A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 12, Ramsbury and Selkley Hundreds; the Borough of Marlborough. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1983.
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Winterbourne Monkton, 761 ha. (1,879 a.), lies in the upper Kennet valley north of Avebury. (fn. 1) The eastern head stream of the Kennet flows through the parish from north to south and by 869 had given the name Winterbourne to lands there. (fn. 2) In the early 13th century the village was distinguished from Winterbourne Bassett and North Winterbourne by the suffix Monkton, referring to the estate there of Glastonbury abbey. (fn. 3) Like those to the north of it Winterbourne Monkton is a long narrow parish, the eastern boundary of which is marked by the Ridge Way on Hackpen Hill. It extends 5 km. westwards and at its widest point near the stream measures nearly 2 km. from north to south. The steep slopes of Hackpen Hill, known as Monkton Down, rise to 254 m. in the south-east corner of the parish and have a scattering of sarsen stones. Below 183 m. there is a more gentle incline to the Kennet, west of which the land is almost flat. Another small stream, perhaps man-made, rises in Berwick Bassett and flows east by the northern boundary for 500 m. to the head stream. Near the western boundary the land rises gradually to 176 m. and Windmill Hill in the south-west corner of the parish is above 183 m. Chalk outcrops over the whole parish and there are deposits of gravel and alluvium near the head stream. An east-west tongue of gravel extends into the southern part of the parish towards the lower slopes of Hackpen Hill. (fn. 4)
Evidence of prehistoric activity in the parish is most abundant on Windmill Hill, the site of a Neolithic causewayed camp, and on Monkton Down, where barrows and artefacts of early IronAge and Roman origin have been found. (fn. 5) The site of Mill Barrow, a long barrow excavated in the 18th century, is thought to be 400 m. northwest of the church. Near that site are the Shelving Stones, sarsen slabs beneath which skeletons of the early and middle Bronze Age have been found. (fn. 6)
The flat or gently sloping ground east and west of the Kennet head stream provided the arable lands of the parish and there was pasture on Hackpen Hill and Windmill Hill. (fn. 7) In the 12th and 13th centuries Winterbourne Monkton apparently lay within the boundary of Savernake forest. (fn. 8) There is, however, no evidence that the parish was then well wooded and in the 18th century, as in the 20th, it was almost treeless: what trees there were stood near the village. (fn. 9)
The Ridge Way runs along Hackpen Hill on the eastern boundary of the parish. A path west of the head stream which linked Avebury, Winterbourne Monkton, Berwick Bassett, Winterbourne Bassett, and Broad Hinton churches in 1980 may mark another old route but it was apparently not used as a road north and south of Winterbourne Monkton village in the late 18th century. Then, as in the 20th century, the principal route through the parish was a north-south road east of the head stream. It was turnpiked in 1767 as part of the Swindon-Devizes road. (fn. 10) A parallel track 750 m. east of the road was still visible in 1980. Few roads ran east-west in the late 18th century. One, which passed through Winterbourne Monkton village to Yatesbury, was a path in 1980; others which crossed Hackpen Hill had been cut short by the late 19th century. (fn. 11)
In the 14th century Winterbourne Monkton was one of the smaller settlements in Selkley hundred; there were 69 poll-tax payers in 1377. (fn. 12) It was one of the poorer communities in the hundred in the 14th and 16th centuries. (fn. 13) The population increased in the early 19th century from 177 in 1801 to 263 in 1831. Numbers fluctuated during the rest of the century and had fallen to 182 by 1901. The total had risen again to 215 by 1911 but had fallen to 162 by 1931. There were 189 inhabitants in 1951, (fn. 14) 166 in 1971. (fn. 15)
Winterbourne Monkton village stands near the centre of the parish west of the Swindon-Devizes road, straddling the head stream. The buildings are scattered along two lanes leading west from the road. The southern lane crosses the stream by Low Bridge to the church. In the 18th century it then turned north for 500 m. and east to recross the stream and, as Hannah's Lane, rejoin the Swindon-Devizes road. North of the church and west of the stream the lane had become a footpath by 1980. The second lane, known in the early 19th century as Hain Lane, leaves the road 100 m. north of the junction with the lane to the church and runs north-west to join Hannah's Lane a little east of the stream. In the 18th century there were a few houses on the west side of the Swindon-Devizes road. (fn. 16) Middle Farm, built north of the junction with the southern lane c. 1720, (fn. 17) is of sarsen with freestone dressings and has a symmetrical east front. There are cottages of the 18th and 19th centuries north of that farmhouse. Most of the buildings, however, stood beside the southern lane east of the church, on the west bank of the stream, and along Hain Lane. (fn. 18) Manor Farm, east of the church, is a redbrick building with a symmetrical south front of the mid 18th century, which has been extended and altered since 1967. Most of the 18th-century cottages beside Hain Lane have sarsen walling and some are thatched. The Post Office, at the northern end of the lane, bears the date 1743. In the late 18th century and the 19th the settlement east of the stream grew while that west of it declined. By 1889 many buildings west of the stream had disappeared and the church and Manor Farm then formed an isolated group. (fn. 19) Most 19th-century building took place beside Hain Lane. Of that date are the former Parsonage Farm and the school, which stand west of the lane near its junction with the road, and the New Inn, open in 1889, (fn. 20) south of the Post Office. Bungalows opposite the Post Office and council houses at the northern end of the lane were built in the 20th century and in the 1970s cottages near the junction of Hain and Hannah's Lanes were demolished. (fn. 21) East Farm was built on the southern boundary east of the road in the mid 19th century. (fn. 22) Further north and 300 m. east of the road is Windmill House, a 19th-century house on the site of a windmill. (fn. 23)
Manor and Other Estates.
In 869 King Ethelred gave 25 cassati at Winterbourne to his ealdorman Wulfere who later granted all or part of the estate to Glastonbury abbey. Although other lands received by Wulfere from the king were confiscated after his desertion of King Alfred, that grant apparently took effect and in 1086 the abbot held 25 hides at Winterbourne Monkton. (fn. 24) An estate of 9 mansiones in Winterbourne, perhaps part of Wulfere's, was granted by King Athelstan to Elfleda, perhaps wife of Edward the Elder, in 928 and by her to the monks of Glastonbury. (fn. 25) In 1330 the abbot of Glastonbury was granted free warren in his demesne at Winterbourne Monkton. (fn. 26) At the Dissolution WINTERBOURNE MONKTON manor reverted to the Crown and in 1542 it was granted to Edward Seymour, earl of Hertford (created duke of Somerset in 1547). (fn. 27) In 1545 Hertford sold the manor to Sir Edward Darell (d. 1549), (fn. 28) whose son William sold it in 1577 to Sir James Harvey (d. 1583). (fn. 29) It passed to Harvey's son Sir Sebastian (d. 1621) and granddaughter Mary Harvey, wife of John Popham. In 1636 Popham was succeeded by his brother Alexander (d. 1669). (fn. 30) The manor passed in the Popham family with that of Littlecote in Ramsbury (fn. 31) to F. W. Leyborne-Popham who sold it c. 1899 to Holland Franklyn. It was bought c. 1910 by N. R. R. Young (fn. 32) who sold it as four farms in 1917. West farm was then bought by H. J. Horton (fn. 33) and c. 1920 by W. Tucker who sold it c. 1939 to a Dr. Carr. After Carr's death it was bought by members of the Grunenberg family and in 1967, as Manor farm, by Mr. F. Wallis, the owner in 1980. (fn. 34) East farm was bought in 1917 by a Mr. Smith of Newport (I.W.) and sold c. 1920 to Frederick Heath. (fn. 35) In 1948 Heath sold it to C. B. Cooper (d. 1979), whose relict Mrs. M. F. Cooper was owner in 1980. (fn. 36) Middle farm was bought in 1917 by H. Greader and c. 1935 by F. G. Troup. (fn. 37) In 1963 R. T. Vaughan sold some 200 a., which became part of East farm, to C. B. Cooper and the remainder of Middle farm, c. 350 a., to Mr. R. J. and Mrs. M. Longstreet, the owners of the farm in 1980. (fn. 38) Parsonage farm was bought in 1917 by Frederick Smyth. (fn. 39) It passed through various hands and in the 1960s part was sold to Mr. and Mrs. R. J. Longstreet and part to Mr. L. W. J. Chalk. (fn. 40)
Before 1066 Orgar held 3½ hides of Glastonbury abbey. Gilbert Gibard held them in 1084 and 1086 (fn. 41) and Hugh de Polstead in 1189. (fn. 42) Hugh granted the estate to Geoffrey de Maizey in 1195. (fn. 43) Geoffrey was succeeded by Robert de Maizey (fl. c. 1235) and Grace de Maizey (fl. 1242–3). (fn. 44) In 1261 the estate belonged to Gregory de la Mare (fn. 45) and a Gregory de la Mare held it in 1319. (fn. 46) Part of the estate passed to Gilbert of Berwick whose lands were forfeited to the Crown for rebellion in 1326. (fn. 47) From Gilbert's holding were probably derived lands granted by John Lovel, Lord Lovel (d. 1408), to the priory of St. Margaret near Marlborough in or before 1399. (fn. 48) At the Dissolution those lands passed to the Crown and they were granted as dower to Anne of Cleves in 1540 and to Catherine Howard in 1541. (fn. 49) In 1553 William Herbert, earl of Pembroke, acquired them by exchange with the Crown; (fn. 50) their later descent has not been traced.
Another part of the estate of Gregory de la Mare (fl. 1319) was held by William Dunershe in 1428 (fn. 51) and passed to the Dismars family. Nicholas Dismars was succeeded by his son John who in 1518 held 2 yardlands in Winterbourne Monkton. (fn. 52) John's son Christopher inherited that estate c. 1527 and sold it to his sister Agnes (fl. 1539) who devised it to her son Robert Sloper (d. before 1564). (fn. 53) The estate passed to Robert's son John (fl. 1584) (fn. 54) and descended in the Sloper family to Walter Sloper (fl. 1675) (fn. 55) who sold it to Joseph Houlton. By will proved 1716 Houlton devised it to Elizabeth Houlton, perhaps his daughter. (fn. 56) The estate was probably that held in the late 18th century by members of the Brown family. John Brown (fl. 1815) was succeeded c. 1850 by his son Henry. (fn. 57) The lands were absorbed into Winterbourne Monkton manor soon afterwards. (fn. 58)
Winterbourne Monkton rectory was appropriated by Cirencester abbey before 1229 (fn. 59) and the abbey's rights there were confirmed in 1337. (fn. 60) The rectory estate, consisting only of tithes, was probably granted by the Crown with that of Avebury to Maria Dunche in 1604 and sold by her grandson William Dunche to John Popham in 1633. Popham held the rectory estate at his death in 1636 (fn. 61) and thereafter it passed with Winterbourne Monkton manor. At inclosure in 1815 the tithes were replaced by an allotment of land. (fn. 62)
A free chapel at Winterbourne Monkton was endowed with the tithes of the demesne farm of the manor. The tithes passed to the Crown at the Dissolution and in 1574 Simon Sloper bought the reversion of the freehold. (fn. 63) He was succeeded c. 1587 by another Simon Sloper, probably his son. In 1625 that Simon settled the estate on his son William (fl. 1650). (fn. 64) It was held in 1675 by Thomas Sloper (fn. 65) and in 1713 was conveyed by Frances, relict of John Curle, to her daughter Sarah and Sarah's husband Robert Mellior. (fn. 66) In 1734 Sarah, then a widow, conveyed her life estate to Robert's sisters and coheirs, Elizabeth, wife of Robert Banbury, and Grace, wife of Benjamin Kirby. (fn. 67) John Hitchcock held the estate in 1781 (fn. 68) and in 1815 Charles Hitchcock was allotted 150 a. in place of the tithes. (fn. 69) The land was held in 1848 by William Hitchcock (d. c. 1854) (fn. 70) and in 1875 by the Revd. Freeman Wilson. (fn. 71) Wilson was succeeded by his son A. W. F. Wilson c. 1910. (fn. 72) The land was sold to N. R. R. Young, the owner of Winterbourne Monkton manor, before 1917. (fn. 73)
The husbandry practised at Winterbourne Monkton in the Middle Ages was of the sheep-and-corn type usual on the Wiltshire downs and in the upland manors of Glastonbury abbey. (fn. 74) Arable farming, however, was more important than pastoral. In the 11th century there were 100 a. of pasture on an estate rated as 25 hides and the proportion of pasture to arable remained unusually low. (fn. 75)
The estate which became Winterbourne Monkton manor was assessed at 25 cassati in 869 (fn. 76) and at 25 hides in 1066.
In the 11th and 12th centuries the estate comprised the manorial demesne, which occupied an unusually large proportion of the whole estate, a freehold farm, and the land held by customary tenants. There were 10 hides in demesne with 4 ploughteams and 7 serfs in 1086; the freehold farm was assessed at 3½ hides then and at 4 hides in 1194. In 1086 17 villeins and 8 bordars had 7 teams, (fn. 77) and in 1189 there were 12 yardlanders, 5 ½-yardlanders, and 10 cottagers holding c. 5 a. each. (fn. 78) The value of the manor, £12 in 1066, had risen to £20 by 1086. (fn. 79)
In the 13th and 14th centuries the two open fields of Winterbourne Monkton lay east and west of the Kennet. (fn. 80) New land, probably on the edge of the downs, was brought under the plough in the 13th century. (fn. 81) There was pasture on Windmill Hill, which probably included the lord's several pasture of 'Berghdown', and on Monkton Down. Part of the down was common grazing for cattle in summer and feeding for the lord's sheep in winter. (fn. 82)
The demesne of the manor, as of most manors held by Glastonbury abbey, was kept in hand at least until the 14th century and probably until the late 15th. In the early 14th century there were 426 a. of demesne arable, probably including sown and fallow land. In 1333–4 the sown area was 287 a., larger than on most of the abbey's Wiltshire manors. (fn. 83) There was said to be pasture for 500 sheep in 1189. (fn. 84) The flock was of only 300 c. 1235 but in the early 14th century there were some 400 sheep. (fn. 85) The main burden of services in the manor was borne by the cottagers. They worked for the lord on 3 days each week from Michaelmas to 1 August and daily during harvest. The yardlanders performed three boonworks of ploughing and services of mowing, shearing, and weeding. In the late 12th century they were required to reap ½ a. each day during harvest; in the 14th century they were obliged to reap for 2 days and to cut another 2 a. in 2 days. (fn. 86)
The husbandry of Winterbourne Monkton was integrated with that of other estates of Glastonbury abbey. Grain was exchanged with other manors; 102 qr. of grain were sent to Glastonbury in 1333–4 and smaller amounts were supplied to Badbury in Chiseldon, Mells (Som.), and Ashbury (Berks., later Oxon.). In the 14th century the flocks of Badbury, Ashbury, and Winterbourne Monkton were managed together. (fn. 87) Carrying services, mainly to Glastonbury abbey and its estates, were required of customary tenants. Cottagers were obliged to drive beasts to Badbury and Christian Malford and once a year to Glastonbury. Yardlanders owed carrying services to Glastonbury and Bristol as well as to local markets. (fn. 88)
In the 16th century c. 1,000 a. were worked in three open fields, South, East, and West. South field was the smallest and was occupied only by copyhold tenants. Inclosures of meadow and pasture had been made (fn. 89) and in 1675 some 40 a. of pasture on Hackpen Hill and 60 a. on Windmill Hill were held in severalty. (fn. 90) By 1774 the south part of Hackpen Hill was several pasture and there were two large blocks of inclosed arable south-west and east of the village. (fn. 91) Common husbandry was ended by an award of 1815 under an Act of 1813. Allotments were then made of 965 a. (fn. 92)
From the early 16th century or earlier the demesne farm was worked by lessees. Members of the Dismars and Sloper families held leases for terms of years for much of the 16th century. (fn. 93) The area of the demesne farm, over 600 a. c. 1540, changed little before the 19th century. (fn. 94) In the 16th century there were some 300 a. of arable and in 1774 the farm included 360 a. of arable and 131 a. of pasture which were held in severalty. (fn. 95) The holders of ten copyhold farms had 600 a. of commonable arable in the 16th century. (fn. 96) The area of common arable had decreased to 470 a. by 1675 when there were twelve copyholders. In 1774 there were only six copyholders, three of whom held more than 100 a. each. (fn. 97) Former copyhold land was probably absorbed into the freehold farm, later Brown's, during the 17th and 18th centuries, and in the early 19th century most of the land of the parish was divided between that farm and the manor farm. By the inclosure award of 1815 the rectorial tithes and those from the demesne farm were replaced by allotments of land. Thereafter there were three principal farms in the parish, Manor farm, Parsonage, 150 a., and Brown's, which included 218 a. allotted at inclosure. (fn. 98) Manor farm, into which Brown's was absorbed c. 1850, was divided into West, later Manor, East, and Middle farms in 1861. (fn. 99) West farm measured 650 a. in 1880, East 478 a. of which c. 150 a. were in Avebury, and Middle 530 a. (fn. 100) In the early 20th century the lands of those farms and of Parsonage farm were evenly divided between arable and pasture. (fn. 101) In the 1920s and 1930s much of the arable land was converted to pasture for dairying but mixed farming again became usual in the 1940s. In 1980 Manor farm, 760 a., and Middle farm, 350 a., were principally arable but East, 640 a., was an arable and dairy farm. (fn. 102)
A windmill built west of the village for the abbot of Glastonbury c. 1265 (fn. 103) was let in the early 14th century. (fn. 104) A new windmill was built in the early 16th century. (fn. 105) In the 1530s and 1540s the tenant of the demesne farm also held the mill. (fn. 106) A windmill stood 500 m. north-east of the village in 1815 but was disused in 1889. (fn. 107) In 1980 only the stones of its base remained beside Windmill House.
Use of a tumbrel and a gallows were claimed in Winterbourne Monkton in the 13th century. (fn. 108) The abbot of Glastonbury was granted return of writs in all his lands in 1280, and in 1327 the return of summonses to the exchequer and of all royal precepts and mandates was added. (fn. 109) From the early 14th century the abbot also enjoyed the right to hold pleas de vetito namio in Winterbourne Monkton. (fn. 110) Court rolls for the manor survive for various dates from the mid 13th century to the 15th (fn. 111) and for 1561–2. (fn. 112) From the early 13th century courts known as halimotes were held at Hocktide and halimotes and tourns at Michaelmas. (fn. 113) Presentments were made at both halimotes and tourns from the early 14th century by the tithingman. Offences presented included breaches of the assize of bread and of ale, of manorial custom, and of the peace. The courts also dealt with the conveyance and tenure of customary estates and suits between tenants. (fn. 114) Some pleas were referred to the abbot's bailiff, presumably to be heard at his court of North Damerham. (fn. 115) In the mid 16th century presentments were made by the homage, and the use of common pasture was regulated by the court. (fn. 116)
Average expenditure on the poor of the parish was £144 a year in the early 1830s. Winterbourne Monkton became part of Marlborough poor-law union in 1835. (fn. 117)
Before 1229 the church of Winterbourne Monkton was appropriated by Cirencester abbey and a vicarage ordained. (fn. 118) The appropriation was confirmed in 1335. (fn. 119) In the 13th and 14th centuries the church was described as a chapel annexed to Avebury church which had also been appropriated by the abbey, (fn. 120) but no record has been found of the dependence of Winterbourne Monkton church on Avebury. In 1431 the abbot of Cirencester petitioned unsuccessfully for the union of the vicarages of the two churches. (fn. 121) In 1658 the parishes of Winterbourne Monkton and Berwick Bassett were united, (fn. 122) but they were separated at the Restoration. The vicarages of Winterbourne Monkton and Avebury were united from 1747 to 1864. Winterbourne Monkton was in 1865 again united with Berwick Bassett (fn. 123) until 1929 when the united benefice of Avebury with Winterbourne Monkton was formed. (fn. 124) That benefice was served in plurality with Berwick Bassett from 1952 until the livings and parishes were united in 1970. In 1975 Winterbourne Monkton became part of the Upper Kennet team ministry. (fn. 125)
The abbot of Cirencester presented to Winterbourne Monkton in 1361 and the patronage was held and exercised by the abbey until the Dissolution. The advowson then passed to the Crown but in 1561 and 1583 lessees of the rectory estate presented to the vicarage, presumably by grants of the next presentation. From 1626 the Crown exercised the patronage. (fn. 126) The advowson was conveyed to the bishop of Salisbury in 1864. (fn. 127)
Medieval incumbents complained repeatedly of the inadequate endowment of the vicarage. After one such complaint Cirencester abbey was required in 1229 to augment the vicar's income. (fn. 128) Another augmentation was agreed in the mid 13th century but did not take effect. In 1268, when the abbey was again ordered to increase the endowment, the vicarage was valued at 70s. a year. (fn. 129) The poverty of the living was cited as an argument in favour of its union with Avebury in the 15th century. (fn. 130) In 1535 the clear value of the living was said to be £5. It is not clear whether that figure included the pension of 40s. a year paid by Cirencester abbey. (fn. 131) The pension continued to be paid by holders of the rectory estate and was £10 a year in 1815. (fn. 132) Although the endowment of Winterbourne Monkton vicarage was augmented before 1815, the combined benefice of Avebury with Winterbourne Monkton was one of the poorer Wiltshire livings c. 1830 when the whole annual income was £178. (fn. 133) In 1865 the income of Winterbourne Monkton vicarage was retained by the vicar of Avebury and that of the united benefice of Berwick Bassett with Winterbourne Monkton was drawn from the endowment of Berwick Bassett, augmented by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. (fn. 134)
Before 1229 Winterbourne Monkton vicarage was endowed with certain small tithes and all offerings. (fn. 135) The hay tithes of Winterbourne Monkton and 1 qr. of corn and 1 qr. of oats, due annually from Cirencester abbey's lands in Avebury, were then added. (fn. 136) An additional payment to the vicar of 3 qr. of wheat and 2 qr. of barley from the abbey's Avebury lands and of all tithes from a piece of land called 'old land' was agreed in 1268. (fn. 137) All the allowances of grain were replaced c. 1630 by a yearly pension of £8. (fn. 138) At least two further augmentations of the vicarage were made but in neither case is the date or donor recorded. In the 1670s the incumbent received hay, wool, lamb, and lesser tithes from all but the demesne of Winterbourne Monkton manor, and corn tithes from a few acres in the parish. (fn. 139) In 1815 grain tithes from 100 a. and other tithes from all but the 640 a. of the demesne were paid to the vicar. (fn. 140)
The vicarial glebe was 1 yardland and a messuage before 1229. (fn. 141) In 1671 the vicar held 25 a. of arable, 5 a. of meadow, and pasture for 30 sheep. (fn. 142) At inclosure in 1815 those lands, the vicar's tithes, and perhaps the pensions due to him were replaced by an allotment of 61 a. Parishioners whose lands were insufficient for them to contribute to that allotment were to pay small lump sums of money. (fn. 143) A glebe house mentioned in 1678 (fn. 144) may have been the 'ruinous' cottage on Winterbourne Monkton glebe demolished in 1852. (fn. 145)
In 1291 a portion of tithes provided another ecclesiastical living in Winterbourne Monkton. (fn. 146) In the late 15th century or earlier the living was attached to a chapel which had been built ⅓ mile from the church. (fn. 147) The abbot of Glastonbury presented to the living, except in 1395 when the patronage was exercised by the bishop. (fn. 148) In 1536 the abbot granted the advowson of 'Monkton', probably Winterbourne Monkton chapel, to Thomas Cromwell, later earl of Essex, apparently at Cromwell's request. It is not clear whether the grant, presumably of a single turn, was to Cromwell, the chief minister, or to the Crown; neither presented before the dissolution of the chapel in 1547. (fn. 149) The chaplain received tithes valued at £4 a year from the demesne of Winterbourne Monkton manor in 1535. (fn. 150) No cure of souls was attached to the living although in the late 16th century the endowment was said to have been for the provision of a priest. (fn. 151) Nothing remains of the chapel.
The poverty of the vicarage may explain the neglect of quarterly sermons in the 1580s and the non-residence of the vicar in 1636 when a curate was licensed to serve the parish. (fn. 152) New fittings in the church in the early 17th century included an altar rail in keeping with the requirements of the Laudian authorities. A little later William London, who in 1647 marched with the clubmen against the parliamentary forces, may have been vicar; his presentation in 1645 may not, however, have taken effect. (fn. 153) Other 17th-century incumbents were Thomas Bannings, who took the parish's surplice with him on moving to another living c. 1660, and his successor Francis Hubert, who was ejected in 1662. (fn. 154) Perhaps as a result of Hubert's influence the altar rail was removed and had not been replaced by 1674. (fn. 155) From 1747 to 1865 the parish was served from Avebury. (fn. 156) A service with a sermon was held at Winterbourne Monkton on alternate Sundays and communion was celebrated four times a year in the late 18th century. Church attendance was poor and absentees excused themselves on grounds considered trivial by the vicar, such as the lack of respectable clothing. (fn. 157) In 1864 services were held every Sunday and the average congregation numbered 65 people. (fn. 158) In 1865 augmentation of the united benefice of Berwick Bassett with Winterbourne Monkton was made conditional upon the employment of a curate at Winterbourne Monkton. (fn. 159) That condition was replaced in 1875 by the stipulation that two services be held there each Sunday. (fn. 160)
The dedication of the church of ST. MARY MAGDALENE has not been traced before the mid 18th century. (fn. 161) The church is built of coursed sarsen rubble and has a chancel with north vestry, a nave with south porch, and a timber-framed and boarded tower rising from the west end of the nave. The bowl of the font is of the late 12th century but the earliest part of the building is the 13th-century chancel. The nave was completely rebuilt in the 14th century. Beside the chancel arch there are cusped niches and a small piscina to serve an altar. In the 15th century the east window and the nave roof were renewed and the porch was added. The tower, the date of which is not known, is supported on the west side by the nave wall. On the east side there are two heavy cylindrical wooden posts which rise from the floor of the nave. The church was refitted in the 17th century. A communion table of 1678 and an early 17th-century pulpit survive and there were formerly pews and a communion rail of similar date to the pulpit. In the 18th century a gallery was built at the west end of the nave. It was removed before 1878 when the church was restored. (fn. 162)
In 1553 some church plate was confiscated but a chalice was left. (fn. 163) A late 16th-century chalice, an almsdish of 1683, and a chalice and paten of 1723, all given in 1844, remained in the parish in 1980. (fn. 164) There were three bells in 1553. New bells were cast in 1617, 1641, and 1663. (fn. 165) The three 17th-century bells hung in the church in 1980. (fn. 166) The parish registers begin in 1656 but are incomplete between 1674 and 1719. (fn. 167)
Francis Hubert, the vicar of Winterbourne Monkton ejected in 1662, was later imprisoned presumably for nonconformist activities. (fn. 168) In 1669 another ejected minister, John Baker of Chiseldon, lived in the parish and preached in the surrounding area. A conventicle of two or three hundred 'anabaptists, quakers, and presbyterians' met at the house where Baker lodged. (fn. 169) Support for dissent within the parish did not last; no dissenter was recorded in 1676 or 1783. (fn. 170) A house was registered for nonconformist meetings in 1821. (fn. 171) Dissenting teaching was said to retain some influence in 1864 but there was no regular meeting. (fn. 172)
In 1783 the vicar suggested to the bishop that poor children from Winterbourne Monkton should attend the school at Avebury. (fn. 173) There was still no school at Winterbourne Monkton in 1818 although the poor were said to desire education for their children. (fn. 174) A stone schoolroom and teacher's house were built in 1847 and the school was affiliated to the National Society. (fn. 175) By will proved 1854 William Hitchcock gave £360 to be invested for the school. It was thereafter known as Hitchcock's school and in 1905 received £9 a year from the investment. (fn. 176) There were eighteen pupils in 1871. The average attendance had risen to 40 by 1906 (fn. 177) and in 1907 an additional classroom was built. (fn. 178) In 1919 there were only 27 pupils but the number rose to c. 45 in the 1930s. (fn. 179) The school was closed in 1971 and thereafter children from Winterbourne Monkton attended schools in Avebury and Broad Hinton. (fn. 180)