A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 8, Warminster, Westbury and Whorwellsdown Hundreds. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1965.
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THE parish of Dinton lies in and to the north of the valley of the Nadder. It contains 3,403 a. and extends about 3 miles from north to south and 2 miles from east to west. The River Nadder forms the southern boundary and the Grovely Grim's Ditch the northern. (fn. 1) Until the 19th century Teffont Magna, adjoining on the west, was a chapelry of Dinton, and ecclesiastically it remained a chapelry until 1922. In 1934 the Dinton parish boundary was extended on the east to take in the entire ancient parish of Baverstock (836 a.). (fn. 2)
About two-thirds of the parish lie on the southern slope of the chalk downs which divide the valleys of the Nadder and the Wylye. On the top of the downs, in the extreme north of the parish, the land rises to over 600 ft. It then drops southwards towards the Nadder, but where the chalk gives way to the sands and clays of the valley, it rises steeply again to form a sandy ridge or escarpment. (fn. 3) Between this ridge and the river lies the village at a height of about 300 ft. The western end of Grovely Wood, a part of the former Grovely Forest, occupies the northernmost part of the parish. In the mid-16th century the part of Grovely in Dinton was known as Rigly Wood and covered about 180 a. Nearer the village, Marshwood comprised, at the same date, about 100 a. (fn. 4) The parish was still well wooded in 1962 with a belt of trees along the southern slope of the sandy ridge and the finely-wooded park of Dinton House, as well as Grovely Wood.
Neolithic and Bronze Age implements have been found on the downs north of the village and at Dinton Beeches. Wick Ball Camp, on the sandy ridge behind Dinton House, is a univallate Iron Age hill-fort. (fn. 5) Until the 20th century the chalk lands of the parish were used almost exclusively for corn and sheep farming. After the practice of floating water-meadows was begun in the 17th century, there was more fodder for dairy cattle and in the 20th century there has been large-scale mixed farming on the downlands. (fn. 6) Nearly all the meadows along the river are scored with traces of early irrigation channels, and some meadows were still being artificially flooded in 1962. Between down and water-meadow the strip of greensand provides a soil pre-eminently suited to market gardening, and in the 18th and 19th centuries there were numerous orchards strung out along this part of the parish. (fn. 7)
The presence of two burgesses at Dinton in 1086 may imply some degree of urbanization, but it is likely that they were in fact appurtenant to Warminster. (fn. 8) Little can be said about the size or importance of Dinton in the Middle Ages. John Britton claimed that Shaftesbury Abbey had a cell for six nuns there. (fn. 9) No evidence for this has been found, although it is known that the abbess's capital messuage had a chapel attached to it. (fn. 10) In 1334 Dinton's contribution to the 15ths was the fifth highest out of the 21 places separately assessed to the tax in the hundred of Warminster, (fn. 11) and in 1377 the number of poll-tax payers was second only to that of Warminster. (fn. 12) To the benevolence of 1545 Dinton had the third largest number of contributors in the hundred, and to the subsidy of 1576 the fourth. (fn. 13) Between 1801 and 1841 the population rose from 421 to 565. After 1841 it declined, except for a slight rise in 1911, until 1931, when it was 389. In 1951, after the addition of the ancient parish of Baverstock, the population was 458. (fn. 14)
The Roman road from the Mendip lead mines to Old Salisbury ran through Grovely Wood in the north of the parish. Just south of the wood the Ox Drove crosses the parish about a mile north of the village. This green track, probably of great antiquity, was used for driving cattle to Wilton and Salisbury markets. Two of the milestones placed along it in 1750 lie within the parish. In 1773 there was an inn called the New Inn beside the track just before it left the parish on the east. (fn. 15) This disappeared early in the 19th century. Its site was excavated in 1962. (fn. 16) Until the beginning of the 19th century the main road from Salisbury to Hindon followed the course of the road which runs along the top of the sandy ridge behind the village to Teffont Magna. This was turnpiked in c. 1760. (fn. 17) By 1837 this had become the 'old turnpike road' and the present (1962) main road had become the 'new turnpike road'. (fn. 18) By 1746 the western part of the present main road was called Ranger's Lane and was gated where it left Dinton for Teffont Magna. The road leading south from the church to join Ranger's Lane was called Forster's Lane, and the continuation of Ranger's Lane east beyond this junction was called Rosemary Lane. The junction was called Four Corners. Except for a footbridge by the mill, (fn. 19) the Nadder is crossed by only one bridge in the parish. This is Catherine Bridge, built of faced blocks of Chilmark stone, and carrying the road from Dinton to Fovant. (fn. 20) The railway line from Salisbury to Exeter, opened in 1859, (fn. 21) runs through the south of the parish between the Nadder and the main road. Dinton station is about ½ mile from the centre of the village.
The oldest part of the village lies along the road that branches off from the present main road and runs north past the church. Most of the houses in this part of the village are built of local stone, and a number still in 1962 retained their thatched roofs. There are a notable number of small farmhouses of 17th-century date in the village, all built of stone. Speargate Cottage, Cotterells, Jesse's Farm, and Lawes Cottage afford good examples of these. Lawes Cottage was given to the National Trust by the widow of George Engleheart in 1940. (fn. 22) Little Clarendon, a rather larger house adjoining Lawes Cottage, probably dates from c. 1500 and is also National Trust property. (fn. 23) The Manor Farm, the farmhouse of Lord Pembroke's manor, and presumably standing on or near the site of the abbess's capital messuage, (fn. 24) lies in the extreme east of the parish nearly ¾ mile from the church. Dinton Park and House lie behind the church and Rectory on the opposite side of the parish. (fn. 25)
About ¾ mile north of the church, in a valley running east and west between the sandy escarpment and the chalk downs, stands Marshwood House. The central part of the present house is thought to have been built by a Mr. Gwynne early in the 18th century. Edward Whatmore (d. 1787) added the two flanking wings. (fn. 26) The house was part of Lord Pembroke's manor, but was leased to members of the Wyndham family after Whatmore's death. (fn. 27) By the Inclosure Award of 1837 Lord Pembroke exchanged the house and grounds with William Wyndham for property elsewhere in Dinton. (fn. 28)
There was no piped water in the village until 1904 when Lord Pembroke built a reservoir to supply his tenants with water. (fn. 29) This was the only piped water supply until 1958 when mains water was installed. (fn. 30) Most of the 20th-century building has taken place along the present main road which virtually by-passes the older part of the village. Since the Second World War blocks of Council houses have been built along the road leading south from the church, and others, of slightly earlier date, lie on both sides of the road leading to the station. Since the Second World War an Admiralty Gunnery Equipment sub-depot has occupied a site between the railway and the main road.
Edward Hyde, future Lord Chancellor, and first Earl of Clarendon, was born at Dinton in 1609 and was baptized in the church there. (fn. 31) His father, Henry Hyde, had apparently leased the rectory and advowson of Dinton from his brother Sir Lawrence Hyde, the lay rector. (fn. 32) Edward and eight other children of Henry Hyde and his wife, Mary Langford, were born at Dinton, (fn. 33) presumably in a house on or near the site of the present Rectory House. (fn. 34) Until he went to Oxford at the age of 13, Edward Hyde was educated by the Vicar of Dinton. (fn. 35) Some time between 1623 and 1625 Henry Hyde left Dinton for Purton. (fn. 36) The mother of the musicians William and Henry Lawes came from Dinton and Henry, the younger brother, was baptized there in 1596. (fn. 37) Henry (d. 1662) wrote the music for 'Comus' and composed the anthem 'Zadok the Priest' for the coronation of Charles II. (fn. 38) Roger Ludlow, the deputy-governor of Connecticut in 1639, who helped to draft the constitution of Connecticut, was the son of Thomas Ludlow of Dinton. (fn. 39) His younger brother, George, who became a prominent member of the council in Massachusetts, was baptized at Dinton in 1596. (fn. 40) Edward Whatmore of Marshwood House (d. 1787) patented a movable fire-escape which could also be used for picking fruit. (fn. 41) George Herbert Engleheart (d. 1936) was universally known among horticulturists for the work he did in his garden at Little Clarendon on the cultivation of daffodils. (fn. 42)
By the time of the Domesday Survey DINTON belonged to Shaftesbury Abbey. (fn. 43) The 20 hides at which it was assessed almost certainly included the whole of Teffont Magna, another Shaftesbury manor, and not separately mentioned in the survey. (fn. 44) Later evidence shows that the two manors were jointly administered by the abbey, and for some time after the Dissolution, by Lord Pembroke. How and when Shaftesbury acquired Dinton is unknown, but there are two charters of the 8th and 9th centuries respectively in the abbey's cartulary relating to land in Teffont. (fn. 45) In 1086 there was also a two-hide estate in Dinton held by Gunfrid, whose predecessor in the time of King Edward had been unable to detach it from the abbey. (fn. 46) If Gunfrid is Gunfrid Maldoith, who held land elsewhere in Wiltshire in 1086, and from whom a branch of the Mauduit family is thought to have descended, (fn. 47) then these 2 hides could represent the freehold estate held by the Mauduits in Dinton in the 12th and 13th centuries.
Dinton remained among the possessions of Shaftesbury Abbey until the Dissolution. (fn. 48) In 1540 the site with the chief messuage of the manor was granted to Sir Thomas Arundell (d. 1552), (fn. 49) who immediately obtained licence to alienate it to Matthew Colthurst. (fn. 50) Colthurst in turn obtained licence to convey it to William Green of Heale, in Woodford. (fn. 51) What these transactions achieved, if anything, is not known, and in 1547 the entire manor was granted to Sir William Herbert, later Earl of Pembroke (d. 1570). (fn. 52) Thenceforward Dinton descended with the Pembroke title until 1918 when, as an outlying part of the Wilton estate, it was sold in lots. (fn. 53)
In 1552 the demesne farm including the demesne lands of Teffont Magna was leased to William Mellowes for 21 years and before then it had been occupied by John Reave. (fn. 54) In 1610 Roger Earth was the lessee, (fn. 55) and in 1634 the lessees were Prudence and Joseph Earth. (fn. 56) In 1649, for the first time, the Dinton demesne farm was leased without the lands in Teffont Magna, which from this date formed a separate estate. (fn. 57) The lease of 1649 of the Dinton farm was to John Low. In 1658 the lessee was Nicholas Daniels, and the farm continued to be leased by members of the Daniels family until 1717 when the lease was acquired by Wadham Wyndham (d. 1736), a younger brother of William Wyndham, of Dinton Park. (fn. 58) The demesne farm was leased under Lord Pembroke by Wadham's son, Henry (d. 1788), and by his grandson, Henry Penruddock Wyndham. (fn. 59) But, on the death of Henry Penruddock Wyndham in 1819, Lord Pembroke granted the lease to Walter Baily who held it until c. 1850. (fn. 60) The manor farm was then leased by a number of persons until 1902 when D. Coombes became the lessee, and on the sale of Lord Pembroke's lands in Dinton in 1918 Mr. Coombes bought the farm. (fn. 61)
In 1567 the demesne farmhouse was tiled and contained a hall, parlour, kitchen, and other rooms necessary for occupation by a tenant farmer. There was also a chapel, and, among the farm buildings, a large barn of 15 bays with 2 porches, and a dovecot. (fn. 62) All these were stone-tiled. In 1963 Manor Farm had an early 19th-century front range, with an older range behind. This had been much altered in the 19th and 20th centuries and contained no features which could be accurately dated. In 1952 it was alleged that a dovecot still existed on this farm, (fn. 63) and this is perhaps to be identified with the rectangular stone outbuilding standing to the north of the farmhouse. Across the road from the farm is a range of three cottages which may originally have formed a single house dating from the 16th century or earlier. The two central bays at least have a roof with raised cruck trusses and curved wind-braces, and the walls, now mainly of stone, were formerly timber-framed on a high stone base.
In the 14th century the family of Cole had an estate in Dinton. In 1316 Robert Cole acquired land there from Walter of Langford, (fn. 64) and about ten years later he, or another of the same name, was deprived of his estate in Dinton for his adherence to the Lancastrian cause. (fn. 65) From an agreement made in the second quarter of the same century it appears that the Coles held their land in return for keeping the abbess's woods of Rigly and Marshwood, both within her manor of Dinton. (fn. 66) This duty and presumably the land that went with it, passed at an unknown date to the family of Lambert. (fn. 67) Edmund Lambert died in 1493 holding the same amount of land as the Cole family had held. (fn. 68) This passed to Edmund's son, William, who died in 1504 and was succeeded by his brother Thomas. (fn. 69) Thomas was followed in 1510 by his son William. (fn. 70) In 1567 William Lambert was a freeholder on Lord Pembroke's manor of Dinton holding his lands in return for his services as keeper of Rigly and Marshwood. (fn. 71) No subsequent reference to the Lambert family in Dinton has been found and it is not known to whom their estate passed.
Another freehold estate was held by Henry Mayhew in 1567. (fn. 72) This had presumably come to him from John Mayhew, a free tenant on the manor. (fn. 73) Henry, a recusant, died excommunicate in 1587. (fn. 74) His sons, Henry and Edward, went into exile overseas and the estate was conveyed in 1591 by Henry Mayhew, the younger, to his uncle, John Mayhew. (fn. 75) In 1616 John Mayhew settled the property upon himself for life with remainder to his daughter Dorothy, then about to marry Thomas Blake. (fn. 76) John Mayhew and Thomas Blake sold the estate in 1625, described as 'their manor, lordship, and capital messuage of Dinton and Teffont' to William Rolfe and five years later Rolfe sold it to Richard South, who already had a freehold estate in Dinton and Teffont. (fn. 77)
The estate of the South family may originate in the holding of the Mauduits in Dinton. In the mid-12th century Ancelin Mauduit, who may have been a descendant of the Gunfrid of the Domesday Survey, held 2 hides on the manor, (fn. 78) and in 1242 three mesne tenants held land in Dinton of Joanna Mauduit, who held of the Abbess of Shaftesbury. (fn. 79) In 1567 the freehold estate of Thomas South included lands called Mauduits, Wick, Gerrards, and Uptons, then occupied by William Dunne. (fn. 80) Ten years later Thomas South settled 'the manor or farm of Dinton called Mauduit's' upon Thomas his son on his marriage with Martha Goldston. (fn. 81) The younger Thomas died in 1606 and the 'manor of Dinton Mauduits' passed to his son Edward. (fn. 82) Edward was succeeded by Richard South, probably his son, who in 1630 acquired from William Rolfe the property which Rolfe had acquired five years earlier from John Mayhew and Thomas Blake. (fn. 83) In 1689 George South, grandson of Richard, sold his estate to William Wyndham, second surviving son of Sir Wadham Wyndham of Norrington and Salisbury. (fn. 84) Thus the estate acquired by the Wyndhams, later called the Dinton Park estate, included the freehold estate of the Souths, situated in Dinton and Teffont, (fn. 85) and that of the Mayhews which had passed to the Souths in 1630 (see above).
The Dinton Park estate was much enlarged in the 18th and early 19th centuries by acquisitions of land in Dinton and Teffont Magna. (fn. 86) Among these acquisitions, was the estate known as Dalwood, which Lord Pembroke conveyed to William Wyndham in 1802 in exchange for land elsewhere in the parish. (fn. 87) The Dinton Park estate descended from father to eldest son in the Wyndham family until 1916 when William Wyndham sold it to Bertram Erasmus Philipps. (fn. 88) In c. 1940 B. E. Philipps let the house on a long lease to the Y.W.C.A. as a holiday home, and in 1943 he gave the house and park, comprising some 200 a., to the National Trust. (fn. 89)
Dinton House (also called since 1943 Philipps House) was designed by Jeffry Wyatt (later Sir Jeffry Wyatville) at the beginning of the 19th century to replace the earlier house on almost the same site, which until then had been the home of the Wyndhams. The new house was completed in 1816. Built of Chilmark stone, it is a two-storied house with symmetrically set chimney stacks and central lantern. The south front has nine bays with an Ionic portico. The architect is believed to have based his design upon Pythouse, Tisbury, some seven miles away. Inside the house, the rooms are planned round a spacious square hall. It was one of the earliest houses to have a central heating system installed. This was achieved by pumping hot air from a boiler in the basement into the stair well. (fn. 90)
Another freehold estate in Dinton at the time of the Inclosure Award was one of about 30 a. belonging to William Maslem Barnes and known as Hayters. (fn. 91) The early history of this has not been traced. It was acquired by Henry Hayter of Clarendon Park in 1697 and from the Hayters passed to John Barnes in 1797. It passed to John's brother, William Maslem Barnes, in 1822. During the 19th century the property changed hands a number of times, and in 1901 was bought by George Engleheart. (fn. 92) Engleheart died in 1936 (fn. 93) and in 1940 his widow gave the former farmhouse of the estate, by then called Little Clarendon, to the National Trust. (fn. 94)
Little Clarendon (fn. 95) is a stone farmhouse probably dating from the late 15th or early 16th century. The two-storied porch and mullioned windows are of slightly later date. The gable front of the south-east wing appears to have been added, or re-built, in c. 1900. In the angle between this wing and the main block is a stair turret containing a stone newel staircase. The house was completely restored by George Engleheart at the time that he bought it when it was sometimes called Steps. (fn. 96)
The rectors of Dinton held a small estate in the parish. This passed with the rectory upon the Dissolution to Sir Thomas Arundell and thenceforth descended like the rectory and advowson (fn. 97) until the 1920's when it was sold. In 1567 the rectorial estate included 14 a. of arable divided between three fields on the east side of the manor and 16 a. of arable divided between three fields on the west side of the manor. There was also some 2 a. of meadow and grazing rights for 60 sheep and other beasts. (fn. 98) A parsonage house existed at least as early as 1249. (fn. 99) In 1567 the house belonging to the rectory estate had a tiled roof, a dovecot, outhouses, and about 2 a. of garden and orchard. (fn. 100) The land belonging to the rector was assessed at 49 a. in 1837. (fn. 101) It was sold in lots during the 1920's. (fn. 102) The Rectory House was sold to B. E. Philipps in 1924, (fn. 103) and was re-named Hyde's House. It was given by Mr. Philipps in 1943 with Dinton House to the National Trust. (fn. 104)
The Rectory House has some walls and windows of Tudor date, but it was re-fronted on the south side early in the 18th century. This front, built of Chilmark stone, is of 5 bays, the central 3 projecting slightly and being surmounted by a pediment. The central door is also pedimented. Edward Hyde, first Earl Clarendon (d. 1674), who was born in Dinton in 1609 was probably born in what was then the Rectory House. (fn. 105) Detached from the house, is a large dovecot dating from the 15th century. (fn. 106)
Domesday Book records 20 a. of meadowland, the same of woodland, and pasture a league long by half a league broad. Of the 20 hides making up the manor, undoubtedly including Teffont Magna, 7 were in demesne, and 2 held by Gunfrid, leaving 11 hides for tenant farming. There were 2 ploughs and 4 serfs on the demesne, and on the rest of the manor there were 21 villeins, and 10 bordars with 11 ploughs. (fn. 107) A survey of the manor, which has been dated c. 1160, (fn. 108) reckons Dinton at only 10 hides, an estimation which possibly excluded the demesne lands. This survey, which again includes Teffont as but a part of Dinton, begins with a list of some 50 tenant holdings. Of these, 29 were holdings of 1 virgate. The rest, except for one of 1½ virgate, were all smaller, many of only one acre. The rents and services due from holders of a virgate are meticulously set out, and included, besides ploughing, reaping, and harvesting, thatching houses, and making malt and carrying it to Shaftesbury. After these 50 holdings and their tenants, 15 cotsetlers are named, often with holdings of 4 acres, and all owing rent and services. Among them were a shepherd, an oxherd, and a smith, who held their few acres in return for special services. (fn. 109) Finally there were 9 franklins, most of whom had holdings larger than one virgate. They owed rent only, and in some cases, suit at the shire and hundred courts, as well as at the manor court. The parson of Dinton appears in the list of franklins. Almost nothing is known about the agrarian economy of the manor during the next 400 years. As on the other Wiltshire estates of Shaftesbury Abbey, both the abbess and her tenants had sheep on the downland of the parish. At the beginning of the 13th century the number of sheep kept by 36 tenants from Dinton and Teffont Magna outnumbered the flock belonging to the abbey. (fn. 110)
From at least as early as 1535 the demesne lands were leased out for an annual rent. (fn. 111) In 1535 the perquisites of the manorial court were worth £2 and rents nearly £29. (fn. 112) Immediately after the Dissolution these rents were made up of £3 from the free-tenants and some £26 from customary tenants. (fn. 113) A survey made in 1567, 20 years after the manor had passed into William Herbert's hands, shows that Dinton and Teffont Magna were still farmed as one estate but that the two places had their own sets of common fields. Of the demesne arable 129 a. lay in the three open fields of Dinton, and 82 a. in Teffont's three fields. (fn. 114) There were some 44 a. of pasture mostly inclosed in small meadows, but there were also 5 a. in the common meadow. On Dinton Downs there were 120 a. of inclosed grazing for the demesne flock of 400 sheep, and on Teffont Downs there was common pasture for another 300 sheep. On the rest of the manor there were 11 freeholders, some with land in both Dinton and Teffont, and 32 customary tenants holding by copy of court roll. Nearly all tenants had pasture rights which, if exercised, would have allowed for a combined flock of about 1,300 sheep on the downs. Inclosure of common for arable was evidently in progress at this date, and, to offset the consequent loss of common grazing, tenants were permitted for every yardland they held to inclose 12 a. of pasture. (fn. 115) Much of the grassland along the river was thus divided up into small inclosed meadows. There are frequent references in the 1567 survey to these recently made closes, and the manor court at about the same date was dealing with tenants who failed to maintain the hedges just planted between their lands in 'the marsh'. (fn. 116)
Another survey made in 1631 reveals the progress at Dinton of the current changes in husbandry which were taking place throughout the region. (fn. 117) All the demesne arable situated in Dinton had been consolidated into a single field of some 120 a., although the demesne arable lying in Teffont was still distributed among the three fields there. All the demesne meadow lay in small closes. Dinton Down was said to be so barren that down and fields together could only support about 300 sheep in spite of the provision of 20 loads of hay as extra fodder. The number of sheep which could be maintained at Teffont had similarly declined, and here the reason was specifically attributed to inclosure. The number of freeholders on the manor at this date is not given. Two of the customary tenants held by lease from Lord Pembroke and the remaining 33 were copyholders. By this date nearly all tenants, in addition to their inclosed meadows, had closes of arable as well as their holdings in the common arable fields, and it is clear that in many cases these arable closes had been made from the formerly open downland. The pattern of the three common arable fields was also undergoing some modification at this time. New fields had either been created, or the old ones subdivided into more convenient units. The encroachment of arable upon the downs may not, however, have resulted in any drastic reduction in the numbers of sheep on the manor. The sheep grazing rights of the tenants were in fact slightly higher in 1631 than they were in 1576, and the loss of downland to the plough may have been offset by the greatly increased feeding provided by the water-meadows which began to be made at Dinton in the first quarter of the 17th century. (fn. 118)
In 1650, for the first time, the demesne lands lying in Teffont were leased as a separate estate (fn. 119) and thenceforward the Dinton demesne farm lands lay in Dinton only. A map of 1800 shows the demesne arable as a compact block of land extending along the east side of the parish, north of the Manor Farm. Two common arable fields divided into strips are discernible above the village but the process of consolidation was advancing here too, and three or four farmers held compact blocks of land within these fields. (fn. 120) This process of consolidation was completed by an Inclosure Award of 1837. After the early 17th century nearly all the fields along the river were floated as water-meadows, and the earlier grazing and bigger hay-crop thus afforded resulted in an increase in dairy farming in the parish. At the end of the 19th century considerable flocks of sheep were still kept on the downs, (fn. 121) but in the 20th century much of the chalkland was converted into arable, and since the Second World War chicken farming has been carried on on a large scale in this part of the parish. In 1903 there were four farms in Dinton. (fn. 122) In 1919 Manor Farm comprised 564 a., East Farm 377 a., Jesse's Farm 132 a., and Fitz's Farm 84 a. All were mixed farms and all had their fields lying partly on the downs to the north of the village, and partly on the clay and loam land to the south. (fn. 123) In 1931 there were three farms farming over 150 a., (fn. 124) and in 1962 there were two.
In spite of being an entirely agricultural community and lying in a region where there was much unrest, Dinton remained peaceful throughout the disturbances of the 1830's. Agricultural machinery was broken at Wilton, Barford St. Martin, and Tisbury, all close by, but no incidents occurred at Dinton. (fn. 125) This has been attributed to the firm action taken by William Wyndham of Dinton Park, (fn. 126) who by that date owned, or farmed, nearly half the parish. Several of the Wyndhams played important parts in the economic history of the parish. William Wyndham (d. 1785) was a pioneer in agricultural improvement, (fn. 127) and his greatgrandson, another William Wyndham, installed an extensive land drainage system. (fn. 128) The foxhunting activities of the family also provided a certain amount of employment in the 19th century, for the kennels of the South and West Wilts. Hunt were at Dinton Park for a time. (fn. 129)
The greensand strip running through the parish between the chalk and clay provides a soil particularly well suited to market gardening. At the end of the 18th century there were extensive orchards in and around the village and a traveller remarked that when these were in bloom a stranger might suppose he were in Devon or Herefordshire. (fn. 130) Early 20th-century directories include apples among the chief crops of the parish, but in 1962 there was no large-scale market gardening and there were no commercial orchards. In 1910 a successful tobacco-crop was grown in the parish probably for one of the Salisbury tobacco manufacturers. (fn. 131)
Agriculture has always been predominant in the economic life of the parish. In 1831 of the 111 families in Dinton 76 were employed in agriculture. Of the 131 men over 20 years of age 9 were farmers employing labourers, and 73 were agricultura workers. (fn. 132) Besides occupations ancillary to agriculture, and positions as servants at Dinton Park, there was almost no employment, other than agricultural, available in the parish. The coming of the railway in 1859 brought some new opportunities. (fn. 133) Dinton station was used extensively by farmers from neighbouring parishes who came there to complete their journey to Salisbury market by train. The nearby 'Wyndham (later Nadder) Arms' had to make special stabling arrangements for their horses. (fn. 134) There was a post office in the village by 1842 and at the turn of the century the village shop was rebuilt by the lord of the manor. (fn. 135) In the first half of the 20th century there was a brick, tile, and pottery works south-east of the village where there is a bed of suitable clay. In 1918 this included, besides the pottery works, three large brick kilns. (fn. 136) The Admiralty Gunnery Equipment Depot established just south of the village since the Second World War has provided but little civilian employment. In 1963 a smithy was still operating in the village. Since the Second World War many retired people have made their homes in Dinton.
In 1086 there were two mills at Dinton. (fn. 137) These were probably the two mills later known as Dalwood Mill, and Cole's, or Dinton, Mill. Two millers are named in the 12th-century survey of the manor. One, probably at Dalwood, had to grind the corn from Teffont Magna, and the other was entitled to eat with the abbess's household when the abbess visited her manor. (fn. 138) Dalwood Mill was acquired by Sir Thomas Hungerford in 1337, (fn. 139) and in 1389 it was held with a meadow and messuage of the Abbess of Wilton by Roger de Karentham. (fn. 140) No more is known of Dalwood Mill, and all trace of it is gone, although its site on the Nadder, south of Dalwood Farm, is known.
Cole's Mill was called after the family of that name who were presumably at one time millers under the Abbess of Shaftesbury. (fn. 141) In 1249 Thomas Cole was killed by the inner wheel of the mill. (fn. 142) In 1631 about 5 a. of land went with the mill and all tenants of the manor were obliged to grind their corn there. (fn. 143) In the later 18th century the miller was involved in disputes over water rights which were complicated by the many demands for channels to irrigate the water-meadows. (fn. 144) In 1775 the reversion of the lease of the mill was granted by Lord Pembroke to Charles Penruddock of Compton Chamberlayne, and the mill continued to be leased by the Penruddocks until 1930 when Lord Pembroke sold it to Captain G. W. Penruddock. (fn. 145) The mill ceased to work in c. 1900. (fn. 146)
The present mill building probably dates from the 18th century. The mill house which adjoins it was a late 19th-century addition.
The first reference found to a church at Dinton is a mention of Ivo the parson there in c. 1160 (fn. 147), and it is likely that there was a church at Dinton even earlier. Traces of Saxon work have been found in the church of Teffont Magna (fn. 148) and it is probable that from earliest times the church there was attached to the church of Dinton. Throughout the Middle Ages Teffont Magna was a chapelry of Dinton and remained so until 1922 when it became instead a chapelry of Teffont Evias. (fn. 149) In 1924 the church of Dinton was united with that of Baverstock, but in 1952 the two churches were disunited, and since then the livings of Dinton and Teffont (including the chapelry of Teffont Magna) have been held in plurality. (fn. 150)
Dinton was one of the churches attached to the conventual church of Shaftesbury as a prebend. (fn. 151) The rectors, or prebendaries, of Dinton, often, but not always, canons of Salisbury, were appointed by the abbesses of Shaftesbury for the services they could render the abbey. (fn. 152) In return for these services the rectors enjoyed the profits and perquisites of the rectory which was not appropriated to Shaftesbury, and which included a small estate with a rectory house and the patronage of the church of Dinton. (fn. 153) The abbesses of Shaftesbury presented to the rectory, or prebend, of Dinton until the Dissolution, except in 1354 when the Bishop of Salisbury presented, in 1530 when the Abbess of Wilton presented, and in 1394 when the king was patron during an abbatial vacancy. (fn. 154)
After the Dissolution the rectory with advowson of the church were included in the grant of the manor to Sir Thomas Arundell (d. 1552), and were conveyed by him with the capital messuage to Matthew Colthurst. (fn. 155) In 1548 they were sold 'at the desire of Matthew Colthurst' to William Herbert, later Earl of Pembroke (d. 1570), who had acquired the manor the previous year. (fn. 156) In 1585 Henry, Earl of Pembroke (d. 1601), sold rectory and advowson to Lawrence (I) Hyde of West Hatch (d. 1590). (fn. 157) Robert (I) Hyde, eldest son of Lawrence (I) sold them in 1594 to his brother Sir Lawrence (II) Hyde (d. 1641). (fn. 158) From Sir Lawrence, they passed to his son, Sir Robert (II) Hyde, Chief Justice of Common Pleas (d. 1665). Sir Robert (II) Hyde died without surviving issue and rectory and advowson passed to his nephew, Robert (III) Hyde, son of Alexander Hyde, Bishop of Salisbury. (fn. 159) Robert (III) Hyde died childless in 1722, and rectory and advowson passed by his will to his cousin Dr. Robert (IV) Hyde. (fn. 160) Dr. Hyde was a Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, and on his death in 1723, he devised rectory and advowson to his college. (fn. 161) Magdalen College retained the advowson until 1950 when it was transferred to the Bishop of Salisbury. (fn. 162)
After the Dissolution both rectory and advowson were occasionally leased for terms of years. Robert Grove, who leased the rectory from the Earl of Pembroke for 21 years in 1553, presented to the church in 1544, 1555, and 1556. (fn. 163) William Blanchard and Giles Clutterbuck, also lessees, presented in 1664. (fn. 164) Henry Hyde, father of the First Earl of Clarendon, and brother of Sir Lawrence (II) Hyde, appears also to have presented on at least one occasion. (fn. 165)
The church of Dinton was assessed for the taxation of Pope Nicholas in 1291 at £16 13s. 4d. (fn. 166) In 1320 and 1428 it was valued at the same sum. (fn. 167) In 1535 the rectory with all its appurtenances was valued by the rector at £17 gross. Out of this he paid 10s. 9d. in synodals, and £1 6s. 2d. to the Vicar of Dinton. (fn. 168) The great tithes were said to be worth only 16 marks in 1341 because, among other reasons, of the impoverished state of the parish. (fn. 169) In 1732 Magdalen College leased the rectorial great tithes to the vicar and thenceforth they were farmed by him. (fn. 170) In 1835 the vicar was unable to give a separate annual value for the vicarage as distinct from the rectory. (fn. 171) The tithes were commuted in 1843 for £397. (fn. 172) Magdalen College gave permission for the tithe barn to be pulled down in 1842. (fn. 173)
The earliest presentation found of a vicar to the church of Dinton is in 1306. (fn. 174) In 1336 a vicarage was ordained. (fn. 175) This was valued by the vicar in 1535 at nearly £6 including, presumably, the allowance from the rector. (fn. 176) The vicarial tithes were commuted in 1843 for £374 10s., (fn. 177) and after 1732 the vicar also leased the rectorial tithes. (fn. 178) Some glebe belonged to the vicar as distinct from the estate belonging to the rectory. This lay mainly at Four Corners, in the angle formed by the junction of Ranger's and Foster's Lanes. (fn. 179) In 1608 the vicar had a house which at that date had a hall, buttery, and chamber. (fn. 180) It is mentioned again in 1661 and 1705 (fn. 181) but from time to time the vicar probably occupied the Rectory House, as he is known to have done in 1783. (fn. 182) In 1746 the vicarage stood north of the Rectory House, (fn. 183) but it was subsequently demolished and its foundations were uncovered by a plough in 1951. (fn. 184)
Some time before 1291 a portion of the tithes of Dinton, valued at £5, was allotted to the Rectory of Iwerne Minster (Dors.), another prebend of Shaftesbury Abbey church. (fn. 185) In 1480 the church of Iwerne Minster was appropriated to the dean and canons of St. George's Chapel, Windsor, who thus acquired the portion of Dinton's tithes. (fn. 186) From at least as early as 1537 the dean and canons leased out these tithes, and in 1661 they were leased to Sir Robert (II) Hyde, lay rector of Dinton. (fn. 187) Leases continued to be made to the Hydes, and when the rectory was devised to Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1723, leases were made to the college. (fn. 188) When the tithes of Dinton were commuted in 1843 those due to the dean and canons of Windsor, still being leased by Magdalen, were valued at £81. (fn. 189)
As prebendaries of the conventual church the rectors of Dinton had special responsibilities towards the community at Shaftesbury, and in this capacity the rector was required by the bishop in 1298 to enjoin penance upon some delinquent nuns. (fn. 190) In the 16th century the rector had to pay 10s. a year to a chaplain celebrating mass daily in the abbess's chapel. It is not clear which chapel this was, but possibly it was the one in the demesne farmhouse. (fn. 191) The abbess provided her chaplain with some supplies in kind and a rent-free house. The rector supplied candles for the chapel. (fn. 192) In 1535 he also made an allowance to the Vicar of Dinton and was probably responsible for maintaining, or partly maintaining, a chaplain for Teffont Magna although he paid no salary to one that year. (fn. 193) It is not known how often a chaplain was appointed for Teffont Magna, nor, until the end of the 18th century, how often services were held in the church there. The inhabitants of the chapelry contributed towards the upkeep of Dinton church, and in 1674 their chapelwardens and sidesmen were presented for not bringing their contribution which was a third of any sum spent upon repairs. (fn. 194) In 1783 there was no curate for Teffont and the Vicar of Dinton held services there every third Sunday afternoon. Morning and evening services, with a sermon in the mornings, were held at Dinton every Sunday. At Holy Communion, celebrated four times a year at Dinton, there were usually 10 or 12 communicants. (fn. 195) By 1864 a curate assisted the vicar. Morning service was held every Sunday at Teffont Magna and the transepts of Dinton church, which had been reserved for the congregation from Teffont, were occupied by the poor of Dinton as free-sittings. The congregation at Dinton averaged between 150 and 200, and there were 120 communicants in the parish. The congregation at Teffont was said to have decreased at that date owing to the activities of the Methodists, at that time referred to as 'ranters'. (fn. 196)
Philip Pinckney, a signatory to the Presbyterian Testimony, was Vicar of Dinton in 1608. (fn. 197) He subsequently became Rector of Fugglestone, (fn. 198) but apparently returned to Dinton where he died c. 1661. (fn. 199) His son, John, followed him at Dinton and was later ejected from the living at Longstock (Hants). (fn. 200)
The church of ST. MARY THE VIRGIN is cruciform with nave, crossing, and transepts dating from the early 13th century. The north doorway and square font of purbeck marble are of the same period. The nave windows were apparently inserted in the 14th century. Later in the same century the chancel was rebuilt on a grand scale. It is of ashlar masonry externally and on both north and south sides has three uniform windows with reticulated tracery. Two of these contain original stained glass. The large east window has interlacing tracery of the same date. The two upper stages of the tower were added, or rebuilt, together with the vault above the crossing about the middle of the 15th century. At the same time the south wall of the south transept was rebuilt, and the north wall of the north transept repaired and a new window inserted. An octagonal stair turret in the angle between the nave and north transept is surmounted by a conical roof below the level of the belfry and is connected to the tower by a short passage. Much restoration was carried out during the later 19th century under the direction of William Butterfield. (fn. 201) The royal arms of George II hang on the south wall of the nave. In 1553 a chalice weighing 9½ oz. was left for the parish and 22 oz. taken for the king's use. The church has an Elizabethan cup with paten. (fn. 202) There are 6 bells. Numbers 1 to 5 are all of 17th-century date. Number 6 may have been cast in Dorset in the 14th century. (fn. 203) There are the remains of the steps and socket of a medieval stone cross in the churchyard.
The registers date from 1558 and are complete.
Henry Mayhew, holder of a freehold estate, died excommunicated as a papist in 1587. (fn. 204) According to a nearly contemporary local report, he was buried in the churchyard at Teffont Magna, which was not normally used as a burial ground. (fn. 205) His two sons, Henry and Edward, left the country and entered the English College of Douai, then at Rheims. (fn. 206) Between c. 1595 and 1613 Edward worked in England as a secular priest, possibly in the Dinton neighbourhood. (fn. 207) He later entered the Benedictine Order and became prior of the monastery of St. Lawrence at Dieulouard (Lorraine). He died in 1625. (fn. 208) The churchwardens presented 5 persons as papists in 1668 and 6 in 1676. (fn. 209) In 1783 there was said to be none. (fn. 210)
In 1921 Maude Isabel Engleheart, wife of George Engleheart, converted and furnished an outbuilding at Little Clarendon, her home in Dinton, as a Roman Catholic chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Pity. (fn. 211) In 1962 this was served from Tisbury and Mass was celebrated every Sunday. (fn. 212)
Three families were presented as dissenters in 1668, (fn. 213) and the following year there were said to be groups of Anabaptists and Quakers in the parish, although their numbers were uncertain. (fn. 214) William Bate (1661-89), one of the few General Baptist leaders in the country, was a Dinton labourer, and probably worked among the Anabaptists there for a short time. (fn. 215) The Dinton Quakers may have come under the influence of the outstanding Quaker centre at Fovant which flourished c. 1661. (fn. 216) In 1683 and 1686 among some 15 persons presented for not attending church, were members of the Jesse and Sheppard families, (fn. 217) and in 1702 Sarah Sheppard's house was licensed as a meeting-place for Quakers. (fn. 218) There were, however, said to be no dissenters in the parish in 1783. (fn. 219) In 1821 Alexander Ware certified his house in Dinton as a nonconformist meeting place. (fn. 220) In 1864 a group of Primitive Methodists, who were influential in Teffont Magna, held meetings in the summer on Sundays outside Dinton church, and thereby interrupted the service. (fn. 221)
A Primitive Methodist chapel was built in 1895. (fn. 222)
Court rolls of the manor court survive for 1558-9, 1566-7, and 1584, (fn. 223) and there are court books for the period 1724-1899. (fn. 224) These records show that one court for Dinton and Teffont Magna was held annually by Lord Pembroke's steward, and at this Dinton and Teffont were represented by separate homages. The 16th-century courts were concerned with the maintenance of hedges and ditches, encroachments upon the waste, the admission of tenants, and particularly with the payment of heriots. The records of the 18th-century courts consist to a large extent of a recital of manorial customs, but tenants, were still presented for encroachments and for other similar offences. In 1743, for example, the tenants of Teffont Magna were required to fill in the holes made when trees were uprooted on the common. Dinton was apparently divided for certain purposes into a West and an East End. In 1749 a tenant was presented for driving his sheep over the down belonging to the West End tenants, and in 1760 a right of way through fields belonging to the East End tenants was denied to the tenant of the Manor Farm. The court also regularly ordained an annual perambulation of the manor boundaries. As late as 1800 the court appointed a hayward, but no record has been noted of the appointment of any other manorial officers. Very little can be said about the government of the parish in the 19th century. Apart from the registers, a vestry book for 1834-1928 is the only surviving parish record and this is a mere list of small disbursements. (fn. 225) The first meeting of the parish council took place in the old schoolroom in 1894. (fn. 226)
There was a public school for boys and girls in Dinton in 1783 then said to be very well regulated. (fn. 227) In 1818 some 80 children attended the school kept by the parish clerk with the assistance of three women. It was claimed that at that date nearly every child in the parish went to school and that many were paid for by the wealthier inhabitants. (fn. 228) The children of Teffont Magna also attended the Dinton school. (fn. 229) In 1845 the school was conducted in some outbuildings close to the Rectory House which had been converted into one large schoolroom. (fn. 230) This still stood in 1962. In 1859 about 60 children, including those from Teffont Magna and Baverstock, were taught there by a mistress, assisted in the mornings by a master. (fn. 231) A bequest of £100 was made to the school in the will of Thomas Barnes, proved in 1864. (fn. 232) By 1871 a school had been opened in Teffont Magna, (fn. 233) and in 1872 the Dinton school moved to a new building. This was built with financial aid from the State, the National Society, and Magdalen College, Oxford, on the south side of the main Salisbury-Hindon road. (fn. 234) In 1936 the school at Teffont Magna was closed, and the younger children from there again attended the Dinton school, by then a junior mixed and infants'school. (fn. 235) The school was given controlled status in 1950, and in 1962 there were 3 teachers and 75 children. (fn. 236)
There were two private schools in the parish in 1833, but in 1859 only one is recorded, and was then attended by a few farmers' children. (fn. 237) This was possibly the school which in 1865 was run by Harriet Doughty and took boarders, and continued under her management until 1870. (fn. 238) There was another private school in the parish in 1893. (fn. 239) In 1864 the vicar conducted a night school in the parish which he reported to be fairly well attended. (fn. 240)
By his will proved in 1865 William Maslem Barnes bequeathed £100 for the benefit of the poor of the parish. The annual income from this, which was about £2, was to be distributed at the beginning of every year among the 13 oldest and most deserving parishioners. (fn. 241) In 1958 the income from the investment was unchanged and the sums distributed amounted to just over 4s. (fn. 242)