A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 16, Kinwardstone Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1999.
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Little Bedwyn parish, (fn. 1) lying ESE. of Marlborough and WSW. of Hungerford (Berks.), contains Little Bedwyn village, Chisbury village, and several outlying farmsteads. Most of it was apparently part of a large estate called Bedwyn held in the early Middle Ages by the kings of Wessex and of England: Chisbury was apparently separated from the estate in 778, Little Bedwyn in the 12th century or early 13th. (fn. 2) A church built at Little Bedwyn no later than the 12th century was dependent on Great Bedwyn church in the 15th; the inhabitants of Little Bedwyn had all rights in their church, which was a parish church in the 16th century. (fn. 3) The inhabitants of Chisbury may have been parishioners of Froxfield until the 13th century; after 1547, the year from which a church built at Chisbury in the earlier 13th century and dependent on Great Bedwyn church was no longer served, (fn. 4) they were parishioners of Little Bedwyn. The farmsteads west of Chisbury village, and those on Burwood heath south-east of Little Bedwyn village, were also part of Little Bedwyn parish from the 16th century. (fn. 5) In the early 19th century it was apparently uncertain whether the parish included at its west end c. 150 a. of Savernake forest; (fn. 6) the land was part of the parish in the 1880s. (fn. 7) From the 1880s to 1987 the parish measured 4,343 a. (1,758 ha.); it was reduced to 1,710 ha. by a transfer to Great Bedwyn in 1987. (fn. 8)
The boundary of an estate said to lie at Bedwyn and apparently the land of Chisbury was recited in 778. No point on it can be unequivocally identified with a point on the modern parish boundary. On the north the boundary of the estate, probably with land later part of Froxfield parish, was marked by prehistoric monuments, a barrow, and a possible site of pagan worship. On the south the boundary between Little Bedwyn and Great Bedwyn parish seems to follow roughly a line recorded in 778 and 968. (fn. 9) The modern boundary of Little Bedwyn follows ridges and dry valleys in several places. For a short stretch on the east it was marked by a road until, between the 1790s and 1812, it was transferred to the canal which was built beside the road. On the north it probably followed a stream flowing eastwards to Froxfield; by the early 19th century it was marked by the main road which runs beside the stream and along the dry valley above it. (fn. 10) Other roads mark the boundary in several other places.
Little Bedwyn is a parish of broken relief drained by the river Dun, formerly called the Bedwyn river or the Bedwyn brook, which flows north-eastwards across the south-east part of the parish; (fn. 11) the stream flowing eastwards to join the Dun at Froxfield, sometimes called the Froxfield stream, formerly flowed across the parish and cut the dry east-west valley followed by the main road. North of the dry valley chalk outcrops and, on the higher ground near the parish boundary, there are deposits of clay-with-flints. Between the dry valley and the Dun chalk outcrops on the lower slopes, and Reading Beds, London Clay, and Bagshot Beds outcrop on the higher. Gravel has been deposited along the valley, in several other places, and extensively south of Knowle Farm; clay-with-flints has been deposited east and west of Chisbury village and at the west end of the parish; deposits of plateau gravel lie within Chisbury hill fort. South-east of the Dun chalk outcrops on the lower slopes, and Reading Beds and London Clay outcrop on the higher. There is alluvium beside the Dun. (fn. 12) At 176 m. Chisbury hill fort is the highest point in the parish; where the Dun leaves it at c. 110 m. is the lowest. Little Bedwyn and Chisbury had open fields mainly on the chalk, Little Bedwyn's being on both sides of the Dun; there may have been small open fields in the west part of the parish in the Middle Ages, when the clay and sandy soils were apparently mainly pasture. The parish is well wooded, some of the woodland in the west being joined to that of Savernake forest. (fn. 13)
The population of the parish was 428 in 1801. Between then and 1841 it rose steadily to reach its peak at 597. For reasons which are obscure it fell from 591 to 496 between 1851 and 1861 and rose to 579 between 1861 and 1871. It had declined to 456 by 1901 and risen to 505 by 1911. Thereafter it declined steadily to reach 254 in 1981. Although it lost population by the boundary change of 1987 Little Bedwyn parish had 286 inhabitants in 1991. (fn. 14)
The road from London to Bath and Bristol probably crossed the north part of the parish in the 13th century in the valley cut by the Froxfield stream, (fn. 15) and it was on its present course in 1675. (fn. 16) It was turnpiked through the parish in 1726, disturnpiked in 1871. (fn. 17) Roads linking Little Bedwyn with Hungerford, via the London road, and with Great Bedwyn may have followed the Dun closely on each bank, that on the north-west bank leading to Farm Lane in Great Bedwyn, that on the south-east bank to Frog Lane in Great Bedwyn. By the late 18th century most of the road on the north-west bank had been diverted to higher ground, crossing a ridge from the London road at Froxfield and leading to Brown's Lane in Great Bedwyn. South-west of Little Bedwyn village part of that on the south-east bank had also been diverted to higher ground by then; (fn. 18) the new section of road was later called Kelston Road. Close to the river, footpaths and sections of road remained in use on both banks in 1998. A north-south road leading from Ramsbury towards Great Bedwyn crossed Chisbury hill fort; its crossing of the London road on the northern parish boundary, near where it crossed the Froxfield stream, had been given the name Crossford by 1773. Then and later the road was apparently of no more than local importance. (fn. 19) In the west part of the parish the courses of most lanes changed little between the early 18th century (fn. 20) and 1998. Chisbury Lane, leading west from Chisbury village, was so called in 1609. (fn. 21) Monk Lane, leading south-west from Crossford, has largely gone out of use, (fn. 22) a lane leading south-west from the London road near Knowle Farm was largely obliterated in the 20th century, and east of Knowle Farm another lane leading south-west from the London road was remade on a new straight course between 1820 and 1885. (fn. 23) To improve the route between Marlborough and Great Bedwyn a new straight section of road running south-east from the London road, and joining the existing road south of Knowle Farm, was made between 1773 and 1817. (fn. 24) London ride, a north-east and south-west avenue linking Tottenham House in Great Bedwyn to the London road, was made across the west part of the parish c. 1730. (fn. 25)
The Kennet & Avon canal was built beside the Dun in the late 1790s. In 1799 it was opened across the parish, in which there are two locks, and in 1810 was opened completely. (fn. 26) It was restored across the parish in the mid 1970s. (fn. 27)
The Berks. & Hants Extension Railway was built along the north-west side of the canal and opened across the parish in 1862. The line led from Reading to Devizes, from 1900 to Westbury, and from 1906 to Exeter. It has a station at Great Bedwyn. (fn. 28)
Hand axes used in the Palaeolithic period and artefacts of the Neolithic period and the Bronze Age were found near Knowle Farm in the west part of the parish; an implement of the Palaeolithic period, and Roman coins and other Roman artefacts, were found at Chisbury. (fn. 29) Also at Chisbury the banks and ditches of a hill fort, probably constructed in the 1st century A.D., remain well defined. (fn. 30) South-east of the hill fort an ancient ditch lies north-west and south-east; a ditch leading south-west from the hill fort has been obliterated. There may have been other ancient ditches in the west part of the parish. (fn. 31) A bowl barrow seen south-east of the hill fort in the 18th century has not survived. (fn. 32)
The whole parish lay within Savernake forest, the part north of the London road only until 1228. (fn. 33) About 1302 part of the forest at a place called Little farm, probably what was later called Littleworth farm, was granted by the king and apparently assarted. (fn. 34) When new boundaries of the forest were adopted in 1330 the land at the west end of the parish about which there was uncertainty in the early 19th century remained within them; the rest of the parish was placed outside. On the grounds that they had been parts of the forest leased by the king, or were held in chief of him, Puthall, Timbridge, Littleworth, and Holt, all in the west part of the parish, were some of the places subject to the forest law although from 1330 outside the boundary. (fn. 35) Timbridge down and most of Puthall's land, held in chief, lay north of the London road and had been outside the forest since 1228. (fn. 36)
The church stands at the north end of the village on the north-west bank of the Dun. In the Middle Ages the demesne farmstead of Little Bedwyn manor, incorporating a manor house or a farmhouse, may have stood near the church, and the copyhold farmsteads of the manor were apparently built on either side of the Dun beside a north-west and south-east street. In the early 14th century the village probably consisted of little more than the church, the demesne farmstead of Little Bedwyn manor, a mill, and the farmsteads of seven customary tenants. (fn. 37)
In the mid 18th century a house which has sometimes been lived in by the lord of Little Bedwyn manor and sometimes by the lessee of the demesne farm, (fn. 38) later called Manor farm, was built south-east of the Dun on the north-east side of the street. In the late 18th century no manor house or farmhouse stood near the church, which by then had been linked to the street by a short lane later called Church Street. A large barn and other buildings of the demesne farm then stood on the south-east side of Church Street, other buildings on the north-west side. (fn. 39) The Dun had been bridged by 1773. (fn. 40) In 1792 the village consisted of the church, a vicarage house, four farmsteads, and c. 15 houses and cottages. (fn. 41) Although each is bridged, the canal and the railway, built in the late 1790s and early 1860s respectively, (fn. 42) form a barrier between the north-west and south-east parts of the village, which was designated a conservation area in 1985. (fn. 43)
The house built in the mid 18th century is of red brick and in 1998 stood as a north-west range against which a south-east block, also of red brick, had been built c. 1800. In 1998 the house was called Manor House. The part of the newer block which forms the centre of its south-west front projects and has a Tuscan porch and a pediment in which there is a semicircular window. In the 18th century the garden of the house was walled, a summer house was built in the garden, and red-brick stables were built between the house and the Dun. Adjoining the stables a small 18th-century building, red-brick and on a circular plan, may have been a game larder. The farm buildings north-west of the Dun were demolished between 1841 and 1884, probably when the railway was built. A new barn, timberframed, weatherboarded, and thatched, was built north-east of the stables between 1792 and 1841, (fn. 44) and north-east of it new farm buildings were erected in the 20th century.
Of the other farmsteads standing in 1792, (fn. 45) one north-west of the Dun and two south-east, the only building standing in 1998 was the farmhouse of that north-west: it is 17th-century, timber-framed, and thatched, and much of its walling has been clad with brick. North-west of the Dun a pair of red-brick and thatched cottages was built in the late 18th century or early 19th, and two of the buildings standing in Church Street in 1792 were replaced in the 19th century, one by a pair of cottages dated 1860. (fn. 46) South-east of the Dun a terrace incorporating two pairs of cottages was apparently built shortly before 1841, (fn. 47) and in Kelston Road a terrace of four estate cottages was built c. 1860. A house which may have been the vicarage house between c. 1845 and 1863 was enlarged in the later 19th century.
Little Bedwyn village remains small, although from the later 19th century buildings were erected on new sites at its edges. At the northwest end on high ground a new school and a new vicarage house were built in the later 19th century. (fn. 48) At the south-east end in Kelston Road a large house was built c. 1910, (fn. 49) three linked pairs of cottages were built as a crescent in 1936 and a fourth was built in 1961, (fn. 50) and four other houses were built in the 20th century. The eight cottages (fn. 51) were built by trustees of S. W. Farmer (d. 1926) to house retired farm labourers. The trustees sold them to a housing association in 1996. (fn. 52) The site of a nonconformist chapel at the south-east end of the village was used for a house in the late 20th century, (fn. 53) and, each time further south-east, new farm buildings were erected in the mid 20th century and in 1971. (fn. 54)
At the junction of Kelston Road and the village street the Harrow inn, a building of red and blue bricks with a slate roof, took the name of an inn on the London road and was open in 1840. (fn. 55) It was closed in 1990, bought in 1991 by inhabitants of the village, (fn. 56) and open in 1998.
A statement made in the 13th century that Chisbury took its name from, and was the site of a castle built by, Cissa in the late 7th century is almost certainly fantasy. (fn. 57) It has also been suggested that the hill fort at Chisbury was prepared as a fortress for defence by King Alfred (d. 899) against the Danes. The suggestion depends on the form of the name, 'Cissanbyrig', in a copy of a list of Alfred's fortresses and, especially because the name appears between Wilton and Shaftesbury (Dors.) in the list, it is more likely that the fortress was near Tisbury than at Chisbury. (fn. 58)
In the 14th century a manor house, Chisbury church, and farm buildings described in 1398 as old stood within the hill fort. The manor house incorporated a hall, with a high chamber at the west end and roofed with stone slates, a tower, containing a chapel and a chamber and roofed with lead, and a latrine roofed with tiles; it had a gatehouse and probably a moat. (fn. 59) The house standing within the hill fort in 1612, a building with a west front of three wide gabled bays with chimney stacks between the bays, (fn. 60) may have survived until the late 18th century, when a new house, later called Manor Farm and Chisbury Manor, was built on its site. The new house incorporates re-used materials, bears the date 1793 on the leadwork of a downpipe, and has a three-bayed south front and two short rear wings. It was much altered inside c. 1985, when fittings in mid 18th-century style were introduced. North of the house an outbuilding is possibly 17th-century and there is an 18th-century walled garden; east of the house old farm buildings were replaced c. 1985 by a house which incorporates an octagonal tower. (fn. 61) In 1998 the farm buildings within the hill fort stood near Chisbury church and were mostly 20th-century.
Chisbury had fewer than 10 households in 1428, (fn. 62) and in the 16th and 17th centuries included, apart from that within the hill fort, no more than about five farmsteads. One of the farmsteads in 1552 was Thorn Place, (fn. 63) which stood in Chisbury Lane. In 1719 there were six farmsteads, four on the west side of the Ramsbury road and two in the lane; seven houses and cottages stood near the junction of the road and the lane, and a house and two cottages stood on the edge of a common pasture east of the road. (fn. 64) The only building which undoubtedly survives from 1719 is a red-brick and thatched farmhouse of the late 17th century beside the Ramsbury road. It was apparently superseded by a new farmhouse and in 1998 was occupied as two cottages. The new house, later called Lower Farm, was built of red brick c. 1800. Three cottages and a range of what was three cottages, (fn. 65) all of red brick and thatch and incorporating timber framing, are apparently 18th-century, and a house on the site of Thorn Place is possibly of 18th-century origin. In the mid 19th century a pair of cottages and a farmhouse later converted to cottages were built at the junction of the Ramsbury road and Chisbury Lane, where a mission room was built in the later 19th century. (fn. 66) Of 15 houses built in the village in the 20th century six were council houses which had been built in Chisbury Lane by 1922, (fn. 67) two were estate cottages built on the east side of the Ramsbury road in the 1950s, (fn. 68) and two were built immediately south of the hill fort. Large farm buildings were erected on the east side of the Ramsbury road in the 20th century. In 1998 no building stood on the sites occupied in 1719 by a farmstead in Chisbury Lane and by the house and cottages east of the Ramsbury road. The village was designated a conservation area in 1993. (fn. 69)
In the south-east part of the parish two farmsteads had been built by the mid 16th century on Burwood heath. (fn. 70) Pasture on the heath was inclosed c. 1570, and on or near the heath two or three new farmsteads may have been built soon afterwards. (fn. 71) In 1672 each of four livings said to lie on Burwood heath may have included a farmstead there. (fn. 72) In the later 18th century there were three farmsteads on or near the heath. (fn. 73) The sites of two were deserted in the 19th century. (fn. 74) At the third, Burwood (later Burridge) Heath Farm, a new house was built in 1909, (fn. 75) and by 1998 farm buildings had been converted for residence.
North-east of Little Bedwyn village a small farmstead stood in 1719 (fn. 76) where by 1817 a hamlet had been given the name Forebridge. (fn. 77) In 1792 the hamlet consisted of four small houses and a building called a workhouse. Three of the houses survive and were probably built in the 18th century. One had been demolished by 1841; the workhouse, occupied as three tenements in 1841, had been demolished by 1884. Two new cottages were built at Forebridge between 1792 and 1841 and a house and five cottages between 1841 and 1884; (fn. 78) of all those only the house and a pair of much altered mid 19th-century cottages survived in 1998.
South of Little Bedwyn village a house stood on Merrell down in the 16th century (fn. 79) and from the 18th century. (fn. 80) About 1770 a house there was said to be new: (fn. 81) it may be that, 18th-century and of red brick and thatch, which stood there in 1998. (fn. 82) On the parish boundary nearby the Horse and Jockey was an inn in 1773. (fn. 83) The buildings on its site were those of a farmstead from 1788 or earlier. (fn. 84) The farm buildings had been removed by 1884, (fn. 85) and in the 20th century the house, built in the 18th century, probably the former inn, and much enlarged, was occupied as three cottages. (fn. 86) Also south of Little Bedwyn village a pair of cottages and farm buildings were built in Parlow bottom in the mid 19th century. The cottages, of red brick with lancet-style windows, were occupied as a house in 1998. South-west of the village a pair of cottages was built beside the Great Bedwyn road in the mid 19th century. (fn. 87)
In the west part of the parish, west of Chisbury's land, settlements apparently stood on eight sites in the Middle Ages. Some possibly had their own open fields and may have consisted of several farmsteads; others may have been planted as single isolated farmsteads. They all stood near the edge of the woodland of Savernake forest, probably on land brought into cultivation later than that of Little Bedwyn and Chisbury. Two of the sites had been deserted by the 16th century, when there was apparently no more than a single farmstead at all but one of the others. (fn. 88)
Chisbury Lane Farm has stood at the west end of Chisbury Lane from 1719 or earlier; (fn. 89) in 1998 it consisted of a 19th-century house bearing a date stone for 1629, and mainly 20th-century farm buildings. North-west of it Upper Horsehall Hill Farm, formerly Great Horse Hill Farm, was built on high ground. A farmhouse of 18th-century origin and altered in the later 19th century, a smaller house, of red brick and thatch and apparently 18th-century, and farm buildings stood on the site in 1998. On lower ground south-west of that site a timber-framed and thatched house, Lower Horsehall Hill Cottage, formerly Little Horse Hill Farm, was built as a farmhouse in the 17th century (fn. 90) and was standing in 1998. Near the parish boundary west of Chisbury Lane Farm a farmstead called Holt had apparently been deserted by 1552. (fn. 91)
Knowle was a settlement in the 13th century; (fn. 92) c. 1311 it probably consisted of no more than a demesne farmstead and the homes of six cottars, (fn. 93) and, apart from the farmhouse, there was no domestic building on the site in 1716. (fn. 94) A small chapel was built at the farmstead in the 14th century. The farmhouse, called Knowle House in 1998, was rebuilt in 1733 for Edward Savage, (fn. 95) who held Knowle farm by a lease on lives. (fn. 96) Knowle House is of red and grey brick and has a north-west entrance front of five bays with a central pediment; it contains an oak staircase of high quality, and several rooms retain panelling of c. 1733; a south-east service wing was built in the 19th century. In 1998 the chapel stood immediately south-east of the house, and vestiges of a garden which lay immediately south-west of the house in the 18th century (fn. 97) could still be seen. The farm buildings, north-east of the house, were mainly 20th-century, and a later 20th-century bungalow stood near them. North of the farmstead a pair of cottages was built in the 19th century (fn. 98) where the track to the farmstead left the London road.
Puthall was almost certainly the small village of which in the Middle Ages the buildings stood on a site adjoining the present Puthall Farm to the north and east. (fn. 99) The name Puttan ealh was in use in the 8th century; (fn. 100) Puthall was a settlement in the 12th. (fn. 101) There may have been no more than a single farmstead there in the later 14th century, (fn. 102) as there was in the early 16th century (fn. 103) and later. (fn. 104) The farmhouse standing in 1998 was built on a three-roomed plan in the 17th century; it had a large internal chimney stack and a lobby entrance. In the early 19th century it was extended eastwards and refitted. The farm buildings stand east of the house, include part of a 19th-century farmyard, and are otherwise 20th-century. South of the farmstead a pair of cottages was built in the 19th century where the track to the farmstead left the London road, (fn. 105) and a bungalow was built beside the track in the later 20th century.
Timbridge was apparently a small settlement in the early 14th century, (fn. 106) and in the early 18th consisted of two small farmsteads. One of the farmhouses was rebuilt in the mid 18th century and, as Timbridge Farm, (fn. 107) was standing in 1998. The house has a three-bayed east front of brick with Venetian windows on the first floor. It was extended westwards by a low dairy built in the 18th century or early 19th and by a large new kitchen, built in the early 19th century, in which substantial timbers worked in the 16th or 17th century were re-used. In 1998 a small 19th-century stable yard, extensive 20th-century farm buildings, and a pair of cottages built in 1958 (fn. 108) stood east of the house. On the site of the second farmstead, a little north of Timbridge Farm, there was no more than a pair of cottages in the late 19th century; the cottages were demolished in the later 20th century. (fn. 109)
Henset, first mentioned in the early 12th century, (fn. 110) was probably a small village, on the site of which a farmstead may have stood in the 14th century. (fn. 111) Its land was apparently that north of the London road and east of Timbridge down. (fn. 112) The site of the settlement, which was deserted, is unknown. (fn. 113) A farmstead called Littleworth standing west of Timbridge Farm in the 18th century (fn. 114) may have originated as one built on part of Savernake forest assarted c. 1302. (fn. 115) Buildings stood on the site of the farmstead until the early 20th century. (fn. 116)
Beside the London road a house or cottage called the Harrow was built c. 1765; (fn. 117) it was presumably the thatched house on the east side of the Ramsbury road standing in 1998. Also beside the London road a red-brick house was built immediately west of the Ramsbury road c. 1800; the house, the outbuildings of which stood on the north side of the road in Froxfield parish, was open as the Harrow inn in 1812. (fn. 118) By 1841 it had become a farmhouse and its outbuildings had been converted to farm buildings. (fn. 119) In 1998 the house remained the only part of Harrow Farm in Little Bedwyn parish. West of Harrow Farm the Golden Arrow café, a bungalow, a petrol station, and a commercial garage were built together on the north side of the London road c. 1930: in 1998 the wooden tea room built in 1930, (fn. 120) two bungalows, and a petrol station stood on the site.
In the west part of the parish two pairs of ornamental cottages were built beside the Great Bedwyn road in the 19th century. Voronzoff Gate, of patterned polychrome brickwork incorporating the date 1856, with fretted bargeboards, and with stone details in Gothic style at the doorway and windows, was built beside the London road.
MANORS AND OTHER ESTATES.
Little Bedwyn was probably part of the estate called Bedwyn which passed with the crown almost certainly from the 8th century. The estate was held by Abingdon abbey (Berks., later Oxon.) from 968 to 975, and from 978 again passed with the crown. When the estate was granted by Henry I to his marshal John Fitz Gilbert, probably c. 1130, (fn. 121) Little Bedwyn may not have been part of it. In 1154–5 Little Bedwyn was apparently held by Walter Waleran, and by 1156 it had apparently been resumed by the Crown. Little Bedwyn manor had been infeudated or subinfeudated by c. 1211: (fn. 122) in the 14th century it was sometimes said to be held in chief, sometimes of John FitzGilbert's successors in title. (fn. 123)
LITTLE BEDWYN manor was held c. 1211 by John Russel; 1 yardland at Little Bedwyn held by Russel for the service of providing two bushels of wine for the king (fn. 124) presumably became part of the manor. Russel (d. 1220 × 1224) had a son Ralph (fl. 1239), and Ralph Russel (d. c. 1278), presumably another, held Little Bedwyn manor in 1275 as ½ knight's fee. (fn. 125) The manor passed, probably at that Ralph's death, to his son William Russel (d. c. 1311). William was succeeded by his son Theobald. (fn. 126)
About 1325–6 Theobald Russel sold 1 carucate, probably part of Little Bedwyn manor, to William Musard (fn. 127) (d. 1330). The rest of the manor was also acquired by Musard, and it descended to his son William. (fn. 128) By 1332 the second of those estates had possibly been acquired by William Braybrook, (fn. 129) and it was probably that, described as Little Bedwyn manor, in 1348 settled by Braybrook on himself and his wife Margery and on the marriage of his son William to Elizabeth Musard. (fn. 130) The land sold c. 1325–6 apparently passed in turn to the younger William Musard and to Elizabeth Musard, his sister or daughter. Elizabeth and the younger William Braybrook had three daughters, Margery, the wife of Thomas Hansworth, John Short, and John Sydele, Alice, the wife of John Shaw and Richard Rock, and Olive. After William's death Elizabeth married John Scot. (fn. 131)
The estate settled in 1348 was held from Elizabeth Scot's death in 1391 by John Scot (fl. 1397) with reversion to Alice Shaw, (fn. 132) and it descended on Richard Rock's death in 1428 to Alice's daughter Anne Rock, the wife of Richard Axsmith. (fn. 133) In 1438 the Axsmiths sold it to Nicholas Wootton (fn. 134) (d. 1454), whose heirs were his daughter Agnes, the wife of William York, and his granddaughter Emmote Mills; (fn. 135) the estate was apparently assigned to Emmote, from 1458 or earlier the wife of Henry Organ. (fn. 136) The land conveyed c. 1325–6 was held from Elizabeth Scot's death by John Scot, who in 1397, in exchange for a pension for life, gave up his interest to Margery Sydele and to Olive Braybrook's daughter Joan, the wife of John Staplehill (fn. 137) (d. 1436). Joan's estate at Little Bedwyn descended to John Staplehill, John's son and probably hers; (fn. 138) in 1454 John sold it to William York, (fn. 139) and it later belonged to Henry Organ. On Organ's death in 1499 that estate and his wife's, each described as a third of Little Bedwyn manor, passed to his and Emmote's son Richard (fn. 140) (d. 1506), who was succeeded by his son John (fn. 141) (d. 1559). From 1559 the two thirds was held for life by John's daughter-in-law Jane (fn. 142) (fl. 1615), who, apparently before 1573, married Nicholas Luttrell. (fn. 143) The reversion was held jointly by John's daughters Margery, the wife of John Larder, Alice (d. 1586), the wife of Robert Harrison, Bridget, the wife of Giles Saunders, Mary, the wife of Robert Morgan and later of William Stourton, and Philippe (d. s.p. 1563), who married George Morton. (fn. 144) Stephen Biggs (d. by 1620) acquired Bridget's interest in 1597, Alice's from her son Richard Harrison in 1598, and probably Margery's, in each case presumably by purchase. In 1620 John Booth sold three quarters of the two thirds, formerly held by Biggs, to Nicholas Hyde (knighted 1627, d. 1631) and his brother Sir Laurence (d. 1642): (fn. 145) in 1646 four of Sir Laurence's sons sold his portion of Little Bedwyn manor to Francis Goddard. (fn. 146) In 1596 Mary Stourton's interest in the two thirds passed at her death to her grandson Christopher Morgan, whose uncle William Morgan sold it to Nicholas Hyde in 1615. (fn. 147) At his death Sir Nicholas's portion of Little Bedwyn manor passed with Hinton Daubnay manor in Catherington (Hants) to his son Laurence, who sold it in portions in 1665. (fn. 148)
The estate in Little Bedwyn held from 1397 by Margery Sydele passed on John Sydele's death in 1428 to her daughter Christine Short, the wife of Henry Parker. (fn. 149) Its descent from 1428 is obscure until 1540, when it was held by John Goddard (d. 1545) of Upper Upham in Aldbourne. It descended to John's son John (fn. 150) (d. c. 1567) and with Standen Hussey manor in Hungerford in turn to that John's son Thomas (d. 1610) and Thomas's son Francis Goddard, who bought Sir Laurence Hyde's portion of Little Bedwyn manor in 1646. Francis Goddard (d. 1652) was succeeded by his son Edward (d. 1684), and Edward by his son Francis, (fn. 151) who between 1695 and 1700 sold his part of that manor in portions. (fn. 152)
The demesne of Little Bedwyn manor was bought from Francis Goddard by Thomas Streat in 1700. (fn. 153) As Manor farm, and later as Little Bedwyn manor, it descended with a freehold on Burwood heath which belonged to Thomas's father Thomas (d. 1686) and with a holding bought by the elder Thomas from Laurence Hyde in 1665. (fn. 154) From Thomas Streat (will proved 1736) the estate passed to his son the Revd. Richard Streat (d. 1767), who by purchases in the period 1742–60 added to it holdings with land in Little Bedwyn and apparently on Burwood heath. Richard Streat's estate passed to his sisters Susannah Streat (d. 1770) and Elizabeth Kent (d. 1781) as coheirs. From Elizabeth it passed to her daughter Martha (d. unmarried 1784), and it descended to Martha's son William Kent (d. 1786) and in turn to William's son William (d. c. 1804) and daughter Elizabeth Kent. (fn. 155) The estate, 589 a. including land on Burwood heath, was sold by Elizabeth to Anthony Guy c. 1809. (fn. 156)
Of the portions of Little Bedwyn manor sold in the later 17th century 2 yardlands belonged to Stephen Blandy in 1711 and 1728, (fn. 157) to a Mrs. Blandy c. 1770, (fn. 158) and in the 1780s and 1790s, when the estate consisted of c. 135 a., to Martha and Mary Blandy, spinsters. The land was apparently bought from a Miss Blandy by Anthony Guy c. 1811. (fn. 159)
From c. 1811 all but c. 100 a. of Little Bedwyn's land was owned by Anthony Guy. In each case presumably by sale it passed from Guy to John Pain c. 1825, from Pain to the Revd. Thomas Tragett c. 1829, and from Tragett to Sir William Curtis, Bt., c. 1840. (fn. 160) In 1858 Sir William sold it to R. C. L. Bevan (fn. 161) (d. 1890). It passed with Fosbury manor to Bevan's son F. A. Bevan, (fn. 162) who between 1899 and 1903 sold it to S. W. Farmer (d. 1926), the tenant of Manor farm. (fn. 163) In 1927 Farmer's executors sold Little Bedwyn manor to his half-brother's son E. B. Gauntlett (d. 1958), who, by purchase in 1930, added to it Jockey Green farm, 157 a. including 101 a. in Great Bedwyn, and Foxbury wood and Strockeridge coppice, a total of 42 a. About 1970 Gauntlett's trustees sold the estate, 922 a., (fn. 164) to Paul Wansbrough, who in 1986 sold it to Mr. R. H. Tucker, the owner in 1998. (fn. 165)
Some of Little Bedwyn's land was part of Chisbury manor: (fn. 166) as lord of that manor Charles Brudenell-Bruce, marquess of Ailesbury, owned c. 41 a. of it in 1841, (fn. 167) and he or a successor acquired other land later. In 1930 George, marquess of Ailesbury, sold 56 a. of Little Bedwyn's land as part of Jockey Green farm, most of which lay in Great Bedwyn. The farm was bought by E. B. Gauntlett and added to Little Bedwyn manor, of which its land remained part in 1998. (fn. 168)
Burwood, presumably the land later called BURWOOD heath, was given by the king to his servant Jordan c. 1178. (fn. 169) About 1189 it passed to Stephen Chamber (d. c. 1189) and was held by his relict Gillian, also relict of Alan de Neville, until c. 1193. (fn. 170) In the earlier 14th century Burwood may have been part of Chisbury manor (fn. 171) as Burwood heath was in the 16th century, when much of it lay as common pasture. In the 1570s, soon after the pasture was inclosed, divided, and allotted, much of the heath was sold by John Cook, the lord of Chisbury manor, in portions; (fn. 172) some of it remained part of the manor. (fn. 173)
Burwood (later Burridge) Heath farm originated as a close, estimated at 60 a., bought c. 1577 by John Organ alias Taylor, who sold it to John Hunt of Ham in 1580. (fn. 174) The farm belonged to William Hunt in 1745, when it was of 72 a. In 1766 Hunt's brother and heir John sold it to Thomas Brudenell, Lord Bruce, (fn. 175) who, as lord of Chisbury manor, already owned some of Burwood heath. Lord Bruce's land on the heath descended with the manor to his successors as owners of Tottenham House, who acquired other parts of the heath. (fn. 176) In 1929 George, marquess of Ailesbury, owned c. 190 a. of it, which he offered for sale. The buyer of Burridge Heath farm, 271 a. including 123 a. in Shalbourne, sold it to A. S. Knight, who offered it for sale in 1930. (fn. 177) The farm was probably bought then by W. E. Rootes (knighted 1942, cr. Baron Rootes 1959, d. 1964), who apparently owned it in 1933, as he did later, as part of his estate based at Stype Grange in Shalbourne; (fn. 178) it remained part of the Stype Grange estate and in 1998 belonged to Mrs. V. L. Duffield. Foxbury wood and Strockeridge coppice, a total of 42 a., were sold by Lord Ailesbury to E. B. Gauntlett in 1930, were added to Little Bedwyn manor, and remained part of it in 1998. (fn. 179)
Part of Burwood heath devised by Thomas Streat (d. 1686) to his son Thomas (fn. 180) was probably bought from John Cook in the 1570s. The younger Thomas merged it with the demesne of Little Bedwyn manor, which he bought in 1700. (fn. 181) Part of the heath bought by Ralph Ardley alias Early from Cook in 1575 (fn. 182) was estimated at 45 a. in 1640 and descended in the Ardley alias Early family until c. 1730 or later. (fn. 183) It was apparently bought in 1760 by the Revd. Richard Streat (fn. 184) and added to Little Bedwyn manor, which in 1841 included 120 a. of Burwood heath. (fn. 185) Most of that land descended with Little Bedwyn manor until the earlier 20th century (fn. 186) and belonged to Mrs. Duffield as part of the Stype Grange estate in 1998. (fn. 187)
A fourth part of Burwood heath was sold by John Cook to Henry Clifton c. 1570 (fn. 188) and was assessed at 60 a. in 1640. It descended in the Clifton family until 1696 or later (fn. 189) and had apparently been sold in portions by c. 1730. (fn. 190)
The land of Chisbury was apparently that, assessed at 13 manentes and said to lie at Bedwyn, given by King Cynewulf to his thegn Bica in 778. (fn. 191) CHISBURY was held by Edric in 1066, by Gilbert of Breteuil in 1086. (fn. 192)
The overlordship of Chisbury manor was held in 1243 by Baldwin de Reviers, earl of Devon and lord of the Isle of Wight (d. 1245), presumably passed to his son Baldwin, earl of Devon (d. 1262), and was held in 1275 by that Baldwin's heir, his sister Isabel de Forz, countess of Aumale and of Devon. Walter Marshal, earl of Pembroke, was the mesne lord in 1243, and his heirs were mesne lords in 1275. (fn. 193)
Gilbert de Col umbers held Chisbury manor in 1167, (fn. 194) Michael de Columbers apparently held it in 1210, (fn. 195) and Matthew de Columbers held it from 1243 or earlier. (fn. 196) On Matthew's death c. 1272–3 the manor passed to his brother Michael, who conveyed it, apparently in fee, to John Havering. Probably c. 1279 Havering conveyed it to John Cobham (d. 1300). Matthew's relict Maud held a third of the manor as dower (fn. 197) and in 1285, when she married his son Henry, surrendered it to Cobham. The manor descended to Henry (fn. 198) (from 1313 Lord Cobham, d. 1339) and in the direct line to John, Lord Cobham (d. 1355), and John, Lord Cobham (d. 1408). It was among Lord Cobham's estates which were forfeited to the Crown in 1398 and recovered c. 1400. (fn. 199) It passed in 1408 to his granddaughter Joan Hawkberk, Baroness Cobham, who in 1408 married Sir John Oldcastle (d. 1417), a leader of the Lollards, and afterwards married Sir John Harpeden. At her death in 1434 Chisbury manor passed to her daughter Joan Braybrook, Baroness Cobham, wife of Sir Thomas Brooke, (fn. 200) and at hers c. 1443 it passed to her son Edward Brooke, Lord Cobham (d. 1464). It descended in the direct line to John, Lord Cobham (d. 1512), Thomas, Lord Cobham (d. 1529), and George, Lord Cobham (d. 1558). (fn. 201) In circumstances which are obscure it was transferred from Lord Cobham to Edward Seymour, duke of Somerset, c. 1552; (fn. 202) in 1552 it passed to the Crown on the execution and attainder of Somerset and was granted to John Dudley, duke of Northumberland; in 1553 it passed to the Crown on the execution and attainder of Northumberland. (fn. 203) The manor was presumably restored to Lord Cobham c. 1553, (fn. 204) and in 1567 it was sold by his son William, Lord Cobham (d. 1597), to John Cook for a rent charge of £27 (fn. 205) The rent charge descended to William's son Henry, Lord Cobham, on the attainder of whom it passed to the Crown in 1603. (fn. 206)
In the 16th century Chisbury manor included to the south-east Burwood heath, to the west farms called Holt, Horse Hill, and Monks (later Chisbury Lane), and to the north land at Rudge in Froxfield. (fn. 207) In the 1570s John Cook sold part of it, mainly land on Burwood heath and at Rudge, in portions. (fn. 208) In 1586 he sold the main part to William Read (fn. 209) (d. 1593), and as Chisbury manor that part descended to Read's son Edward. (fn. 210) In 1602 Edward Read sold the manor to Edward Seymour, earl of Hertford, (fn. 211) who bought the rent charge from the Crown in 1605. (fn. 212) With Tottenham Lodge and Tottenham House in Great Bedwyn the manor thereafter descended in the Seymour, Bruce, Brudenell, and Brudenell-Bruce families to George Brudenell-Bruce, marquess of Ailesbury, who in 1950 sold all of it except its woodland to the Crown, the owner in 1998. (fn. 213)
In 1119 the king gave HENSET to St. Maurice's cathedral, Angers (Maine et Loire). It belonged to the cathedral c. 1167, but not c. 1211, when with Teteridge in Froxfield it was held by William May and Thomas de Landon. (fn. 214) It was acquired by Peter des Roches, bishop of Winchester (d. 1238), as an endowment of Netley abbey (Hants), which was founded in 1239. The abbey gave it to the king in an exchange in 1241. (fn. 215) In 1308–9 an estate called Henset was held by John le Dun, (fn. 216) who settled it on himself for life and on Stephen of Brigmerston and his wife Joan. (fn. 217) At John's death in 1332 it passed to Stephen's daughter Isabel, the wife of Nicholas of Wylye, (fn. 218) and in 1334 Nicholas and Isabel conveyed it to Roger Normand. (fn. 219) It passed from Roger (d. 1349) to his grandson Giles Normand (fn. 220) (d. 1361), whose heir was his cousin Margaret Chamberlain. The estate was apparently acquired c. 1364 by John Eastbury (fn. 221) (d. 1374), and in 1416 it was held for life by John's son Thomas. By 1416 the reversion had been acquired by John Lovel, Lord Lovel, the lord of Axford manor in Ramsbury, who in that year conveyed it with that of Knowle manor to Sir William Sturmy (d. 1427). (fn. 222) Henset's land was apparently later part of Knowle farm. (fn. 223)
KNOWLE was bought by William Russel (d. c. 1311), the lord of Little Bedwyn manor, from Ralph de la Knowle in 1291, and it passed with the manor to William's son Theobald. (fn. 224) By 1345, when Theobald's relict Eleanor was claiming a third of it as dower, Knowle manor had been acquired by Sir Thomas Seymour (fn. 225) (d. 1358). (fn. 226) Sir Thomas conveyed it to Sir John Stock in fee tail with remainder to Sir John's brother Hugh in fee tail and reversion to Sir Thomas. (fn. 227) In 1398 and 1416 Knowle manor was held for life by Hugh's relict Parnel Stock. (fn. 228) The reversion was acquired by John Lovel, Lord Lovel (d. 1408), the lord of Axford manor, and it passed to his son John, Lord Lovel, (fn. 229) who in 1416 sold it with that of Henset to Sir William Sturmy (d. 1427). (fn. 230) Knowle manor, to which the land of Henset was apparently added, (fn. 231) passed to William Sturmy (d. by 1482), to his son John (fn. 232) (fl. 1497), (fn. 233) and to John's son Thomas (fl. 1512). (fn. 234) By 1544 it had passed to Margaret, the daughter and heir of a Sturmy, presumably Thomas, and the wife of Roger Hereford, (fn. 235) and in 1548 the Herefords sold it to Edward Seymour, duke of Somerset. (fn. 236) The manor passed to the Crown on Somerset's execution and attainder in 1552, and in 1553 it was assigned to his son Sir Edward Seymour (cr. earl of Hertford 1559, d. 1621). (fn. 237) As Knowle farm, 524 a. in 1841, (fn. 238) it descended with Tottenham Lodge and Tottenham House, from 1602 also with Chisbury manor. (fn. 239) In 1950 George, marquess of Ailesbury, sold all of it except its woodland to the Crown, the owner in 1998. (fn. 240)
About 1166 the overlordship of PUTHALL was transferred from John the marshal, who then held what was formerly the king's estate called Bedwyn and was a minor and the king's ward, to the keeper of the king's castle at Marlborough. (fn. 241) The lordship in demesne of Puthall descended from Robert of Puthall to his son Richard and to Richard's son William of Puthall (fl. 1201). (fn. 242) In 1229 it was the subject of litigation between Muriel, relict of William de Ros, and Reynold de Whitchurch, and between Reynold and Hugh de Ros, Muriel's son and formerly Reynold's ward. Muriel, then the wife of Roger Wallis, surrendered her claim to dower in the estate to Geoffrey Bingham and his wife Muriel in 1259, (fn. 243) and in 1260 the Binghams conveyed the estate to Harvey Boreham. (fn. 244) In 1310 the estate was held by William de Lillebonne, (fn. 245) who in 1318–19 conveyed it to Henry Tyeys, Lord Tyeys (d. 1322), and his wife Margaret. In 1322 it was forfeited because of Henry's contrariance, and in 1325 was restored to Margaret. (fn. 246) About 1370 Henry Sturmy granted it to Easton priory, (fn. 247) which held it until the Dissolution. (fn. 248) The estate was granted in 1536 as part of Easton Druce manor to Edward Seymour, Viscount Beauchamp (cr. earl of Hertford 1537, duke of Somerset 1547). On Somerset's execution and attainder in 1552 it passed by Act to his son Sir Edward (fn. 249) and as Puthall farm, 201 a. in 1841, (fn. 250) it descended as part of that manor, from 1553 with Tottenham Lodge and later with Tottenham House, from 1602 also with Chisbury manor. (fn. 251) In 1950 George, marquess of Ailesbury, sold all of it except the woodland to the Crown, the owner in 1998. (fn. 252)
A small estate called TIMBRIDGE, which may have consisted mainly of Timbridge down, was held in chief at his death c. 1305 by Henry Sturmy, lord of Burbage Sturmy manor. (fn. 253) Thereafter it descended with that manor, from 1553 also with Tottenham Lodge, later with Tottenham House, and from 1602 also with Chisbury manor. (fn. 254) As Timbridge farm, 291 a., it belonged to Charles Brudenell-Bruce, marquess of Ailesbury, in 1841; (fn. 255) in 1950 George, marquess of Ailesbury, sold it to the Crown, the owner in 1998. (fn. 256)
The land which may have been added to the west end of the parish between the early 19th century and the 1880s, c. 150 a., (fn. 257) was part, and belonged to the owner, of Savernake forest. In 1939 George, marquess of Ailesbury, leased it with the woodland of Chisbury manor, Knowle farm, and Puthall farm, a total of 662 a., for 999 years to the Forestry Commission. (fn. 258) The reversion descended in the Brudenell-Bruce family with Tottenham House and in 1998 belonged to David Brudenell-Bruce, earl of Cardigan. (fn. 259)
In the Middle Ages the church at Little Bedwyn and that at Chisbury were chapels of Great Bedwyn church. (fn. 260) All tithes arising from the land of Little Bedwyn village and from Henset, Knowle, Puthall, and Timbridge were among the revenues of Great Bedwyn church, which was given to Salisbury cathedral in 1091 and used to endow Bedwyn prebend in the cathedral. (fn. 261) As part of the prebend they were acquired by Edward Seymour, earl of Hertford, in 1544 and by St. George's chapel, Windsor, in 1547. From 1603 those tithes were held on lease by Edward, earl of Hertford (d. 1621), and his successors as owners of Tottenham Lodge and Tottenham House. (fn. 262)
The tithes arising from the land of Chisbury village were taken by the rector of Froxfield in the earlier 13th century, thereafter by St. Denis's priory, Southampton. In 1246–7 the priory successfully resisted the prebendary of Bedwyn's claim to the tithes which arose from the demesne of Chisbury manor, (fn. 263) and those tithes passed to the Crown at the dissolution of the priory in 1536. (fn. 264) In 1543 the Crown granted them to Christopher Willoughby, (fn. 265) who probably conveyed them to Sir Edward Baynton (d. 1544) and his wife Isabel. (fn. 266) About 1550 Isabel conveyed them to William Stumpe, (fn. 267) to whom she was related by marriage. Stumpe (d. 1552) settled them on himself, his wife Catherine (d. 1556), and his son William, (fn. 268) who in 1576 sold them to John Cook, the lord of Chisbury manor. From 1576 the tithes from the demesne descended with the manor. (fn. 269) The tithes arising from the rest of Chisbury's land, and presumably from Burwood heath and the farms called Holt, Horse Hill, and Chisbury Lane, were held in 1535 by the chaplain serving Chisbury church. They were held then and later for 6s. 8d. a year paid to St. Denis's priory and its successors as owners of the tithes from the demesne. (fn. 270) In 1547 they passed to the Crown under the Act by which chantries were dissolved, (fn. 271) and the Crown held them until 1613, when it granted them to Francis Morris. (fn. 272) In 1615 Morris sold them to Edward, earl of Hertford, (fn. 273) the lord of Chisbury manor and already the owner of the tithes from its demesne. From 1615 all the tithes arising from Chisbury descended with Chisbury manor and with the lease of the tithes from the rest of the parish. (fn. 274)
By 1672 small tithes from most of the parish, and great tithes from most of Little Bedwyn's land and some of Chisbury's, had been assigned to the vicar of Little Bedwyn. The rest of the tithes continued to descend with Tottenham Lodge and Tottenham House and with Chisbury manor to Thomas Bruce, earl of Ailesbury, to whom the freehold of those formerly part of Bedwyn prebend was transferred in 1790. (fn. 275) By a deed of 1840 Lord Ailesbury's son Charles, marquess of Ailesbury, who owned nearly all the land of the parish apart from Little Bedwyn manor, merged the land of Knowle (including that of Henset), Puthall, and Timbridge, and nearly all of Chisbury's, a total of 3,203 a., with the great tithes arising from it. By the same deed Lord Ailesbury merged the tithes of wool and lambs from an additional 125 a. with that land, which he also owned. Lord Ailesbury's tithes arising from land owned by others, all tithes from 33 a. and tithes of wool and lambs from 872 a., were valued at £33 10s. in 1840 and commuted in 1842. (fn. 276)
In 1086 Little Bedwyn's land was probably part of the king's estate called Bedwyn. (fn. 277) In 1311 the demesne of Little Bedwyn manor included 128 a. of arable, 6 a. of meadows, and 12 a. of pasture; on the manor there were seven customary tenants, two yardlanders and five ⅓-yardlanders, each of whom presumably had a small farmstead in the village, and there were nine freeholders, the size and location of whose holdings are obscure. (fn. 278)
In the early 16th century and later Little Bedwyn had three open fields. North field, 190 a., lay north of the village and north-west of the Dun, East field, 134 a., lay east of the village and south-east of the Dun, and West later South field lay south of the village and south-east of the Dun. By 1570 c. 50 a. south-west of West field had been inclosed: it was apparently demesne and may formerly have been part of West field, later 149 a. Merrell down, probably c. 125 a. excluding the woodland which stood on it, was a common pasture lying along the southern boundary of the parish. Little Bedwyn had meadow land beside the Dun north-east and south-west of the village. Its woodland stood on Merrell down and apparently between East and West fields and Burwood heath. (fn. 279) From the 14th century most of the land and feeding rights were probably demesne of Little Bedwyn manor, and until the 18th century the only other holdings likely to have been worked from Little Bedwyn village of which there is evidence were small. (fn. 280)
By the mid 17th century, and possibly by the early 16th, some of the woodland between West field and Burwood heath had apparently been cleared for agriculture. In 1659 a holding with 30 a. in Little Bedwyn's open fields had five closes there; (fn. 281) its farmstead may have been that which in the 18th century stood on high ground 1 km. south-east of the village. (fn. 282) Much of Merrell down was also inclosed, an inclosure said in 1674 to have been recent; (fn. 283) the centre part, 52 a., south of the woodland, remained a common pasture. (fn. 284)
In the 18th century there were four farmsteads in Little Bedwyn village. The largest stood near the church in 1792 and consisted of the farm buildings on the demesne, later called Manor farm; south-east of it on the north-east side of the village street stood the farmstead from which a holding of 2 yardlands was probably worked in the early 18th century. In addition a small farm was worked from Forebridge, and in 1788 Jockey farm included buildings on the site of the Horse and Jockey inn. The open fields and Merrell down were inclosed in 1792 by Act. Of 525 a. allotted, 291 a. was in respect of Manor farm, and 109 a. in respect of a farm worked from the buildings on the north-east side of the street. (fn. 285)
By 1841 the farm for which 109 a. was allotted in 1792 had been added to Manor farm and most of its buildings demolished; some of the closes near Burwood heath which were farmland in 1659 had apparently been added to Manor farm; others, and the one surviving building of the farmstead there, had apparently become part of Burwood Heath farm. In 1841 Manor farm, 820 a., also included the land and buildings of Jockey farm, a barn at Parlow bottom, and 120 a. at the north-east end of Burwood heath; from the mid 19th century its principal buildings, Manor Farm, stood south-east of the Dun. A farm with 112 a., including a farmstead south-west of the church, 43 a. formerly in North field, land in Chisbury, and land on Burwood heath, was then the only other one with buildings on Little Bedwyn's land. The 43 a. was later added to Manor farm. As it was later, 27 a. of Merrell down allotted in 1792 may have been part of Jockey Green farm in 1841, and 29 a. east of it was added to the farm later; the buildings of Jockey Green farm stood in Great Bedwyn parish. (fn. 286)
About 1875 Manor farm was leased to S. W. Farmer, (fn. 287) who lived at Manor House until his death in 1926. Farmer, from 1885 in partnership with Frank Stratton, acquired much land, including Manor farm, Chisbury, and especially in the Vale of Pewsey, and farmed it profitably by introducing dairying on what were otherwise sheep-and-corn farms and by supplying milk for the London market. At their apogee Farmer and Stratton owned or leased c. 25,000 a. on which c. 2,000 cows were kept. In 1910 Manor farm, Little Bedwyn, had c. 830 a. (fn. 288) In the earlier 20th century the land at the north-east end of Burwood heath was separated from it, in 1930 Jockey Green farm, 157 a. including 101 a. in Great Bedwyn, was added to it, (fn. 289) and in the mid 20th century a new dairy was built a little south-east of Little Bedwyn village. (fn. 290) Farmer's successor as owner and occupier, E. B. Gauntlett, also held Chisbury Manor farm, which adjoined Manor farm. (fn. 291)
In 1970 Manor farm was an arable and dairy farm of, excluding woodland, 722 a.; pigs were, or had been, kept in buildings at Parlow bottom. (fn. 292) A new dairy was built south-east of the village in 1971, young stock was kept at the old dairy, and Manor Farm was used to store grain and house machinery. (fn. 293) In 1998 Manor farm, 920 a., was still an arable and dairy farm. (fn. 294)
In the 18th century there was c. 25 a. of woodland in three coppices on Merrell down; (fn. 295) that woodland was later called Jockey copse. In the early 19th century Blandy copse, 3 a., Bonning's copse, 19 a., and Little Bonning's copse, 7 a., stood between Burwood heath and what was East and West fields. To link Jockey copse to Foxbury wood on Burwood heath and to Little Bedwyn's other woodland, trees were planted on an additional 11 a. before 1841 and 10 a. between 1841 and 1879; 3 a. was planted north-east of Little Bonning's copse between 1899 and 1922, and 9 a. south-east of Jockey copse in the mid 20th century. (fn. 296)
A water mill stood on Little Bedwyn manor in the early 14th century, (fn. 297) presumably on the Dun c. 400 m. south-west of Little Bedwyn church where a mill stood in the 17th century. (fn. 298) The mill was part of a holding of the manor sold by Laurence Hyde to Thomas Streat in 1665. (fn. 299) It was last mentioned in 1727 (fn. 300) and had been demolished by 1773. (fn. 301)
A wool stapler, Thomas Greenaway, lived at Little Bedwyn in 1719 and 1750. (fn. 302) There was a brickworks on Merrell down from c. 1850 to the mid 20th century. Bricks were made by members of the Hawkins family, later by C. W. Hawkins & Sons. (fn. 303)
Its name in the 12th century suggests that Burwood, (fn. 304) presumably the land later called Burwood heath, was then woodland, and some or all of it was wooded in the 13th century. (fn. 305) By the later 16th century two farmsteads had been built; the tenants held c. 30 a. in closes, presumably in the middle of the heath and near the farmsteads, and much land lay as pasture which was common and presumably for them to share. (fn. 306) There is no evidence of open fields on Burwood heath. The common pasture was inclosed, divided, and allotted by agreement c. 1570 (fn. 307) and one or two additional farmsteads may have been built soon afterwards. (fn. 308)
On the south-west part of the heath Burwood Heath Farm was built, probably on a 60-a. close allotted c. 1570. (fn. 309) In 1745 Burwood Heath farm was accounted 72 a., including 12 a. of Little Bedwyn's land. (fn. 310) In the earlier 18th century 52 a. in the middle of the heath lay in 13 closes, most of which were part of farms worked from elsewhere. (fn. 311) By 1841 most of the 52 a. and other land had been added to Burwood Heath farm, then 148 a. The north-east part of the heath, 120 a., was worked as part of Manor farm, Little Bedwyn, probably from the earlier 18th century. (fn. 312)
In 1867 Burwood (later Burridge) Heath farm had 156 a., including 32 a. in Shalbourne. (fn. 313) In 1929, when it was a mixed farm with 81 a. of arable, it had 271 a., including 124 a. in Shalbourne and 24 a. of woodland on Burwood heath. (fn. 314) The 120 a. of Burwood heath was detached from Manor farm in the earlier 20th century, (fn. 315) and in 1998 the north-easternmost 34 a. of it was used as paddocks for horses stabled at Stype Wood Stud in Shalbourne. In 1998 only c. 100 a. of Burwood heath was agricultural land, nearly all of which was arable.
Some of Burwood heath may not have been cleared of woodland, and in 1792 Swaite's coppice (later Foxbury wood) and Strockeridge coppice, each c. 10 a., and several smaller coppices stood at the south-west end. (fn. 316) Additional woodland was planted in the 19th century, and in 1884 Foxbury wood and Strockeridge coppice totalled 42 a. and adjoined woodland of Little Bedwyn. East of Foxbury wood Burridge Heath plantation was then 24 a., and at the north-east end of the heath four copses totalled 35 a. (fn. 317) All 101 a. of woodland was standing in 1998.
In 1086 Chisbury had land for 9 ploughteams. There were 4 teams and 7 servi on the demesne, and 12 villani, 3 bordars, and 14 coscets had 5 teams. There were 15 a. of meadow and 45 square furlongs of pasture. (fn. 318)
In the 13th century the lord of the manor had a park at Chisbury, probably the land, west of the hill fort and bounded north by Chisbury Lane and south-west by the parish boundary, on which Park copse later stood. In 1261 the king licensed the lord to take 4 bucks and 4 does from Savernake forest to stock it. (fn. 319) In 1364 the demesne of the manor was said to have enough pasture for 800 sheep. (fn. 320) The demesne farmstead stood within the hill fort. In 1398 there were 361 sheep on the demesne, the arable was poorly cultivated, and the farm buildings were said to be old and to need repair. (fn. 321)
Open fields lay south and east of the hill fort, and extensive pasture called the Heath lay north of it. By the mid 16th century three demesne fields had been separated from three other open fields, and a several demesne pasture, c. 235 a., had been separated from a common pasture west of it. The three demesne fields, Briary, 34 a., Church, 25 a., and Mill, 36 a., were those which lay nearest to Chisbury village on its south-east and east. That they were formerly open is shown by the survival in each of them of three strips belonging to the prebendary of Bedwyn. (fn. 322)
From the mid 16th century or earlier the demesne of Chisbury manor lay north-south across the parish as a farm virtually both compact and several. It included the park, the pasture of which was estimated at 40 a. in 1552, and was worked from the farmstead within the hill fort. Beside the Dun and detached from the rest of the farm lay meadow land which in 1612 was assessed at 13 a. and said to be watered. Immediately north-east of the hill fort there was a warren in which rabbits were probably kept in the early 17th century. In 1552 and 1612 the farm was mainly pasture. In 1719 it had 610 a. including 472 a. of arable, 23 a. of meadow of which 18 a. lay beside the Dun, 9 a. of pasture, and 98 a. of woodland. The arable included the warren, 11 a. (fn. 323) In 1807–8 the farm, later called Chisbury Manor farm, had 538 a. including 476 a. of arable, 40 a. of meadow and pasture of which 12 a. was watered meadow, and 23 a. of woodland. (fn. 324)
In the mid 16th century there were apparently five or six copyholds of Chisbury manor with farmsteads in the village. Most of the farmsteads probably stood beside the Ramsbury road a little north of the hill fort; by then one called Thorn Place had been built in Chisbury Lane, and another stood in the lane in 1719. From the mid 16th century or earlier Chisbury's open fields were shared mainly by the tenants of those farmsteads. Hill field, 42 a., lay south of the hill fort, Church field, 64 a., near Little Bedwyn village, and Shorthedge or Shortridge field, 26 a., south-east of Chisbury village between Briary field and the Dun. Chisbury manor included land in the open fields of Froxfield, Oakhill and Rudge (both in Froxfield parish), and Little Bedwyn, and some of that land was held by the tenants of the farmsteads at Chisbury. The tenants had a common pasture consisting of a heath, c. 111 a. on the west side of the Ramsbury road, and a green, 9 a. immediately east of the farmsteads beside that road. The tenants also had c. 200 a. in closes south of Noke wood and in the angle of the Ramsbury road and Chisbury Lane. (fn. 325) In 1602 Thorn Place farm was accounted 156 a.: of its nominal 73 a. in open fields only 23 a. lay in Chisbury's. (fn. 326) In 1719 three farms, of 107 a., 27 a., and 21 a., had buildings beside the Ramsbury road; 84 a. of their land lay in closes, 63 a. in Chisbury's open fields, and 8 a. in other open fields. Thorn Place farm, 180 a., included the 23 a. in Chisbury's open fields and 48 a. in others; the other farm worked from Chisbury Lane had 49 a. including 11 a. in Chisbury's and 8 a. in other open fields. The five farms had feeding in common for 700 sheep on the heath. (fn. 327) The open fields and common pasture were inclosed in 1722 by agreement. Holdings not based in Chisbury included 35 a. of the fields; of 50 a. of pasture allotted to the lord of the manor for permitting the inclosure, (fn. 328) 23 a. was added to Manor farm, Little Bedwyn, and 27 a. to Knowle farm. (fn. 329) In the early 19th century 67 a. beside the London road north of the village became part of Harrow farm, the farmhouse of which stands in Little Bedwyn parish, the farmyard in Froxfield parish. The land of Thorn Place farm was apparently distributed among other farms, and in 1841 Lower farm, worked from buildings beside the Ramsbury road, had 377 a. (fn. 330)
On three sites west of Chisbury village farmsteads were built on land, part of Chisbury manor in the 16th century, probably brought into cultivation later than Chisbury's and possibly assarted from Savernake forest. There is evidence from the 16th century that some of the land was cultivated in open fields; if it was, it is almost certain that more than one farmstead was built on each site. By the 16th century the land worked from each site lay in a single several farm: in 1552 Monks (later Chisbury Lane) farm had 152 a. including 40 a. said to be inclosed in Monk field, Horse Hill farm had 93 a. including 60 a. said to be inclosed in Horse Hill fields, and Holt farm had 137 a. including 60 a. said to be inclosed from the common field. Holt farm then had a toft and apparently no farmhouse. (fn. 331) The farms shared a common pasture, 146 a., west of Chisbury Lane Farm. In the 17th century, when all the farms were in the same ownership, the tenant of Knowle farm and presumably the tenant of a farm based at Timbridge also kept animals on the common: in 1640 the tenant of Knowle farm was entitled to keep sheep there three days a week. By 1602 the toft and some land of Holt farm had been added to Horse Hill farm, then 123 a. (fn. 332) In 1702 Great Horse Hill farm had 133 a., and Little Horse Hill farm, with buildings on lower land south-west of Great Horse Hill Farm, had 75 a. (fn. 333) The common pasture was inclosed by agreement in 1703: 41 a. was allotted to Chisbury Lane farm, 57 a. to Great Horse Hill farm, and 20 a. to Little Horse Hill farm. In 1719 those farms were accounted 237 a., 233 a., and 98 a. respectively; they included 450 a. of arable, all the former common pasture having been ploughed by then. (fn. 334) Chisbury Lane farm increased from 224 a. in 1801 to 288 a. in 1807–8 and 398 a. in 1841, (fn. 335) presumably by the transfer to it of land of the other farms.
Chisbury Manor farm was probably the largest of Chisbury's farms throughout the 19th century. In 1910, when the tenant was S. W. Farmer, it had 466 a.; then and until the mid 20th century it was worked in conjunction with Manor farm, Little Bedwyn. In 1910 Lower farm had 264 a., Chisbury Lane farm 150 a., and Great Horse Hill farm 120 a.; 187 a. of Chisbury's land was part of Harrow farm, and 130 a., including part of the former Holt farm, was worked from Burbage parish as part of Warren farm. (fn. 336) In the 1930s the land in Little Bedwyn parish which lay in those farms was about half arable and half pasture, (fn. 337) and it was almost certainly used partly for dairy farming. In 1998 the land of Manor farm, 446 a., was mainly arable; it was worked in conjunction with Bewley farm, an arable and beef farm based in Great Bedwyn parish which itself included c. 90 a. in Little Bedwyn parish. The buildings of Manor farm on the hill fort and 67 a. on and around the hill fort were then used as a stud farm. In 1998 Lower farm was an arable farm of 512 a., the tenant of which also held 70 a. south of the London road formerly part of Harrow farm. Chisbury Lane farm, 267 a., was a dairy farm, and Warren farm, also a dairy farm, included c. 50 a. in the parish. The rest of Harrow farm, north of the London road and including c. 40 a. in Little Bedwyn parish, was worked in conjunction with Knowle farm. (fn. 338)
Chisbury had 40 a. of wood in 1086. (fn. 339) Later it was well wooded. In 1260 the lord of Chisbury manor was licensed to inclose as part of his park woodland which, although outside the regard and far from the covert, was then within Savernake forest, (fn. 340) presumably the woodland later called Park copse; woods called Frith and Noke were also standing in the 13th century. (fn. 341) In 1552 trees stood in the park and there were woods called Cobham, Noke, and Oxleaze. (fn. 342) In 1612 Oxleaze copse was accounted 16 a. and Park copse 50 a. (fn. 343) In 1719 Chisbury manor included 332 a. of woodland: the largest woods were Cobham frith, 69 a., Noke wood, 60 a., Park copse, 42 a., and Oxleaze copse, 18 a., and there was 36 a. of woodland near Great Horse Hill Farm. Cobham frith adjoined woodland of Knowle. (fn. 344) At the south end of the common pasture inclosed in 1703 Sicily clump, c. 45 a., had been planted by c. 1820, and at the north end 9 a. of woodland adjoining Cobham frith was planted in the mid 20th century. Oxleaze copse was grubbed up between c. 1820 and c. 1880; the other woodland was standing in 1998. (fn. 345)
Chisbury had two mills in 1086. (fn. 346) A mill was part of Chisbury manor in the 16th and 17th centuries. It stood on the Dun near Great Bedwyn village and in 1590, when it was called Cop mill or Little Bedwyn mill, consisted of a mill and mill house under one roof. (fn. 347) There may have been no mill on the site in the earlier 18th century: (fn. 348) one belonging to the owner of Manor farm, Little Bedwyn, stood there in 1762 and 1792. (fn. 349) The supply of water to the mill may have been reduced in the late 1790s by the construction of the Kennet & Avon canal, which was fed from head streams of the Dun. (fn. 350) The mill, standing in 1802, (fn. 351) had apparently been demolished by 1812, when the land on which it stood bore the name Burnt Mill field. (fn. 352)
In the early 18th century a brickworks stood on the green east of the Ramsbury road. (fn. 353)
Henset And Knowle.
Henset's land was probably that, c. 200 a., north of Knowle Farm and the London road and east of Timbridge down. (fn. 354) References to Henset field suggest that in the 13th century it included open-field arable. (fn. 355) In the 14th century a holding consisting of a farmstead, 1 carucate, 1 a. of meadow, 2 a. of pasture, and 12 a. of wood may have comprised all Henset's land. (fn. 356) The woodland may have been Knowle Hens wood, 20 a., which was standing in 1716 and 1998 and adjoined Hens wood in Ramsbury. There is no evidence of a farmstead standing after the 14th century on what was probably Henset's land, and that land was part of Knowle farm in the 18th century. (fn. 357)
Knowle farm was possibly assarted from Savernake forest. Knowle Farm is the only farmstead known to have stood on it, and there is no evidence that any part of it was open field or common pasture. About 1311 it consisted of the farmstead, 120 a. of arable, 6 a. of pasture, and 8 a. of wood, (fn. 358) and it was leased as a single farm in the 16th century. (fn. 359) In 1640 the farmer was allowed to feed sheep three days a week on the common pasture west of Chisbury Lane Farm, (fn. 360) and 8 a. of the pasture was allotted for the farm at inclosure in 1703. (fn. 361) In 1716 Knowle farm had 489 a., including 348 a. of arable, 13 a. of meadows, 21 a. of pasture, and 95 a. of woods. Its land north of the London road, 182 a. of arable and Knowle Hens wood, was probably Henset's. (fn. 362) In 1722 a 27-a. allotment of Chisbury heath was added to the farm, (fn. 363) 524 a. in 1841. (fn. 364) In 1910 Knowle farm had 406 a., 112 a. having been transferred to Warren farm, Burbage. (fn. 365) Without its woodland it was an arable and beef farm of 272 a. in 1998. It was then worked in conjunction with Harrow farm, 250 a. north of the London road including c. 210 a. in Froxfield parish. (fn. 366)
In 1716 the woodland of Knowle farm included, in addition to Knowle Hens wood, Rye croft, 26 a. adjoining Cobham frith in Chisbury, Home coppice, 14 a. immediately south-west of the farmstead, 20 a. of the woodland later called Birch copse, and a copse of 7 a. and one of 5 a.; (fn. 367) 18 a. of additional woodland was planted to adjoin the south-west end of Home coppice between c. 1820 and 1886, and an additional copse of 19 a. adjoining that and the 5-a. copse was planted between 1886 and 1899. (fn. 368) All that woodland except the copse of 7 a. was standing in 1998.
In the earlier 20th century gravel was extracted commercially from a pit near Knowle Farm. The land had been returned to agriculture by the late 20th century. (fn. 369)
Puthall's land was possibly assarted from Savernake forest, and most of it was probably agricultural in the earlier 13th century, (fn. 370) but whether it included open fields and common pasture in the Middle Ages is uncertain. Its north-west corner, where woodland was said in the 16th century to stand in Puthall park, (fn. 371) was presumably imparked.
In the earlier 16th century all Puthall's land apparently lay in Puthall farm, 174 a., which was several and probably compact. The farm had six closes of arable, 82 a., three closes of pasture, 59 a., 1 a. of meadow, and 31 a. of woodland. (fn. 372) From the mid 16th century or earlier the farm was held with 30 a. in four adjoining closes in Mildenhall parish. (fn. 373) In 1634 it consisted of its farmstead, 3 a. of home closes, 107 a. of arable, 80 a. of pasture, 12 a. of meadows, 8 a. of woodland, and the herbage of 32 a. of woodland. The farmer had the first cut of hay from 2 a. of meadow at Stitchcombe in Mildenhall and feeding for horses, cattle, and 400 sheep in Savernake forest. (fn. 374) The area of the forest designated for the sheep of Puthall farm was possibly c. 100 a.; it apparently lay immediately south-west of the farm but never became part of it. (fn. 375)
In 1717 Puthall farm was a compact farm of 314 a. of which c. 56 a. lay in Mildenhall: it included 192 a. of arable, 44 a. of pasture, 19 a. of meadows, and 25 a. of wood. (fn. 376) In 1867 it had 316 a. including 258 a. of arable, (fn. 377) and in 1996 it was an arable farm of 297 a. (fn. 378)
Puthall had woodland in 1300, (fn. 379) presumably that standing in Puthall park in the earlier 16th century, when it was accounted 20 a. About 1536 Little Frith copse was estimated at 10 a., (fn. 380) and in 1634 there was another 8 a. of woodland. (fn. 381) In 1717 Puthall park and woodland adjoining it totalled 34 a., Little Frith copse and woodland adjoining it totalled 22 a., and Horseleaze copse, later linked to Little Frith copse by other woodland, was 11 a. (fn. 382) By c. 1820 Little Frith copse had been enlarged to c. 47 a. (fn. 383) Puthall Park wood, Little Frith copse, and Horseleaze copse, c. 92 a., were all standing in 1998.
Timbridge And Littleworth.
There were possibly small open fields at Timbridge in the early 14th century, when a holding was assessed at 1 yardland, two customary tenants had small holdings there, and downland was pasture. (fn. 384) Later evidence shows that Timbridge down, 59 a., lay north of the London road. (fn. 385)
Two farmsteads stood at Timbridge in the Middle Ages and until the 18th century. (fn. 386) In the 17th century each was part of a mainly several farm. (fn. 387) One of the farms presumably included the right to feed animals on the common pasture west of Chisbury Lane Farm, and 20 a. was allotted to it when the common was inclosed in 1703. In 1719 one farm had 109 a., including Timbridge down which was then arable, and the other had 61 a., including the 20-a. allotment: 159 a. of the 170 a. was arable. (fn. 388) In the later 18th century the smaller farm was held by the tenant of Chisbury Lane farm. (fn. 389)
By 1812 the two farms based at Timbridge, and Littleworth farm which lay west of them, had been merged as Timbridge farm, 276 a. including 213 a. of arable. (fn. 390) Timbridge farm had 291 a. in 1841, (fn. 391) 150 a. in 1910, (fn. 392) and 267 a. in 1998, when it was an arable and dairy farm. (fn. 393)
From the 18th century to the 20th no more than a few acres of Timbridge's land was wooded. (fn. 394)
Littleworth farm was probably the land called Little farm apparently assarted from Savernake forest c. 1302. (fn. 395) By 1786 its land, apparently c. 100 a., seems to have been added to the larger of the farms based at Timbridge, (fn. 396) and the land was part of Timbridge farm in 1812. (fn. 397) The farmstead had been largely demolished by c. 1820. (fn. 398)
The land which may have been added to the west end of the parish in the 19th century included Crabtree common, then a pasture of c. 20 a., and 130 a. of woodland including part of Birch copse. (fn. 399) All but c. 5 a. of Crabtree common was woodland in 1998.
No lord exercised leet jurisdiction in respect of a manor in Little Bedwyn parish. In the 16th century Little Bedwyn, Chisbury, Henset, and Puthall were each a tithing of Kinwardstone hundred. (fn. 400) Henset tithing included Timbridge. (fn. 401) It had been merged with Puthall tithing by 1760: (fn. 402) the composite tithing, which continued to be represented at the hundred court by two tithingmen, included Knowle and Rudge in Froxfield parish. (fn. 403)
Records of the court baron of Chisbury manor survive from 1602. The court was usually held once a year, proceeded on the presentments of the homage, reported the death of tenants, and witnessed transfers of copyholds. In the 17th century it also concerned itself with rights of way, the condition of buildings, gates, and boundaries, and the use of common pasture. In 1604 the unlicensed killing of hares on the manor was reported; in 1678 the court chose two overseers of the open fields and a grass hayward to oversee the use of the common pasture. Minor agrarian malpractices continued to be presented occasionally until 1771. Thereafter the court did little more than to record that the tenants of the manor had paid their quitrents. (fn. 406)
A court was apparently held at Henset in the 14th century. (fn. 407)
The parish spent £177 on poor relief in 1775–6, an average of £216 in the three years to Easter 1785, and £407 in 1802–3, when 62 adults and 56 children were relieved regularly and 29 people occasionally and the poor rate was slightly above average for the hundred. A building called a workhouse stood at Forebridge in 1792, but all relief in 1802–3 was outdoor. (fn. 408) In 1812–13, when the population of the parish was c. 450, 44 adults were relieved regularly and 178 occasionally at a total cost of £964. Thereafter expenditure fell: between 1813–14 and 1833–4 it exceeded £600 only twice, (fn. 409) and in the three years to Easter 1835 it averaged £349. Little Bedwyn joined Hungerford poor-law union in 1835 (fn. 410) and became part of Kennet district in 1974. (fn. 411)
Little Bedwyn church had been built by 1158, (fn. 412) Chisbury church by the earlier 13th century. (fn. 413) In the Middle Ages each church was dependent on Great Bedwyn church as a chapel, the rector of Great Bedwyn church was the prebendary of Bedwyn, and the whole of what became Little Bedwyn parish was in the peculiar over which the prebendary, and his successors as owners of the Prebendal manor in Great Bedwyn, exercised archidiaconal jurisdiction. From the early 15th century or earlier the chaplain of Little Bedwyn was authorized to administer all sacraments and sacramentals in Little Bedwyn church, which had a graveyard, (fn. 414) and in 1554, when the bishop collated a perpetual vicar, the church was expressly said to be a parish church. (fn. 415) Chisbury church was served until 1547, (fn. 416) not thereafter. Where the inhabitants of Chisbury and the other settlements in the parish, apart from Little Bedwyn, were baptized, married, and buried in the Middle Ages is uncertain. From the 16th century or earlier Little Bedwyn's was their parish church. (fn. 417) In 1864 the west third of Little Bedwyn parish was assigned to the church of St. Katharine, Savernake Forest, as part of its district. (fn. 418) In 1982 the vicarages of Little Bedwyn, Great Bedwyn, and Savernake Forest were united. (fn. 419)
In the Middle Ages the chaplain who served Little Bedwyn church was appointed by the prebendary of Bedwyn. (fn. 420) From 1543, when the prebend was dissolved, the patronage passed as part of the Prebendal manor. (fn. 421) In 1554, when the manor was held, as land concealed from the Crown, by Sir Edward Seymour (cr. earl of Hertford 1559), a ward of the Crown, the bishop collated by lapse. (fn. 422) From 1567 the advowson of the vicarage passed as part of the manor, and with Tottenham Lodge and Tottenham House in Great Bedwyn, in the Seymour, Bruce, Brudenell, and Brudenell-Bruce families. Assignees of Lord Hertford presented in 1562 while the manor remained concealed from the Crown, Robert Blake presented in 1583, presumably by grant of a turn, and Sir William Pynsent, Bt., presented by grant of a turn in 1693. (fn. 423) George Brudenell-Bruce, marquess of Ailesbury, who sold the land of the Prebendal manor to the Crown in 1950, transferred the advowson of Little Bedwyn vicarage to the bishop of Salisbury in 1953. The bishop was appointed patron of the united benefice formed in 1982. (fn. 424)
Little Bedwyn vicarage, valued at £9 6s. 8d. in 1535 (fn. 425) and £280 c. 1830, (fn. 426) was of below average wealth for the diocese. By 1672 corn tithes from some of Chisbury's land, corn and hay tithes from Burwood heath and most of Little Bedwyn's land, some tithes of wood, and small tithes from the whole parish except the demesne of Chisbury manor had been assigned to the vicar. Those tithes were valued at £257 in 1840 and commuted in 1842. In 1672 the vicar had a house and a meadow held instead of some tithes of hay. In 1841 he had a house and 1 a. of meadow. (fn. 427) The vicarage house stood on a site north-west of, and close to, which the Kennet & Avon canal was built in the 1790s and the Berks. & Hants Extension Railway in 1862. (fn. 428) After 1841 the vicar moved to a house, later called the White House, on an adjoining site, and the glebe house which was altered and repaired in 1845 (fn. 429) was probably the new one. That house was sold in 1863, when a new vicarage house was built (fn. 430) on higher ground north-west of the canal and the railway. That new house was enlarged in 1873 and 1882 (fn. 431) and sold in 1949. (fn. 432)
A church was standing at Chisbury in the earlier 13th century. (fn. 433) It was presumably built by the lord of Chisbury manor, who was probably the patron of Froxfield rectory then, as he was later. In the earlier 13th century the rector of Froxfield received the tithes from Chisbury and presumably served the church, and before 1246 he gave the tithes, and presumably the duty of serving the church, to St. Denis's priory, Southampton. By 1246, the year in which the prebendary of Bedwyn claimed the tithes from the demesne of Chisbury manor on the grounds that Chisbury was part of Great Bedwyn parish, the priory had probably appointed a chaplain to serve Chisbury church and assigned the tithes arising from the rest of Chisbury to him. In 1247 the tithes from the demesne were confirmed to the priory in exchange for a small payment by the priory to the prebendary. That payment, and the requirement, of which there is later evidence, that the priest serving Chisbury church should attend Great Bedwyn church at major festivals, presumably marked the dependence of the church at Chisbury on that at Great Bedwyn. In 1259 the rector of Froxfield unsuccessfully claimed that the priory's tenure of Chisbury church was temporary and that it should revert to him. (fn. 434) Thereafter the church was served by chaplains appointed by the priory. (fn. 435) There was an incumbent chaplain in the early 15th century, the church was sometimes unserved in the late 15th century, (fn. 436) and the bishop collated by lapse in 1496. (fn. 437) In 1518 the prior granted the patronage for a turn to John Man, (fn. 438) who in 1535 and 1543 was himself the chaplain and, for a rent of 6s. 8d., held the tithes except those arising from the demesne of Chisbury manor. (fn. 439) The church, called St. Martin's in 1496, (fn. 440) was served until 1547, when the chaplain's tithes passed to the Crown by Act. (fn. 441) It was later used as a barn (fn. 442) and in 1998 was quasi-ruinous. (fn. 443) It is rectangular and of rubble with ashlar dressings; in 1998 old rendering survived inside and outside, and scars of a screen between the chancel and the nave could be seen on that inside. To judge from the cusped lancets in the nave, the church was built in the earlier 13th century; in each of its three walls the chancel has a two-light window of the later 13th century. The north doorway survives from the 13th century, the south doorway is 19th-century, and the roof, which incorporates some of the old timbers, was largely reconstructed in the 19th century.
In the Middle Ages 1 a. was given for a light in Little Bedwyn church. (fn. 444) Goods taken from the church in Edward VI's reign had not been restored by 1556. (fn. 445) Nathaniel Saunders, vicar from 1638, had been deprived by 1656 and was restored in 1660 or soon after. (fn. 446) A curate who lived at Froxfield served both Little Bedwyn and Froxfield in 1783. (fn. 447) At Little Bedwyn in 1812 one service was held each Sunday and a communion service was held four times a year; there were 20 communicants. (fn. 448) In 1832, when there was still only one service each Sunday, the church was being served by a curate who lived in the vicarage house. (fn. 449) There were two services each Sunday in 1851. (fn. 450) In 1864 the two services were held with an average congregation of 70, excluding children, and there were additional services in Lent and Advent, at great festivals, and on 1 January. Communion services were held at the great festivals with c. 20 communicants and on the first Sunday in each month with c. 13. (fn. 451) A mission room was built at Chisbury in the later 19th century. Services were probably held in it until the earlier 20th. (fn. 452) From 1953 to 1958 the vicarage was held in plurality with that of Great Bedwyn, from 1958 to 1965 with that of Froxfield, and from 1965 with those of Great Bedwyn and Savernake Forest. (fn. 453)
By 1922 S. W. Farmer (d. 1926) had given £650 stock to maintain Little Bedwyn's churchyard. The income, £26, was mostly used for that purpose, partly to repair the church. (fn. 454) By will proved c. 1946 Amy Makeham gave £570 stock for repairs to the church. (fn. 455) Nothing was known of either charity in 1998.
The church of ST. MICHAEL, so called in 1405, (fn. 456) is of flint rubble and ashlar and consists of a chancel with north vestry, an aisled and clerestoried nave with south porch, and a west tower with stone spire. The nave, which is narrow, and the arcades were built c. 1200. The south has pointed arches and the north round arches, but the capitals suggest that the arcades are contemporary with each other. To judge from its arch, the tower was built in the later 13th century. The chancel and the aisles were apparently rebuilt c. 1400. In the 15th century the porch was built, the tower was rebuilt, and the spire was added. The roof of the north aisle is of c. 1500; (fn. 457) the chancel and the nave were reroofed in 1841. (fn. 458) In 1868 the church was extensively restored, and the vestry was built, to designs by T. H. Wyatt; new seating was provided and the outside of the church was renovated. (fn. 459) The spire was dismantled and rebuilt in 1963 after being struck by lightning. (fn. 460)
In the early 15th century the church had two silver-gilt chalices each with a paten. (fn. 461) In 1553 a chalice of 11 oz. was left in the parish and 2½ oz. of plate was taken for the king. A chalice with paten cover, hallmarked for 1681, was bought in 1682, was the only silver held for the church in 1812, and belonged to the parish in 1998. A 19th-century paten which had been given by 1891, and a chalice and paten given in 1951, also belonged to the parish in 1998. (fn. 462)
There were four bells in the church in 1553. The treble and the tenor were replaced by bells cast by John Wallis in 1581, the other two by a bell cast in 1605, probably by Robert Beconsall, and a bell cast by William Purdue in 1663. The treble was replaced by a bell cast by Mears & Stainbank in 1869; the tenor was recast by Mears & Stainbank in 1887. (fn. 463) The two 17th-century bells and the two 19th-century bells hung in the church in 1998. (fn. 464)
The registers begin in 1722. Except for baptisms 1727–30, marriages 1727–9, and burials 1729–40 they are complete. (fn. 465)
A meeting house at Little Bedwyn for dissenters was certified in 1840, another, possibly for Primitive Methodists, was certified in 1843, and a chapel for Primitive Methodists was built in 1846. (fn. 466) Afternoon and evening services were held in the chapel each Sunday in 1851. (fn. 467) It was probably closed in the mid 20th century. (fn. 468)
A cottage at Chisbury was certified in 1828 for meetings of Wesleyan Methodists. (fn. 469) In 1851 a meeting was held on Sunday evenings, and on Census Sunday it was attended by 21. (fn. 470) Meetings were held in 1864 (fn. 471) and are not known to have been held later.
There was no school in the parish in 1818, (fn. 472) in 1833 two schools had a total of 20 pupils, (fn. 473) and from 1835 to 1840 children from Little Bedwyn attended the National school at Great Bedwyn. A new school in Little Bedwyn was opened in 1841. (fn. 474) It was held in a rented house in 1846–7, when it was attended by 22 boys and 6 girls. (fn. 475) A new school, incorporating two classrooms and a house, was built in 1854. Until 1885 it was usually attended by children from Froxfield, who were among c. 80 pupils at the school in 1858 and 116 in 1878; in 1885, when a new school was opened at Froxfield, attendance at Little Bedwyn school fell from 102 to 55. (fn. 476) Average attendance was 56 in 1908, c. 90 between 1907 and 1910, a period in which there was no school at Froxfield, 54 in 1910– 11, and 36 in 1926–7. The school had c. 116 pupils in the 1930s, (fn. 477) 30 in 1970. It was closed in 1971. (fn. 478)
Between 1894 and 1903 an evening school was held in winter. (fn. 479)