A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 10. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1975.
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Upavon lies at the head of the Christchurch Avon valley, where it opens into the Vale of Pewsey, some 9½ miles from Devizes and Marlborough and 8½ miles from Amesbury. (fn. 1) The parish is shaped roughly like a boomerang. The Avon flows across the middle of it with the village beside it. From the village the narrow western arm and the wider eastern arm reach up to Salisbury Plain, 4 and 2½ miles respectively. Upavon is like several parishes of the Avon valley, with downland on both sides of the village, rather than like the long narrow parishes of the Pewsey Vale with upland on only one side. Despite that, and despite its size, 3,352 a., the parish has never contained more than a single village, nor been divided into tithings.
The boundaries of Upavon, presumably ancient, were described in 1591 (fn. 2) and by 1972 were little changed. They are essentially regular and not marked by prominent natural features. The northern boundary from Jenner's Firs to Slay barrow follows the old Avebury-Ludgershall road in the east, the Avon and roads and paths around the village, and an apparently ancient drove for part of the way to the west down. The southern boundary was drawn for the most part irrespective of relief or lines of communication. The downland boundaries on both sides are marked by mounds. In the extreme south, beyond Old Nursery ditch, a kite-shaped area of land, part of a down formerly called Honey down, (fn. 3) belongs to Upavon and is joined to it by a narrow neck of land across the ditch. It possibly represents an early allotment of land on that remote area of down.
Upavon is characterized by geological outcrops more typical of the Pewsey Vale than the Avon valley. The parish is bisected by the Avon and the east and west sides are almost mirror images of each other. On both sides of the river are deposits of alluvium and, further out, of river and valley gravels. Beyond those are outcrops of Lower, Middle, and Upper Chalk. In the west Middle Chalk outcrops again at Water Dean bottom and in the east the chalk is overlain by two areas of Claywith-flints. The west side is for the most part sharper in relief than the east. It is crossed by the ridge followed by Old Nursery ditch, c. 500 ft., by two deeply incised branches of Water Dean bottom, c. 350 ft., and by the deep dry valley in which Widdington Farm (400 ft.) lies east of Casterley Camp (550 ft.). The east side has two steep cleeves on the side of the down, Chisman's, formerly Rich, (fn. 4) on the side of Upavon Hill (582 ft.), and Rowden's, formerly Tenantry, (fn. 5) running up Upavon Down (545–633 ft.), but the down itself, though crossed by a number of north-south ridges and dry valleys, is not steeply sloping. Between the two sides the village is on almost level land, 300–50 ft.
The pattern of agriculture was similar on both sides of the parish, a significant fact because before inclosure it enabled several large farms to be limited to one side. (fn. 6) Beside the river on both sides the alluvium has provided meadow land. Beyond it were the two areas of arable on the valley gravel and Lower and Middle Chalk extending roughly to the outcrops of Upper Chalk at c. 500 ft. but over them in places. South of Casterley Camp in the west and on Upavon Hill and Down in the east the extensive Upper Chalk outcrops were long used for pasture. The only small areas of Clay-with-flints likely to support woodland are on Upavon Down. The east side, however, was included in the extension of Chute forest in the time of Henry II. (fn. 7) That afforestation can have had little significance since Upavon was outside the area over which the forest law was enforced in the mid 13th century and was disafforested in 1330. (fn. 8) In 1972 the only appreciable areas of woodland in the parish were the two cleeves.
Extending on both sides of the plain Upavon was crossed by upland roads, in particular the Ridge Way which crossed Casterley Camp in the west, and the Avebury–Ludgershall road which marked the boundary with Manningford Bohune in Wilsford in the north-east, both apparently ancient. (fn. 9) In the Middle Ages the village was a focus for lowland routes to the Avon valley. Roads passed through Upavon on both sides of the river. The Avebury–Amesbury road through North Newnton met the Marlborough–Enford road through Manningford and Rushall at Wood Bridge in Newnton whence it ran on the east bank of the Avon through Vicarage Lane and out of the parish up Chisenbury hill to link the villages on the east bank of the Avon. Another road, possibly an old Devizes-Enford road linking the southern villages of the Pewsey Vale, a summer alternative to the Ridge Way, (fn. 10) ran from near Rushall church, through Chapel Lane, up Harper's hill, and held the west bank of the Avon. (fn. 11) Smaller roads gave access between the two main roads across a ford in the Avon and across Upavon bridge and from Upavon church to Wood Bridge on the west bank of the Avon.
That road system changed significantly, at least from the 18th century. By 1729 the road from Chapel Lane towards Rushall church had been reduced to a path and it was later imparked. (fn. 12) It was superseded by a Devizes–Enford road which passed some ¼ mile west of the village. After 1762 a Devizes–Andover turnpike road was completed by the turnpiking of the Chirton–Ludgershall section. (fn. 13) That incorporated the Devizes-Enford road as far as the southern end of the 'brodewaie' whence the turnpike road turned into Upavon village and passed through the southern part of the marketplace, where a toll-gate was set up, crossed the bridge, and made a right-angled turn into the old Avebury-Amesbury road which it followed for c. 1 mile towards East Chisenbury. A new road was then built through Upavon fields beside Tenantry cleeve to Upavon Down to meet the old Avebury– Ludgershall road at the parish boundary. The Avebury–Amesbury turnpike road was completed after 1840. (fn. 14) The old road east of the Avon was abandoned and the road from Wood Bridge west of the Avon through Rushall parish to Upavon marketplace was diverted and improved. A toll-house (fn. 15) was built where the road left the village following the original Devizes–Enford road up Harper's hill to join the existing Devizes–Enford road which was then turnpiked and improved on the west bank of the Avon to Amesbury. By-passed by the two main roads before 1762 Upavon market-place thus became after 1840 the point of intersection of two turnpike roads, Devizes-Andover and Avebury– Amesbury. From the late 19th century, after which time use of the Devizes-Salisbury and Marlborough–Salisbury roads across the plain was restricted by army activity, (fn. 16) the roads from Marlborough and Devizes down the Avon valley to Salisbury have increased in importance. By following that part of the Devizes–Enford road linking the two turnpike roads west of the village the Salisbury-Devizes traffic could avoid Upavon, but the village's importance as the half-way point in the Avon and Pewsey valley routes between Salisbury and Amesbury, Devizes, and Marlborough and Swindon remained in the mid 20th century when it was the interchange point for omnibus services between those places.
Archaeological discoveries of the Neolithic period and the Bronze Age indicate prehistoric activity on the downs above Upavon. (fn. 17) The most prominent earthworks are both on the west downs, Old Nursery ditch, running for three miles south of Water Dean bottom from Wilsford to Enford, and Casterley Camp, 62 a. (fn. 18) There are extensive fieldsystems in the south-west based on Old Nursery ditch, and in the east on Upavon Down and Upavon Hill related to the Romano-British settlement at Chisenbury Warren (in Enford). (fn. 19) The earliest settlement in the parish was possibly at Casterley, an Iron-Age site also occupied in the RomanoBritish period, (fn. 20) and in a Romano-British village on Thornham Down. (fn. 21)
Upavon village grew up by the Avon. A church was standing by 1086, (fn. 22) presumably on its present site. Early settlement probably followed the existing road pattern with farms on the east side beside the old Avebury–Amesbury road and on the west side in Chapel Lane and beside the hollow way from the church to Wood Bridge. Other farms were probably established in Jarvis Street, another hollow way which ran across the lines of settlement, apparently forded the river, and passed up Rich cleeve. (fn. 23) The demesne farm was established in the south of the village.
The early Middle Ages was a period of expansion and prosperity for the village, possibly because its extensive areas of arable and pasture land supported a larger population than surrounding villages and made its church and manor rich. In the 12th century a start was made on an unusually substantial church (fn. 24) and a Norman abbey established a priory between the church and the Avon. (fn. 25) After 1204, when the manor passed to one of King John's barons, work apparently began on a manor-house. (fn. 26) Its site is unknown but was presumably near the demesne farm. If that was so, in the early 13th century the principal buildings were grouped in the south of the village with the priory, priory farm, church, demesne farm, and manor-house all fronting the river, and with tenantry farms along the roads to the north and west. During the 13th century markets and fairs, later of some importance, began to be held in Upavon. (fn. 27) As a result a marketsquare developed and has remained west of the church. Its convenient location in central Wiltshire also made Upavon a popular place for holding royal inquests in the Middle Ages, (fn. 28) and it was visited by John and Edward I. (fn. 29) Early-14th-century taxation assessments were high (fn. 30) and there were 127 poll-tax payers in 1377, the fourth highest village total in the hundred. (fn. 31) Although the population had almost certainly passed its medieval peak by 1397 there were then still some 75 farms and cottages on the manor besides several freeholds. (fn. 32)
Upavon gradually lost the local prominence established in the 13th century by its church, priory, manor-house, and market. In the 16th century it was still described by Leland as a 'good' village (fn. 33) but by that time the manor-house, last mentioned in 1347, (fn. 34) had presumably disappeared and the priory was simply a farm. The village was not then and did not become the lord of the manor's seat. It was described in 1591 as 'somewhat low' (fn. 35) although by then its focal point was probably not the river but the market-place. Taxation assessments were higher than average but not the highest in Swanborough hundred, (fn. 36) there were fewer cottages in the village, (fn. 37) and the population had clearly declined from the level of 1397.
In 1729 Upavon had the appearance of a small town around its market-square but remained predominantly a farming community. (fn. 38) The establishment of the market-square resulted at some period in the diversion into it of the hollow way from Wood Bridge. Building then took place between that road and the church, thus depriving the church of its principal approach. The square was built up all round in 1729. The west side was dominated by the Antelope, first mentioned in 1609 (fn. 39) and rebuilt in the early 18th century. Buildings also stood in the eastern part of the square itself. There were farms east of the river, near the demesne farm south of the market-place, along the hollow way to Wood Bridge, and particularly in Jarvis Street. (fn. 40) Apart from those in and around the market-place the cottages stood mainly in two groups, at the top of Jarvis Street at Townsend, an area so called by 1838, (fn. 41) and south of Townsend behind the Antelope where the pound was. In 1729 the village was thus shaped like a square, with Jarvis Street forming the north side, Chapel Lane the west, and the market-place the east. Apart from farm messuages there were said to be 31 houses in the town and 12 cottages on the waste. (fn. 42) The site of the priory was then meadow land.
Very little change in the layout of the village took place between 1729 and 1802. (fn. 43) The population in 1801 was 430 (fn. 44) and in 1802 there were some 25 farm-houses and 60 smaller houses and cottages. (fn. 45) The population had risen to 512 by 1841 but gradually declined during the rest of the century until by 1911 it again stood at 430. (fn. 46) In 1898 some 800 a. south of Casterley Camp were acquired for an army firing range. The parish was affected more, however, by the acquisition of 425 a. on Upavon Down for an airfield. (fn. 47) Largely because of that the 20th century has been a period of growth in Upavon. In June 1912 the Central Flying School of the Royal Flying Corps was opened beside the Andover road to provide war training for already qualified pilots. (fn. 48) As much advanced flying training as possible was conducted at Upavon throughout the First World War and after the war all R.A.F. flying instructors were trained there. The Central Flying School remained at Upavon until 1926. It was joined in 1924 by No. 3 (Fighter) Squadron and was replaced in 1926 by No. 17 (Fighter) Squadron. Those squadrons remained until 1934 and Upavon was the scene of the development of night-flying techniques. The Central Flying School returned in 1935 but was replaced in 1942 by No. 7 Flying Instructors School. There was less flying over the parish from 1946 when the station became the headquarters of No. 38 Group, Transport Command. Since 1951 Upavon has been the headquarters of Transport Command, renamed Air Support Command in 1967, and designated No. 46 Group in Strike Command in 1972. (fn. 49) The work of the station became primarily administrative.
Some early building took place south of the Andover road but nearly all the later building, of married quarters and offices, was north of it. A Church of England chapel was opened in 1921 and dedicated to St. Peter in 1951. (fn. 50) A Roman Catholic chapel was open by 1936 (fn. 51) and, dedicated to St. Thomas More, was still in use in 1973. (fn. 52) In the 1950s and 1960s many new married quarters and a substantial office building were erected.
The impact of the R.A.F. station on the parish, primarily as an employer of labour, has been considerable. The parish population has risen much in the 20th century, until the end of the Second World War a rise largely attributable to the numbers on the station itself. It rose to 767 in 1921 (fn. 53) and in 1931 318 people out of a population of 742 were service personnel. (fn. 54) After the war the civilian and service populations both expanded, to 916 in 1951 and 1,521 in 1961. (fn. 55) In 1971 the population was 1,455. (fn. 56)
Council houses, to meet the needs of those employed at the R.A.F. station, were built by the Andover road at Avon Square where 22 houses were built c. 1920, opposite it in Andover Road where 12 houses were built before 1939 and 12 after 1945, and behind it in Watson Close where 74 dwellings were built after 1945. A new school and Methodist chapel were also erected there. Some 10 private houses were built in Devizes Road in the mid 20th century and an estate of 42 private bungalows was built in Fair field in the 1960s.
Apart from those settlements Upavon was divided in 1972 into Devizes, Pewsey, and Andover Roads, Vicarage and Chapel Lanes, and Jarvis and High Streets. In High Street the old market-square is still well defined. Buildings standing in the square itself in the 18th century have been removed although replaced by a garage at the south end. Some redevelopment of the square took place in the 19th century but on one side of the Antelope is a pair of thatched 17th-century cottages with an 18th-century extension, and on the other side stands a thatched 17th-century house refronted in the early 19th century. Across the square is a range of late-17th-century timber-framed cottages partly used as shops. North of that is the Ship, an 18thcentury house with mid-19th-century flanking additions opened as a public house c. 1866, (fn. 57) and north of that is a 17th-century house. The square has remained virtually free from 20thcentury building. In the northern part of High Street, between the square and Jarvis Street, is an impressive thatched, timber-framed, and jettied house apparently built for a prosperous yeoman in the early 17th century, and a late-18th- and several early-19th-century cottages. Behind the street to the east a range of three cottages was built c. 1850 on the site of the old Vicarage. The Beeches, near the bottom of Jarvis Street, is a small 17th-century house, thatched and probably timber-framed, extended to the south and east in the 18th century. Early in the 19th century it was cased in red brick and the principal rooms were refitted. In Jarvis Street there are cottages ranging in date from the 17th to the 19th centuries and a few 20th-century buildings. Gisburne House incorporates a 17thcentury timber-framed wing with an 18th-century brick extension on the east side, possibly replacing an earlier range of building in the same position. At the top of Jarvis Street Townsend forms a group of 17th-19th-century cottages.
Although Chapel Lane was built up by 1729, none of the buildings there in 1972 was earlier in date than 1800. They include two substantial houses, one of the 1830s, the other of the late 19th century. Those demolished included the New Inn, standing on the corner of Jarvis Street and Chapel Lane in 1802 (fn. 58) but, it seems, no longer a public house by the mid 19th century. (fn. 59) Buildings in Vicarage Lane include a large house of c. 1900 called Cleeve House, a cottage built c. 1800, possibly converted into a temperance hall in 1879 (fn. 60) but reconverted for use as a dwelling, and the Vicarage. Those in Andover Road include the manor-house, an early-17th-century house refronted in the early 19th century called Bridge House, a small 18thcentury house called Priory Cottage having a symmetrical red-brick front and gabled chimneys rising above the hips of the thatched roof, and a 17th-century house extended in the 18th and 19th centuries opposite the market-square. The parish reading room was built in Andover Road in 1911 on land given to commemorate the coronation of George V. (fn. 61)
Farm buildings at least were erected at Widdington, in a valley on the downs east of Casterley Camp, by the mid 15th century. (fn. 62) Buildings, mostly modern, were still standing in 1973 but the farm-house, standing in 1939, (fn. 63) was not. Widdington Farm was in 1773 the birthplace of the radical orator Henry Hunt and from c. 1794 to c. 1797 his home. In 1819 Hunt presided over the meeting which led to the Peterloo massacre, and was radical M.P. for Preston 1830–2. He died in 1835. (fn. 64)
Manor and other Estates.
King Edmund granted Upavon to Alfswith between 939 and 946. (fn. 65) In 1086 the principal estate at Upavon was probably held by the king. (fn. 66) Afterwards it was apparently granted to a member of the de Tancarville family, hereditary chamberlains of Normandy in the late 11th and 12th centuries, (fn. 67) perhaps to William (d. 1129) (fn. 68) the son of Ralph. The estate possibly passed with the office to William's son Rabel and to Rabel's son William (fl. 1182) (fn. 69) who apparently held land in Wiltshire in 1156 and 1165. (fn. 70) It was said to be William's land in 1173 when it was held, presumably only temporarily, by the king. (fn. 71) It was held afterwards by Ralph de Tancarville who was alive in 1197 but dead by 1204 (fn. 72) when the manor of UPAVON was among the lands of the Normans that were forfeited to the Crown. (fn. 73)
In 1204 King John committed the manor to Peter de Mauley who still held it in the spring of 1227. (fn. 74) In April 1228 Henry III committed it to Gilbert Basset, (fn. 75) Peter, as he later claimed, having been forced by threats to surrender it. (fn. 76) In 1233, however, Gilbert was summoned to the king's court to answer for the manor, of which both he and Peter claimed royal grants. The case was transferred for hearing before the justiciar and magnates who would not give judgement on a royal charter. The king of his own will thereupon disseised Gilbert and delivered the manor to Peter in February 1233. (fn. 77) That action sparked off the baronial revolt of 1233–4. (fn. 78) In Easter term 1234, after its suppression, the manor was restored to Gilbert. (fn. 79)
Gilbert Basset died in 1241. (fn. 80) His heir was his brother Fulk (d. 1259), bishop of London, but the manor was held as dower by his widow Isabel and her husband Reynold de Mohun (d. 1256). (fn. 81) After Isabel's death in 1260 (fn. 82) it passed to Gilbert's brother Philip who bought a royal charter of enfeoffment in 1261. (fn. 83) Philip died in 1271. Under the terms of the charter Upavon was among the manors held for life by his widow Ela, countess of Warwick (d. 1298). (fn. 84)
After Ela's death the manor passed to the elder Hugh Despenser, Philip Basset's grandson by his first wife, (fn. 85) who was granted free warren in his demesne lands in Upavon in 1300. (fn. 86) It was in the king's hand during the Despensers' banishment in 1321 but was later restored. (fn. 87) After the Despensers were finally overthrown in 1326 it was granted, in 1327, to Queen Isabel, Edward III's mother. (fn. 88) She surrendered it on her downfall in 1330. (fn. 89) In 1331 it was granted to Edward de Bohun (fn. 90) who in 1332 settled it on himself and his wife Margaret. (fn. 91) Margaret held it after Edward's death in 1334 until her own death in 1341. (fn. 92) Although in 1337 the reversion of Upavon manor was included in a restoration of lands to Hugh Despenser (d. 1349), (fn. 93) by virtue of the settlement of 1332 the manor passed in 1341 to Edward's brother Humphrey (d. 1361), earl of Hereford and Essex, to whom all right of reversion was granted in 1347. (fn. 94) Humphrey was succeeded by his nephew Humphrey (fn. 95) who died in 1373 leaving as heirs his daughters Eleanor and Mary, both minors. (fn. 96) Custody was granted to Thomas of Woodstock (d. 1397) (fn. 97) but in 1384 Upavon was among the manors allotted to Mary (d. 1394) and her husband Henry of Lancaster. (fn. 98) When Henry became king in 1399 the manor was merged with the duchy of Lancaster in the Crown.
The manor remained among the duchy lands for over 200 years. In 1422 it was assigned as dower to Queen Catherine (d. 1437), Henry VI's mother, (fn. 99) and in 1467 to Queen Elizabeth, Edward IV's wife, (fn. 100) who apparently held it until 1487. (fn. 101)
In 1605 it was granted to Sir Thomas Challenor. (fn. 102) Before his death in 1607 Sir Edward Hungerford negotiated with Challenor for it and it was bought, apparently in 1608, by his executors, his widow Cecily and William Sandys, Lord Sandys. (fn. 103) Cecily (d. 1653) and her husband Francis Manners, earl of Rutland, held it under Sir Edward's will until his heir, his grandnephew and adopted son Sir Edward, reached the age of 25 in 1623. (fn. 104) After Sir Edward's death in 1648 the manor was held by his widow Margaret until her death in 1673. (fn. 105) It then passed to Sir Edward's nephew, Sir Edward (d. 1711), who sold it to John Wyndham in 1674. (fn. 106)
Wyndham died in 1724 when the manor passed to his second surviving son Thomas, created Baron Wyndham of Finglass in 1731, after whose death in 1745 it passed to his elder brother John. (fn. 107) After John's death in 1750 it passed to trustees for Thomas's godson, William Wyndham (d. 1785) of Dinton, who entered it in 1760. (fn. 108) William's heir was his son William (d. 1841) who in 1830 sold the manor to James Alexander. (fn. 109) James was succeeded in 1848 (fn. 110) by Robert Alexander and he between 1875 and 1880 (fn. 111) by James Fane Alexander who died in 1892 holding probably some 2,500 a. in Upavon. (fn. 112) The land passed to trustees who in 1898 sold Widdington farm, some 660 a., to the War Department. (fn. 113) The rest of the land and the manorial rights were apparently sold to E. B. Maton of Enford. (fn. 114) The War Department bought Upavon Down, 425 a., from him in 1912 (fn. 115) and the rest of the manor by 1919. (fn. 116) The Ministry of Defence still owned most of the parish in 1972.
In the early 13th century Peter de Mauley may have built a house at Upavon visited in 1212 and 1213 by King John, to whom Peter was loyal. (fn. 117) Gilbert Basset apparently built or extended a house there, partly with wood granted to him from Savernake forest. (fn. 118) Since royal writs and letters were dated at Upavon it was presumably visited by Edward I. (fn. 119) Humphrey de Bohun was licensed to crenellate a residence at Upavon in 1347, (fn. 120) but it was not subsequently mentioned.
In 1488 the farmer undertook to build a new house. (fn. 121) In 1591 there was said to be only a 'mean' farm-house, (fn. 122) probably the oldest part, the west wing, of the Manor standing in 1973. That wing was built, probably in the late 16th century, with one storey and attics and with walls of re-used materials, mostly clunch and flint, set in a chequer pattern with ashlar quoins. It contained two rooms on each floor and a central chimney which may have served only the eastern room on the ground floor. In the 17th century the house was heightened to two storeys and a cross-wing was built to the east. At about the same time the windows in the old house were replaced to match those of the heightened first floor and the cross-wing. Early in the 18th century the cross-wing was extended to the south by a single-storeyed kitchen, subsequently heightened to two storeys, and part of the south wall of the old house was refaced in brick.
Between 1078 and 1086 the abbey of St. Wandrille de Fontenelle (Seine-Maritime) was granted Upavon church. The land presumably included in the grant was assessed at 2½ hides in 1086. (fn. 123) When the church was united with a prebend in Salisbury cathedral in John's reign (fn. 124) the church's endowments became the prebendal estate. That estate was a valuable one. Besides the great tithes and some 100 a. of land, (fn. 125) it consisted of the church of Charlton (valued at £10 in 1294 and remaining part of the prebendal estate until the Dissolution), (fn. 126) pensions from the churches of Rushall (20s. paid until at least 1619), (fn. 127) Boughton and Moulton (both Northants.) (£5 10s. sold in 1337), (fn. 128) and Bridport (Dors.) (10s.), (fn. 129) and, mentioned in the 16th century, 5s. from the tithes of Whiteparish paid in respect of a chapel there. (fn. 130)
In the 12th century the abbey established a priory at Upavon and the priors, acting as the abbots' proctors, seem to have taken the profits of the prebendal estate which was later called the priory estate. (fn. 131) That estate, however, continued to be held by the abbots of St. Wandrille as prebendaries except when confiscated by the king during the wars with France, (fn. 132) as happened in 1297 (fn. 133) and frequently in the 14th century. On a number of occasions the king granted the estate to the priors at a yearly farm but after the expulsion of alien religious in 1378 to a succession of Exchequer clerks. (fn. 134) In 1411, however, the bishop sequestrated the estate's revenues for the repair of the church. (fn. 135) In 1416, after the final suppression of alien priories, the king granted the prebendal estate to trustees and in 1423 it was granted to Ivychurch Priory. (fn. 136) It was resumed by the king in 1456 for twenty years, granted to Eton College in 1459, but in 1461 restored to Ivychurch. (fn. 137) It was among that priory's lands at its surrender in 1536, (fn. 138) when it was assigned in lieu of a pension to Richard Page, the prior. (fn. 139) After Page's death c. 1539 it remained with the Crown for the rest of the century.
The Crown separated the prebendal estate into two. The tithes and other spiritualities were sold in 1606 to trustees of Sir Edward Hungerford, (fn. 140) who already held them by lease (fn. 141) and to whom the trustees granted them in 1607. (fn. 142) Hungerford died holding them in that year. (fn. 143) Those tithes and other spiritualities of the prebendal estate were subsequently called the PARSONAGE estate. They passed in 1607 to Hungerford's nephew Robert Shaa, the son of his sister Mary (d. 1613) and Thomas Shaa. (fn. 144) The estate became one of land as well as of tithes and other spiritualities by the purchase in 1627 of Bacon's farm which included, besides its buildings and arable and meadow land, an upland sheep pasture afterwards called Parsonage down. (fn. 145) Robert Shaa (fl. 1623) was succeeded by his son Robert who by his will proved 1658 devised the estate to his wife Elizabeth. (fn. 146) In 1662 Elizabeth, then the widow of Sir Denner Strutt, sold it to Christopher Willoughby (will pr. 1681). (fn. 147) It passed to Christopher's relative Sir George Willoughby (will pr. 1695) who was succeeded by his son Christopher (d. before 1716). (fn. 148) In 1720 Christopher's son George sold it to John Hungerford. (fn. 149)
In 1729 Hungerford settled the estate, then including the great tithes, some 110 a., and a down for 400 sheep, (fn. 150) on himself and his wife Mary and after their deaths on trustees to satisfy uses expressed in his will. (fn. 151) He died in 1729, she in 1739. (fn. 152) From 1739 to 1765 the estate was held by trustees. Hungerford's principal residual legatees were the provost and scholars of King's College, Cambridge, who shared the annual profits with the other legatees. The college repeatedly requested the trustees to sell the land so that the bequest could be divided (fn. 153) and after much litigation they sold it to the college itself in 1765. (fn. 154) In 1839 the great tithes were commuted for a rent-charge of £595. (fn. 155) The college added Slay Down farm (fn. 156) to the lands in 1860. In 1898 some 280 a. of the college's land was bought by the War Department. (fn. 157) The rest of the land, some 123 a., was sold in 1925, principally to Harry Ferris. (fn. 158)
The temporalities of the prebendal estate formerly of Ivychurch Priory, consisting of arable, meadow, and pasture rights in Upavon with ½ yardland in Rushall, subsequently called the PRIORY lands, were sold by the Crown in 1610 to trustees of Sir Richard Grobham (fn. 159) who died holding them in 1629. (fn. 160) The descent of the land after Grobham's death is not clear but it belonged to Francis Banks apparently in the late 17th century, afterwards to the younger William Moore, (fn. 161) and to John Moore in 1729. (fn. 162) It then comprised 67 a. in Upavon and feeding for 400 sheep. (fn. 163) In 1780 it belonged to William Dobson but was sold to Charles Gibbs c. 1795. (fn. 164) In 1817 it seems to have been sold to Francis Giffard (d. 1827) and it passed to his widow Charlotte (d. 1831), (fn. 165) but after her death was presumably sold to James Alexander who held it as part of the manor in 1839. (fn. 166) The estate included the priory buildings between the church and the river, the last of which was demolished by Francis Giffard. (fn. 167)
In 1199 Peter Bacon held ½ hide in Upavon which he seems to have inherited. (fn. 168) He acknowledged the overlordship of the abbot of St. Wandrille for a virgate in 1204. (fn. 169) His land in Upavon was possibly held by Adam Bacon of Chisenbury in 1307. (fn. 170) Part of it was settled in 1312 on John Bacon, (fn. 171) described as a free man of the neighbourhood in 1325, (fn. 172) and it clearly continued to descend in the Bacon family. John Bacon held the land in 1397. (fn. 173) Thomas Bacon was mentioned in 1435 (fn. 174) and Walter Bacon in 1439. (fn. 175) In 1543 BACON'S farm belonged to Richard Bacon (fn. 176) and to Nicholas Bacon in 1591 when it included a pasture for 400 sheep. (fn. 177) It passed after Nicholas's death to his daughter Joan, wife of William Noyes, who died holding it in 1622. (fn. 178) She was succeeded by her son William who sold the estate in 1624, apparently to trustees for Robert Shaa who then held the spiritualities formerly part of the prebendal estate. (fn. 179) The farm, consisting of the upland pasture and probably some 110 a. of land, thereafter passed with the parsonage (see above).
In the 13th and 14th centuries members of the Cok family presumably held the freehold farm in Upavon called 'Cokkesplace' in 1433. (fn. 180) William Cok was mentioned in 1249 and 1264–5, (fn. 181) Simon Cok was described as a free man of the neighbourhood in 1325, (fn. 182) and John Cok may have held the land between 1327 and 1341. (fn. 183) In 1392 Roger Cok sold it to John Griffith (fn. 184) who held it until at least 1403. (fn. 185) In 1433 William Wydecombe sold it to John Gilbert (fn. 186) but in 1468 Richard Mounteyn, his wife Elizabeth, and John Gilbert, possibly the first John Gilbert's heirs, sold it to Nicholas Forthey. (fn. 187) In 1484 the land, said to have been formerly of Sir Roger Tocotes (will pr. 1492), was granted by Richard III to Edward Redmayne. (fn. 188) After 1485 it was apparently restored to Sir Roger, comptroller of Henry VII's household, because in 1535 it was sold by Sir Roger Tocotes, presumably his son, to William Stumpe of Malmesbury, (fn. 189) who died holding it in 1551. (fn. 190) Stumpe was succeeded by his son, Sir James Stumpe, who sold the land to John Cowper in 1553. (fn. 191)
Cowper was succeeded in 1562 by his son Thomas, (fn. 192) who in 1572 conveyed the estate, then called Pyke's farm after its lessee, (fn. 193) to John Freeland and Simon Shepherd, his uncle and stepfather respectively, presumably as trustees. (fn. 194) They sold it to Thomas Bushell who was succeeded in 1591 by his son Thomas. (fn. 195) By 1593, however, the farm, assessed at six yardlands and comprising perhaps 150 a. with feeding for 300 sheep, (fn. 196) belonged to John Button (fn. 197) and passed after his death, before 1602, to his widow Eleanor. (fn. 198) By c. 1638 it seems to have passed to John Burcombe (fn. 199) and in 1729, when it amounted to some 103 a. with pasture rights, it belonged to Samuel Burcombe. (fn. 200) It was afterwards merged in the manor of Upavon. (fn. 201)
In 1539 or 1540 William Stumpe sold part of Pyke's, 1½ yardland, to Henry Pudsey. (fn. 202) Pudsey's belonged to Henry Sadler in 1591. (fn. 203) William Ring held it in 1609 (fn. 204) but its subsequent descent is not clear until 1729 when it belonged to Thomas Jarvis. (fn. 205) That and other small freeholdings passed by 1780 to William Alexander, succeeded c. 1786 by Thomas Alexander. (fn. 206) A Thomas Alexander held the estate, 160 a. in 1839, (fn. 207) until 1863. The Thomas Alexander who died then was succeeded by his brother John (d. 1870), he by his grandson William Henry Alexander (d. 1897), and he by his son W. H. R. Alexander. (fn. 208) The farm, some 150 a., belonged to Mr. James Stidston in 1972. (fn. 209)
There was ploughing on both the east and west downs in prehistoric times. (fn. 210) At the west end a Celtic system of small rectangular fields based on Old Nursery ditch was overlain by a Saxon strip system. (fn. 211) At the east end there was a field-system arranged in long strips associated with the Romano-British settlement at Chisenbury Warren (in Enford). (fn. 212) In a mid-13th-century perambulation of Chute forest Upavon and Everleigh were said to be divided by a 'headstock', a division between ploughlands, but it is very doubtful whether the east down was still under the plough at that time. (fn. 213)
The principal estate at Upavon, presumably the king's, was not mentioned in Domesday Book, but was possibly represented by the 15 hides in Swanborough hundred mentioned in the Geld Rolls but not in Domesday Book, (fn. 214) or was perhaps among the 37 hides at which the royal estate of Rushall was so highly assessed. (fn. 215) The abbey of St. Wandrille held 2½ hides worth £10 15s. with land for two ploughs but no tenants. (fn. 216)
In the mid 13th century the west side was divided at least into demesne and parsonage downs, (fn. 217) common meadows called Dock mead and Broad mead and a common sheep pasture called East Middle fold were mentioned in 1289, (fn. 218) and Widdington down, a demesne sheep pasture, was named in 1330, (fn. 219) but otherwise little is known of how the fields, meadows, and pastures of Upavon were arranged in the Middle Ages.
In 1330 the demesne land of the manor was in hand. (fn. 220) The farm was large for the area. In 1336 the stock included 4 avers, 32 oxen, 1,100 wethers, 800 ewes, 300 yearlings, and 17 pigs; grain included wheat (100 qr.), barley (60 qr.), and oats (30 qr.); and there was hay worth 100s. (fn. 221) In 1341 there were said to be 829 a. of arable, 15 a. of meadow, and a hill pasture worth £10. (fn. 222) Although that arable acreage was certainly much exaggerated the size of the farm may have made it difficult to find a suitable tenant at a high rent and several methods of exploitation were tried. In 1385 169 a. of the arable were leased in 32 parcels of 1–30 a. for a total of 109s., meadows were leased for £6 5s. 4d., the west-side pasture was leased for £9, and agistment for 509 sheep was sold. (fn. 223) By 1400, however, the farm was leased, apparently complete, for £33 6s. 8d. a year. (fn. 224) As part of the duchy of Lancaster, which had a compact block of estates in central Wiltshire, another new procedure was adopted in 1417. The arable, meadows, and pasture for 400 wethers were then leased separately from the main flock, although the lessee of the arable was also joint-lessee of the sheep and responsible for the maintenance of the flock from 1425. (fn. 225) That arrangement lasted until 1448 when the demesne farm was split in two. Virtually all the arable, meadow, and pasture on the west side, with two small meadows on the east side, were leased for £16 a year. The lease included a house called the 'shepen' at Widdington and the farm subsequently assumed the name Widdington farm. The demesne farm buildings and the arable, meadow, and pasture on the east side, with two meadows on the west side, were leased for £15 10s. a year. That farm was subsequently called Manor farm. (fn. 226) That arrangement lasted until 1488 when both farms were leased to the same man. (fn. 227)
In 1341 the tenants of Upavon manor were said to perform works, valued at 5s., only between 1 August and Michaelmas. (fn. 228) Assized rents were £26 2s. 4d. in 1341 (fn. 229) and £30 in 1385 when the tenants also leased part of the demesne and works worth £2 6s. 9d. were said to have been sold. (fn. 230) In 1397 the customers paid £26 1s. 2d. a year. Some 26 of them shared 20 yardlands, there were 25 smallholders and cottagers among tenants of the manor, and, besides other cottages presumably in the village, at least 22 manorial cottages were apparently sub-let. There was clearly an adequate supply of labour for the farms in Upavon and probably enough left over to serve farms in near-by villages. (fn. 231)
In 1294 the prebendal estate was worth £32 8s. in all. The demesne consisted of 102 a. of arable, 4 a. of meadow, and pasture worth 11s. 11d. a year. (fn. 232) The stock included 2 avers, 10 oxen, and 66 sheep; grain included wheat (51 qr.), barley (43 qr.), and oats (13 qr.); and there was hay worth 3s. (fn. 233) The tenants' rents totalled £4 6s. 2d. (fn. 234) In 1341 a ninth of corn, wool, and lambs from Upavon was worth £13 6s. 8d., rents of the prebendary's tenants totalled £5 6s. 8d., and there was pasture for 300 sheep, 20 oxen, and a bull. The whole estate was then valued at £38 16s. 8d. (fn. 235) The sheep pasture was apparently several (fn. 236) and a small rent was paid, (fn. 237) until at least 1591, (fn. 238) to the lord for driving the flock over his pasture.
'Cokkesplace' was said to comprise 200 a. of arable, 4 a. of meadow, and 12 a. of pasture in 1392. (fn. 241) It was divided into three farms, two of which were leased, (fn. 242) but in 1433 was apparently held by a single farmer. (fn. 243)
More than a simple three- or four-field system prevailed in the 16th and 17th centuries. There were probably over 1,200 a. of arable (fn. 244) and Barley Hill, Standcross, Beggars Bush, (fn. 245) Slay, Loosecombe, (fn. 246) Widdington, (fn. 247) Hitch, (fn. 248) and Ham fields and Hocombe bottom (fn. 249) were all mentioned, although some were only topographical divisions of larger common fields. Common meadows called Broad, Neton, Sheffords, (fn. 250) Hay, (fn. 251) and Dock (fn. 252) meads were also named and there were some 120 a. of meadow in 1609. (fn. 253) There were then stints for 4,365 sheep, a very high number compared with other parishes in Swanborough hundred. (fn. 254) The east downs included tenantry downs and two several downs, King's down for 1,200 of the farmer's sheep and for those of Pyke's and Pudsey's farms, (fn. 255) and the down called Parsonage down in the 18th century for the sheep of Bacon's farm. (fn. 256) The west downs included an apparently several down at Widdington for the farmer's wether flock, (fn. 257) and downs for Tenantry and Slay flocks, (fn. 258) presumably the tenantry and Priory farm flocks in common.
Arrangements for the management of the demesne remained unsettled in the 16th and 17th centuries. Until the late 16th century Manor and Widdington farms were leased together. (fn. 259) Sir Walter Hungerford (d. 1596) secured the lease in 1589, however, and new arrangements were adopted. (fn. 260) Most of the arable, 353 a. out of 450 a., was sub-let in 1593 to three of the principal copyholders for £80 a year. The stints for 2,200 sheep on the farm downs, however, with the rest of the arable and the meadows, 20 a., to support the sheep, all valued at £180 a year, were retained by the Hungerfords, at first as lessees and afterwards as lords. (fn. 261) Upavon was thus added to the perhaps even then extensive sheep-farming interests of the Hungerfords. Whether or not that situation lasted until the manor was sold in 1674 is, however, unknown.
Between 1397 and 1591 copyholds seem to have grown larger by amalgamation but smallholders and cottagers less numerous: 18½ yardlands were listed in 1591, (fn. 262) 16½ in 1609, (fn. 263) shared among 15 tenants; there were some 25 cottagers and smallholders on the manor. (fn. 264) In 1609 the tenants held 669 a. of arable, 42 a. of meadow, and 12 a. of lowland pasture. They fed 50 sheep to a yardland on the upland (fn. 265) where they could pasture 1,015 sheep. Their rents totalled £27 15s. a year, but their lands and buildings were said to have a yearly value of £278. (fn. 266)
The prebendal estate, excluding the Charlton portion, was leased for £27 a year in 1502–3. (fn. 267) For much of the 16th century it was leased to members of the Bayley family. (fn. 268) In 1581 the land and tithes were leased separately. (fn. 269) The land, called Priory farm, with a cottage called the chantry house, consisted of meadows including Priors mead and closes including Priors close, 70 a. of arable in Upavon and Rushall, and feeding for 400 sheep on the west downs. (fn. 270) The parsonage, consisting of the tithes and other spiritualities, was held from 1624 with Bacon's farm, (fn. 271) which included farm buildings, 4 cottages, (fn. 272) and perhaps some 100 a. of arable, 10 a. of meadow and pasture, (fn. 273) and an east down for 400 sheep. (fn. 274)
In 1539–40 'Cokkesplace' was divided between Pyke's farm, 6 yardlands, and Pudsey's farm, 1½ yardland. (fn. 275) Pyke's comprised all the east-side land, said to amount to 146 a. although that figure was possibly exaggerated, with feeding for 300 sheep on King's down. Pudsey's comprised all the west-side land with feeding for 50 sheep on King's down and 25 sheep in Slay flock. (fn. 276)
The traditional four-field crop rotation was still followed in the early 18th century although by c. 1700 the farmers had begun to sow clover. (fn. 277) In 1729 there were 1,269 a. of arable in eight commonable fields, four on the east side and four on the west, in several parts of which green linchets between the strips remained very prominent. (fn. 278) The east-side fields were North field (142 a. in 1785) running up North hill, Rich field (132½ a.) between North field and Rich cleeve, Beggars Bush field (101 a.) in the south between the Avon and the Chisenbury road, and, the largest field, Hocombe (458 a.) between the Chisenbury road and the down. The fields were all divided into small strips but in each there were areas where whole furlongs, 5–14 a., belonged to Manor and Pyke's farms. In particular the land in Hocombe field on the hill against Chisenbury fields was nearly all worked in such pieces. During the 18th century Hocombe field was split in two. By 1785 the northern part, Barley hill, was reckoned a field (137½ a.); by 1802 that was again part of Hocombe field and the southern part, Chisenbury hill, had become a field (153 a.). The four west-side fields were Ham (75 a. in 1785) and Fair (43 a.) fields, two small fields in the north-east, Slay field (81 a.) in the north-west, and West field (192 a.) in the south-west. Nearly half (78½ a.) of West field consisted of a block of Widdington farm pieces, called Widdington field, in the west of the field. Widdington field had probably once been commonable with the rest of West field, but it is not clear whether that was so in the 18th century. There were also 39 a. of arable several to Widdington farm on Widdington farm down. In 1785 there were 834 a. of arable in the east and 430 a. in the west.
There were 132 a. of meadow and lowland pasture in 1729. The two principal common meadows were in the very south of the parish, Sheffords and Hay meads. Substantial parts of other meadows, including Broad mead, between West field and the river, Dock mead, between Beggars Bush field and the river, and Mill mead, in the north, also appear to have been commonable, but only between two or three freeholders and tenants.
Only 3,875 sheep could be fed on the downs in 1729. There were four east and four west downs. Nearest the village in the east was Farm, formerly King's, down (490 a.); beyond it in the south Parsonage down (72½ a.); and in the extreme east winter and summer tenantry downs (163½ a. and 147 a. respectively). Nearest the village in the west were the several Widdington farm down (426 a.) and Casterley Camp (62½ a.), several to Widdington farm in winter; beyond them was Cow down (351 a.), fed in summer by a common herd of some 120 animals and in winter by the sheep of Widdington farm and presumably the Slay flock; Slay down (127½ a.) was in the extreme south.
By 1729 Manor and Widdington farms, on the east and west sides respectively, were leased separately and remained so throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. Manor farm, with 313 a. of arable and 16½ a. of meadow and lowland pasture, but with a stint on Farm down reduced from 1,200 to 700 sheep, was leased for £190 a year in 1745. (fn. 279) Widdington farm comprised 117½ a. of arable, a close of lowland meadow and pasture (Bear close, 10 a.), and extensive upland pastures with rights for some 30 animals in the common herd. Both grew in the 18th century by absorbing smaller farms, Manor farm to 887 a., including 455 a. of down, in 1802, and Widdington to 542 a. including 366 a. of down. Parsonage farm, the only farm with land in all the fields, consisted of 98 a. of arable, 10 a. of meadow and lowland pasture, Parsonage down for 400 sheep, and the great tithes, some of which were disputed with the vicar in 1716–18. (fn. 280) It was leased in 1749 for £240 a year, out of which the lessors had to pay 40s. stall wages and a rent of £8 15s. 10d. to the Crown. (fn. 281) The net yearly value of the great tithes was assessed at £224 in 1785, that of the land at £89 10s. In 1729 the Priory farm consisted of 56 a. of arable, 11 a. of meadow and lowland pasture, and feeding for 300 sheep on the west downs. Pyke's farm included 99 a. of arable, 4 a. of meadow, and feeding for 300 sheep on Farm down, and Pudsey's farm 30 a. of arable, 1 a. of meadow, and feeding for 50 sheep. Pyke's became part of Manor farm in the 18th century.
In 1729 65 a. of arable, 12 a. of meadow, and feeding for 170 sheep were held freely, most of which was merged with Pudsey's into a single farm, Alexander's, by 1802. There were in 1729 409 a. of arable, 41½ a. of meadow and lowland pasture, and feeding for 975 sheep held by copies and leases of the manor. The number of sizeable farms in the parish had continued to decline in the 17th century and declined further in the 18th century. By 1729, besides the tenants of farms already mentioned, only fifteen farmers held more than 10 a. of arable. In 1802 that number was nine, although even then only one held more than 100 a. There were 38 tenants of smallholdings held of the manor or freely in 1729, more than 50 in 1802. The slow process of converting copies to leases also continued in the 18th century. There were 16 leases and 23 copies in 1729 but only a few surviving copies by 1802.
Upavon was inclosed under an Act of Parliament in 1804. (fn. 282) Manor and Widdington were the farms least affected by the redistribution of lands that took place. Manor farm was allotted almost 400 a. of Beggars Bush, Chisenbury, and Hocombe fields, virtually all the arable in the south-east of the parish where there had already been a number of farm pieces, and the adjacent Farm down. Widdington farm was allotted Widdington field and farm down, Casterley Camp, and part of Cow down free of common rights. Parsonage farm, previously so dispersed, was allotted Ham field, part of Slay field (56 a.), and part of Cow down (169½ a.), all in the north-west of the parish where its house and yard stood. Priory farm was concentrated in the same area with allotments in Slay field and West field and 94 a. of Slay down. Other farms were allotted land in the centre of the parish and particularly in North and Rich fields in the northeast. (fn. 283)
In 1839 six principal farms shared the 1,412 a. of arable, 139 a. of meadow and lowland pasture, and 1,610 a. of down in the parish. In addition to Manor (850 a.), Widdington (661 a.), and Parsonage (279 a.) farms, New farm, 826 a., with buildings opposite the east end of Jarvis Street and lands in Rich and North fields and almost 400 a. of east down, had emerged from the amalgamation of most of the smaller tenantry farms, and Alexander's farm, 166 a., with buildings opposite the south end of Chapel Lane, from the freeholds. Slay down, 128 a., formerly part of Priory farm, was leased to Thomas Walters. (fn. 284) He bought it in 1849, ploughed nearly all the down, and built a farm-house on it. Slay Down farm was added to Parsonage farm in 1860. (fn. 285) In 1874 some 67 villagers, representing with their families more than half the village, made an organized protest to the lord of the manor. They ascribed their poverty to gardens too small to produce enough vegetables to feed themselves, let alone to support a pig, make parsnip wine, or sell. They petitioned for allotments to alleviate their condition and keep them from the publicans' beer. They claimed incidentally that allotments would provide winter work for discharged labourers, thereby reducing the poor-rate, and enable farmers to discharge retained labourers temporarily and to mutual advantage. (fn. 286) The petition was apparently unsuccessful, smallholdings let as allotments continued to command high rents, and in 1901 the vicar remarked that 'the people are ready to tear out each other's hair for an allotment'. (fn. 287)
The growth of dairy farming typical of the Pewsey Vale presumably took place at Upavon and involved the conversion of arable to pasture and the ploughing of downland. The sheep-and-corn husbandry so long practised had probably declined in importance even before much of the downs was acquired for military purposes. (fn. 288) Agricultural land in the parish was reduced in 1898 when the west downs, nearly 800 a. south of Casterley Camp, became part of an army firing range. (fn. 289) Widdington farm was much reduced in size then. In 1972 it amounted to some 156 a. (fn. 290) In 1912 some 425 a. of Upavon Down was taken for the Central Flying School. (fn. 291) The remaining agricultural land in the parish was subsequently merged into Manor farm. In 1972 arable cultivation and the rearing of dairy cattle were carried out on the farm. (fn. 292) Only small areas of the firing range and the airfield were cultivated or grazed.
The market and fair at Upavon (see below) possibly fostered the many trades carried on there, especially brewing. From 1352, when so many involved in selling ale were amerced, (fn. 293) until 1648, when the vicar complained of three licensed houses and 20–30 alehouses, (fn. 294) brewing and the sale of ale was clearly important in the village. Other trades included bakery, butchery (since at least 1397), (fn. 295) glove-making (1719–52), (fn. 296) collar-making (1720), (fn. 297) and shoemaking (before 1788). (fn. 298) Woolstapling was carried on by William Cunnington, later of Devizes, from 1822 to 1828. (fn. 299)
Mills. Although Upavon's site by the Avon may be supposed favourable, the presence of early mills there cannot be proved. None was mentioned in 1086 although one or more of the surprisingly many mills said to be in Rushall was possibly in Upavon. (fn. 300) A mill near Upavon was mentioned in the mid 13th century but that was probably in Rushall, (fn. 301) and it is not until 1330 that a mill in Upavon was expressly mentioned. (fn. 302) It was part of the manor, leased for 17s. 6d. a year, (fn. 303) but valued at £8 a year in 1341. (fn. 304) By 1385 the annual rent had been fixed at £5 6s. 8d. (fn. 305) and remained the same while the manor was part of the duchy of Lancaster. (fn. 306) Like other medieval mills it was frequently under repair and in 1454–5, for example, was idle for 3 months for what seems to have amounted to rebuilding. (fn. 307) By 1466, however, it was said to be again almost ruinous. (fn. 308) Until about 1600, but not thereafter, it was usually leased to the demesne farmer, (fn. 309) although sometimes, as in 1438, (fn. 310) it was leased separately. The principle that all tenants of the manor should use it was insisted on until at least 1691. (fn. 311) The king's 'mills' at Upavon were mentioned in 1512. (fn. 312) In 1609 there were 'two watermills under one roof'. (fn. 313) Both were grist mills for grain and were consistently described thus or as 'the mills' thereafter. (fn. 314) The building to the north of the village was demolished after the Second World War. (fn. 315)
Markets and Fairs. A Tuesday market at Upavon was granted to Peter de Mauley in 1220; (fn. 316) in 1262 Philip Basset was granted a Monday market and a fair for three days at the Exaltation of the Cross (14 Sept.); (fn. 317) Ela, countess of Warwick, claimed a Monday market in 1281; (fn. 318) and in 1324 Hugh Despenser was granted two yearly fairs, one on the Wednesday and Thursday after Trinity (the eve and feast of Corpus Christi), the other on 17 and 18 October. (fn. 319) Which of these markets and fairs were kept in the Middle Ages is not certain although at least a weekly market and an annual fair were probably held. The nearest market towns were all 8–9 miles from Upavon so the market probably attracted considerable attention from surrounding villages. Amercements under the Statute of Labourers in 1352 on 12 brewers, 2 tapsters, a taverner, 4 fishermen, a pelterer, 2 tailors, and 4 merchants denote appreciable market activity, (fn. 320) and in the late 14th and 15th centuries references were made to stallage, street gavel, shops in the market, and shambles. (fn. 321) Street gavel was leased for 20s. in 1397, (fn. 322) 14s. by 1425, (fn. 323) and later for 13s. 4d. a year. (fn. 324) In the late 16th century the fair was held yearly, perhaps on Fair field, for trade in livestock on 18 October and the market on Mondays. (fn. 325) The market still seems to have been held in 1688 (fn. 326) but by the early 19th century had been discontinued. (fn. 327) The fair, held on 29 October, continued but by c. 1860 livestock was no longer traded and it was exclusively a pleasure fair. (fn. 328) It was abolished in 1874. (fn. 329)
Upavon withdrew its suit from the hundred court c. 1235, it was said with the connivance of the sheriff. (fn. 330) In 1249 the village was distrained for the suit but in the same year the demand for suit was relaxed (fn. 331) and thenceforward misdemeanours were probably punished in Upavon's manorial view of frankpledge. The lord of the manor's liberty was challenged again in 1281, (fn. 332) by which time he was said to have gallows and to enforce the assizes of bread and ale. (fn. 333) The right to hold manorial views was subsequently unchallenged.
Four courts were held in the harvest year 1384–5, (fn. 334) two of them probably with views of frankpledge. In the 15th century it was apparently customary for courts with views to be held biannually, (fn. 335) although sometimes, as in 1455–6 and 1462–3, (fn. 336) only one was held. Biannual views still seem to have been normal in the mid 16th century. (fn. 337)
The public jurisdiction of the manorial courts of Upavon presumably extended over virtually the whole parish, although in the 16th century the principal freeholders of the parish of course failed to attend them. (fn. 338) Besides the normal enforcement and regulation of manorial custom in the courts, at least in the Middle Ages a wide range of public jurisdiction was probably exercised in the views. Even in the mid 16th century men were sworn into 'the assize of the king', breaches of the peace and public nuisances were presented, and brewers, butchers, and the miller were amerced, (fn. 339) betokening a very active medieval view. The view proceeded on the tithingman's presentments verified by a jury nominally of twelve men. Afterwards the manorial court proceeded to the presentments of the homage and to its normal tenurial business. (fn. 340) Cert money, commuted to a regular payment of ½ mark at each biannual view by the early 13th century, (fn. 341) was paid at least until the late 16th century. (fn. 342) By that time the views were apparently of little importance and in 1569–70, for example, none was held. (fn. 343) Thereafter views with courts continued to be held until the early 19th century to deal with tenurial business and agrarian custom and for the election of tithingmen (fn. 344) but their frequency after the late 16th century is unknown.
There are churchwardens' accounts from 1719 to 1909, road surveyors' accounts from 1754 to 1827, and overseers' accounts from 1766 to 1836. (fn. 345) All seem to reflect parish administration that was normal for that period. Upavon became part of the Pewsey poor-law union in 1835. (fn. 346)
A church belonging to the abbey of St. Wandrille stood at Upavon in 1086. It was presumably served then by a stipendiary clerk, but by the mid 12th century at the latest the abbot and convent had presented a rector. (fn. 347) Between 1212 and 1217, in exchange for land and tithes and two other churches, the abbot of St. Wandrille was received as a canon of Salisbury cathedral and the church of Upavon united with his prebend. (fn. 348) Probably in the 12th century the abbey established a priory at Upavon and the priors acted as the abbots' proctors. (fn. 349) A vicarage was ordained at Upavon by 1299. (fn. 350) After the prebendal estate was granted to Ivychurch Priory in 1423 the priors of Ivychurch succeeded the abbots as prebendaries of Upavon. (fn. 351) After the Dissolution no prebendaries were appointed although an annual pension of £2 to a vicar choral remained a charge on the prebendal estate. (fn. 352)
The churches of Rushall and Charlton, founded before 1086 and probably in the 12th century respectively, were dependent on Upavon as chapels. In Charlton at least a vicarage was possibly ordained in the early 13th century; the great tithes remained appropriate to the prebendary of Upavon. (fn. 353) Rushall was probably served from Upavon until rectors were presented, at least by 1281; it became completely independent of Upavon a century later when burial rights were granted. (fn. 354) The vicarage of Upavon was united with the rectory of Rushall in 1939. (fn. 355)
At least from the later 12th century the advowson of the church belonged to the abbots of St. Wandrille. In 1211–12 Peter de Mauley, then lord of the manor, disputed the abbot's right of presentation but, possibly while the dispute was still in progress, the church was united with the prebend and Peter gave up his claim. (fn. 356) The advowson became attached to the prebend and after the ordination of the vicarage the right to present vicars belonged to the prebendary. In 1319 a vicar was presented by the abbot of St. Wandrille's proctor, the prior of Upavon, (fn. 357) but from then until 1403 the king presented for the abbots while the prebendal estate was in his hands. (fn. 358) In 1409 the advowson was granted with the prebendal estate to Queen Joan who presented in 1410 and 1413. (fn. 359) In 1414 the king again presented. The advowson was granted to Ivychurch Priory with the prebendal estate in 1423. (fn. 360) After the Dissolution it remained with the Crown. (fn. 361) The patronage of the united benefice of Upavon with Rushall is exercised alternately by the Lord Chancellor for the Crown and by the warden and fellows of Merton College, Oxford, patrons of Rushall. (fn. 362)
The vicarage was not appraised until 1535 when its net yearly value was assessed at £7 15s. (fn. 363) In 1671 the vicar's tithes and glebe were worth £26 6s. a year. (fn. 364) The net average income of £112 over the years 1829–31 was the second lowest among livings in the hundred, (fn. 365) and in 1864 the vicar's income was still only £130. (fn. 366)
The vicar received all the small tithes and some of the great ones. His great tithes were those of hay from the whole parish except part of the demesne, and of wool and lambs from the copyholders' and freeholders' flocks, the parsonage flock, and a third of the east demesne flock and of a flock of West Chisenbury. (fn. 367) Tithe of hay from Bacon's farm was disputed between the tenant and owner of the farm, to whom the great tithes had descended, (fn. 368) and the vicar in 1718. (fn. 369) Possibly as an outcome of that dispute tithe of hay from all the tithable meadows and half, instead of a third of, the tithes of wool and lambs from Manor farm were paid to the vicar by 1785. (fn. 370) The vicar's tithes were commuted for a rent-charge of £145 12s. in 1839. (fn. 371)
The vicar's glebe amounted to a house and ½ a. of land in the late 16th century. (fn. 372) That remained so until at least 1729. (fn. 373) In 1614 the parish had the income from a nominal 4½ a., (fn. 374) presumably the same 4½ a. formerly attached to the office of reeve and called Reeve land. (fn. 375) The Church lands measured 3½ a. in 1729 (fn. 376) but by 1802 were reckoned to be glebe. (fn. 377) They were reduced to 2¾ a. at inclosure. (fn. 378)
At least from the late 16th century there was a vicarage-house. (fn. 379) In 1802 it stood to the north of the church behind High Street. (fn. 380) It was said to be unfit for residence in 1833. (fn. 381) In 1841 benefactions of £400 from H. J. C. Crook, the vicar, £100 from the trustees of a Mrs. Horner, and £200 from Queen Anne's Bounty (fn. 382) were presumably used to build the new house east of the Avon occupied by the vicar in 1972. The house was later extended to the east.
Until the expulsion of alien religious in 1378 the small monastic community set up by the abbey of St. Wandrille remained at Upavon. (fn. 383) Adam de Cumbe was charged at his presentation as vicar in 1299 with personal ministry and continual residence at Upavon. (fn. 384) How well he and other medieval vicars responded to the charge is unknown. In 1411, however, because the chancel roof and windows had not been repaired the altar was defiled by birds and the Sacrament had not been administered for a long time. The bishop ordered the church's revenues, except the vicar's portion, to be sequestrated to provide for repairs. (fn. 385) In 1553 the chancel still contained greces proscribed by the Protestant reformers. (fn. 386) In 1584 quarterly sermons were not preached and there was no register. The vicar was said to be violent and a drunkard. (fn. 387) John Newman, however, vicar in 1648, strove to reduce the number of alehouses in the parish. (fn. 388) Newman remained vicar throughout the Interregnum. (fn. 389) The church lacked a communion table in 1674. (fn. 390) In 1783 the vicar was rector of Fyfield (Hants) where he lived. At Upavon services were held weekly by the assistant curate, also assistant curate of Rushall. Holy Communion was celebrated at the four great festivals. (fn. 391) After 1827 vicars lived at Upavon. (fn. 392) On Census Sunday in 1851, by which time two Sunday services were held, there were congregations of 100 and 150 at the morning and afternoon services. They were said to be the average numbers, but seem relatively low in a parish of over 500 people at that time. (fn. 393) There were still two Sunday services in 1864. The vicar then estimated the average congregation to be 200 people. Communion services were held at Christmas, Easter, and Whitsun and at four other times a year. There were about 40 communicants. (fn. 394)
In 1591 the rent from ½ yardland called Vicarage in 1609, (fn. 395) feeding for 25 sheep on Slay down, and Church close, 1 a., was said to have been long used for repairs to the church. (fn. 396) In 1614 that rent was 14s. a year. (fn. 397) In 1802 the churchwardens held ½ a. called Church ground in trust for the repair of the church. (fn. 398) The rent from it in 1834 was £2 but had fallen to 18s. by 1901. (fn. 399) Nothing was known of the land in 1972.
Pyke's charity was set up by the Revd. John Pyke of Enford by his will proved 1839 by which he gave £100 to be invested for the support of a Sunday school. The interest was apparently allowed to accumulate until the endowment reached £149. The income from that sum, £4 2s. in 1901, was paid to the managers of Upavon school since the building was used for the Sunday school. (fn. 400) After Upavon County Primary school was opened in 1957 the money was again used to support the Sunday school. (fn. 401)
The church of ST. MARY, so dedicated by 1308, (fn. 402) is built of flint, rubble, and ashlar. It consists of chancel with north vestry, nave with north aisle and porch, and west tower. The 12th-century chancel, 13th-century nave with north and south aisles, and the late-13th-century west tower were probably the products of a continual building programme working from east to west, but, on the evidence of the north arcade where the first bay appears to have been broken through the wall, the original plan may not have been for so large a church. In the 14th century the windows in the north aisle were replaced and the north porch apparently built. (fn. 403) The church was said to be ruinous in 1411, particularly the roof and windows of the chancel. (fn. 404) In the 15th century new nave and aisle roofs were built at two levels with provision for a clerestorey and a new east window inserted in the chancel. (fn. 405) At some time before 1859 the south aisle was taken down. (fn. 406) The nave and its roof were said to need repair in 1864 (fn. 407) and from 1875 to 1876 the church was restored, the chancel to designs of T. H. Wyatt and the nave to those of J. P. Seddon. (fn. 408) New roofs were built and the clerestorey removed. The nave and north aisle were extensively rebuilt with new windows in the south wall in 14th-century style, new windows in the north aisle in 13thcentury style, and facings of alternate bands of ashlar and flint. The porch was rebuilt and the vestry added.
There were three bells and a sanctus bell in 1553, none of which has survived. A new bell was founded c. 1600 (iii in 1972), a new pair in 1658 (ii and v), and bells were added or replaced in 1723 (vi) and 1811 (iv). (fn. 409) Those five bells were recast and rehung in 1910 and a sixth, the treble, added. (fn. 410) They still hung in the church in 1972.
A chalice weighing 8½ oz. was left in the parish in 1553 but 18½ oz. of silver were taken for the king. A new set of plate, consisting of a chalice, two patens, and a flagon, was given to the parish by Mary Hungerford in 1735. (fn. 411) It remained in the parish in 1972.
The register of burials and baptisms dates from 1687, that of marriages from 1760. Both are complete. (fn. 412)
The families of a weaver, a maltster, and a yeoman of Upavon were described as 'anabaptist sectaries' in 1662. (fn. 413) One of them, Henry Long (d. 1691), (fn. 414) a Quaker, was imprisoned for his beliefs. (fn. 415) There were nine nonconformists in 1676, (fn. 416) presumably the same families as in 1662 who were also named as nonconformists in 1683. (fn. 417) A house in Upavon was licensed for worship by dissenters in 1710. (fn. 418) In 1783 a few parishioners attended the Baptist chapel at Rushall. (fn. 419) Another meeting-house was licensed in 1821 (fn. 420) and a Strict Baptist congregation established by 1829. (fn. 421) A new chapel, the Cave of Adullam, was built for that congregation in 1838. (fn. 422) Its greatest prosperity was apparently before 1850. (fn. 423) The morning service on Census Sunday in 1851 was said to have had a congregation of 100 people. (fn. 424) The vicar of Upavon reckoned there to be about 70 dissenters in 1864. (fn. 425) Weekly services were still held in 1972. (fn. 426)
A Primitive Methodist chapel was erected in Jarvis Street apparently between 1890 and 1899. (fn. 427) It was built of iron and accommodated 60 people. (fn. 428) In 1966 a new Methodist church seating 60 was erected in Avon Square. (fn. 429) Two weekly Sunday services were held in it in 1972.
There was a schoolmaster in Upavon in 1662. (fn. 430) There were two day-schools in 1808 but a single day-school for about 30 children in 1818. (fn. 431) In 1833 a dame school for 23 children and a school for 14 children were held, (fn. 432) both apparently in private houses. (fn. 433) A new school was built at the north gate to the churchyard in 1854. (fn. 434) It was attended by 40–50 children. (fn. 435) In 1859, however, the other two schools were still held, one in a private house for about 20 artisans' children, the other a dame school for 15–20 children in a cottage. (fn. 436) In 1864 the boys left the village school at nine, the girls at twelve, although many of the boys attended winter evening classes. (fn. 437) The school was enlarged in 1894, (fn. 438) by which time the two other schools were presumably discontinued. The average attendance was 67 in 1906, 55 in 1914. (fn. 439) It rose to 70 in 1922. (fn. 440) In 1925, however, children over eleven were transferred to Rushall (fn. 441) so that the average attendance at Upavon fell to 38 by 1932. (fn. 442) The numbers subsequently increased to 70 in 1956, (fn. 443) but did not include children from R.A.F. Upavon who were sent to Rushall. (fn. 444)
By 1953 the school's overcrowding caused concern, (fn. 445) and the need for a new one increased between 1955 and 1957 when new R.A.F. married quarters were built. (fn. 446) A new county primary school was opened in 1957 with six classes for up to 200 children of 5–11 years. (fn. 447) The R.A.F. children then stopped going to Rushall and usually some 65 per cent of the children attending Upavon school came from R.A.F. Upavon but only a few children from other villages. In 1973, when the R.A.F. station was not fully occupied, 195 children attended the school, 100 of them from the station. (fn. 448)
Upavon school benefited from three charities. James Sherry, by his will proved 1858, bequeathed £100 to be invested for the benefit of the infant school. In 1901 the income, £2 18s. a year, was paid to the school managers as a contribution to the general funds of the school. (fn. 449) The average annual income was £2 10s. in 1962. (fn. 450)
By his will proved 1884 H. J. C. Crook, the vicar, gave £100 to be invested to form a repair fund for the school. In 1901 the annual income, which averaged £2 15s., was applied to the general running expenses of the school. (fn. 453) The average income in 1962 was £2 10s. (fn. 454) In 1973 the incomes from Sherry's, Alexander's, and Crook's charities were all added to the general school fund. (fn. 455)
Charities for the Poor.
In 1783 there was said to be a small charitable endowment for the poor, (fn. 456) possibly represented by the acre of land belonging to the poor in respect of which an allotment of 3½ r. was made at inclosure. (fn. 457) The profits on the land were used for clothing for the poor. In 1834 the land was leased for £2 10s. a year. That rent, with the income from Young's charity (see below), was allowed to accumulate for two or three years and then distributed in sums of 2s. and 1s. Three years' income from the two charities amounted in 1833 to £27 13s. of which some £20 was distributed. In 1901 the rent from the land was £2 a year. (fn. 458) A scheme of 1908 provided for the joint management of the two charities. The capital value of Young's charity was then £224. The poor's land was subsequently sold. The capital of the two charities stood at £589 in 1964 yielding an annual income of £22 11s. (fn. 459) which was distributed with the proceeds of Wilson's charity (see below). In 1972 the money was spent on blankets. (fn. 460)
By his will proved 1788 Benjamin Young, a cordwainer of Upavon, devised his copies and leases to be sold and, after the death of his son Benjamin, the proceeds to be invested for the benefit of the poor. The parish became entitled to the charity in 1799; £224 was invested. In 1901 the annual interest was £5 16s. which was then and thenceforward distributed with the proceeds of the poor's land. (fn. 461)
The Revd. C. H. Wilson (d. 1919) bequeathed the interest from £100, to be invested after the death of his wife, to buy blankets for the poor. The income, under £5 in 1962, was applied with the income from the poor's land and Young's charity. (fn. 462)