A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 7. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1953.
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The parish of Rowde lies to the south of Bromham on the Gault and Greensand strip beneath the western escarpment of Roundway Down. (fn. 1) The height of the land varies between 200 and 300 ft. above sea-level, being higher in the east, near the foot of Roundway Down. Rowde Ford, a stream which rises near the Down, flows westward through the parish, forming part of the boundary of Bromham and Rowde. The railway line between Melksham and Devizes passes through the extreme south of the parish. Bromham and Rowde Halt, in spite of its name, is in the parish of Seend. The Kennet and Avon Canal runs through Rowde slightly north of the railway, passing through a series of locks. (fn. 2)
For the years 1698 to 1704 the parish register gives details of occupations. (fn. 3) It is interesting that less than half the men who are mentioned during this period were engaged in agriculture. Among the trades mentioned were those of clothier, weaver, worstedcomber, scribbler, wool-jobber, fellmonger, glover, cork-maker, and cork-cutter. There is earlier evidence of the cloth industry at Rowde. In 1622 it was one of the parishes which petitioned the Quarter Sessions for assistance against the prevailing slump in that industry. (fn. 4) Among clothiers associated with Rowde were Amos Hope (fl. 1597), (fn. 5) Eleazar Webb (d. 1647), (fn. 6) George Andrews (fl. 1648), (fn. 7) Edgar Webb (1625–74), (fn. 8) Samuel Webb (1635–1707), (fn. 9) and Samuel Webb, jr. (1662–1739). (fn. 10) James Parsons (fl. 1712) was a drugget maker. (fn. 11)
The hardship caused by the rising population and the decline of the Wiltshire woollen industry in the second half of the 18th century is shown in Rowde by a steep rise in the bastardy rate and by charity burials. Between 1606 and 1745 there had never been more than 4 illegitmate births in a single year and only 25 in the whole period. Between 1746 and 1755 there was a total of 8, and in the following decades the numbers were successively 13, 10, 13, and 18, rising to 21 in the ten years ending in 1805.
During the first half of the 17th century there are numerous entries in the register relating to the 'Flweleen' (Llewelyn) family. Another piece of evidence of movement of population at this time is an entry concerning Sarah Weeks 'who came out of Ireland'. The Civil War finds an echo in an entry of 1643 to explain an increase in the number of deaths: 'fight on Blagdon Hill'. In 1776 there were 14 deaths at Rowde from smallpox, and in 1806 another 7.
In the churchyard at Kinson (Dors.) there is an epitaph to Robert Trotman, a smuggler from Rowde 'barbarously murdered on the shore near Poole' on 24 April 1765. (fn. 12) The epitaph makes it clear that he had died in a fight with customs' officers:
Thomas Jekyll (1646–98), who was Vicar of Rowde from 1671 to 1676, was later lecturer at Newlands, Gloucester, and minister of the New Church in St. Margaret, Westminster. (fn. 13) He was a zealous opponent of popery.
Ferdinando Warner (1703–68), vicar 1730 to 1732, was an author whose miscellaneous writings concluded with 'A full and plain account of the Gout... with some new and important instructions for its relief, which the author's experience in the Gout above 30 years hath induced him to impart'. Warner died of gout in the same year. (fn. 14)
Sir Matthew Digby Wyatt (1820–77), the distinguished architect and writer on art, was a native of Rowde. In 1851 he was secretary to the executive committee of the Great Exhibition and he was later the first Slade Professor of Fine Art at Cambridge. He designed many buildings including the Adelphi Theatre and a Rothschild mausoleum in West Ham cemetery, but the best-known monument to his skill is Paddington Station. (fn. 15)
The manor of ROWDE was held in 1086 by Alfred of Marlborough. (fn. 16) His subtenants were William, Gilbert, and Ulviet. In 1187 the manor was in the hands of the king. From that date onwards it was frequently mentioned in the Pipe Rolls: it was usually classed as an escheat and the sheriff returned annually from it the sum of £18. 17s. 5d. (fn. 17) It is not clear when the manor became royal property. It is probable that Henry II was holding it before he became king, for he gave 'Leiland which belonged to Rudes' to the Cistercian abbey founded by him and his mother at Lockswell in 1151. (fn. 18) The abbey moved to Stanley in 1154 so that the grant must have been made between the two dates. During the wars of Stephen's reign Henry had seized the castle of Devizes and he may well have acquired Rowde in the same way. That there may have been some doubt as to his title is suggested by a lawsuit of 1212, in which the Abbot of Stanley demanded Leiland from Ralph Bloet. (fn. 19)
Rowde remained Crown property until the end of the 16th century, and from the reign of Edward I it usually formed part of the dower of the queen. It was always granted along with Devizes. The first express mention of Rowde manor as an appurtenance of the bailiwick of the constable of Devizes castle occurs in October 1217 (fn. 20) when it was assigned inter alia to John Marshal, who had been appointed constable in the previous March. (fn. 21) On a number of occasions between 1295 and 1332 it was taxed as a royal demesne 'vill'. In 1334 and 1336 it was described in the taxation returns as a borough, but this is probably significant of nothing more than looseness of terminology. Royal demesne vills paid taxes on the same scale as cities and boroughs. (fn. 22)
In 1591 Rowde was sold by the queen to Sir Edward Hunger ford. (fn. 23) Sir Edward died in 1607. (fn. 24) His relict Cecily, who later married Francis Manners, 6th Earl of Rutland, held for life 1,158 acres in the manor. (fn. 25) The heir was (Sir) Edward, son of Sir Anthony Hungerford of Black Bourton (Oxon.). (fn. 26) Sir Edward (knighted 1625) was one of the leading Parliamentarians in Wiltshire, and the rival of Sir Edward Baynton of Bromham. He died in 1648 and Rowde passed to his half-brother Anthony Hungerford. (fn. 27) Anthony was succeeded on his death in 1657 by his son Sir Edward Hungerford, founder of Hungerford Market, which stood on the site now occupied by Charing Cross Station. (fn. 28) Before Sir Edward's death Rowde had passed into the possession of John, son of Sir Francis Eyles, bt. (fn. 29) Sir John Eyles, who succeeded to his father's title in 1716 was at one time a sub-governor of the South Sea Company, M.P. for Chippenham and later for the City of London. His son Francis was one of the directors of the South Sea Company in 1721 when the 'bubble' broke, and with his colleagues was sentenced by the House of Commons to forfeit part of his personal estate. (fn. 30) Rowde may have been sold as part of this estate. (fn. 31) The manor belonged in 1760 to the Duke of Marlborough, who had extensive Wiltshire properties. The trustees appointed under the will of the first duke had in 1726 bought property formerly belonging to Francis Hawes, another director of the South Sea Company. (fn. 32) Rowde remained the possession of the dukes of Marlborough until 1808, when it was sold to Wadham Locke of Ford House in Bromham. (fn. 33) Wadham (d. 1835) was succeeded by his son F. A. S. Locke, who died in 1885. (fn. 34) John Locke, who succeeded his brother in 1885, died in 1886. (fn. 35) His executors sold the manor to C. E. H. Colston, who in 1916 was created 1st Baron Round way. (fn. 36) Lord Roundway was succeeded by his son and heir the 2nd Baron.
The manor was frequently leased out by its owners. In 1287 Matthew son of John was granted a life tenancy by Edward I and Queen Eleanor. (fn. 37) Matthew relinquished this in 1305 in return for the tenancy of the manor of Wroxhall in the Isle of Wight. (fn. 38) At other times during the Middle Ages Rowde was granted out to farm as appurtenant to Devizes.
Sir Edward Baynton (of Bromham) became steward of the Devizes estate, including Rowde, in or before 1526. (fn. 39) He received an annuity of £10 from land in Rowde and elsewhere which had formerly belonged to John Pravander, of whose son and heir Geoffrey he was guardian. (fn. 40) In 1545 Queen Katherine Parr granted a lease of the manor to Edith and Robert Maundrell, for 21 years at the rent of £38 a year. (fn. 41) In 1558 Queen Mary granted to Richard Hale the reversion of the manor after the expiration of the Maundrells' lease. (fn. 42) Hale agreed to pay £15. 7s. 11d. a year on a 30-year lease. Less than a month later the manor was granted for 40 years to Henry Goldeney alias Fernell, of Chippenham. He was to pay £40 a year, and to receive the rents paid by the Maundrells and Richard Hale. From the first two leases the Crown had reserved the rights of court, wards, marriages, woods, and mills but Goldeney's lease included the court. (fn. 43) In 1565 William Maundrell, son of Robert, was farmer of Rowde. (fn. 44) The manor was granted in 1589 by Matthew Morgan to Nicholas Reed, and the grant was confirmed by the queen. (fn. 45) This was apparently the last lease in which the Crown was concerned as lord of the manor.
Richard Norden (d. 1641) had held the manor, presumably as tenant of the Hungerfords. (fn. 46) His father, William Norden (d. 1637), had apparently held it before him. Richard's heir was his brother John. Edward Hope (d. 1706) is described in the parish register of Rowde as lord of the manor. (fn. 47) He, too, was evidently a lessee. Late in the 18th century the Delmé family of Rowdeford House held the manor or property in it. John Delmé of Rowdeford died in 1776. (fn. 48)
In 1249 Juliana de Rudes and Peter de Bulkinton held 3 virgates in Rowde by serjeanty of 40 days' service with the king in war-time. (fn. 49) Their service was valued at 15s. a year. In 1255 it was said that Richard de Bynnakre and Juliana his sister had held 3 virgates in Rowde by serjeanty of castle guard at Devizes for 40 days in war-time: Richard had alienated 1½ virgate of that land which Peter de Bulkinton now held, and Juliana had alienated her 1½ virgate to Nicholas de Barbeflet. (fn. 50) From this it seems that Richard's alienation took place before 1249, and that of his sister, Juliana de Rudes, between 1249 and 1255. Laurence de Rudes, perhaps a relative of Juliana, received a grant of land in Rowde in 1276. (fn. 51)
In 1255 Henry le Oyselur was said to have held a hide of land in Rowde by serjeanty of fowling. His son and heir Roger was then the ward of the Constable of Devizes. (fn. 52)
The parish priest of Rowde apparently held the rectory until 1325–6, when the vicarage was ordained (see below—Church). There was an individual rector at least as late as 1354. In 1363 Edward III and Queen Philippa granted to the abbot and monks of Stanley the appropriation of the church of Rowde. (fn. 53) The appropriation was confirmed by the Pope in 1399 (see below—Church). The abbey held the rectory from 1363 until 1537. In addition to the rectorial glebe and tithes the RECTORY MANOR included a piece of land, once appurtenant to the lay manor of Rowde, which had been given to the abbey by Henry II. This consisted of a virgate called 'Leiland' which lay 'beside the bridge of Lacock' and was held in fee at an annual rent of 20s. (fn. 54) From this description it was evidently situated locally in the parish of Lacock. In 1535 the rectory was valued at £5. 13s. 4d. and the assize rents appurtenant to it at 30s. (fn. 55)
The rectory manor was granted in 1537 to Sir Edward Baynton. (fn. 56) In 1587 it was among the lands left by Edward Morgan to his son Matthew. It had previously been the property of Edward Morgan's wife Frances, who had died in 1568. (fn. 57) Matthew Morgan's title was confirmed by the queen in 1588. (fn. 58) In the following year Morgan conveyed the rectory along with the manor to Nicholas Reade. (fn. 59) In 1597 William Anstee and Anne his wife conveyed the rectory to Thomas Grove, with warranty against the heirs of Anne. (fn. 60) Thomas Grove and his wife Anne transferred it in 1602 to William Maundrell. (fn. 61) In 1624 the 'manor of the rectory of Rowde' was conveyed by William Norden to Benjamin Norden. (fn. 62) This was probably for the purpose of a settlement, for in 1641 Richard, son of William Norden, died possessed of 'the manor and rectory of Rowde, lying in Rowde'. (fn. 63)
During the first half of the 18th century the rectory was the subject of frequent conveyances; there were also many separate conveyances of tithe which had been commuted in 1663 (see below—Church). (fn. 64) In 1701 Humphrey Buckler and others conveyed the rectory to Thomas and William Buckler. (fn. 65) Nicholas Chiffens and his wife released it to Richard Hope in 1704. (fn. 66) Thomas Griffon (? Chiffens) and others conveyed it in 1716 to Edward Seale and Britania his wife, who had been among the grantors in 1701. (fn. 67) In 1722 Walter, Jane, and Alice Webb conveyed it to Robert Crooke. (fn. 68) In 1736 John Knight and Anne his wife conveyed the rectory to Joseph Ashton. (fn. 69)
In 1760 the Duke of Marlborough was in possession of the rectory, and it apparently descended from this time along with the lay manor of Rowde. (fn. 70) Wadham Locke (d. 1835) is described in his memorial in the parish church as Rector of Rowde. (fn. 71)
There was a priest at Rowde in 1086. (fn. 72) The next reference to the church is in 1216, when Warner de Samford was given letters of presentation by the king. (fn. 73) The vicarage of Rowde was ordained in 1326. John de Mereton the vicar was to have a messuage with curtilage next to the church, all offerings and altar dues, all small tithes, and all tithes of the glebe, including 4 crofts at 'la Clyve' which had formerly been gardens but were now returned to agriculture. He and his successors undertook to pay the annual rents due from the church, amounting to 3s. 2d. and to provide processional candles for the church. The rector, William de Hereford, was to pay for the upkeep of the chancel, for the church ornaments and books, and the archdeacon's procurations. (fn. 74) Up to this time the advowson of the rectory had apparently followed the same descent as the manor. (fn. 75) William de Hereford, as rector, had presented to the vicarage in 1325—a year before it had been officially ordained. (fn. 76) In 1329, 1335, 1337, and 1342 presentations to the vicarage were made by the queens who held the manor of Rowde. (fn. 77) In 1349 and 1354 John de Northwode, as rector, presented to the vicarage. (fn. 78)
When the appropriation of the rectory was granted to the abbot and monks of Stanley in 1363 the church of Rowde was described as 'of their advowson'. The abbot had not presented to the vicarage before this time and it is probable that the advowson had been granted only a short time before the rectory (see above—Manors). The abbot presented from 1377 until 1517. (fn. 79)
In 1399 the Pope granted to the abbot and monks of Stanley the 'appropriation anew of the church of Rowde,... formerly appropriated to them by the authority of the ordinary (and) then as now of their patronage, and to which secular priests have been appointed as secular vicars: with appropriation in consideration of their diminished resources of the vicarage itself. On the resignation or death of the vicar the abbey was empowered to serve the vicarage with its own monks or with secular priests appointed and removed at will. (fn. 80)
In or about 1436 the Vicar of Rowde, Reynold Neubury, complained that the income of the vicarage was insufficient, and an inquiry was accordingly made into income. (fn. 81) In 1291 the church of Rowde had been valued at £8. (fn. 82) The return to the inquiry of c. 1436 gave the value of the vicarage as about £4. (fn. 83) In addition to oblations and small tithes the vicar was receiving all the tithes of the 4 crofts at 'la Cleve' and of 1 virgate of glebe belonging to the rectory. In 1535 the rectory was valued at £5. 13s. 4d. and the assize rents appurtenant to it at 30s. (fn. 84) The vicarage was said to be worth £7, 1s. 4d. (fn. 85)
In 1537 the advowson was granted to Sir Edward Baynton. (fn. 86) In the same year presentation to the vicarage was made by John Ernie, apparently by virtue of a previous concession by the Abbot of Stanley. (fn. 87) After that date the rights of patronage were exercised by the heirs of Sir Edward Baynton and followed the same descent as the manor of Bromham (q.v.) until 1864, when Gabriel Goldney acted as patron. (fn. 88) Goldney presented again in 1871. (fn. 89) In 1898 the patron was the Revd. E. Shipley Harris (formerly the vicar). The Revd. A. T. Clark (former vicar) presented in 1904. (fn. 90) In 1915 Clark (who had again become vicar) mortgaged the rights of patronage to the Capital and Counties Bank. (fn. 91) In 1943 his executors transferred the rights to the Diocesan Board of Patronage.
In 1705 it was stated that the churchyard belonged to the vicarage and that the boundaries of the churchyard were maintained at the expense of those whose lands abutted upon it except on the south side, where the boundaries were maintained at the expense of the parishioners in general. At the same inquiry it was stated that all small tithes belonged to the vicarage and had since 1663 been commuted at the rate of 6d. an acre every half year. The total value of these tithes in 1705 was £4. 5s. There also belonged to the vicarage all the great tithes from 33 acres of land in Road Hill, then in the possession of John Stevens but formerly owned by John Wicks of Chippenham who had given the tithe to the vicarage. (fn. 92)
The Church of ST. MATTHEW consists of a chancel, nave, north and south aisles, north porch and chapel, and west tower, and is built of ashlar. It is known until 1833 as the Church of St. Mary. In that year it was rebuilt and rededicated. (fn. 93) Only the lofty 15th-century tower with battlemented parapets survives from the earlier building. The aisles were added about 1860, and in 1901 the chancel walls were raised and a new roof was provided.
The organ, housed in the north chapel, was installed in 1871, the lectern (in memory of General Gordon) in 1887, and the pulpit (in memory of the Revd. A. B. Starkey) in 1872. The font, designed by Sir Matthew Digby Wyatt, was installed in 1850 and the oak screen to the tower in 1887. The oak altartable is of the late 17th century and there are two stools of the same period. A large iron-bound chest, fitted with three original locks, is inscribed M. 1694. There are several memorials from the previous church, including one to Eleazar Webbe, clothier (d. 1647) with his woolstapler's mark, and Edgar Webbe (d. 1674).
The parish registers are complete from 1606. The parish chest also contains churchwardens' account books 1676 to 1755 and 1825 to 1923, and a number of other records. (fn. 94)
In 1553 the parish of Rowde kept its old chalice, weighing 14 oz., and 1½ oz. of plate was taken for the king. (fn. 95) The older of the existing chalices, with a paten cover, is hall-marked 1576 and inscribed with the date 1577. The second chalice, with two patens, and a tankard-shaped flagon all date from 1864. (fn. 96) A third chalice with paten was presented in 1864 by the Revd. C. Suckling. A small flagon was added in c. 1870; a paten in c. 1900; a pyx in 1906, and a wafer box in 1946. (fn. 97) The six church bells were cast in 1870 from the old ring of five. In 1553 there were four bells. Of those recast in 1870 two dated from 1639, and the others from 1654, 1709, and 1754. The bell of 1654 which bears the arms of Sir Edward Hungerford (d. 1648) is said to have been given by his relict. (fn. 98)
According to Bishop Compton's census (1676) there were 20 nonconformists in Rowde that year. (fn. 99) In 1677 there was a Quaker meeting described as that of Bromham and Rowde. (fn. 100) It was included in the Charlcutt Monthly Meeting and the Wiltshire Quarterly Meeting. Very soon, however, the meeting became known as that of Bromham only, though no doubt it continued to be attended by some members from Rowde. (fn. 101) In 1718 the dwelling-house of Richard Watts in Rowde was licensed as a Dissenters' meeting-place. (fn. 102)
A Methodist society existed at Rowde in 1829, and was assessed at £1. 1s. 3d. a quarter towards the expenses of the Devizes Circuit. In 1832 there were 6 members. (fn. 103) A chapel was built in 1838 (fn. 104) and in 1852 there were 20 members. (fn. 105) There were 17 members in 1886. (fn. 106) In 1950 there were 7. (fn. 107)
In 1086 there were 4 serfs, 4 villeins, 8 bordars, and a priest on the manor of Rowde. The manor was valued at £8 having been worth £6 T.R.E. (fn. 108) In 1236–7 receipts of the manor were £60. 7s. 9½d. and expenses £10. 11s. 7½d. (fn. 109) The following year receipts had fallen to £47. 6s. 11d. and expenses to £9. 7s. 1d. (fn. 110) In 1255 the jurors in the hundred court valued the 'vill' of Rowde at £42 a year, and reported that the woods were well cared for. (fn. 111) A series of annual accounts for the years 1255–61 exists for the demesnes and other appurtenances belonging to Devizes Castle, of which Rowde was one. The receipts for Rowde for these years are as follows: 1255–6, £24. 4s. 8d.; 1256–7, £37. 19s. 8½d; 1257–8, £36. 16s. 0½d. 1258–9, £34. 19s. 6½d 1259–60, £35. 8s. 6½d 1260–1, £38. 18s. 3½d. (fn. 112)
From the accounts it appears that crops were more important than stock at Rowde in the 13 th century. In 1237–8 50 qr. 3 bush. of corn, 16 qr. 7 bush. of rye, 23 qr. 8 bush. of barley, and 48 qr. 7 bush. of wheat were sold, while 3 qr. of rye were bought for seed. (fn. 113) Sales of corn between 1256 and 1261 were as follows: 1256–7, £23. 0s. 4d.; 1257–8, £22; 1258–9, £19. 6s. 8d.; 1259–60, £20. 9s.; 1260–1, £25. (fn. 114) Grange accounts for 1259–60 show that 143½ qr. 3 bush, of oats (of which 12 qr. had been bought) were in hand that year. Of this 133 qr. 1 bush. were for seed, 4 qr. 5 bush. had been used when the bailiff and his stewards held courts at Devizes and Rowde, and 1 qr. had been used for the preparation of a drink for the farm servants. (fn. 115)
The only stock accounted for were oxen. In 1236–75 oxen were bought for ploughing. The following year there were 26 oxen on the manor and 5 more were bought that year. (fn. 116) In 1255–6 there were 33 oxen to which 4 were added by purchase. (fn. 117) Two oxen were sold in 1259–60 for 19s. and the hides of 2 oxen which had died of murrain were sold for 3s. 6d. (fn. 118)
In 1236–7 and 1237–8 6 carters, a reeve, a smith, an oxherd, and 5 cottars were rewarded for their services by quittance of rent throughout the year. In the latter year one narrower was paid a wage of 9d. and £1. 8s. 2½d. had to be paid for threshing and winnowing. (fn. 119) In 1255–6 a reeve, 8 ploughmen, a smith, a woodward, and 6 harrowers were allowed quittance of rent, and 2s. 10d. was paid for cutting corn and mowing. (fn. 120)
From 1526 to 1529 Robert Maundrell, farmer of Rowde rendered account for £38 each year for the farm of the manor. Reliefs in 1526 were 2s. 4d. and in 1529 6d. Fines of land were 3s. 4d. in 1526, £1 in 1527, 12s. in 1528, and 10s. in 1529. Perquisites and other unspecified items were 13s. 10d. in 1526; 15s. 2d. in 1527; £1. 8s. 4d. in 1528; and £1. 12s. 6d. in 1529. (fn. 121)
Inclosure took place early in the 17th century, and the details are interesting. In 1619 Sir Anthony Hungerford, father of the heir to the manor, wrote to Robert Flower and John Lewes, freeholders of the parish, urging them to keep their part of an agreement to inclose the common field. If they refused, he said, '1 presume you will be enforced to make good your former agreement, with your charge and trouble'. (fn. 122)
In 1801 the acreage of crops under cultivation in the parish was as follows: wheat 195, barley 24¼, oats 40, potatoes 14½, peas 41, beans 61, turnips and rape 16½. (fn. 123)
There were 2 mills at Rowde in 1086, held with 20 acres of meadow by William, and worth 9s. 8d. (fn. 124) The manor of Rowde included a water-mill in 1655. (fn. 125) In 1691 a water-mill was conveyed to Robert Nicholas by James Filkes and Jane his wife. (fn. 126)
There was a 'classical school' at Rowde in 1819, but few details about it were given. (fn. 127) In 1833 there were two day schools in the parish. One of these, which had probably been opened in 1833, was attended by about 50 boys and supported partly by fees and partly by public subscription. (fn. 128) The other was a National school, apparently built in 1821. (fn. 129) In 1830 it had been conveyed to trustees by J. Ayliffe and in 1831 the National Society had made a grant of £100. (fn. 130) In 1833 the school was said to be supported by a lady residing in the parish. (fn. 131) Of the two schools mentioned in that year only the National school survived. A second site on the other side of the road was conveyed in trust by R. Sutton in 1841. (fn. 132) It was intended 'for a day and Sunday school for teaching the poor to read and to habituate them to attend regularly on every Sunday divine Service at the parish church'. The conveyance was subject to a provision for reverter if the charity came to an end. (fn. 133) The school was in union with the Diocesan Board and with the National Society, from which it received an annual grant of £10. (fn. 134) In 1851 the accommodation consisted of a 'fair room' in which 30–40 boys were taught and a room on the other side of the street for 20–30 girls. Children too young for the National school were being taught by a dame in her cottage. (fn. 135) In 1872 there were 52 boys and girls, in separate departments, on one side of the street, and 56 infants on the other side. (fn. 136) When the school managers appealed to the National Society in 1878 for a further grant it was discovered that the trust deed contained no union clause. This was rectified by a deed later in the same year, and a grant of £10 was again made. (fn. 137) The earlier of the two schoolrooms was condemned in 1905. (fn. 138) It was then closed and the parish room was used as a schoolroom while a new building was being erected. (fn. 139) In 1908 land was conveyed by the Revd. T. H. Jervis and five others. (fn. 140) In the same year the new building was completed and approved. It was an extension of the 1841 building and had cost £1,229. 18s. 8d. of which £25 was contributed by the National Society, £50 by the Diocesan Board, and £100 by the bishop's special fund. (fn. 141) The new block could accommodate 128 children and the old schoolroom was thenceforth available for 63 infants. (fn. 142) These figures still stood in 1950. The average attendances in July of that year were 54 in the mixed department and 29 in the infants'. (fn. 143) In 1948 the Misses Butler and others conveyed to the County Council I acre of land which is used as the school playground. (fn. 144) In 1950 there were 6 teachers of whom 2 are in the infants' department. (fn. 145)
By his will dated 1715 Richard Webb devised a close of meadow in Rowde called Stovey Croft, together with houses, garden, and orchard adjoining, the income to be applied to the relief of all those not in receipt of parish poor relief. After the death of the trustees appointed by Webb the charity was to be administered by the overseers of the poor. In 1901 the income was £26 a year. It was then stated that for many years the charity had been distributed indiscriminately to all the poor of the parish. The Charity Commissioners had for some time been urging a more satisfactory method of distribution. (fn. 146)
Wicks's charity. By his will dated 1687 John Wicks of Chippenham left in trust to the vicar and churchwardens of Rowde a tenement with appurtenances and a paddock in Rowde together with the tithes of the premises. In 1901 the property consisted of six cottages. Two of these, under one roof, had been rebuilt about 1865 and were in good condition. The other four, under one roof, were older and in a ruinous condition. The Charity Commissioners had been urging the trustees to sell the property or to let it on building leases. In 1900 the income of the charity was about £20, which had been distributed to 33 persons. (fn. 147)
Church land. By indenture dated 1704 John Tice of Rowde, joiner, conveyed in trust a little plot of ground behind the Church House, the income to be applied to the use of the church. In 1834 the land was said to produce no income. By 1901 the charity had been lost. It was then said that the land had been sold by the guardians along with the Church House 'which appears to have been a kind of poor house for the parish'. The site was in the possession of Mr. Bartlett of the White Hart Inn, Devizes. (fn. 148)
Elyott's charity. The table of benefactions in the church of Rowde states that Francis Elyott of Rowde gave £10 a year interest for the benefit of the poor of the parish. Nothing was known about this charity in 1834 or 1901. (fn. 149)
Hawkins's charity. The same table of benefactions states that there was a charity consisting of 12s. a year issuing out of a field called Hawkins's Grove. It was stated in 1834 that this field was in South wick Farm in Rowde. The field had been sold in 1805 by the Duke of Marlborough and bought in 1808 by the father of the Revd. George Bythesea. George Bythesea had inherited it on his father's death in 1814 and held it in 1834.. The sitting tenant in 1834 was Samuel Self. No payments had been made from the field since 1808 and George Bythesea had stated that his title deeds contained no mention of the charity payment. Nothing further was reported about this charity in 1901. (fn. 150)
Rowde Reading Room and Coffee Tavern. By a deed enrolled in Chancery, 12 November 1887, Frances Starkey, relict of John Baynton Starkey, conveyed upon trust to the vicar and churchwardens of Rowde a piece of land in the parish upon which had been built a reading-room, coffee tavern, and a cottage. The deed stated that the land had formerly belonged to Andrew B. Starkey, sometime Vicar of Rowde, who had devised it to the vicarage of Rowde. This legacy was void and the land descended to John Baynton Starkey, who left it to his relict. Frances Starkey had permitted Charlotte Starkey, widow, to build the reading-room, &c, for parish use. The conveyance of 1887 made it a condition of the charity that no political meetings should be held in the premises. In 1901 it was stated that the buildings had been enlarged by Mr. Lowe at his own expense. They were known as the Lecture Hall or the Institute and maintained by voluntary contributions of about £20 a year. A caretaker occupied the cottage rent free. (fn. 151)