A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 15, Amesbury Hundred, Branch and Dole Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1995.
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Amesbury is a small town 12 km. north of Salisbury (fn. 1) at the centre of the eponymous parish, in which Stonehenge stands. (fn. 2) In the Middle Ages it had a wealthy nunnery; (fn. 3) in the 20th century it grew, stimulated by nearby military camps, a railway, and an increase of road traffic through it. (fn. 4) The parish is large, extending 10.5 km. east-west and measuring 2,402 ha. (5,936 a.), and the Christchurch Avon meanders north— south across the middle of it. In the Middle Ages there were four settlements, Amesbury town and Ratfyn hamlet east of the river, and the hamlet now called Countess and the small village of West Amesbury west of it; Amesbury's lands were in the south and east parts of the parish, those of the other settlements in the north—east, north-west, and south-west parts respectively. (fn. 5) In 1086 Ratfyn was not in the large estate called Amesbury, as the other parts of the present parish almost certainly were, (fn. 6) and later had its own chapel, but by the early 15th century, when its inhabitants lacked rights of burial and baptism in their chapel, (fn. 7) it had evidently been added to Amesbury parish.
The parish boundary crosses gently sloping downland for much of its length, in few places corresponds with the relief, and is nowhere intricate. It follows the Avon for short distances north and south. On the downs some prehistoric features were adopted as boundaries: a barrow marks the south-west corner of the parish, another is at the elbow in the west boundary, a ditch marks the boundary in the south—east, and barrows, a ditch, and the north bank of the earthwork called the Cursus (fn. 8) mark parts of the long north boundary. By the early 17th century boundary mounds had been made in many places (fn. 9) and one, on the south—east, was visible in the 19th and 20th centuries; (fn. 10) by the 20th century stones had been set up along the west part of the northern boundary. (fn. 11) In the north-west the boundary was marked by a road which disappeared in the 18th century. (fn. 12) To east and west the straightnes of the boundaries with Cholderton and Winterbourne Stoke suggest formal divisions of the downland: the north section of the Winterbourne Stoke boundary is the south end of a line which divides several other pairs of parishes. To the south-east the use of downland was disputed between Amesbury and Boscombe in the 16th and 17th centuries; (fn. 13) by 1726, evidently to end the dispute, 36 a. had been designated as common to both places; (fn. 14) and in 1866 the boundary between the two parishes was defined by a line bisecting the common plot. (fn. 15)
Chalk outcrops over the whole parish. The Avon has deposited alluvium and gravel on each bank, and a tributary now dry has depositied a tongue of gravel east of it in the coomb of which part is called Folly bottom. A large area of gravel on the left bank of the Avon provides the site for the town. (fn. 16) The relief is gentle almost throughout the parish. The highest point, a little over 165 m., is in the north-east on the slopes of Beacon Hill, the summit of which is in Bulford. The lowest point, where the Avon leaves the parish, is a little below 75 m. There are some steep slopes near the river on its right bank, and the largest expense of level ground in the parish is at c. 100 m. west of Stonehenge.
From the Middle Ages to the 20th century sheep-and-corn husbandry predominated throughout the parish. Amesbury and West Amesbury each had open fields and common pastures, and Countess Court manor and Ratfyn almost certainly had. In each case the arable was on the chalkland nearest to the settlement, with extensive downland pasture further east or west and meadows beside the Avon. Large areas of the downland pasture had been ploughed by the early 18th century; more was ploughed in the late 18th century or early 19th and in the mid 20th. (fn. 17) A small park between the river and the town, encompassing the site of the nunnery, was greatly extended west of the river in the 18th century. (fn. 18) In the early 20th century the flat downland west of Stonehenge was used as an airfield, as then and later was downland in the south-east. (fn. 19)
In 1086 the large estate called Amesbury included 24 square leagues of woodland. (fn. 20) Almost certainly the woodland lay east of Salisbury near West Dean, where woods called Bentley and Ramshill were for long parts of Amesbury manor, (fn. 21) or near Hurst (Berks.), where extensive woodland was considered part of the manor in the 14th and 15th centuries. (fn. 22) There was very little woodland in Amesbury parish in the 18th century. Some was in the small park in 1726, more was planted in the western extension of the park between 1735 and 1773. (fn. 23) Trees were planted in various coppices after 1825, and in 1846 there were c. 150 a. of woodland. There were 161 a. of woodland in 1910, about the same in 1993: the largest areas were in the north-west corner of the parish, Fargo plantation (50 a.) planted 1825 x 1846, in part of the large park, Vespasian's camp (49 a.) mostly planted 1735 x 1773, and in the east on Slay down, 18 a. formerly furze or gorse. (fn. 24) The suggestion that clumps of trees apparently standing in 1825 represented the disposition of ships at the battle of the Nile (1798) (fn. 25) is implausible, since they are likely to have been planted in the western extension of the park before 1778. (fn. 26)
At its greatest extent Chute forest reached west to the Avon, and the eastern part of Amesbury parish was subject to the forest law in the late 12th century. By the mid 13th century the forest had been restricted and excluded Amesbury, and when its boundary was redefined in 1300 Amesbury was outside it. (fn. 27)
Roads. Amesbury is on a main road leading south-west from London via Andover (Hants). The road crossed the Avon in the town, turned north-westwards, passed through the prehistoric remains called Seven Barrows and along a section of the north-west boundary of the parish, crossed Shrewton village north of its church, and led via Warminster to Bridgwater (Som.) and Barnstaple (Devon). A little west of the town a road diverged from it and led west and south-west via Mere towards Exeter. (fn. 28) A road from Chipping Campden (Glos.) via Marlborough to Salisbury crossed the east part of the parish and the London road on the downs, and an Oxford—Salisbury road via Hungerford (Berks.) crossed the tip of the parish south-east of Beacon Hill. (fn. 29) Between 1675 and 1773 a more westerly course was adopted for the road from Hungerford, which subsequently merged with the Marlborough road north of the parish: (fn. 30) its old course across the parish remained a track in 1993. Other roads led north and south from the town to link the villages on each bank of the Avon, north towards Marlborough and Devizes, south towards Salisbury. (fn. 31) That linking those on the west bank crosses the river twice at Amesbury: it is likely that soon after 1177 it was diverted south—eastwards between the crossings to follow the course of the London road through the town. (fn. 32)
The Warminster and Barnstaple road was imparked and closed when the park was extended westwards, possibly soon after 1735 but much more likely c. 1761, (fn. 33) and its course to Shrewton via Seven Barrows and the parish boundary has disappeared. (fn. 34) The Amesbury turnpike trust was created in 1761. In that year the London road via Andover was turnpiked from Thruxton (Hants) across Amesbury parish as far as the town, west of the town the Mere road was turnpiked as a continuation of it, and about then construction of a new straight road from the south end of Seven Barrows towards Warminster via Shrewton was begun. The new road was not finished, and by 1773 a new straight turnpike road towards Warminster via Maddington (now part of an enlarged Shrewton village) had been made: it diverged from the Mere road in the dry valley called Stonehenge bottom and ran, where almost certainly no road had existed before, very close to the north part of Stonehenge. The roads were disturnpiked in 1871. (fn. 35) The Andover—Mere road increased in importance in the 20th century, and as part of the main London—Exeter road was designated a trunk road in 1958; (fn. 36) a new section to bypass the town to the north was opened in 1970. (fn. 37)
Two other roads were turnpiked in 1761 and disturnpiked in 1871. One, that later called Countess Road and likely to have been diverted soon after 1177, led on the west bank northwards from the town as far as the boundary with Durrington. The other led north from the London road at Folly bottom to Bulford and other villages on the east bank, (fn. 38) and replaced a direct lane to Bulford nearer the river and through Ratfyn: (fn. 39) parts of the old lane were in use in 1993. The Marlborough road across the downs declined in importance from 1835 when a Marlborough—Salisbury road further east was turnpiked: (fn. 40) in the 20th century two military camps were built (fn. 41) on its line, and two parts of it in Amesbury parish were tarmacadamed, that linking Bulford camp to the London road, and that serving Boscombe Down airfield from the south. As that downland route declined in the 19th century a north—south route through the town became more important. An Amesbury to Old Salisbury road, consisting of a road leading south from the town to the downs of Great Durnford (in Durnford) and thence the old Marlborough road, was turnpiked in 1835, and in 1840 the road on the west bank of the Avon was turnpiked from the Durrington boundary northwards. Salisbury could thus be reached from Devizes, Swindon, and Marlborough on a turnpike road through Amesbury, where it crossed the river and the London road: in Amesbury parish the road was disturnpiked north of the river in 1871, south of it in 1876. (fn. 42) At the south edge of the town a short eastwards diversion in a cutting was made for it in 1837 (fn. 43) and, to avoid a bend, a short new section was made there in 1974–5; (fn. 44) a new section through the town was made in 1964–5. (fn. 45) South of Amesbury the road to Salisbury on the west bank of the Avon through West Amesbury was tarmacadamed and in 1993 remained in use. That on the east bank went out of use between Amesbury and Great Durnford after the road to Old Salisbury was turnpiked in 1835. (fn. 46).
In the 17th and 18th centuries roads led from the town east and south-east to Newton Tony, Idmiston, and Porton (in Idmiston), each in the Bourne valley. (fn. 47) Part of the Idmistion road survives as Allington Way, and parts of the others survive as tracks or footpaths. In the mid 20th century all three roads were blocked by Boscombe Down airifield, a track across the east part of the parish was improved as a road to link Allington to the London road, and north to the Bulford road, which had been turnpiked as far as Folly bottom, Porton Road was improved to link the airfield to the London road. (fn. 48) Also in the mid 20th century a track across the south part of the parish was improved as a road to divert traffic between the airfield and Salisbury westwards off the old Marlborough road and away from the runways. (fn. 49)
A road called the Wiltway in 1428 and crossing arable west of the Avon (fn. 50) was almost certainly a north—south road leading towards Wilton and was evidently closed when the park was extended soon after 1760. Further west Stonehenge was on the line of a Netheravon— Wilton road which may have been well used in the 18th century (fn. 51) but was never tarmacadamed: it was diverted west of Stonehenge in 1923. (fn. 52)
A road on the left bank of the Avon linking the south end of the town to West Amesbury was called the Wood way in 1502 and later, (fn. 53) and part of it was a track in 1993, but an early 18th-century road from West Amesbury across downland to Berwick St. James disappeared, evidently before 1773. (fn. 54)
Railways. The Amesbury and Military Camp Light Railway was built as a branch of the London & South Western Railway from Grateley (Hants) to Amesbury in 1902, diverging from the main line in Newton Tony parish. A station and sidings were built east of the town immediately south of the London road. The line was extended under the road and via Ratfyn to Bulford and Bulford camp in 1906. (fn. 55) A short spur served Boscombe Down airfield from c. 1918 to 1920. From a junction at Ratfyn to Druid's Head in Wilsford, via Larkhill army camp in Durrington and across the north-west tip of Amesbury parish, the Larkhill light military railway was opened in 1914–15: spurs were made c. 1917 to serve Stonehenge airfield. The railway was run from a camp in Countess Road. Although military, it was available for some public use. The spurs had evidently been dismantled by 1923 and the whole line had been closed by 1928. The Newton Tony to Bulford line was closed to passengers in 1952 and to goods in 1963; the track was lifted in 1965. (fn. 56)
Stonehenge. On the downs west of the Avon Stonehenge was constructed in phases in the period c. 3100 B.C. to c. 1100 B.C. In the first a roughly circular bank and ditch, 56 holes arranged in a circle within and near the ditch, and a cremation cemetery were dug, and outside the circle several posts and stones were erected; one of the stones, an undressed sarsen, is now called the Heel stone. In the second phase unworked bluestones brought from Wales were set up as two unfinished circles within, and concentric with, the bank and ditch, and an avenue was made from a new entrance to the circle: a line along the avenue connected the centre of the circles to the point on the horizon where the sun rises at the summer solstice. The same line is the axis of the building constructed in the third phase: the bluestones were removed, five trilithons arranged on the plan of a horseshoe were erected, and, within and concentric with the bank and encircling the trilithons, a peristyle of 30 upright stones and 30 lintels was built. The peristyle is exactly circular, c. 100 ft. in diameter, and the upper surface of the lintels is level. The stones are sarsens probably brought from the downs near Avebury. At the junction of the avenue and the bank two stones were set up, a fallen one of which is now called the Slaughter stone. Either in the second phase or the third four sarsens were set up within and near the bank on diameters intersecting at the centre of the circle: the two to survive are now called the Station stones. After the trilithons and peristyle were built some of the bluestones were arranged within the horseshoe to mark out an oval which included trilithons; later they were reset as a shadow of the main building, as a horseshoe within the horseshoe of sarsen trilithons, and as a circle between that and the peristyle. Within both horseshoes a single dressed sarsen was set up and, fallen, is now called the Altar stone. The purpose of the building is most likely to have been ceremonial, but 20th-century students have shown it to be capable of use in astronomy. Of c. 162 stones forming part of the building when the final phase was completed c. 60 were in situ in 1993, and some fallen stones survived in whole or in part. Among known historical monuments the use of materials brought from far away and the size and sophistication of the trilithons and peristyle make Stonehenge unique. (fn. 57)
Henry of Huntingdon mentioned Stonehenge c. 1130, (fn. 58) and by the 16th century it was widely known as an historical monument. It was visited by James I in 1620, and about then George Villiers, marquess of Buckingham, had an exploratory hold dug in the middle of it. (fn. 59) Inigo Jones (d. 1652) investigated the architecture of the building, John Aubrey's account was published in 1695, and William Stukeley made a systematic study in the 1720s. The main archaeological excavations have been by William Cunnington in the early 19th century, William Gowland in 1901, William Hawley 1919–26, and R. J. C. Atkinson, Stuart Piggott, and J. F. S. Stone in the 1950s. (fn. 60)
The more widely knowledge of Stonehenge's existence was disseminated the more it was visited. The downland on which it stands was open, although privately owned, and access was unrestricted. (fn. 61) In 1770 the Amesbury turnpike trust advertized its roads as good for viewing Stonehenge, (fn. 62) and in the 19th century the monument became a destination of outings and a venue of social events. (fn. 63) In 1901 the landowner, Sir Edmund Antrobus, Bt., inclosed c. 20 a. around it and began to charge for admission: his right to do so was confirmed by the High Court in 1905. Stonehenge was protected under the Ancient Monuments Act from 1913. (fn. 64) Cecil Chubb (cr. baronet 1919) bought it with 31 a. in 1915. and gave it to the nation in 1918. (fn. 65) In 1919–20 stones in danger of falling were secured, in 1958 stones which had fallen in 1797 and 1900 were re-erected, and later other stones were secured in their positions. (fn. 66) To avoid the monument the Netheravon—Wilton road was diverted westwards in 1923, (fn. 67) and to preserve the monument's environment the National Trust in 1927 and 1929 bought most of the west half of Amesbury parish. (fn. 68) In 1984 Stonehenge and its hinterland were designated a World Heritage Site. (fn. 69)
The numbers of paying visitors grew from 38,000 in 1922, (fn. 70) to 124,000 in 1951, 666,000 in 1975, (fn. 71) and 650,000 in 1992–3. (fn. 72) Since 1978 visitors have not been allowed to go among the stones. (fn. 73) Soon after 1918 a pair of cottages south-east of the stones was built for the custodians, (fn. 74) and in 1927 a privately owned café was built nearby. (fn. 75) In the 1930s both were demolished and a pair of thatched cottages, Stonehenge Cottages, was built 1 km. east beside the Exeter road. On the north side of the Shrewton road a car park was opened in 1935 (fn. 76) and extended in 1966; for access to the monument, which is on the south side, an underpass was built in 1968. (fn. 77)
From c. 1822 to c. 1880 Henry Browne and his son Joseph, both of Amesbury, each acted as a guide to Stonehenge and sold models and paintings of it. (fn. 78) In the later 18th century and early 19th visitors to the monument were throught to be important to Amesbury's prosperity, (fn. 79) but later in the 19th most organized excursions, including those by rail from London, were evidently via Salisbury. (fn. 80) In the 20th century most visitors used motor vehicles, and many also visited the town even after the London—Exeter road bypassed it in 1970. There were festivities in the town and at the monument about the time of the summer solstice in the later 19th century; (fn. 81) at the monument such festivities increased in the 20th century, and at the same time quasi-religious ceremonies organized by the Ancient Druid Order were held there. (fn. 82) The festivities had become notorious by the 1980s when the government (from 1984 English Heritage), as custodian of the monument, the National Trust, as owner of the land on which they took place, and the police combined to prevent them. (fn. 83)
Other prehistoric remains. The western downs of Amesbury parish are rich in prehistoric remains, (fn. 84) some older than Stonehenge. (fn. 85) The site of a second henge monument 1 km. ESE. of Stonehenge was identified in the 1950s and partly excavated in 1980. (fn. 86) North of Stonehenge the Cursus is an east—west earthwork enclosure nearly 3 km. long and less than 150 m. broad: it is thought to be late-Neolithic. A north—south long barrow at the east end of the Cursus is unusually large. (fn. 87) There are many other barrows. Notable groups are formed by those in a line near the south side of the Cursus at its west end, those in a line south of the east and of the Cursus, and those South—West of Stonehenge. (fn. 88) The southern part of the second group, where seven barrows are close together, was called Seven Barrows in the early 15th century (fn. 89) and until c. 1900; (fn. 90) the whole line is now called King Barrows. (fn. 91) A barrow called Luxen 1 km. south-east of Stonehenge seems to have been particularly prominent in the 18th century. (fn. 92) Prehistoric field systems have been recognized west of Stonehenge. (fn. 93)
On the eastern downs of the parish there are also many barrows; (fn. 94) one near the Allington track was constructed c. 2020 B.C. and was altered several times. (fn. 95) Six prehistoric ditches cross that part of the parish or mark its boundary, (fn. 96) and there is evidence of three prehistoric field systems, in the south along the boundary with and extending into Durnford, in the east corner, and in Folly bottom. (fn. 97)
Only one pre-Roman inhabited site in the parish is known. On a hill on the right bank of the Avon and near the town an Iron-Age hill fort covers 37 a.; (fn. 98) the sides of the hill were called the Walls in the 16th century and later, (fn. 99) the whole hill Vespasian's camp from the 18th century or earlier. (fn. 100) A Romano-British settlement site 1.5 km. east of Amesbury church was found c. 1990. (fn. 101)
Population. The parish may have had c. 375 poll- tax payers in 1377: with Normanton in Durnford parish it had 391. (fn. 102) The population in 1676 may have been c. 850. (fn. 103) In 1801, when it was 721, the number of inhabitants may have been at or near its lowest since the earlier Middle Ages. It rose from 723 in 1811 to 944 in 1831. The increase to 1,171 in 1841 was caused partly by the opening of Amesbury union workshouse in the parish in 1837–8; 106 lived in the workhouse in 1841. The population remained between 1,100 and 1,200 from 1841 to 1881, but had fallen to 981 by 1891. As the town grew from c. 1900 the population of the parish increased from 1,143 in 1901 to 1,253 in 1911; it doubled between 1911 and 1931, and more than doubled between 1931 (fn. 104) and 1961, when it was 5,611. It was 5,684 in 1971, 6,656 in 1991. (fn. 105)
Military activity. Stonehenge airfield, with a landing ground between the Shrewton and Exeter roads west of Stonehenge, was opened in 1917 for training bomber pilots, and hangars and other buildings were erected north and south of the Exeter road. The airfield was closed in 1920. Some of the buildings were used for farming in the 1920s but all had been demolished by the 1930s. (fn. 106)
On Blackcross down south-east of the town Boscombe Down (initially Red House Farm) airfield was opened in 1917 for training pilots. Buildings had been erected by 1918 and were extended in 1919, but the airfield was closed in 1920. It was reopened in 1930 with c. 283 a. in Amesbury, additional land in Boscombe and Idmiston, and buildings on which work was begun in 1927. It was used mainly by bomber squadrons until 1939, when the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment moved there. The buildings and landing ground were in Amesbury parish but later the runways, of which the first was started in 1944, were in Boscombe and Idmiston. The Evaluation (formerly Experimental) Establishment was still at Boscombe Down in 1992, and its main work was still to test aeroplanes and weapons. The airfield was greatly expanded after the Second World War. Many new buildings were erected, especially in the 1950s, and adjoining land in Amesbury and other parishes was acquired. By 1937 nine houses in Allington Way had been erected for commissioned officers, four in Main Road for Warrant officers, and 33 in Imber Road and Main Road for airmen, (fn. 107) and after the Second World War several housing estates were built on the west side of the airfield. (fn. 108) The builtup area has acquired the name Boscombe Down. A church was built but, unlike Bulford, Larkhill, and Tidworth army camps, (fn. 109) Boscombe Down has been provided with few commercial or social facilities.
Sport. The Avon at Amesbury was evidently much used for fishing and fowling in the 16th century. (fn. 110) Parts of the river were several to the lord of the Earldom manor and the Priory manor, to his tenants, and to the lords of other manors. (fn. 111) In the 1580s dace were netted at certain times of the year. (fn. 112) Trout, crayfish, and loach were caught in the 17th century, (fn. 113) and trout from Amesbury were sold at Salisbury market in the 18th. (fn. 114)
In the early 17th century the earl of Hertford may have hunted deer from his house at Amesbury, (fn. 115) and Philip Herbert, earl of Pembroke and of Montgomery, or his son Philip, Lord Herbert, was among those hawking at Amesbury in 1640. (fn. 116) The fishing, fowling, hunting, and hawking were leased with the house in the late 17th century and early 18th. (fn. 117) Kennels had been built at the house by 1726. (fn. 118) In 1800 sporting rights and the kennels, but not Amesbury Abbey, were held on lease by Sir James Mansfield, a lawyer and keen sportsman. (fn. 119) Hawking continued at Amesbury until 1903 or later; the Old Hawking club, formed in 1864, transferred its headquarters from Amesbury to Shrewton in 1903. (fn. 120)
Hares were coursed on the downs in the later 16th century. (fn. 121) Sir Elijah Impey, lessee of Amesbury Abbey 1792–4, was said to have favoured coursing, (fn. 122) and in 1803 meetings for coursing were held at Amesbury. (fn. 123) In the early 19th century hares were said to be numerous (fn. 124) and the coursing excellent. (fn. 125) The Amesbury coursing club was formed in 1822, the owner of the land allowed hares to be preserved, and downland near Stonehenge and elsewhere in the parish was regularly used for coursing. The Altcar (Lancs.) club held a seven-day meeting at Amesbury in 1864, (fn. 126) and the South of England club later met at Stonehenge. (fn. 127)
Two cricket matches were played near Stonehenge in 1781, and in the early 19th century the Stonehenge cricket ground was described as beautiful and famous. Wiltshire played Hampshire on it in 1835. Amesbury had a cricket team, and possibly a cricket club, in 1826. (fn. 128)
In 1728 the lord of West Amesbury manor reserved the right to set up posts on a racecourse near Stonehenge, (fn. 129) but there is no direct evidence of horseracing in the parish.
Amesbury. Its name suggests that Amesbury was a stronghold of Ambrosius Aurelianus, a leader of resistance against Saxon settlers in the later 5th century. (fn. 130) It has been suggested that the fort on the hil later called Vespasian's camp was such a stronghold and that after c. 500 A.D., setting a precedent for Salisbury, settlement and the name transferred themselves from the hilltop to the present lowland site of the town. There is, however, no archaeological evidence that the hill fort was used for settlement as late as the 5th century. (fn. 131) It was believed in the late Middle Ages, when an inscription in a book described Amesbury priory as the monastery 'Ambrosii burgi', that there was a link between Ambrosius and Amesbury: (fn. 132) if the link existed, it is most likely that Ambrosius's stronghold was where the town is now.
The town to c. 1540. Amesbury, so called and almost certainly on its present site, was a notable settlement in the 10th century. The witan met there in 932 and 995, (fn. 133) and Amesbury abbey was founded c. 979. It is very likely that the abbey was built on the site of the present parish church and that, when the abbey was closed in 1177, its church became the parish church. (fn. 134) The abbey was replaced in 1177 by a priory belonging to the order of Fontevrault, for which a new house and a new church were built between then and 1186. The new buildings, grand enough for some of the Angevin kings of England and their close relatives to lodge and worship in, (fn. 135) were on and around the site, north of the parish church, now occupied by the house called Amesbury Abbey. (fn. 136) To the north and west the site was bounded by the Avon; to the north-east and south-east it was evidently enclosed by a wall. (fn. 137)
Amesbury is at a crossing of the Avon by a main road leading south-west from London (fn. 138) and had become a small town, with a market and with tenements called burgages, by the 13th century. (fn. 139) The road evidently marked the southeastern boundary of the priory's precinct. When the priory was built the north—south road linking the villages on the west bank of the Avon, which apparently led across what became the precinct to the river crossing near the parish church, was diverted to the north-east side of the precinct and joined the main road at the east corner. (fn. 140) From that corner to the river crossing the main road was called High Street in 1364, (fn. 141) Marlborough Street in the 15th and 16th centuriesh, High Street again later. (fn. 142) It was narrowed when, presumably soon after 1177, buildings were erected in the north-west half of it along the line of the precinct boundary: the obstruction caused by the buildings on the north-west side was still apparent in the 18th century when the entrances to High Street both from the London road and from the river crossing were offset to the southeast. The main entrance to the precinct was halfway along High Street on the north-west side and, when that side of High Street was built up, was approached between the buildings and along what was later called Abbey Lane. (fn. 143) There was apparently a second entrance immediately west of the parish church. (fn. 144) Opposite Abbey Lane, and opening from High Street, land was used as a market place, evidently from the earlier 13th century, and by the 1540s a market house, presumably the building which in the early 19th century was open on the ground floor with a room above, had been erected in the opening. (fn. 145) The market place was evidently a long and narrow triangle, with the market house at the apex and the town pound at the centre of the base; the line of the south side continued as the west side of Southmill Lane (now Salisbury Road), and the line of the north side remains as the north side of Salisbury Street (formerly Smithfield Street). (fn. 146) In the Middle Ages other streets in the town were called Carpenter Street (1321–1450), Pauncet Street (1332–8), (fn. 147) possibly named after the Pauncefoot family which owned West Amesbury manor, (fn. 148) and Frog Lane (from 1463). (fn. 149) The shops and shambles mentioned in the 14th century, the 22 burgages held of Amesbury manor in 1364, the c. 50 cottages belonging to the priory at the Dissolution, and the inns mentioned in the early 16th century (fn. 150) are likely to have stood in High Street and streets close to it.
In the 18th century the principal farmsteads in Amesbury stood away from High Street and the market place along roads called Baker's Lane (later Bakehouse Lane, later Earls Court Road) and Southmill Lane. (fn. 151) Before the market place was narrowed (fn. 152) the two roads were extensions of its two long sides, and it is possible that the farmsteads were built in each as a result of late 12th- or early 13th-century planning. The demesne farm buildings of Amesbury manor, possibly on the site in Earls Court Road later occupied by Earls Farm, included a long house with hall, a gatehouse, and a large barn in 1364. (fn. 153)
The priory gave Amesbury most of its fame in the Middle Ages. It was visited several times by Henry III and frequently by Edward I whose mother, daughter, and niece was each a nun there. (fn. 154) Catherine of Aragon lodged there on her journey to London in 1501. (fn. 155) The town itself was a minor administrative centre. Hundred courts were held there, (fn. 156) in 1491 a forest eyre was held there, (fn. 157) and in 1537 Fisherton gaol was delivered there. (fn. 158)
The town c. 1540 to c. 1900. Most buildings of Amesbury priory were demolished or unroofed in 1541–2. The prioress's house with its service buildings, a stable, two barns, and two gatehouses were spared. (fn. 159) The reference in a lease of 1560 to dilapidated buildings and to stone and lead in or around the walls of the conventual church is likely to repeat the words of a lease of 1542 and not to indicate, as has been suggested, that demolition was postponed. (fn. 160) The receiver's house, however, and a lodging for five chaplains of the priory, both proscribed in 1539, (fn. 161) were among several other priory buildings standing c. 1574. (fn. 162) The receiver's house stood in 1590. (fn. 163) Between 1595 and 1601 a new mansion house was built on the site of the priory, (fn. 164) and more of the old buildings are likely to have been demolished: the lodging and possibly a gatehouse in Abbey Lane survived. (fn. 165) The precincts of the new house were apparently those of the priory, except that the south-east boundary was evidently set further back from High Street: (fn. 166) Diana House and Kent House were built at the north-east and east corners respectively, and as an access Abbey Lane may have been closed. (fn. 167).
In the early 17th century there may not have been many buildings between High Street, which was probably built up on both sides, and the principal farmsteads to the south-east. A reference to the 'south place' at the north end of Frog Lane suggests that building on the land bounded on the west by Frog Lane and on the south by Tanners Lane had by then not intruded on the south-east part of the market place to break the line to Southmill Lane. The Avon was bridged at the south end of Frog Lane. (fn. 168) There were many cottages in the town in 1635. (fn. 169) Some may have been in Frog Lane, in Coldharbour, so called in 1660, (fn. 170) and Back Lane, so called in 1678, (fn. 171) but only two apparently 17th-century cottages, one in Frog Lane and one at the south-west end of Coldharbour, survive as evidence. Dark Lane, referred to in 1676, (fn. 172), has not been located.
Its position on a main route brought troops to Amesbury in the Civil War and possibly in 1685 and 1688, but there was no fighting. In 1644 Robert Devereux, earl of Essex, was there with a troop of 100 parliamentarians, (fn. 173) and in 1646 troops were apparently quartered at Countess Court. (fn. 174) In 1685 Henry Mordaunt, earl of Peterborough, a supporter of James II, and in 1688 Major-Gen. Percy Kirk, then supporting William of Orange, may have had troops at Amesbury. (fn. 175)
In 1726 there were buildings all along High Street on both sides except where the graveyard adjoined it. (fn. 176) Many of them standing c. 1735 were of three storeys. (fn. 177) In 1726 the market place remained wide at its west end and trees grew in the middle of it. The south-east part had been inclosed, reducing the east end to what was called Smithfield Street. A smaller triangle of open space remained where Baker's Lane and Southmill Lane led from Smithfield Street. Tanners Lane linked Southmill Lane and Frog Lane. An almost unbroken line of houses, some of them farmhouses, on the north side of the market place and of Smithfield Street linked the houses and inns in High Street to the principal farmsteads in Baker's Lane and Southmill Lane. Only one house stood on the south side of the market place, two on the south side of Smithfield Street. There were 66 houses and cottages on the waste, 16 in Frog Lane (most on the west side), 15 in Back Lane (most on the west side), 18 in Coldharbour (most on the south side), 12 in Baker's Lane, and 5 near the river at Southmill Green. There was also a group of buildings, including one where Comilla House later stood, outside High Street at its junction with Back Lane and the London road. (fn. 178)
Between 1725 and 1778 the occupation by Charles Douglas, duke of Queensberry, and his wife Catherine of the mansion, (fn. 179) in which at one time 49 servants were resident, (fn. 180) may have increased the prosperity of the town. In the same period, however, the number of farmsteads was much reduced, (fn. 181) and in 1751 a fire destroyed or damaged c. 25 buildings, most of which seem to have been in High Street. (fn. 182). In the late 18th century and early 19th the town was evidently in decline, (fn. 183) and in the later 19th road traffic through it was reduced as railways were made elsewhere. In 1809 the market house, also called the guildhall, town hall, or court house, was taken down, (fn. 184) and in 1812 there were vacant sites on both sides of High Street towards the northeast end, (fn. 185) presumably where buildings destroyed by fire in 1751 had not been replaced.
The south-west end of High Street was renamed Church Street between 1851 and 1878. (fn. 186) Buildings of before c. 1800 to survive in High Street include four or five houses of the 17th or 18th century, most with shops on the ground floor, and the George and the New Inn. Those of before c. 1800 in Church Street include two apparently 18th-century houses, another possibly 17th-century, and the King's Arms. (fn. 187) Comilla House is of the mid 18th century and was possibly built c. 1761 when the London road was turnpiked; in the 1980s it was extended and converted to a nursing home. (fn. 188) On the north side of the market place a house with a shop on the ground floor is apparently 17th-century, and two houses are apparently 18th-century; a small house on the north side of what was Smithfield Street may also be 18th-century. The former line of the south side of the market place is still marked by a house apparently built in the later 18th century to replace that standing in 1726. In the earlier 19th century a terrace with a school at each end was built in front of that line, and the market place was thus narrowed. (fn. 189) In the 20th century a new building replaced the school at the west end, and in 1993 five shops occupied the remainder of the terrace. Between 1851 and 1878 the market place and most of Smithfield Street were renamed Salisbury Street. (fn. 190).
In Earls Court Road (formerly Baker's Lane) Earls Court (formerly Earl's) Farm was altered and made smaller in the 20th century: its rear wing, in which 16th-century timber was re-used, is a fragment of an 18th-century house, and its main range, facing the road, was built in the 19th century. In Salisbury Road (formerly Southmill Lane) Viney's (formerly Coombes Court) Farm has a main north-west range with a south-east cross wing and is apparently of the 16th century, and the Red House is an early 18th-century red-brick farmhouse with a principal five-bayed west front to which a porch was added in the 19th century. Of the many cottages in Frog Lane, Back Lane, Coldharbour, and Baker's Lane and at Southmill Green c. 1800 (fn. 191) only the apparently 17th-century cottages in Frog Lane and Coldharbour, the Greyhound in Coldharbour, and a small thatched cottage in Earls Court Road (Baker's Lane) survive. All the cottages on the west side of Back Lane had been demolished by 1851. (fn. 192)
Several large houses were built in the 19th century. On the south-east side of High (Church) Street Wyndersham House was built in 1848. At both ends its street frontage incorporates 18th-century parts of the four tenements which the house replaced: (fn. 193) between them a substantial five-bayed house with a central staircase hall and large rooms on the garden side was built. The hall and the rear south-western room were later extended into the garden, and to the north-east the open space between the house and its stables was roofed. In the later 19th century the house was used as a school and a vicarage house. (fn. 194) By 1923 it had been converted to a hotel, the Avon; (fn. 195) the hotel was renamed the Avon Arms and c. 1962 the Antrobus Arms. (fn. 196) In the angle of Smithfield Street and Back Lane the Cottage, later called Amesbury House, was apparently built in the early 19th century and had a principal front of five bays; it was demolished in the late 1960s. (fn. 197) Its stables, of red brick and contemporary with the house, survive. The Amesbury union workhouse was built in Salisbury Road, which was diverted east of it, in 1837: it was of flint and red brick to designs of W. B. Moffatt, an associate of Sir Gilbert Scott. (fn. 198) On the south-east side of High Street towards the north-east end a house, in 1993 the Fairlawn hotel, was built between 1825 and 1851 for G. B. Batho, (fn. 199) and, in the angle of Frog Lane and Tanners Lane, Redworth House, large and of red brick, was built c. 1888 for W. Q. Cole. (fn. 200)
A toll house, of coursed flint with brick dressings, was built c. 1835 where, north of the workhouse, the new section of the Salisbury road diverged from the old, (fn. 201) which retained the name Southmill Lane. Two pairs of cottages incorporating flint and stone chequerwork and with cast-iron window frames were built on the north side of Tanners Lane between 1825 and 1851. (fn. 202) Also in the 19th century several cottages were built in Coldharbour, a terrace of six cottages was built in Parsonage Road, which linked Earls Court Road and Salisbury Road, and two houses were built at Southmill Green. Frog Lane and Tanners Lane were together renamed Flower Lane between c. 1877 and 1899. (fn. 203)
On farmland worked from the town several farmsteads were built between 1825 and the late 1870s. Those called the Pennings and Stockport, respectively east and south of the town, had been built by 1851 and included cottages. New Barn and Olddown Barn were built south-west of the town, and Beacon Hill Barn, near which two houses were built between 1923 and 1939, was built in the east corner of the parish. (fn. 204)
The town from c. 1900. Although small, Amesbury was the town nearest and most accessible to the military camps set up in Bulford and Durrington parishes c. 1899. (fn. 205) They, with later military camps in Amesbury parish, the railway opened in 1902, (fn. 206) and the increase in road traffic, evidently stimulated business in the town. When in 1915 most of the land in the parish was offered for sale much became available for building and was highly valued. (fn. 207) To accommodate those employed in businesses in the town and the civilians working at the camps, the town grew much after 1918, mainly eastwards.
Between 1900 and 1914 a new school in Back Lane, which was later renamed School Road, replaced the schools on the south side of Salisbury Street. A police station, of red brick with textured ashlar dressings, was also built in Back Lane. (fn. 208) Between Redworth House and the east side of Frog Lane two terraces of cottages, of 4 and of 8, were built, (fn. 209) and soon after 1911 a new street, Edwards Road, was made between Earls Court Road and Salisbury Road (fn. 210) and two trios of cottages were built in it. Other new cottages included three terraces of four in Earls Court Road. (fn. 211) For railway workers a house and a pair of cottages had been built at the site of the station by 1899, and two pairs of cottages were built there soon afterwards. (fn. 212)
Between 1918 and 1939 houses were built by the government, by Amesbury rural district council, and by private speculators. After the First World War the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries set up a farm colony east of the town on Earls Court farm for former soldiers. (fn. 213) In 1919 Holders Road was made north—south from where the London road crossed the railway to Earls Court Road, and beside it c. 30 cottages were built 1920–1 for the smallholders. The Building Research Board of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research designed and built three of the cottages there, and two in Ratfyn Road, to test new methods of construction and old methods which had fallen into disuse: (fn. 214) four of the five were standing in 1993. Council houses were built in the south-east angle of Parsonage Road and Salisbury Road from c. 1920; 82 had been built by 1932. (fn. 215) In the late 1930s 11 council houses were built in Coldharbour and 12 in James Road near the station. (fn. 216) There were three main ribbons of speculative building in the 1920s and 1930s. To the east the whole of London Road, called Station Road until the mid 1930s, was built up between the station and the north-east end of High Street: the buildings included four concrete bungalows with flat roofs and arcaded fronts. (fn. 217) To the north houses were built along Countess Road, (fn. 218) and to the west along the south side of the Exeter road, there called Stonehenge Road. (fn. 219) Between 1923 and 1937 on the west side of Salisbury Road seven cottages were built south of the workhouse and six pairs of houses nearer the town. (fn. 220) From c. 1929 house building began beside a track, later Kitchener Road, south-east of and parallel to London Road, and apparently in the 1930s three pairs of bungalows were built in a new street, Church Lane, off the south-west end of Church Street. (fn. 221) East of the town married quarters were built in Allington Way, Main Road, and Imber Avenue, all on the west side of Boscombe Down airfield, between 1927 and 1937. (fn. 222) Between the two world wars new buildings were also erected in the old part of the town. The British Legion club in Church Street, Lloyds Bank at the junction of Church Street and Salisbury Street on or near the site of the market house, and the Midland Bank in High Street had all been built by 1923. A large furniture warehouse was built on the east side of Salisbury Road, commercial garages were built in High Street and elsewhere, and a school, a Roman Catholic church, a cinema, a bus station, a museum, and other buildings to provide public services were erected. (fn. 223)
After the Second World War many civilians were employed at Boscombe Down and the other military camps nearby, (fn. 224) and many new houses were built at Amesbury. In James Road 32 council houses were built in the period 1947–9. (fn. 225) About 1950 a new road, Antrobus Road, was made to link Earls Court Road and the north end of Holders Road, and in the triangle bounded by the three roads c. 314 council houses were built between 1950 and 1961. (fn. 226) About another 48 council houses were built in the angle of Holders Road and James Road in the 1960s, (fn. 227) 64 in the angle of Holders Road and Earls Court Road in 1973, (fn. 228) and after 1975 some east of Holders Road and some south of Boscombe Road (the extension of Earls Court Road). (fn. 229) In the 1950s Coldharbour was extended north- eastwards as the Drove, (fn. 230) and a school built between it and Antrobus Road (fn. 231) separated areas of council and private housing. In the Drove, in and off Kitchener Road, and in Beacon Close in an angle of London Road and the railway, private housing, mainly bungalows, was built between 1957 and 1975. South-east of the town new housing was built for military personnel: by 1957 c. 45 houses had been built in Imber Avenue and Ashley Walk, 36 south-west of Allington Way, and c. 60 in Lyndhurst Road near the town; in Beaulieu Road, off Lyndhurst Road, c. 56 houses were built in the early 1960s; and in the 1970s more houses were built at Boscombe Down, mainly south-west of Allington Way and on both sides of Milton Road. A large estate of private houses was built on high ground in the south-east part of the town between 1975 and 1985, (fn. 232) and in the early 1990s numerous private houses were being built on the remaining open space, bounded by Holders Road, Boscombe Road, and the line of the railway, between the town and Boscombe Down.
In the old part of the town Redworth House was bought by Amesbury rural district council in 1949 for use as offices: (fn. 233) in 1993 it was so used by Salisbury district council and Wiltshire county council. The Centre, a new road to divert north and south traffic from High Street and School Road, was made across the garden of Amesbury House in 1964–5: (fn. 234) on the east side of the new road the house was replaced by a health centre opened in 1970 (fn. 235) and a new public library opened in 1973; (fn. 236) on the west side the garden was converted to a public car park in 1973. (fn. 237) The library is octagonal with walls of chequered flint and ashlar and a pyramidal roof of sheeted metal. The old workhouse was demolished in 1967; (fn. 238) houses were built on its site. A small group of shops in Abbey Square off the north-west side of Church Street was built in 1917; (fn. 239) a supermarket on the north side of Salisbury Street and new shops on the corner of Salisbury Street and Flower Lane were built in 1984. (fn. 240) Accommodation for old people built in the 1970s and 1980s includes 50 rooms at Buckland Court in Salisbury Road, 35 flats in the grounds of Amesbury Abbey, (fn. 241) and c. 26 flats in London Road. At the west end of London Road 31 houses were built c. 1985, and the farmyard of Red House farm in Salisbury Road was used for housing c. 1990. In the later 20th century there has been infilling in most parts of the town, and in the early 1990s an estate of c. 30 houses was built behind buildings on the north-west side of High Street. Church Street, High Street, and Salisbury Street are in a conservation area designated in 1980. (fn. 242)
Bridges. At the south-west end of High Street, part of the London—Bridgwater road, (fn. 243) there was a bridge across a course of the Avon in the late 16th century. The bridge was of several arches and was called West bridge in 1578. (fn. 244) There were two bridges in 1593, (fn. 245) in 1675 there was a stone bridge over an east course and a wooden bridge over a west course, (fn. 246) and in 1726 the river was apparently crossed by a ford below West Mill and by the two bridges. The crossing remained north-west of the south-west end of High Street in 1726. (fn. 247) A new crossing in a straight line with High Street was made before 1773, (fn. 248) presumably soon after the turnpiking of the road in 1761. (fn. 249) Queensberry bridge was built on that line in 1775 to replace an existing stone bridge (fn. 250) over the western and main course; it is of ashlar and has five segmental rusticated arches and a solid parapet. A small stone bridge over the east course is apparently also 18th-century.
The north—south road likely to have been diverted to the north-east side of the priory precinct soon after 1177 (fn. 251) crossed the Avon at the north-east corner of the precinct on Grey bridge, so called in 1540. (fn. 252) In the later 16th century there were two bridges, (fn. 253) presumably one over a north course and one over a south course, and there were two such bridges in 1636 and later. Only the southern, over the main course, bore the name Grey bridge in the 18th century. (fn. 254) It was replaced by a new bridge built c. 1970. (fn. 255) The northern, built in the 18th century and widened in 1910, (fn. 256) is of two arches and of ashlar.
Inns. Amesbury, a market town on a main road, has had many inns. It had four or five in the early 16th century, one of which, the George, first mentioned in 1522, (fn. 259) bore the same name in 1993 and, on the north-west side of High Street, (fn. 260) almost certainly occupied the same site. The timber-framed range adjoining the street had a jettied upper floor and was evidently built c. 1560, shortly after the inn was damaged by fire. (fn. 261) The north-eastern end was raised, a carriageway made through the centre, and the jetty underbuilt with stone in the 18th century, evidently soon after the inn was damaged in the fire of 1751. (fn. 262) About 1908 a back range which formed the north-west side of a courtyard was demolished and a brick wing was built at the south-west end. (fn. 263) Sir George Rodney committed suicide at the George in 1601. (fn. 264) The inn had a cockpit and a skittle alley c. 1735. (fn. 265) Three other early 16th-century inns, the Three Cups, the Swan, and the Crown may all have ceased to be inns in the early 18th century: the Three Cups and the Swan were in High Street. (fn. 266)
In 1620 there were six innkeepers and three alehouse keepers in Amesbury. (fn. 267) Of the inns in 1635 the Chopping Knife, in High Street, bore its name until 1800 or later, the Falcon until 1717 or later. The White Hart in High Street, an inn in 1700 and 1726, was later called the Jockey: it remained open until c. 1800. In addition to the George, the Chopping Knife, and the White Hart, the Bear, on the south-east side near the south-west end, and the Three Tuns, on the same side near the middle, were in High Street in 1726. The New Inn, open in 1726 (fn. 268) and until the 1780s, was rebuilt, possibly c. 1761, and was later called Comilla House. (fn. 269) The Bear is last known to have been an inn in 1770, (fn. 270) the Three Tuns in 1771. (fn. 271) Several new inns were evidently opened in the earlier 18th century, the Angel and the Ship (each mentioned only in 1717), (fn. 272) the King's Arms and the Greyhound (each in High Street and first mentioned in 1735), (fn. 273) and the Red Lion, which had been renamed the Fox by 1750. (fn. 274) The Greyhound, near the George, was damaged by the fire of 1751 and had been closed by 1771; (fn. 275) the Fox was damaged by fire in 1803 (fn. 276) and is not known to have been open later.
The closure of several inns in the late 18th century and early 19th was evidently at a time of diminished prosperity in Amesbury. There were almost certainly fewer inns in the town in 1822 than at any time since the Middle Ages: there were then four, the George, the King's. Arms, the New Inn, and the Bell Tap. (fn. 277) The King's Arms and the New Inn were presumably the houses, in Church Street and on the southeast side of High Street respectively, bearing those names in 1993; the house in High Street was formerly the Three Tuns. (fn. 278) The King's Arms is a brick house of the 18th century. The New Inn, timber-framed and of the late 16th century or early 17th, has a large central room, a north-east parlour, and a south-west cross wing; a carriageway, cut through the south-west end of the central room when the house was converted to an inn, was later taken back into the room. The Bell Tap was presumably on the site of the Bell, so called in 1880, (fn. 279) on the north side of Salisbury Street: the Bell was rebuilt in 1908. (fn. 280) A fifth inn, an 18th-century house of banded chalk and brick at the corner of Coldharbour and Earls Court Road, was opened as the Greyhound in the 1930s (fn. 281) and remained open in 1993.
Public services. In 1827 a lockup with a curved west wall was built in the north-east angle of High Street and the market place. (fn. 282) No constable was appointed by a court at Amesbury after the county police force was formed in 1839. (fn. 283) There was a police station in Salisbury Street in the 1880s; (fn. 284) that and the lockup presumably remained in use until a new police station was built in School Road in 1912. The lockup was standing in 1993, when it was a shop. The police station in School Road had four cells, and living accommodation for a superintendent, a sergeant, and four unmarried constables. (fn. 285) It was converted for private residence after a new police station was opened in Salisbury Road in 1976. (fn. 286)
Amesbury had a fire engine from 1771 or earlier. In 1771 it was housed on the south side of Smithfield Street or in Frog Lane or Tanners Lane, (fn. 287) presumably at the angle of Frog Lane and the market place as it was in 1812 (fn. 288) and 1823. (fn. 289) About 1920 a motorized fire engine was bought and a new building at the angle of Earls Court Road and Salisbury Road erected to house it. (fn. 290) In 1954–5 a new fire station was built at the junction of Salisbury Road and Flower Lane. (fn. 291).
A gasworks had been built north of the town and on the south bank of the Avon by 1878. (fn. 292) Electricity was generated by the Amesbury Electric Light Company at South Mill from 1922: (fn. 293) the gasworks was removed between 1899 and 1923, (fn. 294) presumably c. 1922. Electricity mains were laid from 1927. (fn. 295) Electricity was later supplied from other sources, substations were constructed at Ratfyn, (fn. 296) and in 1948 South Mill was closed as a power station. (fn. 297) Public sewers were laid, disposal works were built south of the town, and a pumping station was built in Flower Lane, all c. 1905. The disposal works were rebuilt in 1931 and the new works were later extended. Between 1937 and 1948 the War Department built disposal works at Ratfyn to serve Boscombe Down and other military camps. The sewerage systems were integrated after the Second World War. (fn. 298) Water mains were laid in the town c. 1926. (fn. 299).
Wilts. & Dorset Motor Services had a garage in Amesbury in 1923, (fn. 302) built a bus station at the junction of Salisbury Road and Salisbury Street in the mid 1930s, (fn. 303) and built a new garage c. 1937. (fn. 304) The bus depot was closed c. 1971. (fn. 305)
There was a public reading room in Church Street in 1910 and 1923: (fn. 306) it was presumably closed in 1925 when Antrobus House was opened. (fn. 307) A branch of the county library was opened in the town in 1950–1, was in the former fire station at the angle of Earls Court Road and Salisbury Road from 1959 to 1973, and in 1973 was moved to the new library building. (fn. 308)
Recreation. Amesbury had several bands in the late 19th century and early 20th. A town brass band formed c. 1878 was re-formed after the First World War, acquired new silver-plated instruments in 1930, and continued until the mid 1960s. In 1969 it was re-formed as Amesbury Town Silver Band, (fn. 309) which, as Amesbury Town Band, still gave performances in the 1990s. (fn. 310)
A bioscope was set up at the junction of Earls Court Road and Salisbury Road in 1911 or soon after, and a wooden cinema was built there. A new cinema, the Plaza, was opened in 1936 (fn. 311) and demolished in 1993. (fn. 312) The New Theatre Ballroom in High Street was open in the 1940s and 1950s. (fn. 313)
Antrobus House in Salisbury Road (fn. 314) was opened in 1925. It was built for public use by a trust endowed by members of the Antrobus family, who until 1915 owned most of the land in the parish, and contained on the first floor a museum and a library and on the ground floor a hall to be used as a reading room and for social functions. The two-storeyed building, designed by Geoffrey Fildes, is of red brick with stone dressings, is in neo-Wren style, and has a tall central block surmounted by a cupola; it is flanked by a curator's house and a caretaker's house, each in similar style, one to the north and one to the south. Also for public use tennis courts and a bowling green were made in its garden c. 1925. (fn. 315) In the later 20th century there were few artefacts in the museum and both the upper room and the lower were available for meetings: Amesbury town council met in the upper. (fn. 316) The caretaker lived in one of the houses, the other having been converted to service rooms. (fn. 317)
A recreation ground south-west of the town was opened in the 1920s: it has been used for team sports, carnivals, and flower shows. (fn. 318) In 1974 a sports hall and youth centre was opened near the school off Antrobus Road. (fn. 319)
West Amesbury. In the Middle Ages the village evidently consisted of a line of farmsteads on the north side of the road following the right bank of the Avon. (fn. 320) So called in 1205, (fn. 321) and with its own open fields and common pastures in the 13th century, (fn. 322) it may represent planned colonization on Amesbury manor. In the 17th century the road was called a street where it passed through the village, (fn. 323) which was often called Little Amesbury. (fn. 324) Taxation assessments of the 14th century suggest that the village was small, (fn. 325) and it is likely never to have contained as many as 10 farmsteads. It had c. 60 inhabitants in 1841 (fn. 326) and contained 2 houses and 12 cottages in 1910. (fn. 327)
In the mid 16th century a new house was built on the north side of the street at the east end; from 1618 or earlier, possibly until 1628, it was apparently lived in by the lord of West Amesbury manor, (fn. 328) and it survives as the west range of West Amesbury House. It has thick walls of rubble and a five-bayed roof with arch-braced collar trusses and curved wind braces. The ground floor has two rooms separated by an east—west cross passage, and the moulded timber screen to the north survives. The first floor, which is entered from the east throught a stone doorway with a two-centred head, was originally a single room open to the roof. The house was altered in the early 17th century, the date of two walls of panelling. It seems to have been a farmhouse from 1628 (fn. 329) until the early 18th century, when it was enlarged; the enlargement is most likely to have been soon after 1735, the year in which the house was bought by Charles, duke of Queensberry. (fn. 330) A large eastern extension was built and the original house was partly refitted; the original staircase does not survive and was presumably removed then. The gabled south front of the old house was rebuilt as the west end of a symmetrical front in which stands a slightly recessed entrance. The whole front was built of chequered stone and flint, with mullioned windows and tall gables, probably as a deliberate attempt to give the house an appearance of antiquity. In the 19th century a range of building to the east was demolished, part of it between 1812 and 1825, (fn. 331) and minor additions were made to the north and east parts of the house. West of the house stands an 18th-century red-brick stable. By 1773 a small formal garden had been made east of the house and, south of the house, and avenue had been planted between the street and the river; (fn. 332) opposite the entrance to the house rusticated gate piers apparently of the 18th century stand at the entrance to the avenue. West Amesbury House was a farmhouse in the mid 19th century (fn. 333) but not in the 20th. (fn. 334)
A farmhouse described in 1728 as new (fn. 335) is evidently the house called Moor Hatches in 1993. It is the only house known to have been built on the south side of the street. Adjoining it a farm building bears a date stone apparently of the 1720s: that, other farm buildings, and a new building to link them, (fn. 336) were adapted to form a single house in the 20th century. Also in the street in 1993 stood a thatched 18th-century farmhouse and a thatched, apparently 17thcentury, cottage, each much enlarged in its own style, two large thatched barns converted for residence, and a thatched range of serveral cottages each of a single storey and attic. A little west of the village Coneybury House, in vernacular style and thatched, was built between 1923 and 1939. (fn. 337) Farm buildings in the street went out of use in the 20th century, (fn. 338) and the village was designated a conservation area in 1980. (fn. 339)
On the downs west of the village a farmstead, called Fargo or Virgo and incorporating a pair of cottages, was built between 1825 and 1851 (fn. 340) and demolished c. 1917. (fn. 341) Beside the Exeter road a pair of cottages was built between 1825 and 1846; (fn. 342) a house stood on the site in 1993. Stonehenge Cottages beside it were built in the 1930s. (fn. 343)
In the 20th century, mostly in the 1920s and 1930s, c. 25 private houses were built on the south side of Stonehenge Road east of the village and 5 in Riverside Avenue south of the road at its east end. A thatched 18th-century cottage stands at that end; near it a toll house demolished in the earlier 20th century (fn. 344) was similar to that at Countess. (fn. 345)
Countess. If there were open fields in the north-west corner of the parish (fn. 346) they may have been worked from a settlement of several farmsteads, but there is evidence of only one from 1364, when it was called Countess Court, (fn. 347) to 1993, when it was called Countess Farm. The name Countess was evidently taken from either Rametta (fl. 1248), a daughter of John Viscount and called the Viscountess, Joan, countess of Lincoln (d. by 1322), or Alice, countess of Lincoln and of Salisbury (d. 1348), each of whom held the land. (fn. 348) Countess Farm, beside the road leading south to Amesbury on the west bank of the Avon, is likely to be on the site of Countess Court. The farmhouse consists of two ranges: the west is a 17th-century timber-framed block which was extended northwards and encased in brick in the 18th century; the east, with a principal east front, was added in the early 19th. The course of the road was apparently moved a little east from the house, (fn. 349) presumably when the east range was built. Among modern farm buildings stand four weatherboarded barns, two of 5 bays, one of 7, and one of 3: two are dated 1772 and the others are apparently contemporary with them.
Several cottages were built near the farmstead in the 19th and 20th centuries, on the west side of the road a pair between 1812 and 1825, a pair between 1825 and 1846, (fn. 350) and a trio between 1899 and 1915, and on the east side a pair between 1915 and 1923. (fn. 351) On the west side and c. 250 m. north of the farmstead stands a toll house, of red brick with a pyramidal roof, evidently of c. 1761. (fn. 352) On the east side and beside the boundary with Durrington a house called Totterdown was standing in 1773. (fn. 353) It was demolished between 1812 and 1825. (fn. 354)
The road, from the north-east end of High Street to the parish boundary, was called Countess Road from the mid 20th century. (fn. 355) A new Totterdown House was built near the site of the old c. 1927, (fn. 356) and both sides of Countess Road were built up with private houses southwards from the Durrington boundary from c. 1926. (fn. 357) By 1993 c. 116 had been built between the boundary and Countess Farm. In the north-east angle of Countess Road and the Amesbury bypass a hotel, a restaurant, and a filling station were built in 1989 for motorists. (fn. 358)
Ratfyn. In the 14th and 15th centuries Ratfyn was a settlement of several farmsteads and cottages on the east bank of the Avon and had a chapel. (fn. 361) It had 17 poll-tax payers in 1377, (fn. 362) fewer than 10 households in 1428. (fn. 363) In the 16th century it may have been the site of only a single farmstead, (fn. 364) as it was in the 19th. A farmhouse and two pairs of cottages stood there in 1846 (fn. 365) and two more cottages were built between 1923 and 1937. In the 20th century Ratfyn has been the site of a railway junction and siding, two railway-engine sheds, a sewage disposal works, and two electricity substations. (fn. 366)
The present farmhouse was built in the later 18th century and was L-shaped. Its main fronts, south and east, are of red brick, the others of chequered chalk and flint. The angle was filled by a block built in the early 19th century, and later in that century a north service wing was built. The two pairs of cottages had been converted to a terrace by 1876; (fn. 367) part of it is apparently 18th-century, the rest 19th-century. There are two groups of farm buildings, one mainly and one wholly 20th-century.
On the downs east of the hamlet New Barn was built beside the London road between 1846 and 1876. Three cottages were built beside it in the early 20th century. (fn. 368)
Manors and other estates.
King Alfred (d. 899) devised Amesbury to his son Aethelweard. (fn. 369) The estate may have belonged to rulers of the region for many centuries: Stonehenge is likely to have been built and developed by such rulers, (fn. 370) and the legend that Ambrosius Aurelianus was active locally and gave his name to Amesbury may have a basis in fact. (fn. 371) On Aethelweard's death in 922 Amesbury presumably reverted to Alfred's son King Edward the Elder (d. 924) (fn. 372) and apparently descended with the crowns of Wessex and of England. (fn. 373) Edward the Elder's son King Eadred (d. 955) devised it to his mother Eadgifu; (fn. 374) she possibly held it for life, and c. 979 it may have been held by Aelfthryth, who was the relict of King Edgar, Eadgifu's grandson. (fn. 375) Amesbury continued to pass with the Crown and was one of King Edward the Confessor's estates held, after the Conquest, by William I, who took from it yearly only the cost of keeping his household for one night. (fn. 376)
In 1086 the king's Amesbury estate included land away from Amesbury itself, (fn. 377) and nearly all of what became Amesbury parish belonged to him. Before the Conquest part of the estate, probably land at Amesbury, was held by three thegns, but between 1067 and 1071 it was acquired by William FitzOsbern, earl of Hereford, and given to the king in an exchange; (fn. 378) King Edward (d. 1066) gave 2 hides of the estate to Wilton abbey, (fn. 379) but in 1086 the abbey held nothing at Amesbury. Two other estates at Amesbury in 1066 were not the king's: Ulmer held 1 hide, and Alric and Cole between them held 3 yardlands. Edward of Salisbury, sheriff of Wiltshire, held both estates in 1086, when Osmund held them of him, and an Englishman held of Osmund 1½ of the 3 yardlands; (fn. 380) both presumably passed to Edward's son Walter (d. 1147) and grandson Patrick, earl of Salisbury, (fn. 381) and presumably were part of Amesbury manor from the mid 12th century. (fn. 382) Ratfyn, however, was not part of the king's Amesbury estate in 1086 and did not belong to a lord of Amesbury manor until 1841. (fn. 383)
The Amesbury estate which William I held apparently passed with the Crown until the 1140s. It is likely to have been granted, without most of the land away from Amesbury, by the Empress Maud to Patrick of Salisbury when, between 1142 and 1147, she created him earl of Salisbury, and Patrick held it in 1155. (fn. 384) By the earlier 13th century parts of Amesbury parish had been subinfeudated; (fn. 385) Bentley wood in West Dean, almost certainly part of the estate in 1086, (fn. 386) was evidently not subinfeudated and remained part of Amesbury manor until the 19th century. (fn. 387)
AMESBURY manor descended with the earldom of Salisbury from Patrick (fn. 388) (d. 1168) to his son William (fn. 389) (d. 1196) and William Longespee (fn. 390) (d. 1226), the husband of William's daughter and heir Ela (d. 1261): Longespee's lands were forfeited in 1216, for his support of Louis of France, and restored in 1217. (fn. 391) Ela, who took the veil in 1238, held the manor from 1226, (fn. 392) and in 1236–7 it passed to her son William Longespee (d. 1250), styled earl of Salisbury. (fn. 393) It descended to that William's son Sir William (d. 1257), who was granted free warren in his demesne land in 1252. (fn. 394) Sir William's daughter and heir Margaret was a minor, (fn. 395) and Queen Eleanor held the manor from 1257 to 1268 when Margaret, from 1261 countess of Salisbury (d. 1306 X 1310), and her husband Henry de Lacy, earl of Lincoln (d. 1311), entered on it. (fn. 396) On Lacy's death it passed to his and Margaret's daughter Alice, countess of Lincoln and of Salisbury (d. 1348), wife of Thomas, earl of Lancaster (d. 1322). (fn. 397)
A dispute whether Alice was lawfully married to Thomas or to Richard de St. Martin, a knight of John de Warenne, earl of Surrey, led to armed conflict between Thomas and John in 1317–18: when they made peace in 1319 part of Alice's inheritance, including Amesbury manor, was granted to John for life. (fn. 398) In 1322, after Thomas was judged a traitor and executed, Alice, later wife of Ebles Lestrange, Lord Strange, granted the reversion of the manor to Edward II (fn. 399) who, also in 1322, granted it to the younger Hugh le Despenser, Lord le Despenser; (fn. 400) the king resumed it on Despenser's execution in 1326, and in 1327 granted the manor to Joan, wife of John, earl of Surrey, for life from her husband's death. (fn. 401) John died seised in 1347; (fn. 402) Joan granted her life interest to Edward, prince of Wales, in 1348 (fn. 403) and died in 1361. (fn. 404)
In 1337 Edward III created William de Montagu earl of Salisbury and granted to him the reversion of Amesbury manor in tail male. (fn. 405) The reversion passed on William's death in 1344 to his son William, earl of Salisbury (d. 1397), (fn. 406) who entered on the manor in 1361. (fn. 407) In 1365 John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, and his wife Blanche claimed Amesbury and other manors from William on the apparently spurious grounds that the manors were part of the inheritance of Thomas, earl of Lancaster, which passed to his brother Henry, earl of Lancaster (d. 1345), when the judgement against Thomas was reversed in 1327, and which descended to Blanche as Henry's granddaughter. The dispute was referred to the king, (fn. 408) and by a compromise William, earl of Salisbury, retained Amesbury manor. (fn. 409) At William's death in 1397 the manor passed with the earldom to his nephew John de Montagu (d. 1400), on whose attainder in 1401 (fn. 410) it was forfeited to Henry IV. The king, as heir of Thomas, earl of Lancaster, claimed to hold it as part of the duchy of Lancaster, (fn. 411) but restored it to John's son Thomas, earl of Salisbury, in 1409. (fn. 412) At Thomas's death in 1428 Amesbury manor, which was held in tail male, was separated from the earldom of Salisbury, which was limited to heirs of the body, and passed to his uncle Richard de Montagu (d. s.p.m. 1429). On Richard's death the manor escheated to Henry VI subject to the dower of Thomas's relict Alice, from 1430 wife of William de la Pole, earl of Suffolk, in a third. (fn. 413)
In 1433 the king granted the manor to his uncle John, duke of Bedford (d. 1435), whose heir he was. (fn. 414) It was held as dower by John's relict Jacquette (d. 1472) in 1436–7, (fn. 415) but in 1438–9 was again the king's. (fn. 416) In 1439 the king sold it to his granduncle Cardinal Henry Beaufort, bishop of Winchester, (fn. 417) to whom in 1441 Alice, countess of Suffolk, and her husband, on receipt of compensation from the king, surrendered her third. (fn. 418) Cardinal Beaufort granted the whole manor of Amesbury to the hospital of Holy Cross, Winchester, in 1446. (fn. 419)
After the victory of Edward IV, supported by Richard Nevill, earl of Warwick, over Henry VI, in 1461 parliament restored to Richard's mother Alice, countess of Salisbury, daughter of Thomas, earl of Salisbury (d. 1428), Amesbury manor and other lands which John, earl of Salisbury, held at his death opposing Henry IV in 1400: that the manor had been restored in 1409 and, held in tail male, had escheated to Henry VI in 1429 was ignored, (fn. 420) and the hospital of Holy Cross was deprived of it. (fn. 421) On Alice's death in 1462 Amesbury manor passed to Warwick (d. 1471), at the partition of whose lands it was allotted to his daughter Isabel (d. 1476), wife of George Plantagenet, duke of Clarence (d. 1478). From 1478 it was held by Isabel's son Edward Plantagenet, earl of Warwick, a minor, (fn. 422) but in 1492 Margaret, countess of Richmond (d. 1509), the mother of Henry VII and grandniece of Cardinal Beaufort, petitioned parliament for it: she referred to the earlier tenure in tail male, by which it escheated to Henry VI, claimed it as Beaufort's heir, ignored Beaufort's gift of it to Holy Cross, and succeeded in her petition. (fn. 423) The manor was apparently held in 1501 by Henry VII, (fn. 424) and descended to Henry VIII. (fn. 425) In 1513 Margaret Pole, from then countess of Salisbury, was given the lands held by her brother Edward, earl of Warwick, at his execution in 1499: (fn. 426) Amesbury manor was not among them, (fn. 427) but she may nevertheless have held it between 1513 and 1515. Thereafter, however, it was the king's (fn. 428) and in 1536 he granted it to Sir Edward Seymour, Viscount Beauchamp, (fn. 429) from 1537 earl of Hertford, from 1547 duke of Somerset. (fn. 430) By Act of 1540 the manor was settled on Seymour for life, and after on his son Edward by his wife Anne Stanhope. (fn. 431)
In 1541 Seymour acquired other land in the parish, (fn. 432) and thereafter Amesbury manor came to be called the EARLDOM or Earl's manor of Amesbury. Seymour held it until he was executed and attainted in 1552. An Act of that year confirmed the Act of 1540, and the manor was appointed to Edward (fn. 433) (a minor until 1558, cr. earl of Hertford 1559, d. 1621); it descended with the earldom to that Edward's grandson William Seymour (cr. marquess of Hertford 1641, duke of Somerset 1660, d. 1660), to William's grandson William Seymour, duke of Somerset (d. 1671), and to that William's uncle John Seymour, duke of Somerset (d. 1675). On John's death the manor passed to the younger William's sister Elizabeth (d. 1697), from 1676 wife of Thomas Bruce (d. 1741), earl of Ailesbury from 1685. Elizabeth's heir, her son Charles Bruce, (fn. 434) in 1720 sold it to his cousin once removed Henry Boyle, Lord Carleton (d. 1725), (fn. 435) who devised it to his nephew Charles Douglas, duke of Queensberry (d. 1778), the husband of Catherine Hyde (d. 1777), reputedly Henry's natural daughter. (fn. 436) The manor passed in 1778 with the dukedom to Charles's cousin once removed William Douglas; at William's death in 1820 it passed to his kinsman Archibald Douglas, Lord Douglas; and in 1825 Lord Douglas sold it to Sir Edmund Antrobus, Bt. (d. 1826). (fn. 437) It descended with the baronetcy to Sir Edmund's nephew Sir Edmund Antrobus (d. 1870), to that Sir Edmund's son Sir Edmund (d. 1899), and in turn to that Sir Edmund's sons Sir Edmund (d. 1915) and Sir Cosmo. (fn. 438) Other manors and estates in the parish were added to the Earldom manor, principally the Priory manor in 1541, West Amesbury in 1735, Coombes Court and Countess Court in 1760, and Ratfyn in 1841, (fn. 439) and from 1841 the Antrobuses owned nearly all the parish. Sir Cosmo offered the estate for sale in 1915, when most land of the Earldom manor was in Earls Court, Ratfyn, and Red House farms. (fn. 440)
A. C. Young bought Earls Court and Ratfyn farms, 1,613 a., in 1916, and in 1919 sold them to the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries. (fn. 441) Earls Court farm, 236 a., was immediately fragmented as smallholdings. (fn. 442) Ratfyn farm was divided by the Ministry of Agriculture into three farms. Beacon Hill farm, 451 a., was bought c. 1955 by Mr. C. H. Crook, the owner in 1993; Pennings farm, 262 a., was bought in 1960 by E. C. Sandell, whose son Mr. I. F. Sandell owned it in 1993. (fn. 443) Red House farm, 964 a., was bought in 1916 by John Wort (d. 1921), George Way (d. 1939), and J. H. Wort (d. 1960), (fn. 444) in business together as Wort & Way, builders, of Salis bury. (fn. 445) Wort & Way sold 283 a. in 1925, c. 50 a. in 1947, further land in 1949, and 53 a. in 1960, all to the state for Boscombe Down airfield and housing associated with it. (fn. 446) The firm was dissolved in 1967. (fn. 447) The remainder of Red House farm was sold in 1982 by H. G. Way to Mr. J. C. Salvidge, the owner of 300 a. of it in 1993. In the later 1980s Mr. Salvidge sold c. 150 a. as Stockport farm to Mr. I. F. Sandell, the owner of that land in 1993, and 56 a. in 1990 to the Ministry of Defence. (fn. 448)
Amesbury abbey is unlikely to have owned any land in the parish apart from its own site, and in 1179 Amesbury priory, which replaced the abbey in 1177, was endowed with none outside the site. (fn. 449) What became the PRIORY manor was built up piecemeal: the priory acquired 1 yardland in Amesbury in 1237, (fn. 450) presumably the land which it held in 1242, (fn. 451) and 105 a. in West Amesbury from Roger Convers in 1268, (fn. 452) presumably the land which it held there in 1275. (fn. 453) The priory was granted free warren in its demesne land in the parish in 1286. (fn. 454) Other land may have been added to the estate by 1291 when the priory's temporalities in the parish were worth £7 a year, (fn. 455) and in 1315 Walter Lovel gave 6 bovates in West Amesbury, an estate in which the priory had held Walter Aleyn's life interest since 1309. (fn. 456) At the Dissolution (fn. 457) it held its own site, mills, 37 a. of meadow, pasture, and parkland, a nominal 290 a. of arable, feeding for 374 sheep, c. 50 cottages and houses in the town, including two inns, and a further c. 10 a.: (fn. 458) some of its agricultural land was in Amesbury, some in West Amesbury. (fn. 459) In an exchange the Crown granted that estate in 1541 to Edward, earl of Hertford, (fn. 460) later duke of Somerset, on whose attainder in 1552 it was forfeited. In 1553, under the Act of 1552, it was assigned to Edward's son Edward, from 1559 earl of Hertford, in recompense for lands settled on the younger Edward in 1540 and alienated before 1552. (fn. 461) Later called Amesbury Priory manor it descended with the Earldom manor. (fn. 462) In 1915 it was represented by an estate which, including the site of the priory and some of its lands, consisted of Amesbury Abbey, its park, and land adjoining the park to the west, a total of 264 a. (fn. 463) That estate passed from Sir Cosmo Antrobus, Bt. (d. 1939), with the baronetcy to his cousin Sir Philip Antrobus (d. 1968) and his second cousin once removed Sir Philip Antrobus. (fn. 464) In 1979–80 the house and c. 20 a. were sold to Mr. J. V. Cornelius-Reid, the owner in 1992. (fn. 465) Of the rest c. 200 a. belonged to Sir Philip in 1992. (fn. 466)
There is no evidence that the prioress's house was lived in after the Dissolution, and what is likely to have been a smaller house stood on its site c. 1574. (fn. 467) A new mansion house (fn. 468) on the site of the priory was built for Edward, earl of Hertford, between 1595, when he brought the site in hand, (fn. 469) and 1601, when he lived at Amesbury. (fn. 470) It may have been completed by 1599, when Hertford was seeking to exclude a yearly fair from what had been the priory's precinct. (fn. 471) In 1600 a gatehouse, Diana House, was built at the north-east corner of the precinct; also in 1600 an ornamental tower was built, evidently within or overlooking the precinct; and in 1607 a gatehouse, Kent House, was built at the east corner of the precinct. Both Diana House and Kent House are of flint with slated ogee roofs and of two storeys; each has no more than a single pentagonal room to each storey and has an adjoining three-storeyed hexagonal stair turret. Kent House was enlarged, possibly c. 1761 to designs by Henry Flitcroft, (fn. 472) and was a farmhouse in the later 18th century. (fn. 473) The tower, which may have been of similar style, was evidently re-erected as a feature of the landscape around Wilbury House in Newton Tony in the 18th century. (fn. 474) The precincts of the priory, of which the Avon and a wall were boundaries, formed a park around the house, (fn. 475) except that the south-east boundary was evidently moved north-west away from the backs of the buildings in High Street; (fn. 476) the main entrances to the priory, along Abbey Lane (fn. 477) and apparently west of the parish church, (fn. 478) may have been replaced by a main entrance near Kent House and a service entrance near Diana House. There was a bowling green in the park in 1635. (fn. 479) The mansion was lived in by Robert Devereux, earl of Essex, in 1636, (fn. 480) in 1640 visited by Philip, earl of Pembroke, or by Lord Herbert, (fn. 481) and in the Interregnum lived in by William, marquess of Hertford, on the order of parliament. (fn. 482) Nothing remains of it, except perhaps the four-centred doorway incorporated in the basement of the present Amesbury Abbey.
A new house (fn. 483) was evidently designed for Lord Hertford (d. 1660) by John Webb and had been built for him or his successor William, duke of Somerset, by the early 1660s. (fn. 484) Called the Abbey in the mid 18th century, (fn. 485) it was in the style associated with Inigo Jones and innovative in both plan and appearance. The south front was of nine bays and was rusticated on the ground and first floor; in the centre a portico rose through the first and second storeys. The principal rooms were on the first floor and were wrapped around three sides of the main staircase, which was lit from a central recess in the north elevation: although the south front was c. 75 ft. long those rooms were neither numerous nor large. There was a low third storey below the cornice. (fn. 486) In the late 17th century and early 18th the house was leased, (fn. 487) but for most of the period 1725–78 was lived in by Charles and Catherine, duke and duchess of Queensberry. (fn. 488) To provide a new dining room, a new drawing room, and an additional staircase Queensberry added a symmetrical block to each of the east and west sides of the house in the late 1740s and the 1750s, and about then attic dormers were added to the old part of the house. The design of the new blocks has been attributed to Flitcroft. (fn. 489)
In the early 18th century, and almost certainly from when it was built, the house stood within walled enclosures: that on the north-east contained gardens, and on the south there was a forecourt with a semicircular south perimeter from gates in which a double avenue led to the church. A little west of the house stood an irregular group of buildings, probably used as stables, (fn. 490) which was demolished in the early 19th century: some of the buildings, which evidently incorporated round-headed windows, (fn. 491) may have been erected in the 16th century or earlier. Kennels stood north of Diana House in the north-east corner of the park. North and west of the house a canal cut across a meander of the Avon, presumably to serve the priory, divided the park from meadows between the watercourses. In much of the park east and south of the house there were plantations, the geometrical patterns of which were unrelated to the house. Almost certainly between 1720 and 1725 new gates were erected near Kent House. To provide access to the mansion from the London road without entering the town, an entrance avenue, later called Lord's Walk, was then planted east of the gates; within the gates an avenue along the south-east boundary and, from near the church, the south avenue formed a long and dramatic approach to the main front of the house. (fn. 492) In 1733 the walled enclosures were replaced by a smaller forecourt and a haha was made around the house. (fn. 493) After the duke of Queensberry bought West Amesbury manor in 1735 (fn. 494) the formal landscaping was extended west of the Avon. A design of 1738 by Charles Bridgeman included geometrically arranged avenues and paths through plantations on Vespasian's camp. Clearings where the avenues crossed were intended to be the sites of pavilions, and at the centre of the side of the hill facing the house a clearing was to be crossed by a terrace. A large kite-shaped kitchen garden was to be made west of the house, and east a great lawn with a pavilion at its east end. The gardens were unfinished in 1748, and some of Bridgeman's designs, almost certainly including the kitchen garden, were not executed. Plantations, paths, and the terrace on Vespasian's camp were completed, and a vaulted cave was built from the west side of the terrace, to designs attributed to Flitcroft, and was later named after the dramatist John Gay. Access to Vespasian's camp, as proposed by Bridgeman, was along an avenue leading north-west from the house and over the Avon, (fn. 495) and a bridge had been built by 1773: (fn. 496) the present bridge, three-arched and of stone, bears the inscription 1777. (fn. 497) West of the bridge a smaller bridge over an inlet in a marshy area is surmounted by a Chinese pavilion; the pavilion had been built by 1748, was evidently altered or decorated with the advice of Sir William Chambers c. 1772, and was restored in 1986. (fn. 498) The park was enlarged north-westwards after 1760, the year in which the duke of Queensberry bought Countess Court manor, and in 1773 was c. 360 a. (fn. 499) By 1787 the forecourt south of the house had been removed and the park extended to the portico. (fn. 500) By the early 19th century a gateway west of the church had become the principal access to the park, and a drive led from it to the house. (fn. 501) The 17th-century piers of the gateway are presumably those formerly in the forecourt. (fn. 502) The house was not lived in by William, duke of Queensberry, (fn. 503) and in the period 1778–1825 was sometimes leased; land was disparked c. 1778. (fn. 504)
In 1834 Sir Edmund Antrobus began to rebuild Amesbury Abbey to designs by Thomas Hopper. (fn. 505) Although the lower part of the rusticated south wall and some of the foundations of the old house were re-used, the new house, taller by the equivalent of one storey and with a taller and wider portico, differs much from the old. On the first floor of the original block the central saloon was lengthened by having the other rooms on the south front thrown into it, and the staircase, which was moved northwards, was surrounded by an arcaded gallery or landing. The mid 18th-century blocks were built each with and new larger side blocks were built each with a projecting centre of four bays with attached Corinthian three-quarter columns: behind one projection was a new dining room, behind the other a new drawing room. A small service block, with its own symmetrical elevations, was built to the north and partially separated from the house by a small court; it was enlarged in 1860. In 1904, to designs by Detmar Blow, the saloon was refitted and the main staircase from the ground floor to the first was altered from three flights around a square well to a broad stair rising directly from the entrance hall. The house was converted to flats c. 1960, when some of the larger rooms were subdivided, (fn. 506) and to a nursing home c. 1980, when lifts were installed. (fn. 507)
Manors and other estates in the parish evolved from lands of Amesbury manor held by free tenure in the Middle Ages. What became COOMBES COURT manor was held in the 12th and 13th centuries by members of the Everard and Goion families. A little of the land was in West Amesbury. (fn. 508) William, earl of Salisbury (d. 1226), confirmed to Geoffrey Goion I yardland in Amesbury, held by serjeanty, which Geoffrey's forebears had held of William's, (fn. 509) and before 1229 Roger son of Everard and Robert Goion held land in West Amesbury. (fn. 510) Geoffrey Goion held estates in the parish reckoned as ¼ and 1/5 knight's fee in 1242–3. (fn. 511) In 1272 John Goion may have held some or all of the lands, (fn. 512) which are likely to have passed to his son Robert (fl. 1289). (fn. 513) In 1312 John Goion, presumably another, and his wife Alice settled an estate in the parish on themselves and the heirs of John's body with remainder to William Everard and his wife Agnes. (fn. 514) Later Agnes married a John Goion (fn. 515) (perhaps him who fl. 1312), who may have held the estate in 1340. (fn. 516) By 1364 the estate had passed to Agnes's and John's daughter Edith, wife of Walter of Coombe, and it was held by Edith's son Walter of Coombe in 1382. (fn. 517) From then to 1538 it descended with Moels manor in North Tidworth. (fn. 518) It was held from 1407 or earlier by the younger Walter's son or nephew Robert of Coombe; (fn. 519) it passed from Robert (d. by 1416) to his son John, (fn. 520) before 1454 to John's son Richard (fn. 521) (d. by 1460), and from Richard to his brother John. (fn. 522) That John of Coombe's heir was his daughter Joan, wife of Ralph Bannister (d. 1492), and Joan's was her daughter Joan Bannister, who married Thomas Dauntsey (fn. 523) and William Walwyn.
About 1540 Coombes Court manor passed to Edmund Walwyn, (fn. 524) who in 1546–7 sold it to Michael Scot (fn. 525) (d. 1553). Scot devised it to his son Thomas in tail with remainder to his son William (d. 1605), who had entered on it by 1576. William's heir, his son John, (fn. 526) in 1611 sold the manor to Henry Sherfield (fn. 527) (d. 1634), the puritan recorder of, and M.P. for, Salisbury, (fn. 528) whose relict Rebecca Sherfield held it after his death. (fn. 529) By order of Chancery, Sherfield's trustees conveyed it in 1638, subject to Rebecca's jointure, to his principal creditor Sir Thomas Jervoise. (fn. 530) It was held by Sir Thomas's sons Thomas and Henry in 1656 and was apparently settled on Henry in 1664. (fn. 531) In 1668 Henry sold it to William Viner (d. 1680 X 1683). (fn. 532) It passed to William's relict Elizabeth Viner (d. 1697 or 1698) (fn. 533) and to his son William, who in 1701 sold it to Francis Kenton (d. 1719 or 1720). Kenton's heir was his grandson Francis Kenton (fn. 534) (d. 1755), M.P. for Salisbury 1722–7, (fn. 535) who devised it to his cousin Henry Dawson. In 1760 Dawson sold the manor to Charles, duke of Queensberry. (fn. 536)
Coombes Court manor was represented by Viney's farm, 744 a., sold by Sir Cosmo Antrobus with West Amesbury farm to I. C. Crook in 1916. (fn. 537) In 1943 Crook sold it to his son N. C. Crook (d. 1946), whose relict Mrs. M. J. Crook owned it in 1993. (fn. 538)
An estate called PAVYHOLD, nominally 190 a. in Amesbury with pasture rights there, (fn. 539) belonged to the lord of Countess Court manor in 1584 (fn. 540) and probably much earlier. It descended with the manor and was bought in 1760 by Charles, duke of Queensberry. (fn. 541)
Land possibly acquired from the lord of Countess Court manor in the later 14th century by Robert Saucer, was held in 1428 by his sons-in-law Thomas Hobbes and Walter Mes sager, (fn. 542) and may have been SAUCER'S yardland in Amesbury, which descended with a holding mainly in West Amesbury. (fn. 543) The yardland was sold by Thomas Hayward to trustees of Henry Spratt in 1718, and given to Spratt's school in Amesbury in 1719. (fn. 544) The school owned it until 1900. (fn. 545)
In 1743 Anne Wormstall alias Tyler gave 57 a. in Amesbury with pasture rights there to support a General Baptist congregation in Rushall. In 1771 the estate was acquired by Charles, duke of Queensberry, in exchange for £30 a year and added to his Amesbury estate. (fn. 546)
The land of West Amesbury, apparently all part of the king's Amesbury estate in 1086 and subinfeudated later, was in several freeholds in the 13th century. Some land was acquired by Amesbury priory and became part of the Priory manor. (fn. 547)
What became WEST AMESBURY manor was held of William, styled earl of Salisbury, by Patrick de Montfort as mesne lord in 1242–3. (fn. 548) The manor apparently evolved from the carucate conveyed by Reynold of Bungay and his wife Philippe to John son of Warin in 1236. (fn. 549) The Bungays may have retained an interest in that land: in 1242–3 Rayner of Bungay, probably Reynold, was said to hold land in West Amesbury of Patrick, (fn. 550) and in 1249 John son of Warin disputed the carucate with Philippe's daughters Petra, wife of John of Lincoln, and Pauline. (fn. 551) The carucate may have been that held, apparently c. 1260, by John Renger (fn. 552) (d. by 1270), whose heirs were his sisters Idony, wife of Richard of Hadstock, Cecily, wife of Roger le Gras, and Margery, relict of John Veel: the heirs conveyed that land to Richard le Gras who in 1270 conveyed it to Nicholas, son of Ellis, and his wife Alice. (fn. 553) It may also have been the land held, possibly as early as 1275, by John of Monmouth (fn. 554) who conveyed that land, or a large part of it, to William de Forstel in 1308. (fn. 555) William's relict Eleanor, wife of Ralph of Coulston, made an unsuccessful claim for dower in 1328, and about then the land apparently passed from Monmouth to John Pauncefoot and his wife Maud. (fn. 556) What became West Amesbury manor descended in the Pauncefoot family: (fn. 557) it was held in 1379 by Richard Pauncefoot, (fn. 558) possibly John's grandson, in 1412 by Richard's son Thomas, (fn. 559) and in 1428, when it was said to have been earlier Patrick de Montfort's, by Thomas's son Walter. (fn. 560) In 1429 Walter conveyed it to his brother Robert, (fn. 561) whose heir was his daughter Elizabeth (d. 1528), wife of James Daubeney. (fn. 562) The Daubeneys held the manor in 1510 (fn. 563) and it descended with the manor of Wayford (Som.) to their son Giles (d. 1559), who in 1546 settled it on his son Hugh (d. 1565), and to Hugh's son Giles (d. 1630), who in 1607 settled it on his son James (d. s.p. 1613). (fn. 564) About 1615 James's feoffees sold the manor to Robert Newdick, who added it to South's estate, bought in 1614, and was much impleaded by his creditors; (fn. 565) in 1628 Newdick sold the enlarged manor to Sir Laurence Washington (fn. 566) (d. 1643). West Amesbury manor, together with 2 yardlands in Amesbury, descended with Garsdon manor to Sir Laurence's son Laurence (d. 1661) and to Laurence's daughter Elizabeth, from 1671 wife of Sir Robert Shirley, Bt. (from 1677 Baron Ferrers, from 1711 Earl Ferrers). (fn. 567) Elizabeth and Sir Robert sold it to Thomas Hayward in 1677. (fn. 568) Hayward (d. 1724) (fn. 569) was succeeded by his son Philip, rector of Ham, who sold the manor to Charles, duke of Queensberry, in 1735. (fn. 570)
Most of the land of the manor was in an estate of 843 a., consisting of West Amesbury farm, land and a farmstead called Fargo, and 51 a. in Normanton, which was sold with Viney's farm in 1916 by Sir Cosmo Antrobus to I. C. Crook. (fn. 571) Crook sold to the National Trust 389 a. in 1927 and 396 a. in 1929: the trust owned the land in 1993. (fn. 572)
Several freeholds, mostly in West Amesbury, were merged as an estate called SOUTH'S. (fn. 573) An estate in West Amesbury apparently descended in the Saucer family: lands there were held in 1242–3 by John Saucer, of Patrick de Montfort as mesne lord, (fn. 574) in the later 13th century by the same or another John Saucer, (fn. 575) by Robert Saucer (d. by 1393) and his relict Alice, (fn. 576) and by Thomas Saucer (d. by 1428). Robert's and Thomas's lands passed to Robert's daughters Isabel, wife of Walter Messager (fl. 1428), and Anne, wife of Thomas Hobbes (fl. 1428), (fn. 577) and to his grandsons John Messager (fl. 1483), a priest, and Thomas Hobbes. (fn. 578) John Messager's lands may have passed to Hobbes, most of whose estate was bought from his descendants by William South (d. 1552) in the period 1523–8. (fn. 579) South's estate descended to his son Thomas, who in 1577 settled it on his son Thomas (d. 1606), and to the younger Thomas's son Edward. (fn. 580) The first three Souths added to it, (fn. 581) and in 1614 Edward sold it to Robert Newdick: (fn. 582) from c. 1615 South's descended with West Amesbury manor. (fn. 583)
Part of the younger Thomas Hobbes's estate was acquired from his grandson William Silverthorn by Gilbert Beckington in 1517. At Gilbert's death in 1527–8 BECKINGTON'S estate passed to his son John (fn. 584) (fl. 1581). (fn. 585) In 1568 John conveyed it to his son Mellor, (fn. 586) whose son Gilbert held it in 1581. (fn. 587) Gilbert was succeeded c. 1615 (fn. 588) by his son Gilbert (fl. 1654), whose son Gilbert sold the estate, 1½ yardland, to Simon Shepherd 1662–4. In 1678 Shepherd sold it to Thomas Hayward, (fn. 589) and it was merged with West Amesbury manor. (fn. 590)
An estate in West Amesbury, LAMBERT'S, descended with Langford Dangers manor in Little Langford from the mid 13th century to the mid 14th. (fn. 591) Ralph Dangers held it in the mid 13th century, (fn. 592) John Dangers in 1309, (fn. 593) John Dangers in 1364, when it was 2 yardlands, (fn. 594) and William Dangers in 1397. (fn. 595) William's heir was his son Richard whose relict Christine, wife of John Kaynell, sold it to Edmund Lambert c. 1482. (fn. 596) Lambert (d. 1493) was succeeded by his sons William (fn. 597) (d. 1504) and Thomas (fn. 598) (d. 1509) in turn and by Thomas's son William (born c. 1508), (fn. 599) who was presumably the William Lambert who in 1569 sold the land to the elder Thomas South. (fn. 600)
Land in West Amesbury given in 1452 by Thomas Saucer and his wife Christine to Robert Saucer (fl. 1476) (fn. 603) was apparently that held at his death in 1502 by Giles Saucer, whose heir was his son Thomas, a minor. (fn. 604) Its later descent is obscure.
In the later 12th century Bradenstoke priory was given rents of 12d. from Amesbury and 12s. from West Amesbury, and c. 1200 was given I yardland. (fn. 605) The yardland had apparently been alienated by 1205, (fn. 606) as the 12s. rent was in the mid 13th century. (fn. 607) The priory had land in the parish in 1232, (fn. 608) temporalities worth 9.s.2d. in 1291, (fn. 609) and ½ yardland in 1364: (fn. 610) no later reference to its estate there has been found.
Maud Everard gave land in Amesbury to Lacock abbey, (fn. 611) and in 1241 Ela Longespée, abbess of Lacock and previously lord of Amesbury manor, gave 40s. rent from West Amesbury. (fn. 612) The abbey was entitled to the rent, due from Amesbury priory, until the Dissolution, (fn. 613) but there is no evidence that it kept the land.
The land in Amesbury held by Saier de Quency, earl of Winchester (d. 1219), his wife Margaret (d. 1235), and his son Roger, earl of Winchester (d. 1264), (fn. 614) may have been the later COUNTESS COURT manor, also called the Conyger manor. (fn. 615) What did become the manor was held in 1242–3 of the lord of Amesbury manor by Everard Tyes as ¼ knight's fee. (fn. 616) Everard's relict Rametta held it as dower. In 1248 she leased it for 15 years to Sir William Longespé, (fn. 617) either him who was lord of Amesbury manor and died in 1250 or his son, namesake, and heir; by 1253, when the younger Sir William (d. 1257) leased it for life with reversion to himself or his heirs, he had apparently acquired the inheritance. (fn. 618) The estate presumably passed with Amesbury manor to the younger Sir William's daughter and heir Margaret, but the later claim, probably mistaken, that her husband Henry, earl of Lincoln (d. 1311), lord of Amesbury manor in her right, acquired it from what would have been another Everard Tyes (fn. 619) was accepted, and from 1311 to her death by 1322 the estate was held as dower by Henry's relict Joan. (fn. 620) Henry's heir was his and Margaret's daughter Alice (d. 1348) who married Thomas, earl of Lancaster, and in 1322 the estate was claimed by the king because Thomas's lands had been forfeited: (fn. 621) the claim was evidently unjustified and the estate was restored to Alice. In 1326 she and her husband Ebles Lestrange, from 1327 Lord Strange (d. 1335), were licensed to settle it on themselves for life with remainder to the younger Hugh le Despenser, Lord le Despenser, but may not have done so before Despenser was executed in that year. (fn. 622) They later settled it on themselves and their heirs, and between 1335 and 1341 Alice and Ebles's nephew and heir Roger Lestrange, Lord Strange (d. 1349), conveyed it, presumably by sale, to Nicholas de Cauntelo, Lord Cauntelo (d. 1355). The estate was given before 1341 to Nicholas's son William (fn. 623) (d. 1375), from 1355 Lord Cauntelo, but before 1375 to William's son William (of age c. 1366, d. 1375). In 1364 it was held by Lady Isabel de Tours, presumably by a temporary tenure. In 1375 it passed from the younger William to the elder and apparently to William la Zouche, Lord Zouche, a coheir of the younger William. (fn. 624)
Zouche held the manor at his death in 1382. It passed to his son William, Lord Zouche (d. 1396), (fn. 625) and to that William's son William, Lord Zouche (d. 1415), who was named as owner in 1401–2, but it was acquired by that last William's brother Sir John, who held it in 1412 (fn. 626) and 1434. (fn. 627) Sir John's daughter and heir Elizabeth, wife of Sir Nicholas Bowet, left as heirs her daughters Margaret, wife of John Chaworth, and Elizabeth, wife of William Chaworth and later of John Dunham. (fn. 628) The manor was apparently assigned to John and Margaret Chaworth in 1458, (fn. 629) passed on Margaret's death in 1482, when she was the relict of Humphrey Persall, to her son Thomas Chaworth, (fn. 630) and at Thomas's death without issue in 1486 (fn. 631) reverted to Elizabeth. John Dunham held the manor from Elizabeth's death in 1502 (fn. 632) to his own in 1524, it passed to their son Sir John Dunham (fn. 633) (d. 1533), (fn. 634) and descended to Sir John's daughter Anne, wife of Francis Meverell (d. 1564). (fn. 635) The Meverells were succeeded by their son Sampson (d. 1584), whose relict Elizabeth, (fn. 636) wife of Sir Edward Leighton (d. 1593), (fn. 637) held the manor until her death in 1620. (fn. 638) Before 1614 her eldest son Francis Meverell conveyed the reversion to his brother Robert, (fn. 639) from whose death in 1627 Countess Court manor was held by his relict Elizabeth. (fn. 640) By 1632 the manor had passed to Robert's daughter and heir Elizabeth, wife of Thomas Cromwell, Lord Cromwell (cr. earl of Ardglass 1645), (fn. 641) who in 1646 sold it to Robert Gale (fn. 642) (d. 1656). In 1660 Gale's relict Elizabeth Gale sold a lease of the manor for 99 years from 1646 to John Wadman (d. 1688), and in 1674 Gale's son Robert sold the reversion to Wadman's son Robert (d. 1691). The manor descended to Robert Wadman's son John (d. 1745) and to that John's son John, (fn. 643) who in 1760 sold it to Charles, duke of Queensberry. (fn. 644)
In 1917 Sir Cosmo Antrobus sold Countess farm, 1,141 a., to Wort & Way, (fn. 645) the owner of Red House farm. (fn. 646) In 1929 Wort & Way sold the west part, 649 a., to the National Trust. In 1993 the trust owned that land, (fn. 647) members of the Wort family the remaining c. 500 a. (fn. 648)
In 1066 Earl Harold held 2 hides at RATFYN, Aluric 1 hide. Harvey of Wilton held land there in 1084, and in 1086 held the 2 hides in chief and the 1 hide of Edward of Salisbury. (fn. 649) Harvey gave the 1 hide, of which Edward's son Walter of Salisbury (d. 1147) was overlord at the time of the gift, and apparently the 2 hides, to Salisbury cathedral, and the cathedral endowed a prebend of Ratfyn with its land there; c. 1115 the king confirmed the arrangement, (fn. 650) and thenceforward the prebendary's was evidently the only estate at Ratfyn. The prebend was dissolved in 1545 by Act, and in an exchange the bishop of Salisbury gave the Ratfyn estate to Edward, earl of Hertford, (fn. 651) on whose attainder in 1552 it passed to the Crown. (fn. 652) In 1554 the reversion on the death of the last prebendary was granted to David Vincent. (fn. 653) In 1559 Vincent sold the estate to trustees of Ralph Lamb, and in 1562 the trustees conveyed it to St. John's hospital, Winchester. (fn. 654) The hospital owned Ratfyn farm, 502 a., until in 1841 it sold it to Sir Edmund Antrobus. (fn. 655) In 1916 Sir Cosmo Antrobus sold the land to A. C. Young, who in 1919 sold it to the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries. In 1960 the Ministry of Agriculture sold Ratfyn farm to Ratfyn Estates Ltd., a company controlled by H. J. Street; (fn. 656) in 1965 Street's executors sold it, then 681 a., to Lincoln College, Oxford, the owner in 1992. (fn. 657)
Tithes from Amesbury parish may have been taken by Amesbury abbey, and in 1179 they were confirmed to Amesbury priory. (fn. 658) At the Dissolution the RECTORY estate consisted of the oblations given in the parish church, all tithes from the whole parish, and possibly a house. (fn. 659) Henry VIII gave it, with the priory's land in Amesbury, to Edward, earl of Hertford, in the exchange of 1541; (fn. 660) in 1547 Edward VI received it back from Edward, then duke of Somerset, in an exchange and gave it to St. George's chapel, Windsor. (fn. 661) It was confiscated by parliament in 1643, (fn. 662) assigned to the almshouses of Windsor castle in 1654, (fn. 663) and recovered by the chapel at the Restoration. (fn. 664) The tithes were valued at £955 in 1843 and commuted in 1847. (fn. 665)
In 1179 Henry II confirmed to Amesbury priory 5 a. of corn from Ratfyn, possibly representing an estate of tithes held until 1177 by Amesbury abbey. (fn. 666) In the early 15th century Amesbury priory apparently took corn from 6 a. in place of tithes from the demesne land of Ratfyn and tithes in kind from the other land there. Later the priory gave all the tithes to the prebendary of Ratfyn in exchange for a fee-farm rent of 26s. 8d., the sum at which the tithes were valued in 1341. (fn. 667) After the prebend was dissolved, the tithes remained part of the Ratfyn estate, (fn. 668) which was considered tithe free in 1843. (fn. 669) The rent, apparently not granted with the Rectory estate in 1541, (fn. 670) seems to have been kept by the Crown until 1553, when it was last mentioned, and to have been granted with the Ratfyn estate in 1554 and extinguished. (fn. 671)
From the Dissolution the demesne lands of Amesbury priory, reckoned 331 a. in 1843, were tithe free. (fn. 672) For the use of the curate serving the parish church, St. George's chapel reserved a parsonage house from leases of the Rectory estate from 1612, (fn. 673) and the oblations and some small tithes from 1630: (fn. 674) all three became part of the curate's living. (fn. 675)
Amesbury, c. 3,100 a., and West Amesbury, c. 1,350 a., each had a set of open fields and common pastures until the 18th century. The lands of Countess Court manor, c. 800 a., and Ratfyn, c. 500 a., (fn. 676) were separate from them, and in each of those two northern quadrants of the parish there was almost certainly a set of open fields and common pastures in the Middle Ages. (fn. 677)
Amesbury. In 1086 the king's Amesbury estate had land for 40 plough teams, and 39 were on it: there were 16 teams, 55 servi, and 2 coliberts on demesne land, 85 villani and 56 bordars had 23 teams, and there were 70 a. of meadow and 12 square leagues of pasture. (fn. 678) It is likely that much of the land of Durrington was reckoned as part of the estate, as land elsewhere may have been; (fn. 679) it is also likely that much, perhaps most, of the estate was at Amesbury, where later the demesne and customary lands of Amesbury manor seem to have been in a proportion roughly equal to that on the Amesbury estate in 1086. (fn. 680) Other land at Amesbury in 1086 was sufficient for 2 teams, and there were apparently 2 on it; there were 5 coscets and 3 servi, 6 a. of meadow, and 1 square furlong of pasture. (fn. 681)
In the later 12th century the demesne of Amesbury manor included several pasture for cattle, (fn. 682) and in the early 13th century extensive several pasture for sheep: nearly all Amesbury's other land, including some meadow and some pasture for cattle, was evidently used in common. (fn. 683) The demesne was in hand in 1295–6, when it was possibly cultivated largely by labour service: 309 a. of cereals and 11 a. of peas and vetch were sown, 36 a. were mown, 1,214 sheep and 46 draught beasts were kept, and there was a rabbit warren. (fn. 684) The demesne pastures were presumably on Slay down, as they were later. (fn. 685) In 1304–5 there were 1,229 sheep and 42 draught animals. (fn. 686) By 1364 half the demesne arable, 145 a., and some of the pastures in severalty, including two totalling 80 a. on which 300 sheep could be fed, had been leased. The leased arable was apparently in six open fields and consisted of 68 parcels, of which 11 were in hand in 1364 because no tenant could be found. The arable which had not been leased, 144 a. of which 83 a. were sown in 1364, was in only nine furlongs and apparently consisted of the whole of each furlong. That division of the demesne arable into larger parcels in hand and smaller parcels leased perhaps foreshadowed its separation from the open fields. There were 21½ a. of demesne meadow in 1364. (fn. 687)
The customary lands of Amesbury manor in 1364 were in yardlands (each of 24–50 a.), cotsetlands (each of 12 a.), and croftlings: 6½ yardlands were in 8 holdings shared among 7 tenants, 10 cotsetlands were shared among 9 tenants, and there were 5 croftlings. The yardlanders, of whom 1 held freely and 6 in villeinage, 3 of the cotsetlanders, and those holding croftlings, did no labour service: all the cotsetlanders held in villeinage, and 6 of them had to make hay and serve as ploughmen, drovers, or shepherds. The yardlands were stinted at 8 pigs each free from pannage, and later evidence shows each to have included generous stints for sheep, horses, and cattle. Land in the open fields and rights to feed animals were also in other freeholds of Amesbury manor, the largest of which was presumably what became Coombes Court farm. (fn. 688) In 1437 Saucer's, 1 yardland, included 2 a. of meadow and feeding for 70 sheep, 4 horses, 8 fat beasts, and 8 pigs. (fn. 689)
The whole demesne of Amesbury manor had been leased by c. 1400. (fn. 690) In 1540 it had 320 a. of arable, apparently none of it in the open fields, 26 a. of meadow of which 20 a. in Wittenham were expressly said to be several, 60 a. of pasture called Northams, and feeding for 1,800 sheep (1,560 wethers and 240 ewes). Cattle other than the farmer's could be fed on Northams from 1 August to 11 November, the farmer could feed 16 cows and 1 bull in the open fields, and Sour mead, in which there were 6 a. of demesne, may have been a common meadow: otherwise the demesne, later called Earl's farm, was mainly in severalty, with feeding for 1,300 sheep on Earl's down (presumably Slay down) and for 500 on South down (presumably Blackcross Farm down). (fn. 691) On the other land of Amesbury husbandry in common was practised until the later 18th century. (fn. 692) In 1540 there may have been c. 10 open fields of which three, Barnard's (later Bartnett), Blackcross, and Cuckold's Hill, bore the names they had in the 18th century. Meadows in addition to Sour mead may have been used in common, and there were for cattle a downland pasture and a common pasture near the Avon and for sheep common downs including Woolston Hill and Kitcombe (later Kickdom). In 1540 the largest farms with openfield arable were apparently Coombes Court and Priory, but most of the fields was divided among c. 20 yardlands and c. 25 cotsetlands or 'corticels' held freely, by copy, or by other customary tenure of Amesbury manor. A yardland was typically of c. 30 a. with feeding for c. 75 sheep, 4 horses, and 4 cows, and a cotsetland of c. 13 a. with feeding for 1 cow or 1 horse. Some tenants had more than one holding, but only one tenant is known to have held, and only one other is likely to have held, more than 100 a., and in the mid 16th century much of Amesbury's open fields was apparently in farms of less than 50 a. (fn. 693)
At the Dissolution Amesbury priory's agricultural land in Amesbury parish was all in demesne. Of its 290 strips of arable in open fields, probably c. 175 were in Amesbury and the rest in West Amesbury; the priory could feed 74 sheep with the tenants' flocks in Amesbury and 300 on a several down in West Amesbury; its 22 a. of meadow were probably near the site of the priory. (fn. 694) Some of the arable was leased in parcels of 1–10 a. to tenants at will, later on lives, and was called Billet land: 86 a., mostly in Amesbury's fields, were Billet land in 1560. (fn. 695) The remainder was part of Priory farm, later called the Abbey lands, (fn. 696) which in the late 16th century was held by the tenant of Earl's farm. (fn. 697) In 1605 Coombes Court farm included c. 240 a. of arable and feeding for 420 sheep. (fn. 698)
From 1566 or earlier men of Boscombe claimed the right to feed sheep on all or part of Blackcross down, a claim denied by the men of Amesbury. (fn. 699) The dispute was lengthy: c. 1595, for example, the court of the Earldom manor ordered that the Boscombe sheep should be beaten back thrice a week or more. (fn. 700) It was apparently ended by assigning 36 a. of the down for use in common by Amesbury and Boscombe: that had been done by 1726. (fn. 701)
In 1586 it was agreed that every year the town flock, the hog flock of Earl's farm, and the Coombes Court farm flock should be folded as one on the open fields: three shepherds were to be employed, one to be provided by the owners or owner of the sheep in each flock, and those with open-field arable but no sheep were to pay 12d. an acre towards the keeping of the combined flock. (fn. 702) Whether the scheme was adopted and, if so, for how long are obscure.
In 1598 a plan was made to divide Earl's farm into 16 equal holdings of 1 yardland to be leased separately, but the plan came to naught: in 1608 the lessee of the whole farm agreed to build a new farmhouse. (fn. 703) In 1606–7 Priory farm was leased without the meadows and parkland around Lord Hertford's house; it too was to have a new farmhouse. (fn. 704) Lord Hertford's park contained 8 a. in 1605, when two burrows were made and 14 pairs of rabbits introduced, (fn. 705) and in 1635 c. 33 a. around the house. (fn. 706)
In 1635 Earl's farm had three several arable fields, 245 a., east of the village, 32 a. of several arable on Woolston Hill south of it, and a 12-a. parcel in an open field. Earl's down, c. 420 a., was several, and two other downs, Woolston Hill and part of Blackcross down, were for the exclusive use of a flock consisting of 400 sheep of Earl's farm and 74 of a copyholder: the farm included 8 a. of downland in two pennings and the right to fold 1,200 sheep on the open fields. Apart from the first cut of 3 a., Wittenham mead was solely for the farm, as was most of the hay, but not the aftermath, of Sour mead, 8½ a.; the feeding of Northams was still shared in autumn. In 1635 Amesbury still had c. 10 open fields, on which a three-field rotation was evidently practised; each of the larger farms included meadow land, but apparently little meadow was cultivated in common. Sheep were fed in common on Blackcross down, c. 150 a., Kitcombe down, c. 50 a., and Southam down, c. 80 a. Cattle were fed in common on the lowland in Cow leaze, 7½ a., and on Rother down, c. 80 a.: Rother down was formerly part of Earl's down and was fed on by the town herd from 3 May to 11 November and by the wethers of Earl's farm from 11 November to 25 March. The largest holdings of open-field land were in Pavyhold, 190 a., and Coombes Court farm. Priory farm probably had c. 100 a., and four freeholds of the Earldom manor, including Saucer's, had a total of c. 110 a. Copyholds of the Earldom manor included c. 475 a.; Billet land measured c. 73 a. Only Pavyhold, Priory farm, and the yardlands, 3 freehold and 6½ copyhold, had feeding for sheep in common, and the flock numbered c. 1,350; Coombes Court farm may have had a several down for sheep, as it did later. The c. 15 cotsetlands of the Earldom manor included c. 170 a.: they and the larger holdings had feeding for cattle, but no feeding right was held with Billet land. There were three main copyholds, of 77 a., 108 a., and 115 a., with feeding for 192, 192, and 252 sheep respectively, and evidently more than two thirds of the open-field land was in holdings of more than 50 a. (fn. 707)
Between 1635 and 1725 the division of Amesbury's lands between several and commonable, the arrangement of open fields and common downs, and the division of the land among the farms seem to have changed little. (fn. 708) The watering of meadows may have begun c. 1658: in that year Moor hatches on the Amesbury—Normanton boundary were licensed by the Earldom manor court. (fn. 709) Some meadows remained in common use, (fn. 710) and c. 1724 Defoe praised the quality of Amesbury's meadow land. (fn. 711) By 1720 the lessee of Earl's farm, Windsor Sandys (d. 1729) of Brimpsfield (Glos.), had divided it by subletting 241 a. of its arable and meadows, and 180 a. of its downland, in six portions. (fn. 712) Over 200 a. of the farm's downland had been ploughed by 1726. (fn. 713) Pavyhold, 4 yardlands in 1646, Priory, held from 1725 or earlier without its land in West Amesbury, and Coombes Court remained among the largest farms with open-field land, (fn. 714) and in the early 18th century may all have been held by one tenant. (fn. 715) About 1702, as in 1635, each of two copyholds included over 100 a. of arable, and one 77 a. (fn. 716) A proposal of 1725 to inclose Townend Little field and Cuckold's Hill field depended on the abandonment of the right to feed Earl's farm sheep on the two fields with the town herd after harvest and of the right to take the town herd across Earl's farm summer fields: (fn. 717) it was not implemented. (fn. 718)
In 1726 Amesbury had c. 1,300 a. of arable. There were c. 850 a. in nine open fields, Little field over the water (c. 15 a.) and Townend Little (22 a.), Cuckold's Hill (71 a.), Blackcross (175 a.), Bartnett (172 a.), Southmillhill (150 a.), Great Southam (167 a.), Little Southam (60 a.), and Woolston Hill (c. 30 a.): the fields contained c. 96 furlongs in which there were c. 730 parcels of land. In addition Earl's farm had c. 436 a. of several arable of which c. 191 a. were formerly downland pasture. There remained c. 1,540 a. of such pasture. The common downs for sheep were Blackcross Town (385 a. including 36 a. shared with men of Boscombe), Lower (139 a.), and Kickdom (78 a.). Earl's farm had Slay down (477 a.) in severalty and Blackcross Farm down (123 a.), Woolston Hill (53 a.), and Pigeon Hill (5 a.) shared with a copyholder; Coombes Court farm had a several down, Viner's (106 a.). Cow down, formerly Rother down and still shared by the town herd and Earl's farm sheep, was 172 a. Lowland pastures used in common totalled c. 19 a., and there were over 200 a. of meadow and other lowland pasture, some of which was in each of the larger farms. In addition there were c. 50 a. of grassland and parkland around Amesbury Abbey. Earl's farm contained 1,393 a., including Cow down, but was still sublet in portions. Coombes Court farm (otherwise Viner's or Southam) had 61 parcels in the open fields, Pavyhold 138: for reasons that are obscure the parcels belonging to Coombes Court farm were on average much larger than those of other farms, and the farm had its several down instead of feeding for sheep in common. Priory farm had a nominal 71 a. in the open fields, and the two largest copyholds nominally 138 a. and 83 a.; a nominal 160 a. was shared among c. 21 other holdings. The 602 a. of common sheep downs were for 1,301 sheep including 274 in respect of Pavyhold, 74 of Priory farm, and 636 of the two largest copyholds. Pavyhold, Coombes Court farm, and the two largest copyholds all had farmsteads in Salisbury Road. (fn. 719)
It appears that immediately on entering on the Earldom and Priory manors in 1725 Charles, duke of Queensberry, (fn. 720) adopted the policy of merging all the open-field land which he owned into a single farm. A farmhouse called the Red House had evidently been built by 1726 on the second largest copyhold, (fn. 721) and as other copy holds and leaseholds fell in hand their lands were added to Red House farm. (fn. 722) To accelerate the process Queensberry leased land from some copyholders and leaseholders, bought out others, and became tenant of Saucer's. (fn. 723) In the mid 1750s nearly a third of the parcels in the open fields were in Red House farm. (fn. 724) From 1760, when Queensberry owned nearly all Amesbury's land, (fn. 725) the policy was refined. A dairy farm (fn. 726) and a farm apparently worked from Kent House were already in hand, and gradually all the other land was brought in hand: Red House farm was in hand at Michaelmas 1759, Viner's from 1760 or 1761, (fn. 727) part of Earl's by 1764, when 1,010 sheep were sheared on that part, (fn. 728) and Pavyhold and most of the other land by the later 1760s. (fn. 729) In 1770 the last tenant of a substantial copyhold gave up his open-field land in an exchange with Queensberry, (fn. 730) common husbandry was thus ended, and most of the former open fields and common downs were laid out as two several farms, Red House and Southam. (fn. 731) In 1771 there were between the town and the Avon c. 60 a. of the gardens and parkland of Amesbury Abbey, Earl's farm was 1,085 a., and Kent House farm was 80 a., including most of Townend Little field and most of Cuckold's Hill field. Red House farm was 853 a., including Blackcross and Bartnett fields, Blackcross Town and Blackcross Farm downs, and part of Kickdom down: its 346 a. of arable had been arranged as four equally sized fields. Southam farm was 847 a., including Southmillhill, Great Southam, and Little Southam fields and Viner's, Lower, and Woolston Hill downs: 332 a. of its arable had been divided into four equally sized fields. Amesbury had a total of 102 a. of watered meadows, and the three main farms had 1,372 a. of 'maiden' down, 27 a. of downland pennings, and 223 a. of sown grass on downland formerly ploughed. (fn. 732) The farms remained in hand, and were evidently individually managed, until 1778, the year in which the duke of Queensberry died. (fn. 733)
From 1778 to c. 1900 the c. 5,800 a. of agricultural land of Amesbury parish was in few and very large farms. (fn. 734) Kent House or Park farm, to which the parkland around Amesbury Abbey was added as farmland, remained in hand until 1788. (fn. 735) Earl's, Red House, and Southam farms were leased from 1778: Red House and Southam were held together 1780–1915. (fn. 736) In 1809 Earl's was 1,106 a. including 635 a. of downland pasture and 439 a. of arable, of which 131 a. were downland; Red House was 872 a. including 462 a. of downland pasture and 366 a. of arable; Southam was 858 a. including 357 a. of downland pasture and 433 a. of arable. The watered meadows of Amesbury were admired by William Marshall in 1794, and Earl's, Red House, Southam, and Kent House farms had a total of c. 117 a. (fn. 737) The need to repair Moor hatches led to a dispute with the owners of Normanton farm: in 1804 a new channel taking water away from Moor hatches was cut to the east, and 9 a. more of meadows, part of Southam farm, were watered. (fn. 738) In 1823 much of the land of Kent House farm east of the Avon was added to Earl's farm. (fn. 739) In 1825 Earl's was 1,173 a., the combined Red House and Southam 1,752 a.: the two farms were roughly divided by the Newton Tony road. Arable had been increased to c. 1,600 a. by 1825, when Earl's farm contained 315 a. of ploughed downland: (fn. 740) in riots against threshing machines two ricks were burnt at Amesbury in 1830, (fn. 741) and there had been a further small increase in arable by c. 1845. (fn. 742) On the combined Red House and Southam farm the lessee, William Long, employed 30 men, 16–18 women, and c. 17 boys in 1867. (fn. 743)
Earl's farm was divided in the early 20th century. In 1910 only the western part, then called Earls Court farm, 292 a., was worked from the principal buildings in Earls Court Road; the middle part was in Ratfyn farm; the eastern part of Slay down, 300 a. on which there were farm buildings, was, possibly as Beacon Hill farm, part of the Cholderton estate. From 1915 Earls Court farm's meadow and pasture near the Avon, 44 a., were detached from it. (fn. 744) From 1919 the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries used the remainder of Earls Court farm, 236 a. east of the town, bounded north by the railway and south by the Newton Tony road and extending east of the Marlborough road, as a farm colony: by 1923 c. 20 smallholdings, the smallest of 2 a., the largest of 30 a., had been leased, presumably to former soldiers. (fn. 745) Mainly after 1945 nearly all that land was built on. (fn. 746) The remainder of Earl's farm was in Ratfyn farm from 1915 to the 1930s, when Beacon Hill farm, c. 450 a., and Pennings farm, c. 260 a., were formed. Beacon Hill farm, 464 a., was mainly arable in 1993, when some cattle were kept for beef. Pennings, with buildings south of the London road and New Barn north of it, has since the 1930s been used in conjunction with land in West Amesbury: in 1993 its land was mainly arable and some of its buildings housed cattle. (fn. 747) Over 300 a. of the old Earl's farm, including Cow down, were still part of Ratfyn farm in 1993 and almost entirely arable. (fn. 748)
Red House farm, 964 a. between the main Salisbury road and the Newton Tony road, and Southam, thereafter Viney's, farm, 744 a. west of the Salisbury road, were separate again from 1915. (fn. 749) Both were entirely pasture in the 1930s. (fn. 750) Red House was greatly reduced from 1927 by the growth of Boscombe Down airfield. (fn. 751) In the later 20th century the reduced farm was worked from the farmstead called Stockport on the old Kickdom down and from large new buildings in the old Blackcross field. In 1993 Red House was an arable farm of 300 a. worked from the new buildings. Stockport farm, c. 150 a., but without Stockport farmstead, was separated from it in the later 1980s and, mainly arable in 1993, was worked in conjunction with Pennings farm and land in West Amesbury. (fn. 752) In 1993 Viney's, 705 a., was a mainly arable farm worked from later 20th-century buildings a little south of the town. (fn. 753)
West Amesbury. There is evidence of open fields, common meadows, and common pasture for sheep and cattle in West Amesbury in the earlier 13th century. Holdings based in the village, like those based in Amesbury, included yardlands and cotsetlands, (fn. 754) and there was evidently no large demesne. (fn. 755) In the 14th century there were apparently three or more open fields. (fn. 756) Then and in the 15th sheep stints were generous: in 1328 a holding of 4 yardlands had feeding for 300 wethers, (fn. 757) in 1428 one of 1 yardland feeding for 200 sheep, (fn. 758) and in 1497 one of ½ yardland feeding for 50 sheep. Holdings also included rights to feed cattle and pigs. (fn. 759)
In the early 16th century most of West Amesbury's land was in West Amesbury manor, freeholds, and the demesne of Amesbury priory; (fn. 760) a few acres were in Coombes Court manor and customary holdings of Amesbury manor. (fn. 761) In 1502 the heirs of Thomas Hobbes shared c. 125 parcels, nominally c. 150 a., in the open fields; (fn. 762) in 1511 the demesne of West Amesbury manor, 4 yardlands, was said to include 80 a. of arable; (fn. 763) in 1535 Amesbury priory evidently had in the fields c. 115 parcels, of which after the Dissolution most were in Priory farm and some in smallholdings of Billet land. (fn. 764) In 1511 West Amesbury manor also included land held by tenants at will. (fn. 765)
In the early 16th century there were open fields called Halfbarrow, Middle West, and West; (fn. 766) in the early 17th there was a small fourth field called Walls covering Vespasian's camp. (fn. 767) In the early 17th century there was a common pasture for cattle near the Avon, and meadow land was used in common; (fn. 768) the watering of meadows in West Amesbury presumably began, as apparently in Amesbury, in the mid 17th century. (fn. 769) The downland pasture for sheep was extensive, (fn. 770) and stints remained generous. (fn. 771) At the Dissolution Amesbury priory had feeding for 300 sheep which were presumably then, as they were c. 1574 and later, kept on the open fields and in severalty on Abbey down: (fn. 772) in 1615 or 1616 it was claimed that for the Priory manor only 250 might be kept on the fields every fourth year. (fn. 773) There was also downland pasture for cattle in common. (fn. 774) In 1635 Abbey down was said to be c. 120 a., Cow down c. 90 a. (fn. 775)
In the 16th century several of the freeholds were brought into single ownership, and from the early 17th most land in West Amesbury belonged to the lord of West Amesbury manor. (fn. 776) The demesne farm of the manor was greatly increased, and in the earlier 17th century was one of apparently only four farms based in West Amesbury. In 1621 it had 246 a. of arable, including 235 a. in West Amesbury, 11 a. of apparently inclosed meadow, 3½ a. of common meadow, 13 a. of inclosed pasture, and feeding for 800 sheep; by then most of the arable had been accumulated into large pieces, including one of 52 a., one of 51 a., and one of 47 a. The manor also included farms of 93 a. and 60 a. with feeding for a total of 310 sheep. (fn. 777) Beckington's, said in 1635 to be 50 a., was 1½ yardland. Priory farm, with c. 87 a. and Abbey down in West Amesbury in 1635, was worked from Amesbury, and c. 20 a. of Billet land were in other holdings. (fn. 778)
In 1726 West Amesbury had 437 a. of arable in four open fields, Halfbarrow (176 a.), Middle (136 a.), West (101 a.), and Walls (24 a.); there were 814 a. of downland, Cow down (158 a.), Abbey down (152 a.), and Stonehenge down (504 a.), and West hill was a common pasture of 7 a. There were c. 20 a. of watered meadow, and c. 22 a. of other lowland pasture. (fn. 779) After 1678 (fn. 780) none but the tenants of West Amesbury manor had a right to feed sheep on Stonehenge down or cattle on Cow down. The lord of the manor also owned c. 365 a. of the open fields; most of the remainder was in Priory farm. (fn. 781) With minor exceptions common husbandry ended either in 1725, when the West Amesbury lands of Priory farm were sublet to the lord, (fn. 782) or in 1735, when the duke of Queensberry bought West Amesbury manor. (fn. 783) By 1735 c. 240 a. of downland, mostly the west part of Stonehenge down, had been ploughed, and it was intended then to plough a further 51 a.; immediately after the purchase 52 a. north-west of Amesbury Abbey were imparked, 19 a. of Walls field including Vespasian's camp, and 33 a. of Halfbarrow field; and in 1735 nearly all the other land was in two several farms, Homeward, 647 a., and Westward, 387 a. Homeward, probably worked from the new farmstead on the south side of the village street, included 7 a. of watered meadow, most, 121 a., of Halfbarrow field, and 491 a. of downland; Westward included a farmstead at the west end of the village, 13 a. of watered meadow, most, 192 a., of Middle and West fields, and 166 a. of downland. (fn. 784) About 1740 Abbey down was part of Westward farm. (fn. 785) The owner of Countess Court manor had the right to feed sheep on West Amesbury Cow down from 11 November to 2 February, and 160 sheep from West Amesbury could be fed for the whole year on Countess Court downs: (fn. 786) the arrangement probably ceased in 1760 when the duke of Queensberry bought Countess Court manor. (fn. 787)
By c. 1750 a further 36 a. had been imparked: sainfoin was grown on the 88 a. of former open field in the park. (fn. 788) At its maximum in the 1770s the park included c. 360 a., of which c. 250 a. were West Amesbury land, and was impaled. (fn. 789) Homeward farm and Westward farm were worked together from the mid 18th century, when they may have included no more than 400 a. of 'maiden' down. (fn. 790) Like farms in Amesbury the land was brought in hand c. 1760: (fn. 791) as West Amesbury farm it measured 935 a. including 30 a. of watered meadow, 86 a. of other meadow and lowland pasture, only 207 a. of arable, and 610 a. of downland pasture. (fn. 792) It was leased in 1778, (fn. 793) apparently without Cow down, which was added to Countess Court farm, (fn. 794) and 1,300 sheep were said to be kept on it in 1782. (fn. 795) In or soon after 1778 the parkland, including c. 50 a. of the former Countess Court manor, was added to Kent House farm, worked from Amesbury, and over 200 a. of it, including the former Halfbarrow field, were again ploughed. In 1809 West Amesbury, Kent House, and Countess Court farms were rearranged. From then to 1823 Abbey down, 223 a. of Stonehenge down, and part of Countess Court down, a total of 411 a., were in Kent House farm; Cow down remained in Countess Court farm; and West Amesbury farm measured 700 a., including 33 a. of Countess Court down. In 1823 Kent House farm was divided between West Amesbury, Countess Court, and Earl's farms. (fn. 796)
West Amesbury farm was 1,071 a. in 1823, 1,010 a. in 1910. Cow down and c. 100 a. of West Amesbury land formerly in the park were in Countess Court farm. In 1823 West Amesbury farm had 33 a. of watered meadow, 32 a. of other meadow and lowland pasture, 503 a. of arable including 126 a. on Stonehenge down, and 501 a. of downland pasture. It was worked from West Amesbury House, and from the mid 19th century had an additional farmstead called Fargo. (fn. 797) From 1915 West Amesbury farm was 843 a. including 51 a. in Normanton but excluding West Amesbury House. (fn. 798) Stonehenge airfield was opened on the land in 1917, and Fargo farmstead was removed about then; in the 1920s 100 a. of the airfield and some of its buildings were used for a pig and poultry farm. (fn. 799) Also from 1915 Countess farm included c. 100 a. of Stonehenge down. (fn. 800) West Amesbury farm was divided after the National Trust bought it 1927–9. (fn. 801) In 1993 the east part was in a farm worked from 20th-century buildings north-west of the village and in conjunction with land formerly in Countess farm, with Pennings farm, and with Stockport farm, a total of 1,100 a.; the composite holding was an arable and beef farm. The west part of the old West Amesbury farm, c. 330 a., was worked from Winterbourne Stoke and was mainly arable. (fn. 802)
Countess Court. The lands called Countess field and Countess down in the 17th century (fn. 803) were almost certainly open fields and a common down in the Middle Ages. In 1726, and perhaps for long before, there were three fields, Lower, Middle, and Upper, c. 300 a., and 444 a. of downland. (fn. 804) In the early 14th century the demesne of Countess Court manor, with 200–300 a. of arable and feeding for many sheep, greatly outweighed other holdings: (fn. 805) it may have been in hand in 1332. (fn. 806) In 1311 there were on the manor three yardlanders, who presumably held land in the open fields and rights to feed sheep on the downs, and five cottars; (fn. 807) later evidence shows that a few, evidently no more than nine, parcels in the fields were parts of Amesbury manor and what became South's or Beckington's in West Amesbury, (fn. 808) and that 160 sheep from West Amesbury could be fed on the downs. The land of Countess Court manor became a single farm, possibly in the later Middle Ages. The land not owned by the lord, 26 a., was concentrated in Lower field, 78 a. of down were assigned for the exclusive use of the West Amesbury sheep, but vestiges of common husbandry remained until 1760, (fn. 809) from when the duke of Queensberry owned all the land. (fn. 810)
In 1770 Countess Court farm was, like Queensberry's other farms in the parish, brought in hand; (fn. 811) c. 50 a. of its arable were imparked. (fn. 812) In 1771, when 880 sheep were sheared on it, the farm measured 965 a., including 30 a. of watered meadow, 86 a. of other meadow and lowland pasture, 257 a. of arable, 55 a. of downland formerly ploughed but then sown with grass, and 534 a. of 'maiden' down: the downland included West Amesbury Cow down. (fn. 813) The farm was leased in 1778, without the parkland but with Cow down. It was reduced to 778 a. in 1809, when its downland was reduced to 400 a. by the transfer of some to Kent House farm, (fn. 814) and increased to 1,102 a. in 1823, when Kent House farm was trisected. From 1823 to 1915 the farm included Cow down and c. 100 a. of West Amesbury land formerly imparked: in 1823 it had 49 a. of watered meadow, 44 a. of other meadow and lowland pasture, 592 a. of arable including 138 a. on the downs, and 418 a. of downland pasture. (fn. 815) From the mid 19th century to the later 20th it had an additional farmstead called Seven Barrows. (fn. 816) From 1915 the farm, then called Countess farm, was 1,169 a., to the west bounded on the south by the Exeter and Shrewton roads. (fn. 817) The west part of it was bought by the National Trust in 1929, (fn. 818) and in the later 20th century was entirely pasture: in 1993 c. 140 a. of that part were held with Countess farm, more with the composite farm based at West Amesbury, and more still with Manor farm, Winterbourne Stoke. In 1993 Countess, 640 a. including land north of Stonehenge and land in Durrington, was an arable and sheep farm. (fn. 819)
Ratfyn. In 1086 Ratfyn had land for 1½ ploughteam: on demesne land there was 1 team, and on other land there were 8 bordars. There were 12 a. of meadow and 2¼ square furlongs of pasture. (fn. 820) Sheep-and-corn husbandry was practised in the Middle Ages: c. 1210 Ratfyn manor had demesne, stocked with 8 oxen and 450 sheep, and possibly customary tenants. (fn. 821) In 1405 the demesne included 1 carucate of arable and 5 a. of meadow, four tenants each held 10½ a., and three cottagers each held 2 a.: the arable is likely to have been in open fields, and a pasture for 500 sheep, presumably downland, was said to have been used in common. (fn. 822) In the 16th century Ratfyn's land was apparently all in Ratfyn farm, which in 1553 was said to have 12 a. of meadow, 12 a. of presumably lowland pasture, 240 a. of arable, and 140 a. of downland pasture for sheep, all in severalty. (fn. 823)
In 1846 Ratfyn farm was 502 a., including c. 28 a. of watered meadow, 7 a. of lowland pasture, c. 338 a. of arable, and c. 118 a. of downland pasture: (fn. 824) downland had presumably been converted to arable in the 18th century. In the early 20th century the middle part of Earl's farm was added to Ratfyn farm, which was 912 a. in 1910. (fn. 825) It was further enlarged in 1915 by the addition of the east part of Earl's farm, including Slay down, and 53 a. of Red House farm: from 1915 it measured 1,369 a. and, bounded on the south by the railway, comprised all the northeast part of the parish. (fn. 826) By 1923 it had been reduced to 1,223 a.; (fn. 827) Pennings farm and Beacon Hill farm were taken from it in the 1930s. (fn. 828) In 1965 Ratfyn farm was 681 a., including over 300 a. formerly in Earl's farm; in 1993 it was 600 a., mainly arable, and worked in conjunction with land in Bulford and Allington. (fn. 829)
Geoffrey le Veel held a mill at Amesbury in the late 12th century and early 13th, possibly one of the two mills on Amesbury manor in 1269. (fn. 832) A mill was built or rebuilt on the manor in 1304–5, (fn. 833) but there was apparently none on it in the earlier 16th century. (fn. 834) The Earldom manor court frequently amerced a miller in the later 16th century; (fn. 835) a mill rebuilt c. 1560, after fire destroyed a predecessor, (fn. 836) was possibly on the manor, (fn. 837) and may have been that near West bridge called Town Mill in 1593. (fn. 838) There was no mill on the Earldom manor in 1635 (fn. 839) or later.
In the early 16th century Amesbury priory had two corn mills and a fulling mill immediately south-west of the parish church and probably under one roof. (fn. 840) Mills on the site, near that of Town Mill, were part of the Priory manor and later called West, Priory, or Abbey Mill. (fn. 841) In the mid 16th century the mills were used to grind wheat and malt, but the fulling mill was evidently taken down; in 1582 the mill buildings were seriously dilapidated and six floodgates were washed away. (fn. 842) The buildings had not been restored by 1590, (fn. 843) and in 1595, as a condition of a new lease, the mills were to be rebuilt. (fn. 844) West Mill was thereafter referred to as two grist mills and a fulling mill under one roof, (fn. 845) but in the 18th century it was used for tanning. (fn. 846) The mill was damaged by fire in 1761: (fn. 847) there is no evidence that it was used for milling after that, and it may have been the mill converted to stables 1778–81. (fn. 848) It had been demolished by 1812. (fn. 849)
In 1328 there were two mills, possibly under one roof, on what became West Amesbury manor, (fn. 850) and there was a mill at West Amesbury in 1428. (fn. 851) The site of one on the manor and near West Amesbury village was known in 1636, but it is very unlikely that a mill stood then (fn. 852) or later.
A mill at Amesbury descended with Countess Court manor from 1311 or earlier to c. 1760. (fn. 853) It was called Cleeve Mill in 1364 and 1602, (fn. 854) perhaps Townsend Mill in 1773, (fn. 855) but South Mill much more often. In the 14th century there were said to be two mills, (fn. 856) and in 1602 two mills under one roof. (fn. 857) In 1646 the buildings included a fulling mill said to be new, and in 1660 comprised that, the two corn mills, and a mill house. (fn. 858) A new house may have been built shortly before 1677. (fn. 859) It is not clear how long fulling continued. Between c. 1760 and 1838 there were several owners of the mill, including members of the Miles and Truckle families; it was bought by Sir Edmund Antrobus in 1838 (fn. 860) and descended with his Amesbury estate until 1915. The mill, separate from the house and apparently 18th-century, was raised to four storeys in the 19th century: it was for grinding corn, was driven by an undershot wheel, and housed three pairs of stones. (fn. 861) Between 1922 and 1948 it was used to generate electricity, (fn. 862) and was later converted for residence. A small mill house, apparently of the 18th century, survives.
A Thursday market was granted in 1219 and 1252 to the lord of Amesbury manor, (fn. 863) a Saturday market in 1317 to Amesbury priory, (fn. 864) and a Wednesday market in 1614 to the lord of the Earldom and Priory manors, (fn. 865) but it is unlikely that Amesbury ever had more than one weekly market. It was evidently a general market for food and agricultural produce: corn may have been marketed in 1301 (fn. 866) and wine may have been in 1471, (fn. 867) and there were shambles in the 14th and 15th centuries. (fn. 868) Market sessions are known to have been held in 1607. (fn. 869) In 1635 there was a weekly market on Fridays; (fn. 870) the market house stood at the west end of the market place. (fn. 871)
Amesbury's market may never have been important, and in the late 17th century was described as inconsiderable and an occasion primarily for consuming the fish called loach. (fn. 872) It continued to be held on Fridays, (fn. 873) and in 1759 the market house was repaired and there were still shambles. (fn. 874) The market house was taken down in 1809. (fn. 875) By then the market may have been no more than nominal: (fn. 876) it was not revived.
A three-day fair at the feast of St. Melor, one of the patron saints of the church, was granted in 1252 to the lord of Amesbury manor, and a similar fair at the same feast, but not over the same three days, was granted in 1317 to Amesbury priory. (fn. 877) The second grant may indicate that the first grant had been ineffective or that the fair had lapsed, but it is more likely that the fair was in 1317 being held within, or was to be transferred to, the priory precinct, where it was evidently held later. St. Melor's day was 1 October, but the fair was probably held on and about the feast of St. John before the Latin Gate (6 May), when St. Melor was venerated again. (fn. 878) At the Dissolution a fair on St. John's day was held by Amesbury priory, (fn. 879) almost certainly within its precinct. In the 1590s Edward, earl of Hertford, to whom the priory's right to hold the fair had passed, sought a new fairground away from the 'priory garden or abbey or priory green', and in 1607 leased the bailiwick of the fair on condition that the fair was held in the streets of the town: the old fairground was probably between the site of the priory, where Lord Hertford lived from c. 1600, (fn. 880) and High Street.
Two new fairs, to be held on 11 June and 23 December, were granted to Lord Hertford in 1614. (fn. 881) The three, the May fair, the Long fair, and the Short fair, continued until the 19th century; they were held in the streets, and seem to have been mainly for trade in livestock, especially horses and sheep. (fn. 882) After 1752 the May fair was held on 17 May, the Long fair on 22 or 23 June; the Short fair was held on 17 December from 1760, later on the first Wednesday after 12 December. (fn. 883) In 1830 the fairs were for trade in cattle and horses, in 1842 were said to be poorly attended, (fn. 884) and by 1888 had been discontinued. (fn. 885)
In 1680 a fair at Stonehenge on 25 and 26 September was granted to the lord of West Amesbury manor, despite an objection that it would harm the fair at Weyhill (Hants), (fn. 886) and in 1683 a fair on Countess Court downs and fields, also on 25 and 26 September, was granted to the lord of Countess Court manor: (fn. 887) it is unlikely that two fairs were held, and the second grant was presumably needed because the Stonehenge fairground was partly on Countess Court down. From 1752 the fair, on Countess Court down near Stonehenge, was held on 6 and 7 October. (fn. 888) It was presumably for sheep. It may have been held in the later 18th century. (fn. 889) but apparently not thereafter.
Trade and industry.
It has been suggested that Amesbury priory had a tile factory at Amesbury in the 13th century. (fn. 890) In the mid and later 17th century clay pipes for smoking tobacco were made at Amesbury, and the Amesbury pipes were thought to be the best available. They were made by the Gauntlet family from clay dug on the downs of Chitterne St. Mary, were marked with the outline of a right-hand gauntlet, and had evidently become renowned nationally by 1651, when William Russell, earl of Bedford, bought a gross from Hugh Gauntlet at the Swan in High Street. (fn. 891) Gauntlet was succeeded as lessee of the Swan by William Gauntlet after 1675. (fn. 892) Gabriel Bailey, who may have acquired the Gauntlets' business, was a pipe maker at Amesbury in 1698; (fn. 893) no evidence that the industry flourished at Amesbury thereafter has been found.
Apart from its pipe making, Amesbury was not known for manufacturing, and until the 20th century its trade and industry was small-scale and mostly to satisfy local needs. As a small market town, on a main road and frequented by visitors to Stonehenge, innkeeping may for long have been its most prosperous trade. (fn. 894) A malthouse incorporating an oast house was to be built on Earl's farm in 1600, (fn. 895) there were two malthouses in High Street and one in Smithfield Street in the earlier 18th century, (fn. 896) there were still three malthouses in 1800, (fn. 897) and malting continued to the later 19th century. (fn. 898) A tanner was working in the town in 1426, (fn. 899) a currier in 1684. (fn. 900) Probably between 1698 and 1714 West Mill was converted to a tannery for Richard Andrews; (fn. 901) c. 1735 the tanyard incorporated a kiln for drying bark. (fn. 902) The tannery was evidently closed in 1761, when the mill was damaged by fire. (fn. 903) Tan pits, presumably elsewhere, were referred to in 1800. (fn. 904) A lime kiln at Southmill Hill was pulled down in 1761, (fn. 905) and lime pits were made in the former tanyard; (fn. 906) there was a lime kiln in Back Lane in 1845. (fn. 907) There was a tailor at Amesbury in 1364 (fn. 908) and in the 16th century, (fn. 909) a clothworker in the 17th century, (fn. 910) shoemakers in the 17th and 18th, (fn. 911) a chandler in 1612 (fn. 912) and c. 1735, (fn. 913) a soap boiler in 1755 (fn. 914) and the 1790s. Members of the Hunt family made clocks and watches from the 1790s (fn. 915) or earlier to 1855 or later, James Abrahams in 1859. (fn. 916) A winnowing machine called the Amesbury heaver was invented by John Trowbridge (d. 1823) of Amesbury. (fn. 917) In the late 18th century and the 19th there were many tradesmen at Amesbury, 40–50 in the 1790s, c. 40 in 1865, c. 35 in 1898: most businesses were connected with food and drink, footwear and clothing, building, and equipment for agriculture. In the later 19th century Thomas Sandell was a breeches maker, wholesale glover, tanner, and woolstapler. (fn. 918)
From c. 1900 many inhabitants of Amesbury were employed in the army camps at Bulford and Larkhill and at Boscombe Down, (fn. 919) and as the town grew many were engaged in the retail, motor, service, and building trades. (fn. 920) In the later 20th century c. 14 a. bounded by Porton Road, London Road, and the course of the railway were set aside for industry (fn. 921) and by 1993 had been built on. Chaplin & Co., goods agents of the London & South Western Railway, had premises in Amesbury, presumably from 1902, and had built a warehouse in Salisbury Road by 1923. (fn. 922) Chaplin & Co. was bought in the 1930s by the owners of Pickfords Ltd.: (fn. 923) the warehouse was used by Pickfords as a furniture depository until 1990, and was demolished in 1993. In 1990 Pickfords opened a warehouse on the new industrial land. (fn. 924) A warehouse for the NAAFI was built beside the London road east of the station in 1940; it was extended in 1970 and, to 211,000 square ft., in 1977. New offices were built in 1991–2, and in 1992 the NAAFI headquarters was moved to Amesbury. In 1992 at Amesbury the NAAFI had 170 employees in its warehouse, 330 in its offices. (fn. 925) Amesbury Transport Ltd. moved from Salisbury Street to London Road in the later 1950s, and soon after 1963 a new warehouse was built for it on the site of the station; other buildings nearby in London Road were built or converted for the company, which specialized in road haulage, warehousing, and distribution and in 1992 had 48 employees. (fn. 926) The Stonehenge Woollen Industry, a small company which was started at Lake House in Wilsford in an attempt to prevent rural depopulation, made cloth from local wool in Amesbury in the 1920s (fn. 927) and until 1932: its premises were behind houses on the south-east side of High Street. (fn. 928) Other companies to occupy premises on the new industrial land were Ross Group plc, makers of car alarms, and Haymills (Contractors) Ltd. The site of Stockport farmstead south of the town was used for industry in the late 20th century. In 1993 a meat-processing company, a company dealing in flooring materials wholesale, and a small engineering company had premises there.
Amesbury. In the Middle Ages Amesbury was sometimes called a borough (fn. 929) and had what was called a guildhall, (fn. 930) and in the mid 16th century the lord of the hundred, who was also lord of Amesbury manor, allowed an officer called the bailiff of the borough to attend some meetings of the hundred court, (fn. 931) but the town never had an institution for self government.
There is some evidence that there were two tithings in the 12th century. (fn. 932) Later in the Middle Ages the lord of Amesbury manor took view of frankpledge at Amesbury and held a manor court, (fn. 933) as did Amesbury priory. (fn. 934) In 1486–7, 1501–2, 1506–7, and 1511–12 on Amesbury manor the view was held twice a year, in October and April, and the manor court seven times a year. In 1503–4 and 1504–5 the manor court was said to have been held 17 times a year, either because it was or, as in legal principle it was a three-weekly court, it should have been. In 1535–6 the view was held twice, the manor court five times. (fn. 935) At the Dissolution Amesbury priory held its view and its manor court twice a year; (fn. 936) the Crown held the courts at the same frequency in 1539–40. (fn. 937)
From the mid 16th century such views and courts continued to be held separately for the Earldom and Priory manors, although the manors were in the same hands. (fn. 938) The boundaries of the manors, and presumably the jurisdiction of the courts, were defined in 1635–6: the Priory manor included the site of the priory, the northwest side of High Street, the south side of the market place, the west side of Frog Lane, and, it was claimed, West Amesbury; the Earldom manor included the rest of the town and parish except Ratfyn, the lord having claimed jurisdiction over Countess Court manor from 1580 or earlier. The guildhall or market house, in the middle of the entrance to the market place from High Street, stood on the boundary; (fn. 939) the courts of each manor were presumably held in its first-floor room from when it was built, as they were until it was taken down in 1809. (fn. 940) The records of the view (sometimes called the law court, sometimes the court leet) and the manor court (otherwise the court baron) of each manor survive from 1566 to 1771, with gaps. In the 16th and 17th centuries the views continued to be held twice a year, in spring and autumn; in the 18th they were held yearly in autumn. They were held on the same day as each other, each in conjunction with a manor court; the records show that at each matters under leet jurisdiction were sometimes presented by an officer or officers and sometimes by a jury, but that more often a jury and the homage combined made a single body of presentments under the articles of both leet and manorial jurisdiction. Many of Amesbury's affairs were dealt with in the views and courts, and it is possible that twice a year a single assembly met to discuss them, and that only for the written record were its proceedings classified into those of two views and two manor courts.
To keep order the town had two constables, one each for the Earldom and the Priory manors, and four bailiffs, two to assist each constable. All were appointed by the courts, although from the later 17th century the constable nominated his bailiffs. (fn. 941) When officers made presentments at a view it was usually the bailiffs. By 1727 each constable had been armed with a watch bill, (fn. 942) one of which, of 1731 or earlier, was in Salisbury museum in 1936. (fn. 943) New stocks were made c. 1579, (fn. 944) and from 1660 orders were made for a pillory and a cuckingstool to be kept. (fn. 945)
Especially in the 16th and 17th centuries a wide range of offences was dealt with. Some offences were statutory, including playing unlawful games, (fn. 946) fishing with a net of a mesh smaller than 2½ in., not wearing a woollen cap on Sundays, not keeping a rook net, (fn. 947) not practising archery, (fn. 948) harbouring lodgers, (fn. 949) keeping greyhounds and beagles when holding land worth less than 40s., owning a fowling piece when holding land worth less than £100, (fn. 950) and failing to keep watch: for the last the statute of Winchester was invoked in 1581. (fn. 951) Some matters were the traditional business of the view, including assault, affray, reports that the hue had been raised or a felony committed, and the swearing of the oath of allegiance: one felony reported was the suicide of Sir George Rodney. (fn. 952) The assizes of bread and of ale were enforced, and in the 16th century and earlier 17th, when Amesbury had several inns and alehouses and held a market and fairs, (fn. 953) trade in food and drink was scrutinized generally. Bakers, brewers, wine sellers, innkeepers, alehouse keepers, butchers, and millers all came before the courts (fn. 954) either to pay a fine equivalent to a licence to trade or for misconduct. In 1580 an innkeeper allowed strangers to frequent his inn at prohibited times and the Earldom constable was authorized to weigh bread once a month or more often. (fn. 955) In 1588 the Priory constable was ordered to weigh bread once a week. (fn. 956) Overcharging and the use of unsealed measures were frequently punished. In 1603 innkeepers were required to show their sealed measures in court. (fn. 957) In 1614 an inspector of ale sold in the market was appointed. (fn. 958) From the mid 17th century, however, the assizes were enforced little in the courts, although the constables were still required to keep weights and pint and quart measures. (fn. 959) The measures were destroyed in the fire of 1751 and replaced c. 1759. (fn. 960)
Either under leet jurisdiction or as manorial business the courts dealt with many public nuisances. Orders to repair bridges, to make chimneys safe, and to maintain watercourses were frequent. In 1579 it was ordered that the inhabitants of West Amesbury should repair one arch of West bridge, those of the Priory manor the rest of it; (fn. 961) in 1582 the inhabitants of the Earldom manor were required to contribute. (fn. 962) In 1590 a rate was imposed for the repair of Grey bridge. (fn. 963) In 1580, presumably to lessen the risk of fire, baking bread after 8 p.m. was forbidden, (fn. 964) and in 1658 the churchwardens and overseers of the parish were ordered to repair two dangerous chimneys (fn. 965) presumably because the owner was too poor to do so. In 1596 it was ordered that the customary fall of the Avon, which had been altered by the construction of a bay, should be restored, (fn. 966) and unlawful fishing, in 1599 with angling rods, (fn. 967) was often reported. Orders were made to make safe or mend roads; (fn. 968) waymen were in office in 1592, (fn. 969) surveyors of highways in 1658. (fn. 970) In 1614 a committee of seven, including the two constables, was appointed to clear the streets of timber and other rubbish, to direct the cleaning of watercourses, and to check the safety of chimneys and fireplaces. (fn. 971) Firecrooks were kept in 1677. (fn. 972)
From the 16th century to the 18th normal tenurial business was transacted in the court of each manor, sometimes in courts not held in conjunction with the view: the death of tenants was presented, surrenders of and admissions to copyholds were performed or reported, and unlicensed undertenants were presented. A few pleas of trespass or debt were heard. (fn. 973) Excluding West Amesbury, the Priory manor contained little agricultural land, (fn. 974) and the most frequent presentments of its homage were related to the dilapidation of buildings in the town: the condition of West Mill was of frequent concern. (fn. 975) Presentments that agrarian custom had been defined, refined, or infringed were normally recorded as those of the homage of the Earldom manor, and were sometimes made by the hayward. (fn. 976) Disputed or uncertain boundaries, use of common pastures, maintenance of common flocks and herds, and encroachment on common land or the land of neighbours were all presented, the dispute with the men of Boscombe over Blackcross down being the subject of several presentments. It was normal for the court to hear that stray animals had been caught, that the pound needed repair, that geese, ganders, and unringed pigs had been at large, and that hedges had not been made. (fn. 977) The court of each manor appointed an agrarian watchman ('agrophilax') in the later 17th century. (fn. 978)
In the 17th century the presentment of statutory offences, the old offences of the view, and offences under the assizes became less frequent, the presentment of public nuisances and agrarian matters more so. In the 18th the courts' business declined in amount and narrowed in range. Copyhold business continued to be done and officers appointed, orders were made to amend public nuisances, to maintain buildings and make chimneys safe, and agrarian custom was defended, but from c. 1750 most presentment was stereotyped and the courts were of little importance in local government. The last was held in 1854. (fn. 979)
West Amesbury. In the 16th century and later West Amesbury was said to be a single tithing with Wilsford, although Wilsford was in Underditch hundred and was not a neighbour of West Amesbury; (fn. 980) West Amesbury's partner was not Wilsford but Normanton, (fn. 981) with which it had an administrative link in 1377, and which lies between West Amesbury and Wilsford and was in Durnford parish and Amesbury hundred. (fn. 982) The tithingman of the tithing called West Amesbury and Wilsford attended Amesbury hundred court. (fn. 983) The lord of the Priory manor evidently claimed jurisdiction over West Amesbury; (fn. 984) the view of that manor ordered the inhabitants of West Amesbury to choose a tithingman for West Amesbury and Wilsford tithing in 1584, (fn. 985) itself presented a man to be the tithingman in 1587, (fn. 986) and chose a tithingman in 1599, (fn. 987) but the tithingman did not present at Amesbury courts and no West Amesbury business was done in them. (fn. 988)
Records of a court of West Amesbury manor exist for a few years in the period 1491–1645. The homage presented and the court transacted tenurial and agrarian business, dealing in the 1490s with the overstocking of common pasture with sheep, in the 1550s with the unsatisfactory condition of a hedge, and in 1645 with the arrangements for feeding cattle in common. The manor had few tenants, there was little copyhold business to be done, (fn. 989) and it is likely that few courts were held after 1645.
The parish spent £205 on poor relief in 1775– 6, an average of £214 in the three years 1782–5. It had no workhouse and all relief was outdoor. The poor-rate was average for the hundred in 1802–3 when £845 was spent, only £7 of it on materials to be used in employment: 60 adults and 83 children were relieved regularly, 49 people occasionally; a further 52 who were relieved were not parishioners and were presumably travellers. (fn. 990) Expenditure is known to have exceeded £1,000 in only four years: in 1812–13, when it was £1,211, 118 adults were relieved regularly, 11 occasionally, It reached a peak of £1,310 in 1817–18, in the 1820s averaged £750, (fn. 991) and was £585 in 1834–5. The parish became part of Amesbury poor-law union in 1835, (fn. 992) of Salisbury district in 1974. (fn. 993)
There was a church at Amesbury from when the abbey was founded c. 979, (fn. 994) and perhaps from before then. It is possible that St. Mary was invoked in the abbey church from its foundation and that St. Melor later became co-patron when some of his relics were brought to it. (fn. 995) The church is almost certain to have been the only one at Amesbury and to have been open to all inhabitants. When the abbey was dissolved in 1177 the church of St. Mary and St. Melor, evidently the abbey church, was granted to Amesbury priory. (fn. 996) A new priory church was built between then and 1186, (fn. 997) and the old church apparently remained in use as the parish church. (fn. 998) Later the brethren of the priory had what is likely to have been a third church at Amesbury. (fn. 999) The parish church was served by chaplains, after the Reformation by curates: the right to appoint them belonged to the owners of the great tithes and was exercised by Amesbury priory until the Dissolution, (fn. 1000) by the lessees of the Rectory estate from the mid 16th century to 1630, and by St. George's chapel, Windsor, from 1630. (fn. 1001) From 1757, after the endowment of the curacy, the curates were presented to the bishop for institution. (fn. 1002) Under the Incumbents Act of 1868 the living became a vicarage, which remains in the gift of St. George's chapel. (fn. 1003)
Neither chaplains, curates, nor vicars were well remunerated. At the Dissolution the chaplain's stipend was £8: (fn. 1004) from 1541 it was a charge on the Rectory estate, (fn. 1005) and it had been increased to £15 by 1612, £20 by 1623, and £40 by 1660. From 1612 a house on the Rectory estate was reserved for use by the curate, and from 1630 St. George's chapel allowed him to take the oblations and some small tithes. (fn. 1006) The tithes were later replaced by a modus of 6d. for each cow and each calf kept in the parish. (fn. 1007) The living was augmented by the state in the Interregnum, (fn. 1008) and six times in the period 1730–1829. Queen Anne's Bounty gave 8 a. in Hungerford (Berks.) in 1808 and met benefactions in 1730 and 1829, money was granted by parliament in 1814 by lot and in 1824 to meet benefactions, (fn. 1009) and Susanna Bundy (d. 1828) gave by will the income from £500; (fn. 1010) at £141, however, the curate's income remained lowc. 1830. (fn. 1011) The modus was commuted to a rent charge of £1 in 1847. (fn. 1012) The Ecclesiastical Commissioners augmented the vicarage in 1880 and 1881, (fn. 1013) and in 1881 the capital of Bundy's charity was spent on a new vicarage house. (fn. 1014) The 8 a. given in 1808 were sold in 1919. (fn. 1015) The curate had no glebe in Amesbury apart from his house, which stood very near the north-east corner of the church. (fn. 1016) A house apparently of the mid or later 16th century (fn. 1017) was enlarged in 1824 and 1859. (fn. 1018) It was demolished when Wyndersham House on the south-east side of Church Street, formerly a school and later the Antrobus Arms, was bought as the vicarage house in 1881. (fn. 1019) In 1916–17 that house was sold and a new one was built a little east of the church. (fn. 1020) That in turn was sold in 1992, when a new vicarage house was built in its garden. (fn. 1021)
Three lights and an obit in the church were endowed in the Middle Ages. (fn. 1022) A Bible was bought in 1539–40. (fn. 1023) In 1553, when Stephen Lyons was curate, no sermon had been preached for a year, (fn. 1024) and in the 1580s quarterly sermons were not preached. (fn. 1025) The curate, Uriah Banks, signed the Concurrent Testimony in 1648 (fn. 1026) and preached twice every Sunday in 1650. (fn. 1027) In 1662, when Thomas Holland was curate, many parishioners were consistently absent from church, and the church had no Book of Homilies and no copy of Jewell's Apology. (fn. 1028) Holland, said to be a good scholar and a painful preacher, was curate 1660– 80, and his son Thomas, who in 1716 sought a patent for a water-raising device for use in agriculture and industry, was curate 1680– 1730. (fn. 1029) In 1783 the curate, Henry Richards, did not reside. His deputy, also curate of Allington, held two services every Sunday and services on Christmas day, Good Friday, and fast and thanksgiving days; he celebrated communion thrice a year with c. 25 communicants and catechized once or twice in Lent. (fn. 1030) F. W. Fowle, curate 1817–68, vicar 1868–76, was also rector of Allington but lived at Amesbury. He too held services every Sunday, and on Census Sunday in 1851 had a congregation, excluding schoolchildren, of 194 in the morning and of 323 in the afternoon. Before the church was restored in 1852–3 he complained that it had too little accommodation for the poor. In 1864 he preached only at the afternoon services on Sundays. Morning services were also held on Wednesdays, Fridays, and saints' days but, except in Lent, were poorly attended; additional services were held on Christmas day and Good Friday. Communion, then with c. 70 communicants, was celebrated monthly and at Christmas, Easter, and Whitsun. (fn. 1031)
A chapel, with an altar dedicated to All Saints, stood at Ratfyn in the early 15th century. Amesbury priory was responsible for providing a chaplain to hold services every Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday; the inhabitants of Ratfyn had all rights in their chapel except baptism and burial. A silver-gilt chalice was among the chapel's goods. In 1412 the priory was providing too few services and the inhabitants were neglecting the building. (fn. 1032) A remark by William Cobbett in 1826 that its porch would accommodate all the inhabitants suggests that the chapel was standing then. (fn. 1033) Cobbett's remark deserves little credence, and the chapel, the site of which may have been Church close a little south of Ratfyn Farm, (fn. 1034) is likely to have been demolished long before 1826.
The church of ST. MARY AND ST. MELOR, apparently the church of the abbey dissolved in 1177, is of rubble and ashlar, is cruciform, and has a chancel, a central tower, a north transept with east chapel, a south transept, and a clerestoried nave with south aisle. (fn. 1035) The nave is of the earlier 12th century and is generally plain; east of it the crossing, transepts, and chancel were built in the early 13th century. At its north-west corner the nave is joined to the early 13th-century remains of what was evidently a gatehouse, probably a south-west gate of the priory, and a lean-to passage against the outside of the north wall of the nave apparently linked the north transept and the gatehouse. In the 13th century the north transept had two east chapels. The east part of the southern and smaller one had a door to the chancel and served as a chancel vestry: in the 14th century the chapel was demolished and the doorway replaced by a four-light window. At the same time a window of similar size was inserted at the centre of the south wall of the chancel. The south transept also had an east chapel in the 13th century. In the late 15th the chapel was rebuilt and, possibly slightly earlier, the nave aisle was built: the south wall of the chapel was aligned with that of the aisle. Also in the late 15th century much of the church was reroofed and a new east window and a new west window were inserted. In 1721, when a new doorway and two new windows were inserted in it, (fn. 1036) the south wall of the south transept may have been completely rebuilt; the transept's chapel had been demolished by 1803. (fn. 1037) In 1852–3 the church was restored to designs by William Butterfield, who evidently intended to remove all features later thanc. 1400. The east window was replaced by one in 13th-century style, and a new more steeply pitched roof was made over the chancel; the tower staircase was removed from the north transept, the chapel of which was converted to a vestry, and in the angle of the chancel and the transept a new staircase and a boilerhouse were built; in the south transept the early 18thcentury windows were replaced by lancets similar to the 13th-century ones in the north wall of the north transept, and the doorway was replaced by one in 13th-century style; the west wall of the nave was largely rebuilt, and the window in it was re-formed as three double lancets. Nearly all the furnishings, including a west gallery, a 15th-century rood screen, and an early 13thcentury font, were removed from the church. (fn. 1038) In 1905 the church was structurally restored under the direction of C. E. Ponting and Detmar Blow, (fn. 1039) and in 1907 some of the furnishings removed in 1852–3, including the screen and the font, were replaced. (fn. 1040)
In 1553 a 14-oz. chalice was left in the parish and 16 oz. of plate were taken for the king. A gilt plate was given by John Rose (d. 1677). In 1852–3 all the church plate was melted down and used in new plate consisting of two chalices of parcel gilt, a paten, a flagon, and an almsdish. (fn. 1041)
The parish retained all that plate in 1993. (fn. 1042)
There were four bells in 1553. (fn. 1043) The ring was increased to six, most likely in either 1619 or 1728, and later comprised two bells cast by John Wallis in 1619, one cast by Clement Tosier in 1713 and recast by John Warner & Sons in 1881, one cast by John Cor in 1728, one by a Cor between c. 1710 and 1740, and one by John Wells in 1801. (fn. 1044) In 1905 the bells were rehung in a frame large enough for eight, and in 1946 the ring was increased to eight by two trebles cast by Taylor of Loughborough (Leics.). (fn. 1045)
Those eight bells hung in the church in 1993. (fn. 1046)
There are registrations of baptisms 1624–40 and from 1660, of burials 1610–36 and from 1660, and of marriages 1610–39 and from 1661. In each case there are a few entries for earlier years; baptisms are lacking for 1809–10, burials for 1808–10. (fn. 1047)
In 1931 a wooden church, dedicated to the HOLY ANGELS, was built beside Main Road to serve Boscombe Down. (fn. 1048)
From 1794 to 1800 an English convent of Augustinian canonesses driven from Louvain (Brabant) by the French Revolution lived in Amesbury Abbey. (fn. 1049) A Roman Catholic church was opened in London Road in 1933; (fn. 1050) chapels in several other parishes, including Ludgershall and Figheldean, were later served from it, (fn. 1051) and a priest lived at Amesbury. (fn. 1052) The church was replaced in 1985 (fn. 1053) by a new church of red brick.
Bap-tists lived at Amesbury in the 1650s, and a conventicle run by the Baptist chapel at Porton was held there. (fn. 1054) In the 1660s and 1670s members of the Long family of West Amesbury were Baptists: in 1662 William Long and his wife Alice promised to attend church 'as soon as God shall make them able', and in 1672 Thomas Long's house was licensed for meetings. (fn. 1055) There were 10 protestant nonconformists in the parish in 1676, (fn. 1056) and Thomas Long remained one in 1683. (fn. 1057) A Quaker meeting house was licensed in 1719, and Independent ones in 1766, 1776, 1795, and 1815. (fn. 1058)
John Wesley preached at Amesbury in 1779 and 1785, (fn. 1059) and in 1806 a Methodist meeting house was licensed. A Methodist chapel had been built by 1816, and other Methodist meeting houses were licensed in 1816 and 1819. The chapel was relicensed in 1838, (fn. 1060) possibly after alterations; (fn. 1061) it stood behind buildings on the north-west side of High Street, (fn. 1062) and on Census Sunday in 1851 congregations of 96 and 100, excluding schoolchildren, attended morning and evening service respectively. (fn. 1063) In 1864 the curate of Amesbury described the Wesleyans as proselytizing and very active. (fn. 1064) The chapel and its schoolroom were burnt down in 1899. A new chapel, of red brick and in middle Gothic style, was built to front the north-west side of High Street in 1900; (fn. 1065) a new schoolroom was built behind it in 1931–2, (fn. 1066) and a hall was built in 1961. (fn. 1067) The chapel remained open in 1993.
A Primitive Methodist chapel, small and of corrugated iron, was built in Flower Lane between 1899 and 1910. It had been closed by 1922. (fn. 1068)
A schoolmaster may have lived at Amesbury in the early 16th century. (fn. 1069)
Rose's school was founded in 1677 by John Rose. It was to be kept 'on the south side of the parish church of Amesbury', where a school was formerly kept, presumably in the south transept. Rose gave land at Ditcheat (Som.), and provided for a master to be paid £30 a year to teach grammar, writing, and arithmetic: the pupils, up to 20 in number, were to be aged between 9 and 15, of the poorest inhabitants of Amesbury, and able to read and to recite the catechism. If income was sufficient a teacher was to be employed to prepare children for the grammar school. (fn. 1070) One of the first masters, 1688–91, was the diarist Thomas Naish, subdean of Salisbury from 1694; the suggestion that one of his pupils was Joseph Addison, founder of the Spectator, may be invalid because Addison's father was neither poor nor resident in Amesbury. (fn. 1071) Only six boys were taught in the grammar school in 1818: none was of the poorest parents in the parish because, by the time they were 9 years old, most such children were already in paid employment, and children of mechanics, tradesmen, and artisans were admitted. About then Rose's trustees opened a preparatory school, at which 20 children were taught by a mistress paid £21 a year. Each school was held in the teacher's house. A house, formerly the Jockey inn, on the south-east side of High Street, was bought in 1807, and from 1831 was used as a school and schoolhouse for the grammar school. In 1833 that school had 6–13 pupils, of poor, but not the poorest, parents, and the master also taught six fee- paying pupils in the school; children aged 4 were admitted to the preparatory school, which boys left at 9 and girls at 11 or 12. The two schools were merged between 1833 and 1854. (fn. 1072) In 1858 a master, who was paid £30, and a mistress, who was paid £20, taught a total of only 10 children. (fn. 1073) By 1867 Rose's had become an elementary school for boys; in 1872 it was attended by 19, for 4 of whom fees were paid. Later it was again mixed, and most of the 36 pupils in 1891 were girls. (fn. 1074) The school was closed in 1899. In 1900 its endowments were sold: an annuity was bought for the teacher, money was contributed to the building of a new National school, and Rose's Higher Education Fund was set up. (fn. 1075) From 1906 the fund was managed with Harrison's charity to provide exhibitions at certain schools and bursaries for pupil-teachers and for those attending training college. By Schemes of 1953 and 1972 payments to help maintain the fabric of Amesbury Church of England school were permitted, and by the Scheme of 1972 and one of 1980 the educational purposes of the charities were widened. (fn. 1076)
By will proved 1709 Henry Spratt of Southwark (Surr.) gave money for 15 boys and 15 girls to be taught English and the catechism: regular attendance was required although absence for harvest work was permitted. Spratt's school was opened in 1711, the master was paid £20 a year, a building was said to have been erected c. 1715, and in 1718 the endowment was used to buy land in Amesbury. (fn. 1077) In 1818 the school had a mistress paid £44 a year and 45 pupils. (fn. 1078) In 1832, when they were taught in the mistress's house, children were admitted aged 3–4 and left aged c. 9. (fn. 1079) Spratt's continued as an elementary school kept in the teacher's house; there were only 16 pupils in 1858, 27 in 1872. (fn. 1080) The school was closed in 1896: from 1821 until then each of the three successive teachers was a Miss Zillwood. The endowment was sold in 1900: an annuity was bought for the teacher and a contribution given to the building of the National school. (fn. 1081)
In addition to Rose's and Spratt's, two small schools in Amesbury had a total of 21 pupils in 1818. (fn. 1082) They were apparently closed when a National school was started in 1825. The National school was attended by 17 boys and 47 girls in 1833: (fn. 1083) it was probably the school in Amesbury run in the 1830s on the pupil-teacher system devised by Joseph Lancaster. (fn. 1084) An infants' school was started in 1841. (fn. 1085) In 1846–7 the National school, attended by 44, and the infants' school, attended by 64, each had a schoolroom and a teacher's house: (fn. 1086) the buildings were those in Salisbury Street in use until 1900. (fn. 1087) In 1858 an additional classroom was in use in each school, (fn. 1088) and in 1867 average attendance was 70–80 at the National school, 50–60 at the infants' school. An evening school was held in winter from the 1850s to the 1870s; average attendance in 1866–7 was 47, of whom two thirds were over 12. (fn. 1089) There was a school at the union workhouse in Salisbury Road in the 1850s, when 30–40 attended it, (fn. 1090) but children from the workhouse later went to other schools in Amesbury. (fn. 1091)
In 1901, after Rose's, Spratt's, and the workhouse schools had been closed, the National and infants' schools were replaced by a new National school, with five classrooms and five teachers, built in Back Lane: in 1902–3 the new school had 203 pupils, including 70 infants. (fn. 1092) Average attendance was 182 in 1906, (fn. 1093) 212 in 1927. (fn. 1094) In 1928 a county infants' school was built behind the police station, (fn. 1095) and the National school became Amesbury Church of England school; average attendance in 1937–8 was respectively 134 and 171. (fn. 1096) Two new classrooms were added to the infants' school in 1933. (fn. 1097) In the 1930s a fund was raised to provide a Church of England secondary school at Amesbury; a site was bought in 1938, but no school was built. (fn. 1098) The Church of England school was enlarged in 1957; Amesbury secondary modern school, on the site off Antrobus Road bought in 1938, was opened in 1958 and enlarged in 1960–1; the infants' school was enlarged in 1962; (fn. 1099) a Roman Catholic primary school, Christ the King school in Earls Court Road, was opened in 1964. (fn. 1100) The secondary modern school, renamed Stonehenge school, became a comprehensive school in 1974. (fn. 1101) In 1991, 141 pupils, aged 5–7, attended Amesbury Infants' school; 236, aged 5–11, attended Christ the King school; 250, aged 7–11, attended Amesbury Church of England school; 405, aged 11–16, attended Stonehenge school. (fn. 1102)
From 1839 or earlier to 1867 or later Caroline Browne held a school for young ladies: it was a day school in 1842, a boarding school in 1855 and later. (fn. 1103) Several small schools were held in the later 19th century. At one, a preparatory school held from c. 1867 to c. 1880 by the Revd. Arthur Meyrick in Wyndersham House, (fn. 1104) later the Vicarage and the Antrobus Arms, (fn. 1105) Walter Long (cr. Viscount Long 1921) was a pupil. (fn. 1106) Avondale school, a preparatory school opened in 1923, was held in Countess Farm by F. A. Perks; it moved to Bulford in 1957. (fn. 1107) Downlands school in Stonehenge Road was held in the 1950s by Eleanor F. B. Cowmeadow. (fn. 1108)
Charities for the poor.
In 1601 Hugh Atwill gave 33s. 4d. as a stock to provide work for the poor of Amesbury, among whom the profits of the work were to be distributed. No more is known of the fund. (fn. 1109)
Richard Harrison by will gave money for apprenticing boys of 12–16 who were sons of Amesbury's second poor and had attended Rose's or Spratt's school. Apprenticing evidently began c. 1727. Land in Allington was bought in 1780–1, and the charity's income was £11 in 1786. Between 1827 and 1832 nine boys were apprenticed, not all from the two schools. In 1881 £230 accumulated income was invested, in the 1890s three boys were apprenticed, and in 1904 the charity's income was £25. (fn. 1110) From 1906 the charity was managed with Rose's Higher Education Fund. (fn. 1111) The land, 21 a., was sold between 1910 and 1925. (fn. 1112)