A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 6. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1962.
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The ancient parish of Woodford lies between Salisbury and Amesbury, on the western side of the River Avon. The parish is bounded on the east by the winding course of the river and on the west by the old turnpike road from Salisbury to Devizes along the top of the down. (fn. 1) The parish includes buildings on each side of the road at Druid's Lodge, in the extreme north-west of the parish. In 1951 the boundaries of the civil parish were still the same as those of the ancient parish, extending a little over 3 miles from north to south, and from east to west about 2 miles in the north and 1 mile in the south. Its area is 2,774 a. of land and 22 a. of water. The land rises steeply from about 200 ft. in the river valley to about 400 ft. at the top of the down; from this higher ground three spurs project into the valley, Boreland Hill in the north, Heale Hill, and Smithen Down. The soil is chalk containing a large amount of flint, with gravel in the river valley, and the land is mostly arable, with pasture on the steeper slopes, water-meadows by the river, and several small areas of woodland. A line of high tension pylons runs through the middle of the parish from north to south. (fn. 2)
The population of the parish was 345 in 1801. Between 1811 and 1871 it rose steadily from 322 to 533, and then fell to 408 in 1901. In 1951 the population was 455. (fn. 3) On the higher ground of the parish, where there is a number of prehistoric sites, (fn. 4) there are only a few isolated buildings, and the population is concentrated in three villages in the valley: Lower Woodford, Woodford or Middle Woodford, and Upper Woodford. Until the beginning of the 19th century Upper Woodford was also known as Great Woodford; Lower Woodford and Middle Woodford together were known as Little Woodford or Nether Woodford.
These three villages lie along a road running between Salisbury and Amesbury along the west bank of the Avon. Lower Woodford is about 4 miles north of Salisbury, and Middle Woodford is ½ mile further north. Another mile beyond is Upper Woodford. Between Middle and Upper Woodford the river makes a sharp bend to the east: the road cuts across this bend, and between the road and river are Heale House and Park. The road which runs along the crest of the downs on the western edge of the parish is linked with the valley road by a road running west from Middle Woodford to Great Wishford, and there are several tracks, apparently of some antiquity, going from east to west across the parish. A bridge at Upper Woodford, which was in existence in 1370, (fn. 5) and has been a county bridge from the middle of the 19th century at least, (fn. 6) links Woodford with the villages on the east side of the Avon. There are also four foot-bridges across the river.
It appears that Upper Woodford has for long been the largest of the three villages. The houses lie along the road and beside Woodford Green, which is north of the bridge and lies between the road and river. Nearly all of them are at least a century old. One building in Upper Woodford stands out because it carries a clock with a domed cupola, built to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of George V in 1935; it also bears the Royal Arms, painted and gilded.
At Heale Park there is a pair of cottages below the level of the road. The older cottage is of the 16th or early 17th century: its north gable is of stone and flint chequerwork, and it retains stone mullioned windows and an enriched plaster centrepiece to one of the ground-floor ceilings. A little further south is a pair of thatched cottages of the same period, one being partly timber-framed. Heale House is described below. (fn. 7)
Middle Woodford appears to have had only a few houses until the present century, although the church, vicarage, school, and an old mill are there. The church and vicarage are described below. (fn. 8) The old mill-house, at the southern end of the village, has chequered stone and flint walling, the lower part of which may be of 17th-century date. The house appears to have been reconstructed in the mid-18th century, and there is a brick addition on the north side. Near the church are several small cob cottages with thatched roofs, but the great majority of the houses are modern and stand away from the road on its western side. At the north end of the village, just off the road to the east, is a crescent-shaped group of ten council houses, built in 1954. (fn. 9)
Between Middle and Lower Woodford there are a few cottages on the western side of the road. The houses in Lower Woodford, where there has been very little modern building, stand on either side of the road. Woodford Manor is described below. (fn. 10) The Court House, which lies on the eastern side of the road, was part of Woodford manor estate until 1920, when it was sold to Maj.-Gen. Aston. In 1942 it was bought by Lady Janet Bailey, and in 1955 belonged to her son, Mr. James Bailey. (fn. 11) The present house was built in the early 18th century, the garden front having a modillion cornice, sash windows, and a central doorway with a pedimented hood. The west front, which is cement-rendered, was added c. 1840. In the garden of the Court House are some moulded stones, and two carved stones, one bearing the initials 'R.P.', are incorporated in the house itself. All these appear to be of the 15th or early 16th century. A very brief description of the house occurs in the first chapter of The Go-Between by L. P. Hartley. A little to the east of the Court House the ruins of a small medieval building survived until c. 1875. (fn. 12) It was known locally as a 'chapel' and may have been the site of the former bishop's residence, pulled down in the early 16th century. (fn. 13)
Avon Cottage in Lower Woodford is a timberframed house of six bays probably dating from the 15th century. It was completely encased in red brick in the late 18th or early 19th century, and there are 20th-century additions to the south and east. The collar-beam roof retains some smoke-blackened rafters but appears to have been reconstructed in the late 16th or early 17th century when a ceiling was inserted in the hall. Until recently the house consisted of two tenements, and the presence of two early chimneys suggests that this arrangement may have survived from the beginning of the 17th century.
Away from the river valley the only inhabited buildings are at Druid's Lodge, in the north-west corner of the parish, and Chine Farm, which lies in a hollow a mile to the east of Upper Woodford. On the west side of the old turnpike road, half a mile south of Druid's Lodge, was a group of buildings, now demolished, which was used as a prisoner-of-war camp during the Second World War. (fn. 14) There are also several barns and farm buildings in the outlying parts of the parish. About a mile from Upper Woodford on the track to Druid's Lodge is a small stone shelter, erected as a memorial to Lt.-Col. F. G. G. Bailey (d. 1951) of Lake House, Wilsford. (fn. 15)
There are two inns in the parish, the 'Wheatsheaf' in Lower Woodford and the Bridge Inn in Upper Woodford. The 'Wheatsheaf', probably an 18thcentury building, has been an inn since at least 1821, and the Bridge Inn, which appears to have been built in the second quarter of the 19th century, since at least 1848. (fn. 16) At Druid's Lodge there was an inn known as the 'Druid's Head' in 1822 and until 1867, but it seems to have ceased being used as an inn by the end of the 19th century. (fn. 17) There are village shops at Middle Woodford and Upper Woodford: the Middle Woodford shop has been in existence since at least 1895, and is also a post office, although in 1880 the post office was in Upper Woodford. (fn. 18) The Durnford and Woodford Friendly Society had in 1835 the use of a building in Durnford, (fn. 19) but by 1901, when the Woodford Village Club in Middle Woodford was built by the Hon. Louis Greville, Woodford's participation in this society seems to have ceased. (fn. 20) Greville also gave to the village a piece of land between the church and the school on which a cross was erected in 1913 from older stones. (fn. 21) There is a football field immediately north of the school.
Buses run frequently from Woodford to Salisbury, Durnford and Amesbury. Electricity was first supplied to the parish in 1932. (fn. 22) All water was pumped from wells in 1955.
The most notable event in the history of the parish occurred when Charles II stayed at Heale during his flight after the battle of Worcester. (fn. 23) Gen. Sir George Bowles (1787–1876), the second son of William Bowles of Heale, was born in Woodford, (fn. 24) and Maj.-Gen. Sir George Grey Aston (1861–1938), soldier and writer, lived at the Court House, Lower Woodford, from 1923 until his death. (fn. 25) Several members of the Hyde family, which held Heale manor in the 17th century, achieved distinction in public life. (fn. 26)
The manor of WOODFORD is assumed to have been included in Domesday Book under Salisbury, which was held by the Bishop of Salisbury. (fn. 27) In 1214 it was alleged that Gilbert of Woodford had been seised at his death of three hides and one virgate in Woodford, which was held by the bishop in 1214. (fn. 28) In 1279 John, son of Richard of Grimstead, quitclaimed to the bishop a similar amount of land in Nether Woodford. (fn. 29) The manor was valued at £33 10s. in 1291 and at £47 5s. 10½d. in 1535; in 1428 it was said to be held by service of one knight's fee. (fn. 30) It remained the property of the bishop until 1869, when it was transferred to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, (fn. 31) who sold it in 1920. The manor, with about 810 acres in Lower Woodford, was bought by the Hon. Louis Greville, the owner of the Heale estate. (fn. 32) He died in 1941 and was succeeded by his niece, Mrs. Rasch, who transferred the property to her son, Major D. A. C. Rasch, of Netton, who was the owner in 1955. (fn. 33)
The manor included a mill; (fn. 34) the bishop received a grant of free warren in 1294, (fn. 35) and licences to crenellate the manor house in 1337 and 1377. (fn. 36) A court baron was still being held in 1863. (fn. 37)
In 1226 the manor was granted to William Harpeham for life, for the yearly rent of one pound of incense. (fn. 38) The manor was let on leases from at least the mid-17th century until 1860, when it was taken back into the hands of the bishop. (fn. 39) The manor-house was one of the bishop's residences in the 12th, 13th and 14th centuries, (fn. 40) but early in the 16th century it was in a ruinous condition and was pulled down. (fn. 41) The present manor-house has seldom, if at all, been occupied by the lords or lessees of the manor. It lies on the west side of the road north of the 'Wheatsheaf' and behind the buildings of Court House Farm, and is a rectangular house of the mid-17th century, built of red brick with stone dressings. It consists of two stories and is similar in style and material to the older part of Heale House but less ambitious in scale. An addition to the back of the house was made in the mid-19th century.
In 1203 land and a mill at 'Hales' in Wiltshire were the subject of an agreement between Walter son of Ingram and Gilbert of Sonning, (fn. 42) and in 1236 one virgate of land in 'Hale' in Wiltshire was held by William son of Adam. (fn. 43) It is not certain whether either of these holdings represents the manor of HEALE, which was first specifically mentioned in 1316, when it was held by Robert of Syndlesham and Agnes his wife. (fn. 44) In 1428 it was said to be held of the bishop by service of ½ knight's fee. The bishop was again said to be the overlord in 1513. (fn. 45)
It appears that the manor passed from Robert and Agnes of Syndlesham to their son Thomas, (fn. 46) but by 1375 it was held by Ralph of Restwold; (fn. 47) he was succeeded before 1383 by his grandson Richard, who was then a minor. (fn. 48) It may have been this Richard who was said to hold the manor in 1428. (fn. 49) The history of the manor for the rest of the century is obscure. A Richard Restwold died in 1475, and was succeeded by his son John, but it is not known whether either held Heale. (fn. 50) In 1513 Sir William Cope, cofferer to Henry VII, was said to have held Heale manor for a long time, but to have conveyed it to feoffees for the use of Sir John Cope, his younger son by his second marriage. (fn. 51) In 1533 Sir John Cope granted the manor to William Green in fee for an annual rent of £22. Cope appears to have sold this rent to Sir Thomas Pope, who sold it in 1538 to the king, who in turn sold it to the Merchant Tailors of London in 1544. (fn. 52) In 1547 the merchant tailors conveyed the rent to John Skutte, one of their members, and Bridget his wife. (fn. 53) From them it passed in 1552 to Sir John St. Lo and Edward his son, who conveyed it to Gerard Errington and his heirs in 1557. (fn. 54) Gerard Errington, son of Ninian Errington of Walwick Grange (Northumb.), (fn. 55) had married Margaret, daughter of William Green, and in 1571 Green's son Francis conveyed Heale manor to Errington for an annual rent of £25. (fn. 56) The manor passed to Gerard's son Henry in 1596, who in 1600 conveyed it to Sir Lawrence Hyde. (fn. 57) Sir Lawrence Hyde bought the rent of £25 from Francis Green's son Gabriel in 1616. (fn. 58)
Sir Lawrence Hyde, a notable lawyer, died in 1643, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Lawrence, whose widow Katharine sheltered Charles II at Heale House. (fn. 59) The younger Lawrence died also in 1643, and the manor passed successively to his brothers Sir Robert, a member of Parliament for Salisbury and later Chief Justice of Common Pleas, and Alexander, Bishop of Salisbury. Alexander was succeeded in 1667 by his son Robert, who died in 1721 and was succeeded by his cousin, Dr. Robert Hyde. Sir Robert Hyde, the Chief Justice, had settled the estate in tail male on his brothers in fee, with remainder to his cousin, the Earl of Clarendon. Dr. Robert Hyde broke this entail vesting the estate in himself in fee simple. When he died in 1723 he was succeeded by his sister, Mary Levinz, and on her death in 1727 the estate passed to her son-inlaw Dr. Matthew Frampton. He died in 1742, and the manor passed in turn to his nephews Edward Polhill (d. 1743) and Simon Polhill (d. 1759), and his cousin twice removed William Bowles, Canon of Salisbury Cathedral and curate of Stratford-subCastle. (fn. 60) Bowles died in 1788, and the manor passed to his son William, a banker of Salisbury, whose estates were sold up in 1813 when he became a bankrupt. Members of the Bowles family, however, continued to live at Heale for about ten years. (fn. 61) In 1813 the Heale estate comprised some 700 acres, of which 665 were let to a farmer on a yearly tenancy. (fn. 62)
The manor was acquired by Capt. Gilbert Heathcote, R.N., who died in 1831. (fn. 63) His brother, the Revd. Samuel Heathcote, succeeded him as owner of Heale and died in 1846. (fn. 64) Soon afterwards the manor was acquired by Giles Loder, who was succeeded by his son Sir Robert Loder in 1871. Sir Robert died in 1888 and was succeeded by his son Sir Edmund Giles Loder, (fn. 65) who sold the manor to the Hon. Louis Greville in 1894. (fn. 66) In 1920 Greville bought the manor of Woodford, (fn. 67) and since then the two manors have shared a common ownership.
Heale House is thought to have been preceded by a 16th-century house built by William Green and known as 'le Court place'. (fn. 68) A new house was built between 1660 and 1690, and this building, a small rectangular house of red brick, now forms the south wing of the present house. Its entrance front faced west, and it had three strictly symmetrical façades, the south front being nearest to the original. This building cannot have been the actual structure which sheltered Charles II, but if the chimneys of the earlier house were left in position at the rebuilding, it is possible that a cupboard which flanks one of them represents, as is claimed, the closet in which he was concealed. Dr. Johnson stayed with William Bowles at Heale for three weeks in 1783. He thought it 'a place which might furnish without any help from fiction the scene of a romance', although he considered the house 'rather too modern and too convenient to seize the imagination'. (fn. 69)
A north wing, nearly twice as large as the original 17th-century house, is shown on a plan of 1810. (fn. 70) It extends to the east, giving the house an L-shape. It was probably added in the late 18th century, and is thought to have been destroyed in a fire of 1835: (fn. 71) on the Tithe Map of 1839 the house is shown as roughly square, (fn. 72) and in 1894 the foundations could still be traced. Shortly after 1894 the house was restored and enlarged for Louis Greville by Detmar Blow. The materials and external details were faithfully copied from those of the 17th-century house, and a new north wing was built over the foundations of the 18th-century addition. (fn. 73) The gardens were altered and enlarged by Greville early in the 20th century. The layout of his Japanese water-garden has been partly obliterated by the neglect of the war years, but a wooden summer-house and a small arched bridge are still in existence. These were made in Japan and Japanese workmen were imported to erect them. (fn. 74)
The house was used as a convalescent home by Salisbury Infirmary from 1941. Since 1952 it has been a private nursing-home. (fn. 75)
An estate in Heale consisting of one messuage, 48 a. arable, 1 a. meadow, and common of pasture was held in 1324 by Robert Rowland. (fn. 76) What was apparently this same estate was held in 1550 by Elizabeth Herford, great-granddaughter of a Thomas Rowland. (fn. 77) The only free tenant of Heale manor in the early 17th century was a John Herford. (fn. 78) This estate seems to have been united with Heale manor by 1813. (fn. 79)
The use of the land in Woodford has been dictated by its geographical shape. Until the 19th century a large part of the parish, particularly the steeper slopes and the exposed ground in the higher parts, remained uncultivated grazing land. (fn. 80) The ground at the bottom of the river valley, always damp and liable to flooding, makes rich pasture and meadow land. The remainder was for a long time divided into open fields. There is no record of any extensive area of woodland. Some systematic planting of trees in Lower Woodford was carried out by William Bowles d. 1788). (fn. 81)
The parish has been divided from east to west into three roughly equal areas. Woodford manor comprised both Upper and Lower Woodford which were separated by the manor of Heale. In 1839 Upper Woodford had four open fields, Upper and Lower North Fields and Upper and Lower South Fields, each over 80 acres and in 1955 still not subdivided into smaller parcels, with Upper Woodford Down beyond them. Lower Woodford had Church Field, Mill Bottom, Conygree Field, and Home Field, and, on the top of Smithen Down, Lower Woodford Down. Heale contained Upper Field, Middle Field, and Hooklands, with pasture on the steep sides of Heale Hill. The fields of Heale were still divided into small allotments at the beginning of the 17th century, when there was one freehold tenant, (fn. 82) but by the beginning of the 19th century they had been drawn together into one compact farm. In Lower Woodford the fields seem to have been divided into a number of compact allotments by 1813, and by the time of the Tithe Award in 1839 there were five medium-sized farms, including two freehold estates, and a few smaller holdings; these had crystallized into one larger and one smaller farm by 1920. The fields of Upper Woodford were still farmed in scattered allotments in 1839, when there were five holdings of over 100 acres. These holdings were gradually amalgamated, and by 1955 all the land of Upper Woodford formed a single farm. The last copyhold tenures in Upper and Lower Woodford became leaseholds in the second half of the 19th century. (fn. 83) No Inclosure Award for the parish has been found.
Until recent times sheep-farming was an important part of the economy of the parish. In 1286 it was stated that eight oxen were customarily left at Woodford by one bishop for his successor: (fn. 84) this fact may have been recorded to discourage the transference of arable land to grazing. Conveyances of the 14th to the 16th century suggest a proportion of about two sheep pastured on the common to each acre of arable land. (fn. 85) The court rolls of Heale in the early 17th century mention some recent inclosure of common; regulations to protect husbandry from sheep-rearing and to preserve the extent of the common pasture suggest some difficulty in finding sufficient grazing for the number of sheep. In 1839, taking the parish as a whole, there were roughly three sheep grazed on the common downs for each two acres of arable. There were then 1,014 a. arable, 870 a. downland, and 200 a. meadow and pasture. A sheep-fold in Middle Woodford was used by the shepherds of the common flock. Since then the sheep have yielded their place to cattle, all the downland has been fenced, and much of it has been ploughed up. In 1936 the area of downland was about one-third of the area of arable, and after 1939 more downland was taken into cultivation.
The low-lying meadows by the river seem to have been inclosed at least in part by the early 17th century. They are well watered by the river which is fast flowing and in places deep; it divides at several points into a number of separate streams. Efforts had constantly to be made to conserve or control the waters. A particularly high flood in 1823 destroyed Woodford Bridge and three cottages on Woodford Green. In 1665 the villages of Woodford, under the leadership of William Bowles, the tenant of Woodford manor and rectory, made an agreement with the owner of Lake manor, in Wilsford, to set up weirs and bays to irrigate water-meadows. These works were the subject of a dispute fifteen years later. (fn. 86) By the middle of the 20th century the practice of flooding the meadows each year had been abandoned.
In 1839 there were 6 a. of osier and withy beds. The river was well known as a trout stream; (fn. 87) in 1859 it was stated that it was regularly fished and that the fishing rights of reaches adjoining Woodford and Heale belonged respectively to the lords of those manors. An eel-trap attached to the weir at Middle Woodford mill was still in use in 1955.
In 1086 there were said to be four and a half mills in Salisbury: (fn. 88) one or more of these may have been in Woodford. A mill mentioned in 1203 may have been at Heale. (fn. 89) Two water-mills were conveyed with Heale manor in 1571, but in a conveyance of 1600 only one mill was mentioned. (fn. 90) In 1553 the manorial court of Heale ruled that all tenants were to take their corn to the mill: in 1609 three tenants were fined for not doing so, and the miller was fined for taking excessive tolls, not protecting the corn from floods, and not repairing the mill. In 1600 the mill had been presented as being in a bad state of repair as a result of floods. By 1773 the mill seems to have been no longer in existence. (fn. 91) A mill in Little Woodford was included in a lease of Woodford manor in 1226, (fn. 92) and it may have been the same as the mill called Bishopsmill in 1405. (fn. 93) The probable site of this mill is in Lower Woodford, near the Court House, where there is still a diversion in the river and a weir. The mill in Middle Woodford, probably a 17th-century building reconstructed in the 18th century, (fn. 94) was in use as a water-mill in 1839. In 1862 it was presented as dilapidated. In 1864 it was valued at £1,000. In 1956 it was still in existence; it was then used neither as a water-mill nor as a corn-mill, though it housed a saw-mill.
The innkeeper of the 'Wheatsheaf' in Lower Woodford was described in 1821 as a maltster. (fn. 95) Druid's Lodge is run as a training stable for racehorses; Isaac Woolcot, who kept the Druid's Head Inn, (fn. 96) was described as a trainer of race-horses in 1862, and Druid's Lodge was owned by J. V. Rank when he died in 1952. Since then it has belonged to Mr. Jack Olding.
Architectural evidence shows that there was a church in Woodford in Norman times. From an early date the endowments of the church and the cure of the parish were united with those of Wilsford, and the institutional history of the two churches together is given above. (fn. 97)
The church of ALL SAINTS consists of chancel, nave, north and south aisles, west tower, south porch and small north vestry. The body of the church is of stone ashlar, probably from the Chilmark or Tisbury quarries, and there is some flintwork in the tower. The roofs are tiled. Some parts of the medieval church survive and other parts have been copied in the existing structure, so that it is possible to visualize the medieval church. A 12th-century building appears to have been enlarged or rebuilt in the 13th century. In 1412 glass windows in the chancel were mentioned as being too small and narrow. (fn. 98) The present chancel, in the style of the 13th century, is a fairly accurate copy of the original. (fn. 99) There was a 'low side' lancet window (now omitted) in the south wall and there were three graduated lancets at the east end, now replaced by a traceried window of 14th-century pattern. In the 15th century the tower, the south aisle, and possibly the nave were rebuilt or added. The south aisle, in the style of the 15th century, retains part of its original arcade of two bays.
In 1845 the church was in urgent need of repair and was rebuilt, with the exception of the tower, at a cost of £1,500. (fn. 100) The cost of rebuilding was met by a church rate of £250 and by private subscription; the chancel was paid for by Giles Loder, the lay impropriator. (fn. 101) The work was inspired by R. M. Chatfield (vicar 1830–82), and the architect was T. H. Wyatt (fn. 102) who in most respects seems to have attempted a faithful reproduction of the existing church. The north aisles and vestry appear to have been new additions.
The oldest memorial tablet commemorates Gerard Errington (d. 1596). It has a figure, shield of arms and inscription in brass with a border of strapwork carving in stone. (fn. 103)
There were three bells in 1553 and four (three of them recently cast) in 1613. Two more were added in 1899 when the earlier bells were recast. (fn. 104)
In 1405 there were two silver chalices with dishes, one gilt and the other partly gilt, a silver pyx, and three balances (aune); there were also many vestments, two processional crosses, and five servicebooks; two other service-books were missing. (fn. 105) An 8 oz. chalice, which was retained in 1553, was exchanged for the present Elizabethan cup of 1576. There is also a plain silver paten, 71/8 ins. in diameter, which appears to have been the gift of Robert Hyde, c. 1667. (fn. 106)
The churchyard, which in 1830 was said to have been used as a drying ground for the surrounding cottages, was improved and planted during Chatfield's incumbency. (fn. 107) In 1870 dilapidated cottages bordering the road were bought for demolition by Giles Loder and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, the land being added to the churchyard. (fn. 108) In 1914 a similar cottage was demolished by Louis Greville. (fn. 109)
Chatfield recorded that on his appointment in 1830 the parsonage was inhabited by a labouring man. (fn. 110) It stood near the south-west corner of the church where a ruined wall still remains. The present vicarage, which is of yellow brick, was built in 1832 at the vicar's expense. (fn. 111) It was enlarged later in the century.
No record has been found of religious nonconformity in Woodford until the 19th century. In 1829 it was stated that about 45 Methodists from Woodford attended a place of worship in Durnford parish. (fn. 112) A house in Woodford was registered as a place of worship in 1833. (fn. 113) Joseph Olding, who was baptized at the General Baptist chapel at Downton in 1843, opened his house at Woodford 'for the reception of Ministers of God's word', but before he died in 1851 he had removed to Amesbury. (fn. 114) In 1864 the Vicar of Woodford reported that there were no dissenters in the parish other than 'a few Wesleyans, but most of them come to church also'. (fn. 115) The nearest Roman Catholic and Protestant nonconformist places of worship are at Salisbury and Amesbury. (fn. 116)
A few of the court rolls of Heale survive from the early 17th century. (fn. 117) There are some extracts from the court rolls of Woodford manor from the late 18th and early 19th centuries. (fn. 118) In the middle of the 19th century courts baron for Woodford and courts leet for the halfhundred, comprising Upper and Lower Woodford, Wilsford and Lake, were held regularly, on the same day, at the Court House or the manor-house in Lower Woodford, at the 'Druid's Head', or, at a later date, in Woodford school. (fn. 119) At the court leet the view of the frankpledge was held, and Law-day Silver was paid, usually 8s. each from Upper and Lower Woodford, and 10s. from Wilsford and Lake together. The last recorded court leet and court baron were held in 1863, (fn. 120) though it was said in 1867 that a court leet was still held annually. (fn. 121) In 1864 overseers of the highways and a waywarden were elected, apparently for the first time, in the vestry, and in 1866 two constables were elected. (fn. 122)
In 1839 nearly an acre adjoining the churchyard was owned by the 'parish officers' and occupied by the shepherds of the common flock. (fn. 123) In 1857 the vestry-meeting decided to sell 9 cottages belonging to the parish, 5 in Upper Woodford and 4 in Middle Woodford. In 1870 it was said that the parish pound was being used as a saw-pit. (fn. 124)
There seems to have been some unrest caused by poverty in the early 19th century: during the disturbances of 1830 two men in the parish were heard to say they would 'be glad to see the blood of the rich run down the streets of Woodford ankle deep'. (fn. 125) The amount of money expended on the poor of the parish rose from somewhat under £100 a year in the late 18th century (fn. 126) to about £400 a year in the decade 1825–34. (fn. 127)
In 1819 there were three day schools, attended by 46 children, and one Sunday school, attended by 20 children, in Woodford parish. (fn. 128) In 1835 there was an infant school for 13 boys and 8 girls, and a Sunday school, established in 1828, for 35 boys and 35 girls. (fn. 129)
Woodford C. of E. Primary School was built between 1833 and 1836, and was enlarged in 1854. (fn. 130) In 1859 40 girls and 20 boys were being taught by a mistress. (fn. 131) The school was united with the National Society from 1833, and received building grants in that year and in 1873, when new premises were erected on a new site provided by Giles Loder. There was accommodation for 98 children in a schoolroom and a classroom, and a teacher's house. (fn. 132) An annual grant was paid after 1876, (fn. 133) and the building was enlarged in 1913. (fn. 134) In 1931 the children printed an illustrated booklet on church architecture and a school magazine. In 1940 28 evacuees were added to the children. (fn. 135) Average attendance was 48 in 1876, (fn. 136) 54 in 1906, (fn. 137) and 48 in 1937. (fn. 138) Since 1950 the children of over 13 have gone to Durnford school, and in 1951 the school became an aided school under the Education Act of 1944. (fn. 139)