to September and for sheep the rest of the year. Beyond that, reaching almost to Slay barrow, was Winter down, 121 a., and beyond Slay barrow was South down, 216 a., permanent pastures for the flocks, presumably in winter and summer respectively. South, Winter, and Cow downs were each divided for the use of three flocks, upper, middle, and lower, and Summer down for middle and lower flocks. Lower flock could consist of 524 sheep of the freeholders and copyholders and 72 of the rector, and middle flock of 626 sheep of the freeholders and copyholders, who also had an unknown number of sheep in upper flock. (fn. 184) The flocks called the wether, Darks, and Wardens in the early 17th century (fn. 185) probably corresponded to upper, middle, and lower flocks.
In the early 17th century Twintown meadow, 5 a., and Man mead, 5 a., were common meadows beside the Avon. (fn. 186) East mead, 2½ a., and Haystock meadow, 3½ a., beside its eastern headwater were several to Plants land and the farm respectively. (fn. 187) Before 1750, however, there seems to have been relatively little inclosed pasture around the village. (fn. 188) A common lowland cattle pasture was not mentioned. One had possibly been ploughed to form Garston field.
In 1532 rents and fines from Rushall totalled £64 17s. making it one of the most profitable of the earl of Huntingdon's manors. (fn. 189) In the later 16th century William Pinckney apparently held the demesne farm (fn. 190) and members of the Pinckney family were farmers and rectors at Rushall from about 1570 to 1650. (fn. 191) In the late 17th and early 18th centuries, however, the farm was possibly managed by its owners the Giffards, (fn. 192) who were also rectors. (fn. 193) Even after he sold the manor in 1749 William Giffard continued to occupy the manor farm as tenant. (fn. 194)
After Edward Poore acquired the manor in 1749 the pattern of common husbandry at Rushall was systematically eliminated. By a process of buying freeholdings formerly Plants land nearly all the parish land was concentrated in Poore's hands. (fn. 195) Copyhold tenure was apparently of no particular importance and eliminated early. Farms were held on leases before 1750 (fn. 196) and by 1776 there were no copyholds. (fn. 197) Poore's land was then divided into two or three substantial farms. (fn. 198) The largest was, of course, the manor farm. It was leased to William Giffard for £200 a year in 1750 (fn. 199) and he held other farms for £124 a year. (fn. 200) The manor farm was later leased with Mundays farm and buildings said to be new in 1771, (fn. 201) and with the house later called Old House. (fn. 202) Wormstall's farm, three yardlands, was leased for £38 a year in 1758. (fn. 203)
In 1803 there were some 820 a. of arable, 21 a. of meadow, and 1,135 a. of upland pasture. (fn. 204) The only strips in the arable fields not belonging to the Poores were a few of glebe and a few belonging to the heirs of Stephen Ford. (fn. 205) Their existence necessitated the continuance of at least part of the old field system although by that time some 30 a. of North field over the water and Garston field had been imparked. (fn. 206) The rector could keep 72 sheep with the lower flock and Ford's heirs 30 with the middle flock, so vestiges of old upland pasture arrangements also persisted. (fn. 207) The arable strips, some 24 a., and pasture rights on the fields and downs were eliminated by inclosure in 1804. (fn. 208) Allotments of 22 a., 9 a. of which were sold to Sir John Poore in 1804, (fn. 209) and 6½ a. were made to the rector and Ford's heirs respectively. The rest of the arable and pasture in the parish was held by the Poores in severalty. (fn. 210)
The ploughing of former pasture land and the rearrangement of arable fields followed inclosure. By 1838 350 a. south of the Ridge Way had been ploughed. (fn. 211) The arable north of that road was laid out in rectangular fields of 30–50 a., some following the pattern of the old fields, others established on a new pattern. (fn. 212) There were three principal farms in the parish, two with buildings standing side by side in the village street, the other with buildings erected between 1803 and 1838 on the southern Rushall Down. The manor farm buildings were demolished. Rushall Down farm, held by Thomas Walkden for £366 a year in 1838, comprised all the land south of the path by Old Nursery ditch, the 350 a. converted from pasture and 70 a. of pasture. Virtually all the rest of the parish was divided between Rushall farm, incorporating the manor farm, Old House and its farm buildings, and farm buildings behind New House, and a farm later called Sargent's farm. Rushall farm, 955 a. including 468 a. of arable, 480 a. of pasture, and 5½ a. of meadow, was held by Richard Stratton for £890 a year in 1838. It comprised all the old arable land north of Rushall drove, 138 a. of arable south of it, and the farm down as far as Old Nursery ditch. The other farm, 654 a. including 326 a. of arable, 309 a. of pasture, and 17 a. of meadow, was held by Thomas Daniel for £535 a year in 1838 and comprised the rest of the old arable south of the drove and the tenantry down as far as Old Nursery ditch. (fn. 213)
Rushall farm was held throughout the 19th century by Strattons, Richard, his nephew Alfred, and Frank. (fn. 214) By 1869 the farm included Rushall Down farm and Alfred Stratton added Sargent's farm, 687 a., to it in 1873 when it amounted to virtually the whole parish. (fn. 215) Rushall Down farmhouse and buildings were standing in 1886 (fn. 216) but presumably fell into decay after 1898 when the War Department bought the land. (fn. 217) The loss of the downland reduced the farm to 947 a. in 1917. (fn. 218) It included 736 a. of arable and 149 a. of meadow and pasture north of the Ridge Way. (fn. 219) The land south of that path presumably reverted to rough grassland after 1898. It remained so in 1972 when only a little of it was grazed. By then there had apparently been further conversion of arable to pasture in the north of the parish.
In the 19th century agriculture at Rushall moved away from the old sheep-and-corn husbandry. The farming firm of Frank Stratton & Co., built up by Frank Stratton in conjunction with Samuel Farmer, specialized in dairy farming, and did so at Rushall in the earlier 20th century. (fn. 220) Stratton's successor at Rushall, Joseph Maggs, was a director of Wilts. United Dairies and for a long time chairman of United Dairies Ltd. (fn. 221) After the Second World War, however, Rushall farm was used for rearing beef cattle. (fn. 222) In 1969 experiments were started in growing chemical-free wheat on the farm. By 1973 it was grown on 30 a., was stone-ground in the parish in an electrically powered mill built in 1973, and baked into bread at Upavon. (fn. 223)
Mills. In 1086 there were five mills in Rushall worth 72s. presumably standing along the Avon and its eastern headwater. (fn. 224) Although Rushall had a good water supply and was then one of the king's manors, on which there were often many more mills than on other manors, that number seems high and may have included mills on the neighbouring royal lands at Upavon. (fn. 225)
A manorial mill was held with a few acres of land for 10s. a year in 1227. (fn. 226) Alexander de Aunay (d. between 1275 and 1279) granted a mill to John of the mill. (fn. 227) It was possibly recovered by the lord in the early 15th century when the manorial mill was leased for £2 a year. (fn. 228) A new water-mill was built in 1415. The wood for it was brought from Hungerford in a day by 88 men with 44 carts. (fn. 229) The old mill, however, possibly remained in use for a time. (fn. 230) The mill, presumably the new one, was leased with the demesne in 1449. (fn. 231) It was not subsequently mentioned.
A fulling- or tucking-mill, first mentioned in 1623, (fn. 232) probably stood on the eastern headwater of the Avon just north of Scales Bridge where meadows later called Tucking Mill meads lay on both sides of the river. (fn. 233) It was mentioned again in 1729 (fn. 234) but not thereafter. There were no mills in the parish by 1803. (fn. 235)
An annual fair on the morrow of St. Matthew's day was granted to Sir Roger la Warre in 1285 but, since the fair was not subsequently mentioned, the grant was presumably not effective. (fn. 236)
Manorial courts held in the years 1746, 1753, 1764, 1768–75, 1777–84, 1786–1816, and 1827–30 are the only ones held at Rushall for which records survive. (fn. 237) Copyhold tenure was insignificant by that time so the courts dealt with little tenurial business. Common husbandry still predominated in the early years of the records, however, and regulations and variations in established agrarian custom seem to have been ordered by the courts. The date for the annual perambulation of the fields in November was also fixed until 1828 and tithingmen and haywards were appointed.
Road surveyors' accounts exist for the years 1784–1842 and include a measure of the roads in 1842. (fn. 238) There were two surveyors, one of whom was John Methuen Poore from 1784 to 1793. Their accounts show expenditure on the roads of £13 3s. in 1784. In the early 19th century average expenditure was about £20 a year, but more was spent in 1796 and 1808 when new bridges were built.
In 1835 Rushall became part of Pewsey poor-law union. (fn. 239)
A church stood at Rushall in 1086. (fn. 240) It belonged to the abbey of St. Wandrille de Fontenelle, was dependent upon Upavon, where the abbey established a cell, as a chapel, and was probably served by stipendiary clerks from Upavon. (fn. 241) The abbey's rights in the church and its tithes were confirmed in 1142 in terms that suggest that Rushall had become an independent parish. (fn. 242) At some time between 1142 and 1281, however, the abbey apparently granted the patronage of the rectory of Rushall to the lords of Rushall manor in exchange for a pension, first mentioned in 1342, paid out of the church. (fn. 243) The pension, 20s. in 1535, was paid to Ivy church Priory from 1423, when the prebendal estate of Upavon was granted to the priory, (fn. 244) until the Dissolution. (fn. 245) Thereafter it was paid by rectors of Rushall to the owners of the parsonage estate until at least 1619. (fn. 246) By 1281 the parish had an incumbent rector and the lords of Rushall presented rectors from at least 1298. (fn. 247) Full parochial status was nevertheless achieved only in 1395 when, by letters confirmed in 1402, a graveyard was consecrated for the inhabitants of Rushall formerly buried at Upavon. (fn. 248) A licence granted in 1407 for the appropriation of the church by Longleat Priory, to which the advowson had also been granted, was evidently never exercised. (fn. 249) The rectory was in 1920 united with the vicarage of Charlton. (fn. 250) In 1939 it was united instead with the vicarage of Upavon. (fn. 251)
From at least 1285 to 1747 the advowson belonged to the lords of the manor, (fn. 252) Sir Walter Hungerford's grant of it to Longleat Priory being ineffective like the licence to appropriate. (fn. 253) The Crown presented in 1538, following the attainder of the rector (see below), and in 1580. (fn. 254) In 1747 William Giffard sold the advowson to Merton College, Oxford, (fn. 255) which bought it with money provided in 1732 by Henry Jackson for the foundation of four scholarships and for the purchase of a living to which one of the scholars should present. (fn. 256) It was subsequently held by the college as trustee of the senior Jackson scholar. (fn. 257) In 1778 and 1819 the wardens of Merton and New Colleges and the principal of Brasenose College presented as trustees. (fn. 258) The patronage of the united benefice of Charlton with Rushall was shared between Merton College and Christ Church, Oxford, patron of Charlton, (fn. 259) and of the united benefice of Upavon with Rushall between the college and the Lord Chancellor, patron of Upavon. (fn. 260)
The church was valued at 40s. in 1086, (fn. 261) £10 in 1291, (fn. 262) and £12 11s. net in 1535. (fn. 263) An average net annual income from 1829 to 1831 of £390 made Rushall one of the richer livings of the hundred. (fn. 264)
All the tithes of the parish and of a small area of meadow east of the eastern headwater of the Avon in Upavon were paid to the rector. (fn. 265) In 1842 they were commuted for a rent-charge of £457 including £7 in lieu of tithes from the glebe. (fn. 266)
There were some 32 a. of glebe in the arable fields, 1½ a. in Twintown meadow, and a small area of inclosed pasture. (fn. 267) The land was reduced to 25 a. at inclosure in 1804 when 9 a. of it were sold to redeem land tax. (fn. 268) The remaining 12½ a. of arable were held by Thomas Daniel in 1842. (fn. 269) It was sold in 1922. (fn. 270) The parson's flock was mentioned in 1301. (fn. 271) In 1588 the rector could feed 72 sheep in the Wardens, later the lower, flock, (fn. 272) pasture rights exchanged for land at inclosure. (fn. 273) There was a rectory-house by 1400 presumably west of the church near the sites of later houses. John Skilling then granted the rector a carriage-way from its gate across his land to the street, possibly the path linking the Old Rectory with the road to the church in 1972. (fn. 274) In 1671 the house was of two storeys comprising on the ground floor hall, parlour, and kitchen with a small room between hall and kitchen and other service rooms. (fn. 275) A new house was built in 1779. (fn. 276) East and west windows and a porch were added in 1873. (fn. 277) It was sold in 1922 (fn. 278) and in 1972 belonged to Maj.-Gen. D. D. C. Tulloch.
The earliest known rectors were apparently nonresident. Philip Hamilton, instituted 1298, (fn. 279) was granted several licences to study at Oxford provided he appointed a curate. (fn. 280) His successor William de Mikkelfeld was licensed in 1305 to study at Oxford for six years, (fn. 281) and, although he was party to many deeds concerning Rushall, (fn. 282) there is no evidence that William's successor John of Newbury lived there. There followed a period when rectors were connected much more closely with the village. John Griffith, rector 1397–1438, was the son of the farmer, (fn. 283) and John Staunford, instituted 1438, was himself farmer. (fn. 284) That was followed by a period when rectors seem to have been more withdrawn from the parish. In 1494 a bond was given guaranteeing the bishop against damage caused by the institution of William Cumberton as rector, (fn. 285) John Collins, instituted 1537, (fn. 286) was executed the following year for adherence to Rome, (fn. 287) and in 1552 his successor Thomas Villers was granted permanent absence from his benefices until he recovered from illness. (fn. 288) From 1580 until the Civil War members of the Pinckney family were farmers and rectors. (fn. 289) George Pinckney, instituted 1623, was vicar of Upavon from 1619 to 1623. (fn. 290) In 1681 Thomas Yate was both lord of the manor and rector. (fn. 291) He was succeeded by Francis, John, and Francis Giffard, relatives of Jonathan Yate and William Giffard, lords of Rushall, and by Thomas Giffard, rector 1708–46, lord from 1717, and probably resident in Rushall. (fn. 292) In 1686 the church was nevertheless served by a curate. (fn. 293) In 1783 the curate, who also served Upavon church, held services twice weekly and Holy Communion four times a year. There were only 6–8 communicants. (fn. 294) Sir Erasmus Williams, rector 1829–73, (fn. 295) was rector of St. Peter's Marlborough until 1851 and chancellor of St. David's cathedral from 1857. (fn. 296) On Census Sunday in 1851 there were congregations of 59 and 70. (fn. 297) In 1864 the church was served by a curate who held services twice on Sundays and Holy Communion on the first Sunday of every month as well as at the usual festivals, but there were still only twelve communicants. The curate accounted for the small congregation, which averaged about 60, by the fact that choral services which had attracted people from neighbouring parishes were no longer held. The curate believed that the practice of religion was lessened by the lack of a resident rector and there had certainly not been one for more than a century. (fn. 298) In 1972 weekly services were held in the church.
Nothing remains of the church that stood at Rushall in 1086. A new church was built in 1332. (fn. 299) In 1402 it was said to be St. Andrew's (fn. 300) but was subsequently the church of ST. MATTHEW. It is built of brick, stone, and flint and consists of chancel, nave with north chapel and south porch, and west tower. The only remaining parts of the 14th-century church are the chancel arch, two windows reset in the north wall of the nave, the nave buttresses, and a short stretch of nave wall adjoining the north of the tower. The tower was built in the late 15th or early 16th century. The nave was afterwards reroofed. The chapel and a vault beneath it were built by John Poore in 1789. (fn. 301) The chancel, nave, and porch were rebuilt in brick in 1812. (fn. 302) In 1873 it was found necessary to lower the walls of the chancel and reroof it to a steeper pitch. (fn. 303) The church was extensively restored in 1905 to designs of C. E. Ponting. (fn. 304)
There were three bells in 1553. (fn. 305) The treble, probably founded at Salisbury c. 1400, was still in the church in 1972. The other two were replaced by bells dated 1606 and 1740, (fn. 306) both in the church in 1972.
In 1553 2 oz. of silver were taken for the king but a chalice weighing 10 oz. was kept. (fn. 307) A chalice was given to the parish c. 1730 and that and an electro-plated paten and pewter alms-plates represented the plate in 1972. (fn. 308)
The registers date from 1651 and are complete. (fn. 309)
There were one or two dissenters in Rushall in the 1670s. (fn. 310) There was a General Baptist meeting from c. 1706, possibly in the house of John Tyler certified in 1716 (fn. 311) and arising from the activity of General Baptists in Marlborough led by Edward Delamaine. (fn. 312) The leaders of the congregation in Rushall seem to have been Tyler and Anne Wormstall alias Tyler. In 1743 Anne conveyed to trustees an orchard opposite her house in the north of the village beside the MarlboroughEnford road and the income from an estate of 57 a. with feeding rights in Amesbury to support the Baptist congregation. The objects of her trust were to provide a house and stipend for a minister, a new meeting-house, and a burial ground. (fn. 313) The meetinghouse was built in 1760. (fn. 314) The minister's house was apparently not built but by her will dated 1761 Anne devised her own house to successive ministers. Her bequest was void in mortmain but in 1778 her heirs conveyed the house in trust to the uses expressed in her will. (fn. 315)
In 1771 the estate in Amesbury was exchanged with Charles, duke of Queensberry, for a pension of £30 a year. As a result the congregation, with its chapel and resident minister, was subsequently in financial difficulty. In the 1850s there was a series of disputes between the trustees, who refused to pay the minister, and the minister, who cut down trees on the land, only resolved by Chancery decree in 1861. After that minister's death, however, the lowness of the salary prevented the appointment of a successor. The house was leased, the chapel was looked after by the lessee, and services were conducted by ministers visiting from Trowbridge and elsewhere. In 1886 the trustees asked the General Baptist Assembly to relieve them of their trusteeship. In 1887 the assembly took over the management of the chapel and new trustees, members of the Conigre Baptist chapel, Trowbridge, were appointed. (fn. 316) The building was restored in 1919. (fn. 317)
The chapel had accommodation for 100 but on Census Sunday in 1851 the morning, afternoon, and evening services were attended by congregations of only 27, 28, and 14 respectively. (fn. 318) It was served by Trowbridge men until 1913 but from 1913 until 1956 by G. H. Wordsell. (fn. 319) In 1973 it was closed.
A school was built on the west side of the Devizes-Enford road between 1808 and 1818. (fn. 320) it was attended by about 30 children, some of whose parents contributed 1d. a week to its upkeep. (fn. 321) The building remained in use until 1872. (fn. 322) Night schools for boys and girls were held in it c. 1857. (fn. 323) In 1864 the children stayed at school only until they were about nine, but the night schools seem to have flourished. The curate described them as 'the most cheering part' of his duties, and they were attended by the children of dissenters as well as Anglicans. (fn. 324) The old school was demolished in 1872 and a new one erected on the east side of Rushall street. (fn. 325) It was attended by children of several surrounding villages including North Newnton and Charlton. (fn. 326) In 1906 the school was reckoned to be able to accommodate more than twice the 71 children who went there. (fn. 327) Until the Second World War senior pupils from the surrounding villages and R.A.F. Upavon attended the school. (fn. 328) Attendances reached a peak of 86 in 1936. (fn. 329) After the Second World War the older children were sent to Devizes, or later to Pewsey, but the younger children from R.A.F. Upavon continued to attend until a new school at Upavon was built in 1957. (fn. 330) By 1962 only 17 children went to Rushall school, (fn. 331) but in 1973 some 29 children did so. (fn. 332)
Charities for the Poor.
Apart from Anne Tyler's (see above) there were no endowed charities in Rushall. There were two clothing clubs in the mid 19th century. (fn. 333)