A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 7. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1953.
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WEST OR BISHOP'S LAVINGTON
The parish of West or Bishop's Lavington lies on the northern slopes of Salisbury Plain about 6 miles south of Devizes. (fn. 1) It covers 5,906 acres of land and 5 of water. (fn. 2) The southern part of the parish, about 4 miles in breadth, lies on the Chalk uplands of the Plain, and in the south-western corner reaches over 600 ft. above sea-level. Northwards as the parish descends the slopes of the Plain it narrows to a width varying from I½ to ½ mile and drops to about 200 ft. A spring rising near the middle of the parish, in a slight wooded ravine, is the source of Bulkington Brook which flows through the village of West Lavington, east of the village of Littleton Pannell, and northwards out of the parish. The parish boundaries were adjusted by Order of the Local Government Board in 1883 bringing Gore, formerly in Market Lavington, into West Lavington, and placing Fiddington and Black Dog, formerly in West Lavington, in Market Lavington. (fn. 3) There was at one time a chantry chapel at Gore near the cross-roads known as St. Joan à Gores Cross, but no trace of this remains above ground. (fn. 4) The main road from Devizes to Salisbury (A 360) runs through the parish from north to south. The village of West Lavington lies along this road on the Gault and Greensand strip at the foot of the Plain. The village of Littleton Pannell, also in the parish of West Lavington, lies farther north along the same road. The secondary road from Urchfont to Westbury (B 3098) intersects the main road between two villages. The railway line from Westbury to Stert, opened in 1900, (fn. 5) crosses the northern end of the parish and Lavington station lies about ½ mile north of Littleton Pannell.
Within the parish 4,203 acres of land are held by the War Department, having been acquired at various times between 1910 and 1936. (fn. 6)
Dial House, in the village of West Lavington and east of the main road, is a medium-sized house of the early 18th century. It is built of red brick with stone dressings. The interior retains some contemporary panelling, bolection moulded fireplaces and a wide staircase of elm. To the right of the Dial House is a small building, part of an earlier house, built of rubble and now used as kitchen offices. Littleton House, in the village of Littleton Pannell, was rebuilt early in the 19th century. All that remains of the earlier building are some internal and parts of the flank walls. Fiddington House was used as a private lunatic asylum at least as early as 1817 (fn. 7) and is still in use for this purpose.
In 1840 there were seven public and five private carriage roads within the parish. (fn. 8) In 1825, amidst somewhat riotous celebrations, the toll-gates at Littleton cross-roads were burnt never to be replaced. (fn. 9) In the mid 19th century flints for the roads were dug on the downs within the parish in considerable quantities. (fn. 10) At times either the supply was not over abundant or labour for digging was scarce, for in 1739 the sale of flints to any turnpike or into any other parish was prohibited. (fn. 11) Stone for building and a soft chalk-stone for making lime were quarried in the parish in the 19th century (fn. 12) and a stone-quarry and lime-kiln are mentioned in an 18th-century survey. (fn. 13) A public wateringplace called Gore Cross Pond for the inhabitants of West Lavington is mentioned in the Inclosure Award of 1840. (fn. 14)
West Lavington suffered from a disastrous fire in 1689 when 226 bays of building were burnt and damage done to the value of £5,367. 18s. 8d. (fn. 15)
The accounts of the churchwardens, the overseers of the poor, and the surveyors for the highways show there to have been 2 churchwardens and 2 overseers for the whole parish, and 2 surveyors for Lavington and 1 for Littleton. (fn. 16)
William Talman, Controller of Works to William III, architect of Chatsworth, of other palaces, and of the alterations to Hampton Court Palace, was born at West Lavington where he had property. (fn. 17) Matthew Hole, Rector of Exeter College, Oxford, was Vicar of West Lavington from 1673–4. (fn. 18)
At the time of the Domesday Survey WEST LAVINGTON was held in chief of the king by Robert Blund as successor to Achi. (fn. 19) Robert's sons-in-law, William de Aldeleia and Robert de Aumale, held of him 7 hides and 1 virgate respectively. (fn. 20) Inc. 1136 King Stephen granted Roger, Bishop of Salisbury, the service and land of William, son of Malger of Lavington, of the fee which he held of Gilbert Blund. (fn. 21) This appears to have conveyed to the bishop the principal estate in West Lavington, but the estate seems at first to have been annexed to the manor of Potterne and not to have been an independent manor. As late as 1565–6 it was claimed that West Lavington had been so annexed, that 'time out of mind' the tenants of Lavington had done suit at the court of Potterne, that the customs of the two manors were the same, and that they had only recently been divided. (fn. 22) In 1146 the Bull of Eugenius III confirming the episcopal estates to the bishop refers to 'Potterne with Lavington', (fn. 23) West Lavington may thus have been included, although not specifically mentioned, in the Empress Maud's charter of 1148 restoring Bishop's Cannings and Potterne with all appurtenances to the bishop after their seizure by Stephen. (fn. 24) In 1212 with Potterne and Bishop's Cannings it was seized by John and given into the custody of the Constable of Devizes. (fn. 25) It was presumably restored with Potterne to the bishop shortly afterwards, and like Potterne remained in the hands of the bishop throughout the Middle Ages. In 1294 the bishop was granted free warren in his demesne lands at West Lavington. (fn. 26) In 1428 Cecily widow of John Bernard held land in West Lavington of the bishop, as did Nicholas Cricklade and Agnes his wife. In both cases the land was said to have been previously held by Thomas de Parham. (fn. 27) In 1416 Nicholas Cricklade and Agnes his wife had conveyed a messuage, land, and a rent in West Lavington to Thomas Cricklade, Robert Ford, and John Hamme. (fn. 28) In 1430 John Ewastas and Joan his wife conveyed a messuage and land in Littleton to Richard Fyton, John Fauntleroye, and Nicholas Cricklade. (fn. 29)
Several holders of other estates in West Lavington can be traced during the Middle Ages. In 1195 Peter son of Simon surrendered his claim to ½ a hide of land there in return for 2 acres and a field to be held of the Bishop of Salisbury at an annual rent of 2s. (fn. 30) Peter's father may have been Simon de Ponte, for in c. 1228 Bishop Poore granted to Walter Pas, his servant (serviens nosier), ½ hide in Lavington in a field called 'Burfeld' formerly held by that Simon. (fn. 31) Two hides in West Lavington were included in the endowment of De Vaux College made by Giles, Bishop of Salisbury, in c. 1260. (fn. 32) In 1535 this property was yielding a rent of £2 a year. (fn. 33) After the Dissolution it was granted with other property belonging to the college to Sir Michael Lyster. (fn. 34) In 1255 ½ a fee owing castle guard duty at Devizes Castle lay in West Lavington. Thirty years earlier Roger de la Folye had owed such service for 2 fees in West Lavington but he had withdrawn it. (fn. 35) In 1255 (fn. 36) and 1288–9 (fn. 37) the ½ fee was held by Robert dc Saucey whose service had been commuted for an annual rent of 10s. In 1418 the fee was held by John de Lavington who died that year holding as of the castle of Devizes for a rent of 10s. a principal messuage called 'Lavingtonesplace' with lands and tenements in West Lavington. The property had been settled on John for life under the name of John, son and heir of Ralph Clerk of West Lavington, with reversion to Thomas Edward, son of William Flour's daughter Maud and the heirs of Thomas. John Edward was said to be the immediate heir. (fn. 38) In 1428 John Edward was holding land in West Lavington of John Stourton said to have been held previously by Ralph le Clerk. (fn. 39) Persons styled le Clerk had held lands in West Lavington in the 13th and 14th centuries. In 1281 William, son of Geoffrey le Clerk of Lavington, quit-claimed a messuage, land, and rent to the Bishop of Salisbury. (fn. 40) In 1305 a Geoffrey le Clerk, (fn. 41) in 1329 a Geoffrey le Clerk and Ralph his son, (fn. 42) and in 1367 Nicholas, son of William le Clerk, (fn. 43) held land there. The land held of Devizes Castle is next heard of in 1630 when Sir John Dauntsey died seised of an estate called Newgate Farm comprising 200 acres of land, 4 acres of meadow, and 200 acres of pasture. This he held of the castle in socage, at a rent of 10s. At the time of Sir John's death it was let to one William Bower. (fn. 44)
In 1367 Nicholas, son of William le Clerk (see above), John Rucote and Maud his wife conveyed to John Auncel of Littleton a messuage, a mill, a carucate of land, 2 acres of meadow, and ½ acre of wood in West Lavington. (fn. 45) This estate may later have become the 'manor of Littleton Auncells' conveyed by William Beckett and Anna his wife in 1693 to George Bowditch and James Townsend, (fn. 46) and in 1703–4 to the Earl of Abingdon. (fn. 47)
The Dauntsey family, which had long been prominent in the neighbourhood, held land in West Lavington at least as early as 1474 when John Dauntsey was granted 4 messuages, 60 acres of land, 6 acres of pasture, and pasture for 2 oxen and 80 sheep in West Lavington by Richard Beckett and Edith his wife. (fn. 48)
In the 16th century the manorial rights in West Lavington were leased to various individuals, but it is far from clear what exactly happened. Early in the reign of Elizabeth there was a lawsuit between John Webbe and Sir Henry Chivers, who both claimed the manor. (fn. 49) Webbe's case was that Bishop Audley of Salisbury (1502–1524) granted the manor'about 14 July, 6 Henry VIII' (1524) to William Webbe, his father, who had left it to the complainant. Chivers had somehow obtained the possession of the deed and had pretended to have reversion to the property. In reply Chivers said that the lease had been granted to William Webbe (for fifty years), but that by a deed of 6 June 1548 Bishop Capon had granted the manor for ninetynine years to John Barnaby, who had sold his lease to Chivers. In the course of the lawsuit Webbe modified his claims by admitting that Chivers was lord of the manor in virtue of the lease to Barnaby, but nevertheless claimed that Chivers had trespassed on his lands. He further stated that the bishop had originally leased the manor to William Frinnell, who sold it to Robert Long, from whom it passed to his widow Alice, later the wife of William Webbe, grandfather of John. Chivers was evidently a litigious man, for between 1564 and 1567 he was again at law, with Robert Blake and with William Flower. (fn. 50) The latter case is particularly interesting, for it concerned not only the lordship of the manor (admitted to be the right of Chivers) but the right of Flower as a copyhold tenant to let his land.
On 26 December 1573 the queen conveyed to William Cecil, 1st Lord Burghley, the lordship, manor, prebend, and parsonage of West Lavington. (fn. 51) It was then stated that on 29 November of the same year the Bishop of Salisbury had leased this property to the queen for seventy years. Burghley had had some interest in West Lavington before this, for in 1571 Thomas Duck, Yeoman of the Cellar, had petitioned him for a lease of 'the farm called West Lavington, Co. Wilts.' (fn. 52)
The lease of 1573 did not run its full term. In 1630 Sir John Dauntsey died seized of the manor of West Lavington, holding it of the Bishop of Salisbury as of his manor of Bishop's Lavington. Sir John also held in West Lavington, Newgate Farm of Devizes Castle (see above) and another estate of the bishop. This latter estate comprised 200 acres of land, 12 of meadow, 60 of pasture, and common pasture for 5 oxen and 300 sheep, and had been purchased by Sir John from William Brouncker. (fn. 53) The manor passed to Sir John's granddaughter Elizabeth, wife of Sir John Danvers. (fn. 54) In 1640 the bishop made a lease of the manor to Sir John Danvers, Henry his son, and Elizabeth his daughter. (fn. 55) West Lavington was sold in 1649 as part of the bishop's lands, to Edward Cressett, who paid the Commonwealth Commissioners £667. 8s. 3d. for it. (fn. 56) Evidently Danvers retained his tenancy, for in 1659 the manor was the subject of a conveyance by Robert Danvers, alias Villiers, and Elizabeth his wife and Anne Lee, widow. (fn. 57) Elizabeth and Anne were the daughters of Sir John Danvers, and the manor was assigned to Anne, for in 1681 it was in the possession of her daughters Eleanor wife of James Bertie, Lord Norreys later 1st Earl of Abingdon, and Anne wife of Thomas Wharton. (fn. 58) The settlement of that year was probably for the purpose of conveying it to Eleanor and James, for in 1731 it was in the possession of their heir Willoughby Bertie, later 3rd Earl of Abingdon. (fn. 59) In 1761 the 4th Earl conveyed it to Robert Palmer and Thomas Walker. (fn. 60) This may have been one of the stages in its sale to the Duke of Marlborough who acquired it c. 1766 and settled it early in the 19th century on his second son afterwards created Baron Churchill. (fn. 61)
In 1840 when the Inclosure Award for the parish was made Lord Churchill held a freehold estate in West Lavington as well as lease- and copy-hold estates held of the Bishop of Salisbury as of his manor of Bishop's Lavington. With the exception of approximately 62 acres, all the allotments made under the award were to Lord Churchill. 4 a. 12 r. 12 p. were allotted to John Giles in respect of his estate held of the Bishop of Salisbury; 50 a. 3 r. 19 p. were allotted to James Tilby in respect of his freehold estate, and 7 a. 2 r. 21 p. went to the vicar in respect of his glebelands. (fn. 62) From Lord Churchill (d. 1845) the manor passed through his son, the 2nd Baron, to his grandson, the 3rd Baron, created Viscount Churchill in 1902. In 1903 Lord Churchill and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, in whom the overlordship of the bishop was vested, were joint lords of the manor. (fn. 63) In 1905 the manor house and most of the property were bought from Lord Churchill by Mr. H. T. Holloway. (fn. 64) A further purchase from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners in 1913 made Mr. Holloway sole lord of the manor of West Lavington. (fn. 65) In 1939 his son, Mr. H. T. Holloway, was lord of the manor. (fn. 66)
West Lavington Manor lies north-east of the church. A doorway reused in the present building to form a small porch is the only trace of a 16th-century house. The initials I. D. and D. M. above the door possibly stand for John and Margaret Dauntsey (d. 1559 and 1571). In the 17th century the house was extensively rebuilt and the gardens laid out in ornamental style by Sir John Danvers to whom Aubrey attributed 'a fine fancy, which lay chiefly for gardens and architecture'. The gardens, Aubrey says, were full of 'irregularities both natural and artificial'. A portico 'full of water workes' was added on the north side of the garden by the Earl of Abingdon inc. 1686. (fn. 67) The only part of the present house dating from the 17th century is the side elevation towards the road built of rubble with square mullioned windows. The gateway may also be part of the 17th-century rebuilding. Built of ashlar it has a round-headed arch flanked by Doric pilasters supporting an entableture and moulded pediment surmounted by three finials. In 1908 the house was extensively restored and modernized by its owner Mr. H. T. Holloway.
At the time of the Domesday Survey LITTLETON PANNELL was held by William of Aldrie as a tenant of William of Eu. In the time of King Edward the estate had been 'tainland' belonging to the church of Salisbury and was held by Alestan of Boscumbe. (fn. 68) Before 1190 property in Littleton was held by the Hose or Husee family, for at about that time Henry, son of Henry Husee, confirmed his father's grant of a rent from a mill there to Dureford Abbey (Sussex). (fn. 69) In 1219 Henry, son of Henry Hose, rendered account of 2 marks for 1 knight's fee in Littleton. (fn. 70) Matthew Husee (son of Henry Husee IV) held the fee in 1235–6. (fn. 71) In 1238 the Sheriff of Wiltshire was ordered by royal writ to enforce the surrender by Matthew Husee to Maud Husee of a carucate of land of which Henry Husee, her grandfather, had been seized at his death. (fn. 72) This Maud Husee married William Paynel and in 1253 the couple were given seisin of Littleton, which had been taken into the king's hands by reason of the death of Matthew Husee. (fn. 73) In 1255 William Paynel held 1 fee in Littleton Pannell owing castle guard service at Devizes Castle. (fn. 74) William Paynel, son of William and Maud, held Littleton in 1308. (fn. 75) The younger William died in 1317, leaving the manor to his younger brother John. (fn. 76) John died two years later, and left to his daughter Maud, wife of Nicholas de Upton, 2/3 of the manor. (fn. 77) Possibly the other ⅓ was the dower of William Paynel's widow, Eve. Before 1325, the manor was in the hands of John, 2nd Lord Hastings of Abergavenny. (fn. 78) How John acquired it is not clear. The only clue is the fact that his father had been continuously associated with John Paynel, with whom he was at the siege of Carlaverock in 1300. (fn. 79) In 1328 Juliana, widow of John, 2nd Lord Hastings, married William de Clinton, later Earl of Huntingdon. (fn. 80) In 1344 Gilbert de Berwick, the Earl's steward in Wiltshire, conveyed 2/3 of the manor of Littleton Pannell to William, Vicar of Potterne, John de la Roche, and Walter Cambon, for a period of seven years. (fn. 81) William Paynel's widow was still living at this time and may have held the other ⅓ of the manor; it is not, however, recorded in any inquisition postmortem. (fn. 82) Littleton 'Husee' was mentioned among the possessions of John, 4th Lord Hastings, Earl of Pembroke, after his death in 1375. (fn. 83) It was then said that long before his death he enfeoffed Walter Amyas, John Abraham (and others named) with all the said lands. (fn. 84) This John de Hastings was the son of Laurence de Hastings, heir of John and Juliana. His only son and heir died childless in 1389, and in 1391 Littleton was in the hands of Reynold, Lord de Grey of Ruthin, whose grandfather had married Elizabeth, daughter of John, 1st Lord Hastings by his first wife Isabel. (fn. 85) Reynold was then granted licence to enfeoff Robert, Bishop of London, and others with the manor. (fn. 86) In 1404 Reynold conveyed it by fine to John Chitterne and John Broke, clerks and others, with reversion to the heirs of Chitterne. (fn. 87) Chitterne in 1409 conveyed Littleton to Broke and others, (fn. 88) and in the same year Broke released all his right in the manor to John Wakering and others. (fn. 89) The purpose of this series of conveyances is not clear, but in 1427–8 Richard Milbourne held ½ fee in Littleton of the Duke of Gloucester as of Devizes castle. (fn. 90) Another half was held by William Walraund and Richard Feton, and the holdings were all described as 'late of William Clinton'. (fn. 91) Simon Milbourne held the manor in 1464, and when he died on 11 September of that year it passed to his son Thomas. (fn. 92) Simon had held it of the enfeoffment of Robert Hungerford, Lord Hungerford, and Robert Hungerford, Lord Moleyns. In 1535 an inquisition on Richard Milbourne referred to his father Henry, living in 1517, and stated that Henry's father was named Sir Thomas. It also mentions that Richard had sisters Isabel, Joan, and Elizabeth. (fn. 93) In 1542 ¼ of the manor was among the possessions of William Beckett, being held of Edward Twyner and Edith his wife, late the wife of Richard Milbourne, deceased. (fn. 94) In 1544 ½ the manor was conveyed to William Button by Robert Tyderlegh and Elizabeth his wife, with warranty against the heirs of Elizabeth. (fn. 95) In the following year Edward and Edith Twynyhoo conveyed property described merely as 'the manor' of Littleton Pannell to William Button; this was a mortgage—Edward owed Button £400 and the conveyance was in return for this debt and a further advance of £100. Button was to hold the manor for the lifetime of Edith. (fn. 96) Button's son William made over the manor in 1549 to Robert Tyderlegh, with warranty against the heirs of Margaret. (fn. 97) It seems probable that Tyderlegh's wife, Elizabeth, was the sister of Richard Milbourne and the heiress to the Milbourne property. When he died in 1578, however, it was stated that Elizabeth his wife was to enjoy the manor which was held of the queen as of her castle of Devizes for life, in spite of the fact that Robert had granted it in 1573 to his second son Richard. (fn. 98) In 1586 Richard Tyderlegh, son of Robert, obtained confirmation of his father's grant of the manor, paying a fine of £8 for it. (fn. 99) Elizabeth, Robert's widow, gained similar confirmation in 1591 of her life interest in the manor. Here, it was stated that her husband had left it to her in his will, which implies that she was not the heiress in her own right. (fn. 100) It is, of course, possible that Robert Tyderlegh married successively two women named Elizabeth. Richard Tyderlegh conveyed the manor in 1608 to Robert Tyderlegh, 'junior'. (fn. 101) Robert Tyderlegh 'senior' conveyed it in 1628 to John Pole and William Fry; it was still among the property of the Robert Tyderlegh who died in 1638. (fn. 102) From the inquisition of 1638 it appears that one Robert Tyderlegh died in 1610, and his wife, Elizabeth, in 1632. The subject of the inquisition was Richard Tyderlegh their son, and Robert's heir, then 17 years old.
In 1688 Robert Tyderlegh and Mary his wife conveyed Littleton Pannell to James, Earl of Abingdon. (fn. 103) In 1767 Willoughby, 4th Earl of Abingdon, obtained permission by private Act of Parliament to exchange the manors of Littleton Tytherleigh and Littleton Becketts for an estate of greater value in Berkshire. (fn. 104) In 1771 the Littleton property had come into the hands of William, 5th Earl of Radnor, (fn. 105) and remained in the hands of his heirs until 1899 when Mr. H. T. Holloway, of West Lavington, purchased the Beckett estate. (fn. 106) In 1903 Charles Awdry was the principal landowner in Littleton. (fn. 107)
The house at Littleton Pannell called à Becketts was rebuilt and enlarged in red brick in 1904 leaving little or no trace of the earlier house. According to tradition it was in this house that Captain Henry Penruddocke, brother of the better known Colonel John Penruddocke, was murdered by a Parliamentarian soldier in 1644. Captain Penruddocke was buried in West Lavington churchyard and his fate is recorded in the parish register. (fn. 108)
The church of West Lavington with its tithes, coupled with the church of Potterne and its tithes, were among the endowments granted by Osmund, Bishop of Salisbury, to his cathedral chapter in c. 1091. (fn. 109) The grant of these two churches led to the foundation of the prebend in Salisbury Cathedral (fn. 110) usually known as that of Potterne, but sometimes as that of Potterne and Lavington, (fn. 111) or simply that of Lavington. (fn. 112) In 1254 the prebend was assigned to the Bishop of Salisbury and has since remained with his successors. (fn. 113) The date of the first presentation by the bishop to the church of West Lavington is not known. He presented in 1302 (fn. 114) and thenceforth until 1552. In that year John Gough presented by permission of the bishop. (fn. 115) In 1568 the advowson appears to have been leased with the manor to Henry Chivers, clothier, who presented that year; (fn. 116) in 1577 and 1580 William Cecil, 1st Lord Burghley, to whom the queen had leased the manor, prebend, and parsonage, presented. (fn. 117) In 1592 John Dauntsey, who held the manor of the bishop, presented, (fn. 118) but when the manor was leased in 1640 to Sir John Danvers and his son and daughter the bishop reserved the advowson to himself. (fn. 119) It is not known, however, who exercised the right of presentation between 1640 and 1660 when the title to the living was disputed. In 1645 John Thornburgh was instituted vicar, (fn. 120) but in 1660 he was a petitioner to the House of Lords for securing the tithes and other profits of sequestered livings. (fn. 121) His rival claimants appear to have been Thomas Byrom who died in 1656 and is described in the register of burials as 'vicar of this parish', Thomas Etwall who succeeded Byrom, and Bartholomew Shorthose who apparently succeeded Etwall. (fn. 122) In 1661 the bishop presented and Thornburgh is said to have resigned in favour of Shorthose. (fn. 123) The prebend and rectory were again leased with the manor in 1681, (fn. 124) but the advowson remained in the hands of the bishop and has remained with his successors to this day.
In 1291 the vicarage of West Lavington was valued at £5 (fn. 125) and in 1535 at £11. 16s. 4d. (fn. 126) In 1139 Roger, Bishop of Salisbury, enhanced the value of the church by granting to it the tithes of Littleton Pannell. (fn. 127) Tithes from the demesne of Matthew Husee, Richard Burdun, and Humphrey Escuville in the same place were the subject of a composition made in 1239 between the prebendary, Elias de Derham, and the priory of Jumeaux (Amiens dioc). By this the priory accepted an annual rent of 10s. in lieu of the tithes claimed. (fn. 128) An agreement between rector and vicar concerning tithes was reached in 1324 when the bishop, as rector, granted to William of Lavington, the vicar, the rectorial tithes of Fiddington in exchange for the vicarial tithes of West Lavington. (fn. 129) Reference to this agreement is made in the glebe terriers of 1609, 1704, and 1783. (fn. 130) In 1609 and 1704 the vicar received the tithe of 120 sheep belonging to a tenement called Long Hayes in East Field, and of 50 sheep belonging to a tenement called the Prebend in West Field. (fn. 131) In 1704 he had also all tithes from all closes, crofts, and old inclosures in the parish except where these were made out of the arable fields; the tithe of a small butt in East Field; the tithe of Frith Coppice and of all withy beds and underwood and also cow- and calf-white. He had all the tithes of Fiddington; all oblations and offerings; the herbage and profits of the churchyard, and an augmentation of £30 a year out of the estate of the Earl of Abingdon. (fn. 132) An augmentation of £20 a year had been approved in 1655 by the Trustees for the Maintenance of Ministers. (fn. 133) In 1764 the great tithes were leased to the Duke of Marlborough and were worth £469. 17s. 3d. (fn. 134) In 1704 the glebe comprised 4 acres of arable in West Field, 1 butt of arable in East Field, both free of tithe, and 10 acres of arable in Bower Field said to have been lately annexed to the vicarage by Gilbert, Bishop of Salisbury. There was also pasture for 10 beasts in the common fields of Fiddington. (fn. 135) In 1783 the glebe was uninclosed and lay in small parcels in the 3 fields mentioned above. The ½ acre in East Field was let. The vicarage house, built of stone with brick front, stood in 9 acres of garden. (fn. 136) In c. 1800 the vicar surrendered the glebe to the Duke of Marlborough in return for £16 a year and a close called Place Orchard. (fn. 137)
In 1654 the parsonage house and its appurtenances were sold for £23 by the Commonwealth Commissioners to Thomas Badcock. (fn. 138) It was then said to have been leased in 1640 when the manor was leased to Sir John Danvers, Henry his son, and Elizabeth his daughter. (fn. 139) In the fire at Lavington in 1689 (see above) damage estimated at £615 was sustained by this property and twenty-nine bays of building were burnt. (fn. 140) This was possibly a piece of rectorial property to be distinguished from the vicarage house. Its site may be marked by a farm-house called the Parsonage standing south of the church.
In 1657 the Trustees for the Maintenance of Ministers gained approval for a plan to unite the parishes of West Lavington and Little Cheverell. (fn. 141) There is no evidence, however, that this was done. The two parishes were merged for ecclesiastical purposes in 1914. (fn. 142) When Fiddington was transferred to the parish of Market Lavington in 1883 it was placed for ecclesiastical purposes in the parish of Easterton. (fn. 143)
The parish church of ALL SAINTS is situated about half-way between the extreme points, north and south, of the parish. It stands on rising ground to the west of the road from Salisbury to Devizes. The churchyard is entirely surrounded by roads. The church comprises a chancel, nave, north and south aisles and porches, north transept, north and south chapels, and west tower. It was built in the latter half of the 12th century and partly rebuilt in the 13th when the nave appears to have been shortened and the tower rebuilt. In the 14th century the tower arch was reduced both in height and width and the upper part of the tower rebuilt on a smaller scale. The two chapels were added in about the middle of the 15th century. The one to the south of the chancel is known as the Beckett Chapel; the other, known as the Dauntsey Chapel, replaced the south transept which appears to have been destroyed for its erection. Another chapel was later added to the north side of the chancel and now houses the organ. A wide three-centred arch opening from the aisle to the Dauntsey Chapel was probably made about the middle of the 16th century, and the original door in the west blocked. In 1847 extensive repairs and restorations were carried out, including new oak roofs to the nave and aisles, the opening of the clerestory windows (which had been bricked up) and the removal of the dormer windows from the south aisles. The aisle walls were raised to their original height and parapets were erected. The gable of the north transept was rebuilt and the roof reslated. The external stair was removed from the west front and traceried windows inserted in the tower and north aisle. Both the porches were rebuilt, and external entrances made to the chapels. The east wall of the chancel was rebuilt and a triple lancet window inserted. The north door to the chancel was blocked, the galleries removed, a new pulpit provided, and the whole church refloored and reseated.
The soffit of the arch leading to the Dauntsey Chapel is decorated with four black letter d's joined together on square panels, and this motif also occurs among fragments of stained glass in the west window. There are two tomb recesses in the south wall of the chapel, one with a semi-recumbent figure of Elizabeth Dauntsey, d. 1636, the other bearing a stone effigy of a woman but without inscription. Between these is a marble monument to Henry Danvers, d. 1654. On the east wall is a brass to John Dauntsey, d. 1559, another to Margaret Dauntsey, d. 1571, and a third without inscription. In the Beckett Chapel there is a carved 16th-century oak altar-table of unusual length and a piscina in the south wall. The chapel is entered through the original south doorway to the chancel which was reversed when the chapel was built. It is fitted with a 15th-century counter-boarded oak door. There are floor slabs to William Beckett, d. 1677, and John Harvest, d. 1671. The font is early 15th century. The tower has a battlemented parapet and an octagonal stair turret with sundials on two of the faces. There are 17th-century memorial tablets to Peter Anderson, d. 1699, John White, d. 1693, Thomas White, d. 1675, and Jenevera Yerbury, d. 1672. Between 1817 and 1828 a 15th-century manual of the Salisbury Use was found in a wall of the chancel. (fn. 144) A new altar was placed in the chancel in 1928 and electric light was installed in the same year. The parish registers begin in 1597 and are complete. (fn. 145) Those for the years 1597 to 1803 have been transcribed by Bernard French and edited by R. W. Awdry. (fn. 146) Edward VI's Commissioners left 12 oz. silver tor the church and took 3 oz. (fn. 147) The church plate now comprises a chalice and two patens (one with a foot) bearing hallmarks for 1640 and given by William Bower, d. 1645, and a tankard-shaped flagon hallmarked 1680 and presented in 1790. (fn. 148) There are six bells, all made by James Wells of Aldbourne, the sixth bears the date 1810. (fn. 149) They were rehung in 1928. (fn. 150)
Provisions for the building of a church house were made in the will of William Dauntsey dated 1542. (fn. 151) Dauntsey, an alderman and mercer of London, was born at West Lavington towards the end of the 15th century and died about 1553. (For his other benefactions to West Lavington see below—Schools and Charities.) If a church house were ever built no trace of it remains today.
According to the returns made for Bishop Compton in 1676 there were then 3 dissenters in West Lavington. (fn. 152) David Saunders, whose life and work provided Hannah More with the materials for The Pious Shepherd of Salisbury Plain, was born at Littleton Pannell in 1717 and was buried in West Lavington churchyard in 1796. Saunders, a farm worker, influenced by the teaching of Wesley spent much of his life teaching and preaching in West Lavington and the neighbouring parishes. His followers met first in his cottage at Littleton and later at Cornbury Mill. (fn. 153) A Baptist chapel was built at Littleton Pannell in 1848 with seating for 150. In 1949 the congregation numbered 33 and there were 38 pupils and 33 teachers in the Sunday school. (fn. 154) The Wesleyan Methodist chapel, given and furnished by the brothers H. T. and T. Holloway in memory of their father, was opened in 1900. (fn. 155)
The Domesday Survey shows that both West Lavington and Littleton had decreased in value between the time of Edward the Confessor and 1086. William le Blund's estate in West Lavington was valued at £12 in 1086, having been worth £15 T.R.E. (fn. 156) Littleton, held by William de Aldrie, was worth £8 in 1086, and £10 T.R.E. (fn. 157) After its acquisition by the Bishop of Salisbury in 1136 (see above Manors), and throughout the Middle Ages, West Lavington never became so valuable a property as the neighbouring episcopal manor of Potterne. In 1291 it was valued at £45. 10s. (fn. 158) In 1535 its net value was given as £56. 9s. 3d. (fn. 159) The only known medieval survey of West Lavington is one of 1284 when the see of Salisbury was vacant for a few weeks only. An area of 7½ acres of meadow was then valued at 2s. an acre, and there was pasture worth 107s. 11½d. Works of villeins were sold for 56s. 8d. and perquisites of court were worth £4. 10s. 4d. (fn. 160) The manor of Littleton was surveyed three times in the 14th century. In 1316 there was a capital messuage without a garden worth 12d. and a dovecot worth 20s. a year. There were 200 acres of arable; 35 acres of this when sown with wheat were worth 8d. an acre; 10 acres when sown with fine wheat were worth 6d. an acre; 12 acres when sown with barley were worth 6d., and 30 acres when sown with oats were worth 4d. an acre. There were 12 acres of meadow worth 18d. an acre, common pasture for great beasts worth 10s. a year, pasture for 200 sheep worth 16s. a year, and 3 acres of wood worth 12d. a year. Rents of assize were valued at £9. 15s. 6d. a year payable at four terms. Pleas and perquisites were worth 20s. a year. (fn. 161) Three years later 2/3 of the manor comprised a messuage with a garden worth 2s. a year, 79 acres of arable worth 3d. an acre, 4½ acres of meadow worth 4s. 6d. a year, 2 acres of wood worth 6d. a year, and 13 acres of common pasture worth 2d. an acre. There was one free tenant paying 6s. a year and 19 villeins paying for all services £6 a year. Pleas and perquisites were worth 40d. a year. (fn. 162) In 1325 there was a messuage with curtilage worth 5s. a year, 80 acres of arable worth 4d. an acre, pasture worth 32s. 4d., wood worth 2s., 6 acres of meadow worth 18d. an acre, and a water-mill and land worth 40s. There were 4 free tenants holding 1, 8, 1, and 2 virgates respectively, and paying 15s., 5s. 4d., 6s., and 20d., respectively for their land. One bond tenant paid 16s. for a virgate, another 8s. 10¾d. for ½ a virgate, another 7s. for ½ a virgate, and 6 others paid 5s. each for 8 acres. There were 9 cottars of whom 2 paid 5d., and 7 paid 20s. between them. The works of the bond tenants and cottars were worth 6s. 2½d. The net value of the manor was given as £10. 15s. 11¼d. (fn. 163) Twenty-five years later the manor was valued on the death of John de Hastings at £5. (fn. 164)
The manorial customs of West Lavington were enumerated in 1566 in the course of a suit heard in the Court of Requests. They were said to be as follows: (i) Controversies regarding ownership of property within the manor were to be heard in the first instance in the manorial court. The lord of the manor was not to proceed against a tenant in another court until he had taken presentment of homage in his court, (ii) Tenants might cut wood on their own land up to 20 ft. in length and 1 ft. in diameter without incurring punishment for waste, such wood being accounted underwood, (iii) Tenants might freely plant or remove plants on their holdings. (iv) A tenant might remove at will any house built by him on his land. (v) Should a tenant's house be burnt or damaged, the lord had to provide timber for its repair. If he failed to do so, the tenant might cut down timber on his own land for this purpose, (vi) A copyhold tenant might let his land from year to year without the consent of the lord of the manor. (fn. 165)
According to a 17th-century survey the manor of West Lavington, then called Lavington Dauntsey in Lavington Episcopi, comprised besides the manor house, garden, and orchard, 2 pastures called the Sandes, the Ash-yard, an orchard and ground by the mill together valued at £50; a little farm with sheep sleight worth £90; Chancellor's Farm with sheep sleight and arable land on Chancellor's Ball worth £100; a third part of Goredowne worth £25; Gore Close worth £2. 10s.; some closes of pasture and meadow called Rowborough worth £13. 10s.; and a water grist-mill with some land worth £24. There were also 23 leaseholders paying rents varying from £10. for a farm called 'Parrhams or Court Farm' to 1s. for a messuage and land. (fn. 166) In 1784, when the Duke of Marlborough was principal landowner in West Lavington, rack-rents were worth £1,430. 17s. 3d., leaseholds £406. 6s., and copyholds £409. 10s. 6d. The duke retained in his own hands only 4 a. 2 r. 7 p. of arable and 29 a. 1 r. 11 p. of pasture. (fn. 167)
As in the case of other parishes on the northern slopes of the Plain, West Lavington has a share of the rich loam soil at the foot of the escarpment and the poorer soils on the downs above. It is thus both arable and sheep-farming country. Evidence exists of sheep farming on a single farm on a considerable scale in the 16th century. John Webb, who had rented a farm in West Lavington from the Bishop of Salisbury, stocked it with 1,394 sheep. On subletting it in 1556 to Thomas Hulle, clothier of Devizes, Webb agreed to raise the flock to its full number of 1,800 (fn. 168) In 1766 there were 6,298 sheep in the parish, (fn. 169) and at some time in the 18th century there appear to have been nine sheep droves covering 52 a. 4 r. 38 p. (fn. 170)
In 1801 wheat covered 620 acres in the parish, barley 688, oats 130, potatoes 17, peas 147, beans 47, rape and turnips 72, and rye 9. (fn. 171) An area of 4,248 a. 3 r. 27 p. of the open and common fields of West Lavington was inclosed in 1840 under the Act of 1836. (fn. 172) Market-gardening appears to have flourished in the 19th century, vegetables being sent to Salisbury and Bath. (fn. 173) In the Inclosure Award 'the vineyard' is mentioned as a landmark, but it is unknown whether grapes were ever cultivated in the parish.
In 1086 there were 2 mills at Littleton paying 30s. and 1 mill at Lavington paying 5s. (fn. 174) Between 1190 and 1196 15s. rent from a mill in Littleton, formerly held by Edmund Lubin, was confirmed to Dureford Abbey (Sussex) by Henry Husee. (fn. 175) In 1325 John de Hastings died in possession of a water-mill within his manor of Littleton. (fn. 176) A mill at Lavington was included in the grant made in 1367 to John Auncel of Littleton, (fn. 177) and when the manor of Littleton Auncells was conveyed to George Bowditch and James Townsend in 1691–2 a mill was included. (fn. 178) A water-mill at Littleton was included when the manor was conveyed in 1549 to Robert Tyderlegh by William Button. (fn. 179) This mill appears to have descended with the manor and is mentioned in the settlement of 1608 between Richard and Robert Tyderlegh, (fn. 180) and in 1638 in the inquisition on the death of Robert Tyderlegh. (fn. 181) A water grist-mill at Lavington is mentioned in the survey of 1639, (fn. 182) and when the Commonwealth Commissioners sold the manor in 1649 to Edward Cressett it included 'a water grist mill and mills and water courses late belonging to the bishop of Salisbury'. (fn. 183)
William Dauntsey (see above— Church), by his will dated 1542, provided for the building of a school at West Lavington. The schoolmaster was to receive £10 a year and one of the eight 'chambers' in the almshouses also erected under Dauntsey's bequest (see below). (fn. 184) The administration of the whole charity was entrusted to the Mercers' Company. In 1598 the schoolmaster's salary was raised to £15. At this date each of the seven almspeople received 10s. 10d. a quarter; in 1635, by decree of Chancery, the amount payable by the Company to the schoolmaster and almspeople together was increased to £60. By the same decree Sir John Danvers, whose wife Elizabeth was the heiress of Sir John Dauntsey, was granted £100 for repairing and enlarging the school and almshouses. (fn. 185) At the beginning of the 19th century the schoolmaster's salary was increased in two instalments to £70, and between 1810 and 1831. the Mercers' Company spent some £2,500 in rebuilding the almshouses and repairing and altering the school building. In 1856 the school and master's house were rebuilt and the almshouses repaired for about the same sum, and in 1875 £500 was spent on enlarging the school. (fn. 186)
By 1859, when there were about 50 boys learning reading, writing, and arithmetic and receiving religious instruction under Dauntsey's bequest, the schoolmaster's salary had risen to £150 and house. £40 was paid to an assistant, who at the time of the inquiry was a certificated teacher. (fn. 187)
Shortly after this date (1854) a site for another school was conveyed in trust by the Rt. Hon. Jacob Pleydell Bouverie and Lord Folkestone. (fn. 188) This was at the east corner of Sand Ground on the Devizes road. The school built the same year and opened in 1855 consisted of two rooms 31 ft. by 19 ft. by 15 ft. high, in which were taught 50 to 60 girls (by an uncertificated mistress), and 40 to 50 infants, mainly boys (by an 'elderly' woman). The school was well built and furnished, but lacked a playground. There was also in 1859 a dame school in a cottage, attended by some 20 children. (fn. 189)
Dauntsey's school was nominally a grammar school, and as such was fully reported on by the Schools Inquiry Commission of 1867. (fn. 190) In fact, however, it was at this time only an elementary school; the top form of 7 boys (average age 12) 'wrote from dictation and read fairly. They know hardly any geography. Many of them... did a few simple sums', and one boy knew a little algebra. No examinations were held or prizes given, and no boy had gone to any university within the last five years. Attendance was irregular owing to the claims of farm work. The headmaster, who was also Vicar of Erlestoke, deputed practically all the teaching to his assistant, who was now getting £70 a year. The inspector considered that the school as then constituted was 'a very doubtful benefit to the parish. It has paralysed any attempt at establishing an ordinary parochial school', and local opinion was said to agree with him. It was significant that the neighbouring farmers were not sending their sons to the school, and in its then state were not anxious to apply more of the ample funds from Dauntsey's endowment towards its improvement. (fn. 191)
In 1887 the reorganization of Dauntsey's charity was taken in hand. Under a scheme of the Charity Commissioners of 1891 the amount payable by the Mercers' Company towards the fulfilment of the educational part of the charity was fixed at £1,800, (fn. 192) of which not more than £400 was reserved for a primary school, and the remainder was to be applied to the foundation of the Dauntsey Agricultural School. (fn. 193) A new elementary school was also built, to accommodate 400 boys, girls, and infants, and opened in 1898; in 1902 the average attendance was 139. (fn. 194) The recognized accommodation has been reduced, and stood in 1950 at 286 (184 mixed, 102 infants), at which date the average attendance was again 139. The staff consisted of a headmaster and four assistants. (fn. 195)
The charities of West Lavington are important and valuable though not numerous. (fn. 196) The benefactions of William Dauntsey are the most important source.
Dauntsey, by his will dated 1542, directed his executors to purchase a plot of vacant ground north of the vicarage of West Lavington, on which to erect a church house (see above—Church), a school house (see above—Schools) and eight almshouses. One of the last-named was to be for the schoolmaster and the others for five beadmen and two beadwomen, who were to receive 10s. 10d. each, quarterly. In 1553, after Dauntsey's death, the administration of the whole charity was entrusted to the Mercers' Company, of which Dauntsey had been a member. The rent of some twenty houses in the City of London, then amounting to £47. 8s. 4d., was applied to providing the necessary funds. This property increased in value, and in 1611 the share of the almspeople in the proceeds was raised from £15. 13s. 4d. to £23. 13s. 4d. a year. In the 1630's Sir John Danvers and Elizabeth (Dauntsey) his wife brought a suit against the Company concerning the administration of the charity, which was settled by Chancery decree in 1635. By this decree the amount payable to the schoolmaster and almspeople together was increased to £60 a year, and Danvers was granted a lump sum of £100 in consideration of having repaired and enlarged the school and almshouses. In return he agreed for himself and his heirs not to criticize the Company's conduct of the charity further, but 'conceiving and hoping, that if any extraordinary improvement should thereafter be made of the messuages and lands... the said company were of such integrity and piety, that... they would not fail to enlarge the said allowances'.
In the event, the allowances remained at the same level until 1801, when a gratuity of £45 was given to the almspeople. Two years later the value of the property had increased to £600 a year and the almspeople were allowed 5s. each weekly, with 13s. 4d. each quarterly. A small annual balance of £1. 6s. 8d. was accumulated until sufficient to provide greatcoats for the men and cloaks for the women. In 1810 the almshouses were rebuilt in brick with a central timber clock turret. They provide a sitting-room, bedroom, and 'buttery' for each occupant, and a common room for washing, baking, and brewing. In 1821, when the Charity Commissioners reported, the right of appointing the almsmen and almswomen was exercised by the family of the Duke of Marlborough as lords of the manor of West Lavington.
Between 1824 and 1830 the allowances were at 6s. a week, and from the latter date 8s., to both men and women. By 1830 the number of beadwomen had been raised to 5, and from that year £3 annually was spent on clothing. When the Charity Commissioners again reported (1834) the total cost of the almshouses was £238 annually. Various improvements in the buildings had been carried out; these included houses for the extra beadwomen and a clock and tower, and the total cost was upwards of £1,325.
The Dauntsey charity was the subject of various inquiries during the next half century. By 1861 the value of the estate had gone up to £1,462. 10s., but the allowances to the almspeople remained as in 1834. Under the 1891 scheme of the Charity Commissioners the Mercers' Company lost their exclusive right to administer the charity, but were allowed to appoint 10 of the 19 Governors to whom it was entrusted. The right of appointment of future almsmen and almswomen was vested in the Governors and the total allowance from the charity in respect of the almshouses was fixed at £260 a year, out of a total of £2,000 assigned for the various purposes of the Dauntsey charity.
In 1904 the almspeople consisted of two married couples, four widowed or single men, and four widows or single women. Each couple and each single inmate was allowed 8s. a week with an extra 8s. in Christmas week, together with clothing. The average cost of the latter item was £2 per man yearly. There was a waitinglist of candidates for admission.
There is another set of three almshouses in West Lavington village to the west of the Salisbury—Devizes road known as the South Bank Almshouses. They are said to have been endowed by the lord of the manor in 1499, but as far back as 1834 no deeds or writings survived to confirm this. At this date, when the almshouses had recently (1831) been rebuilt, they were occupied by three women, each of whom received 1s. a week out of the manor. In 1904 the allowance was 4s. 4d. a month, with a blanket, and coal, beef, and groceries at Christmas from the lord of the manor. The inmates were all in receipt of poor relief, and in their selection by the lord of the manor preference was given to women of West Lavington over those from the hamlet of Littleton.