A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 9. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1970.
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The parish of Hilmarton adjoins the borough of Calne on the south and the parish of Lyneham on the north. The parish church, which lies roughly in the middle of the parish, is about 3 miles from the centre of Calne and 7 miles from Wootton Bassett. Beversbrook, in the south of the parish, was probably a detached part of the hundred of Calne in 1084 and remained part of that hundred. (fn. 1) A later19th-century map shows two small portions of land in Hilmarton, one including Middle Beversbrook Farm, as belonging to Calne. (fn. 2) Catcomb in the northwest of the parish was considered to be in Selkley hundred after 1841. (fn. 3) In 1883 the western boundary of the parish was extended to bring in Cowage Farm and 316 a. of land, until then a detached part of Compton Bassett. (fn. 4) In 1890 the southern boundary was redrawn to embrace the whole of the civil parish of Highway (813 a.). (fn. 5) The area of the parish after these changes was 5,311 a. (fn. 6)
The irregularly shaped parish touches upon several clearly defined geological regions. From north to south through its western side runs the Corallian ridge, which extends from Oxford to Calne. (fn. 7) To the west of the ridge the parish just touches upon the Oxford Clay Vale of north and mid-west Wiltshire. To the east of the ridge it crosses the vale of Kimmeridge Clay and extends eastwards over belts of Gault and Upper Greensand to the Lower Chalk of the Marlborough Downs. (fn. 8)
On the western side of the parish, along the Corallian ridge, the ground is fairly high, reaching about 400 ft. near Catcomb. (fn. 9) The soil here is light and sandy and the frequent exposures of Coral Rag have been extensively quarried, especially at Catcomb and Goatacre. (fn. 10) The stone thus obtained has been much used locally for building and road making. On its north-western side the ridge drops fairly steeply to the heavy Oxford Clay. Southeastwards it descends more gently with undulating folds to the low-lying clay land, which in some places is below 300 ft., and near the site of Witcomb Mill is marshy. Beyond the Kimmeridge Clay the land rises steeply up a bank, or cliff of chalk, which forms the lower shelf of the Marlborough Downs. This cliff is responsible for the names of several places in the district, including Clevancy. (fn. 11) At Corton the cliff is breached by a small cutting or 'corf'. Above the cliff the ground rises gradually to the highest point in the parish which is about 600 ft.
Cowage Brook runs south-westwards through the parish and forms part of the western boundary. Another stream, coming from the chalk escarpment, crosses the parish roughly from east to west, and joins Cowage Brook just north-west of Hilmarton village. The largest wood in the parish is Catcomb Wood in the north-west corner and there has been a certain amount of afforestation on the lands of the former Poynder estate. There is a belt of scrubby woodland on the lower slopes of the downs and tall trees in thick hedgerows help to create an impression of a well-wooded landscape.
A map of 1773 shows that the road from Calne in the south approached Hilmarton village on a more easterly course than it does today. (fn. 12) The stretch of the present main road between Beversbrook and Hilmarton probably became the high road after it was turnpiked between 1776 and 1800. (fn. 13) From the village, which is on the Corallian ridge, this road drops to one of the lowest points in the parish and then rises steeply up Snow Hill to Goatacre, also on the ridge. The other roads in the parish have been developed from the many tracks and lanes needed to connect the various scattered areas of settlement (see below). The road under the downs, connecting Corton and Clevancy with Hilmarton and Bushton (in Clyffe Pypard), was made in c. 1863. (fn. 14)
The ancient parish was made up of a number of scattered hamlets, some of which may once have been fair-sized centres of settlement and apparently of considerable antiquity. A well at Corton bears witness to Roman occupation there and Roman coins have been found at Goatacre and elsewhere in the parish. (fn. 15) Of the hamlets within the parish assessed for taxation in 1334, Hilmarton, which lies roughly in the centre, had by far the largest assessment (130s.), but this probably included Goatacre, lying over a mile to the north and not separately assessed. Clevancy and Corton, about 2 miles east of Hilmarton, were assessed at 43s. and 36s. respectively. Witcomb, about ½ mile north-east, was assessed at 35s., and Littlecott, about a mile north, at 26s. Beversbrook, in the south of the parish, was assessed as part of the hundred of Calne at 26s. (fn. 16) In 1377 Hilmarton, again probably including Goatacre, had 92 poll-tax payers, Clevancy and Littlecott together 30, Witcomb 20, and Corton 18. The number of poll-tax payers in Beversbrook at this date is unknown, since on this occasion Beversbrook was combined for purposes of taxation with Whitley, also part of the hundred of Calne. (fn. 17) In 1428 Corton, presumably because there was a chapel there, was included in a list of Wiltshire parishes having fewer than 10 households. (fn. 18) To the Benevolence of 1545 Hilmarton, Clevancy, and Corton all had three contributors, Witcomb but one. (fn. 19) In 1576 the parish as a whole had 15 tax-payers. (fn. 20)
A map of 1773 shows that by then only Hilmarton and Goatacre could be described as hamlets, although there was a cluster of cottages around the farms at Clevancy. (fn. 21) In the 20th century, besides the village of Hilmarton, Goatacre is the only hamlet of any size in the parish. Witcomb consists of two farms and a couple of cottages. (fn. 22) Littlecott is represented by two farms. Corton consists of a single farmstead. (fn. 23) Clevancy comprises two farms, a few farm cottages, and a small undenominational chapel. (fn. 24) Here in a field below Cliffansty House some irregularity of the ground probably marks the the site of some former closes and both at Clevancy and Corton the slope beneath the cliff is here and there scarred where there has been digging for iron pyrites nodules, used locally for hard core. The moated site south-east of Corton Farm may have been made to provide a dry enclosure, possibly for an orchard. Townsends Knoll, a large mound standing by the roadside below Cliffansty House at the edge of a field once called Culverhays, has never been excavated, and its origin is unknown. (fn. 25) At Beversbrook air photography has revealed traces on the ground of a small settlement, probably of medieval date and now quite deserted. (fn. 26)
The area around Catcomb Farm in the north-west of the parish was returned as a tithing with 68 inhabitants in the census of 1841. But, as far as is known, Catcomb was not assessed separately for taxation in the Middle Ages. In 1801 the population of the entire darish was 717. It rose to 828 in 1851, but thereafter it began to decline. In 1891, after the addition of Cowage Farm and Highway, the population was 810. In 1961 it was 743. (fn. 27)
The village of Hilmarton lies just to the east of the Calne-Lyneham road. It is compact with the parish church, school, village shop, and the Poynder almshouses all lying close together. Its most notable feature is the number of buildings of more or less the same style and date. These were all built in the 19th century, between 1832 and 1877, by members of the Poynder family and mostly to the design of Henry Weaver, an architect, who was for a time agent for the Hilmarton estate. (fn. 28) Besides the school built in 1851 and the almshouses built in 1878, (fn. 29) there are a number of cottages, mostly in pairs, built for employees on the estate. Apart from the school, which is of brick with stone dressings, all are built of local stone with slate roofs and have leaded windows with diamond panes. The later cottages have certain decorative features, such as ornamental barge-boards to gables and porches. There is little in the village of earlier date, except at the east end, where there are two thatched houses, one partly timber-framed, which probably date from the 17th century. A third house, apparently of the same date, standing close to the small stream, was burnt down in the early 1960s. (fn. 30) At the extreme east end of the village there are a few council houses built soon after the Second World War.
To the south of the church the former Parsonage Farm, called Manor Farm in the 20th century, has a wing added in the typical Poynder style. (fn. 31) Most of the farm-houses of the Hilmarton estate were either rebuilt or much restored by Thomas Henry Allen Poynder (d. 1873). (fn. 32) They include the Manor, called Hilmarton Lodge for a time in the 20th century, and Goatacre, Beversbrook, and Catcomb Farms. The Duke Inn, standing on the west side of the main road, was also rebuilt in the mid 19th century. (fn. 33)
The hamlet of Goatacre lies on high ground over a mile from Hilmarton village. In 1846 it was the scene of one of the largest anti-corn-law meetings in Wiltshire. (fn. 34) The agricultural population of Hilmarton was reckoned scarcely to exceed 200 at the time, but the parish lay at the heart of a wide area where similar conditions of distress prevailed. Moreover, the fact that Goatacre was a strong centre of religious dissent is probably significant. The meeting was organized by a body known as the Goatacre Reform Society. It was held at night by lantern-light at the crossroads in Goatacre and was attended by nearly 1,000 people. The lengthy proceedings were reported fully in The Times two days later.
The houses in Goatacre are mostly strung out for about a mile along a minor road which crosses the main road between Calne and Lyneham. A few are thatched, including a 17th-century stone farmhouse which has been divided into two cottages. The centre of the village may be said to be at the crossroads and here are the Methodist chapel and the village shop. A few old peoples' bungalows were built closeby early in the 1960s.
Manors and Other Estates.
In 962 10 mansae at Hilmarton and Littlecott were granted by King Edgar to Wulfmaer, a thegn. (fn. 35) In the Domesday Survey there are 3 estates called Hilmarton, amounting together to 11 hides, and thus possibly representing roughly the land granted in 962. An estate of 1 hide, which had been held T.R.E. by Aschil, belonged to Ernulf of Hesdin and was held of him by Robert. (fn. 36) It is not possible to identify this holding certainly with any later estate in the parish. Another one-hide estate was held by Alfric the little, a king's thegn, and may, it has been suggested, have descended to Walter Spileman, who held land in Hilmarton by serjeanty in 1198. (fn. 37) The largest of the 3 Domesday holdings was assessed at 9 hides and formed part of the fief of William of Eu. (fn. 38) Many of William's estates are known to have passed to the Earl Marshal and in 1242–3 HILMARTON was among the nine Wiltshire holdings of the earl, which in 1086 had belonged to William of Eu. (fn. 39) From Walter, Earl of Pembroke, the Earl Marshal of 1242–3, (fn. 40) the overlordship descended in the same way as Hampstead Marshall (Berks.), the chief manor of the Marshals, to the Bigods, earls of Norfolk, and from them in 1306 to the king. (fn. 41) In 1348 Goatacre, which by this date was parcel of the manor of Hilmarton, was held in chief as of the manor of Hampstead Marshall, (fn. 42) but Hilmarton was said to be held of the manor of Chepstow, (fn. 43) another manor belonging to the Bigods, which had come in the same way as Hampstead Marshall to the Crown in 1306. (fn. 44) In 1428 Hilmarton was said to be held of the queen as of her manor of Hampstead Marshall. (fn. 45) In 1501 it was said to be held of the manor of Chepstow, which by this date had passed from the Crown to the Herberts, earls of Pembroke. (fn. 46) Thereafter, however, so far as it can be traced, it was said to be held of the manor of Hampstead Marshall. The last reference to the overlordship found occurs in 1576 when Hilmarton was said to be held of Thomas Parry (d. 1616) as of his manor of Hampstead Marshall. (fn. 47)
Under William of Eu Hilmarton was held in 1086 by one, Ralph. (fn. 48) By 1242–3 Roger Bluet was holding it of Ralph de Wancy, who held it of the Earl Marshal. (fn. 49) By 1297 John Bluet, possibly Roger's son or grandson, was presenting to the rectory of Hilmarton (fn. 50) and two years later was granted an annual fair at his manor there and free warren in all his demesne lands. (fn. 51) In 1306 John Bluet held the manor directly of Roger Bigod, (fn. 52) and two years later settled it upon himself and Margery his wife. (fn. 53) John's successor, Sir John (II) Bluet, likewise settled the manor upon himself and his wife Eleanor with contingent remainder to his daughter Margaret. (fn. 54) Eleanor died, a widow, in 1348 holding the manor, and her heir was Peter, son of her daughter Margaret, who had married William de Cusance. (fn. 55) Peter was of age in 1350 when he did homage for all the lands Eleanor held at her death. (fn. 56) He held Hilmarton in 1369 and presented to the rectory in 1380, but probably died soon after. (fn. 57) He was succeeded by his cousin Philip Baynard, son of Edmund Baynard and his wife Eleanor, another daughter of Sir John (II) Bluet. (fn. 58) Philip Baynard died seised of the manor in 1415 and was succeeded by his son Robert. (fn. 59) Robert died in 1437, (fn. 60) having settled the manor upon his son Philip. (fn. 61) Thenceforth for about 170 years the manor passed from father to son in the Baynard family. Philip was succeeded by Robert (d. 1501), (fn. 62) Robert's son Philip was succeeded in 1521 by Robert; (fn. 63) Robert was succeeded in 1535 by Edward (fn. 64) and Edward in 1575 by Robert. (fn. 65) This Robert conveyed the manor in 1607 to Robert Sadler, son of William Sadler, who was leasing part of the manor at the time of his death in 1600. (fn. 66) Robert was granted livery of the manor with the fair there in 1611. (fn. 67) In 1616 Robert Sadler sold Hilmarton to John Norborne, who that year was granted the right to hold a court leet for the manor. (fn. 68) The sale was disputed by Edward Baynard, possibly a brother of Robert Baynard, and Edward seems to have remained for a time in occupation of the main farm-house of the manor. (fn. 69)
John Norborne died c. 1635 (fn. 70) and was succeeded by his son Walter, of Calne, a royalist, who was fined for his loyalty to the king. (fn. 71) Walter died in 1659 and was followed by his son, another Walter, who was killed in a duel in 1684, leaving two daughters, Elizabeth and Susan, between whom Hilmarton was equally divided. (fn. 72) Elizabeth married first Edward Devereux, Viscount Hereford (d. 1700), and Susan married Sir Ralph Hare. (fn. 73) The two parts of the manor were re-united in 1728 when Susan died and her moiety passed to her sister Elizabeth. (fn. 74) Elizabeth married secondly John Symes Berkeley of Stoke Gifford (Glos.) who died in 1736. (fn. 75) Their son Norborne Berkeley recovered the ancient barony of Botetourt, then in abeyance, but died without surviving issue in 1770. (fn. 76) He was succeeded by his sister Elizabeth, who was the widow of Charles Noel Somerset, Duke of Beaufort (d. 1756). (fn. 77) She died in 1799 and her son Henry Somerset, Duke of Beaufort (d. 1803), sold the Hilmarton estate piecemeal in 1802. (fn. 78) The manor was purchased by Samuel Hale, who sold it c. 1809 to Benjamin Ansley. (fn. 79) Ansley sold it in 1813 to Thomas Poynder. (fn. 80) Thomas Poynder died in 1856 and was followed by his two sons successively, Thomas Henry Allen Poynder (d. 1873), and William Henry Poynder (d. 1880). (fn. 81) During the lordship of these three Poynders the estate was built up again. In 1880 it passed to John Poynder Dickson, who was the son of Thomas Poynder's daughter Sarah Matilda, wife of Rear-Admiral J. B. Dickson. (fn. 82) In 1888 John Poynder Dickson assumed the additional surname of Poynder. (fn. 83) He was created Baron Islington in 1910, G.C.M.G. in 1913, and was Governor of New Zealand 1910–12. He died in 1936. (fn. 84) He sold the Hilmarton estate in lots in 1914. (fn. 85)
For much of its history the Hilmarton estate has been but part of a larger estate and the manor-house has probably been seldom occupied by the lords of the manor. The house, which stands close to the main road between Calne and Lyneham, was called for a time in the early 20th century Hilmarton Lodge. It appears to have been very thoroughly remodelled in the 19th century by T. H. A. Poynder (d. 1873).
Of the fourteen estates called Clive in Domesday, that held by Alfred of Marlborough and reckoned at four hides has been identified as the estate later called CLEVANCY. (fn. 86) In the time of King Edward these four hides had been held as separate manors by Godric, Tedgar, Alfric, and Ulfric. (fn. 87) As has been shown elsewhere, much of Alfred's fief passed to Harold of Ewias and from Harold to the family of Tregoze. (fn. 88) In 1242–3 Robert Tregoze (d. 1265) held a knight's fee in Clevancy in chief. (fn. 89) This fee then passed to Robert's son John (d. 1301) and then to John's grandson Roger le Warre. (fn. 90) Roger died in 1370 seised of the overlordship, which has not been traced further. (fn. 91)
In 1086 Clevancy was held of Alfred of Marlborough by Roger. (fn. 92) By c. 1230 land in Clevancy was held by William de Dodeford and in 1242–3 the fee of Robert Tregoze there was held by Thomas de Dodeford. (fn. 93) A Thomas de Dodeford still held it in 1268, (fn. 94) but he was apparently succeeded soon afterwards by Hugh de Dodeford, who conveyed land in Clevancy c. 1270 to his son Robert de Dodeford. (fn. 95) Robert had a brother William, (fn. 96) and in 1294 William de Dodeford conveyed his holding in Clevancy, which, as the result of several earlier conveyances comprised some 40 a., to Roger of Corton and Roger's son William. (fn. 97) This Roger was Roger FitzEllis (d. 1302), lord of the manor of Corton, and henceforth this estate in Clevancy, usually known as Corton Clevancy, was attached to the manor of Corton. (fn. 98)
In 1242–3 a ½ fee in Clevancy was held in chief by the Earl Marshal. (fn. 99) The overlordship of this then passed like that of the manor of Hilmarton and in 1428 was held by the queen as of her manor of Hampstead Marshall (Berks.). (fn. 100) In 1472, however, when the overlordship is last heard of, Clevancy was said to be held of George Nevill, Lord Bergavenny (d. 1492). (fn. 101)
In c. 1220 William de Wancy and Ralph de Wancy, members of the family which later gave the place part of its name, held land in Clive, (fn. 102) and the Earl Marshal's ½ fee there was held of him in 1242–3 by Geoffrey de Wancy. (fn. 103) Geoffrey may have been the brother and heir of William de Wancy. (fn. 104) In 1249 Christine, widow of Ralph de Wancy, conveyed a ½ hide in Clevancy to Adam of Littlecott, (fn. 105) but Geoffrey de Wancy seems to have been still holding the manor in 1254–5 when it was found that he had withdrawn the suit due by his men to the hundred court for the past ten years. (fn. 106)
In 1283 Edmund Mortimer held land at Clevancy (fn. 107) and was probably lord of the manor, for in 1305 Elizabeth Pedwardine claimed that this had been granted to her and her late husband Walter by Mortimer. (fn. 108) Her claim was disputed by Mortimer's wife Margaret, but by 1306 the manor was held by Elizabeth and her son John. (fn. 109) John Pedwardine held it in 1316, (fn. 110) but by 1380 it had passed to Sir Philip FitzWaryn and his wife Constance, who conveyed it that year to John of Stanshawe and Henry Warner and the heirs of John. (fn. 111) In 1412 John (II) Stanshawe was a minor and the manor was consequently in the queen's hands. (fn. 112) In 1428 John (II) had been succeeded by Robert Stanshawe (fn. 113) who was succeeded as lord of the manor by his son, also called Robert, but the younger Robert died in 1472 without heirs, and the manor passed to his brother Thomas Stanshawe. (fn. 114) In 1478 Thomas Stanshawe sold Clevancy, with the manor of Highway, which he also held, to Thomas Leckhampton. (fn. 115)
The next mention of the manor occurs in 1542 when it was held by John Calley and his wife Isabel. (fn. 116) It may have been acquired by John's father William Calley, draper of London, for William had land in Clevancy at the time of his death in c. 1515. (fn. 117) Ralph Calley (d. c. 1582), son of John and Isabel, settled the manor in 1580 upon his eldest son by his first marriage, John (d. 1595). (fn. 118) By his will, proved 1598, this John devised his estate at Clevancy to his wife Martha for life and thereafter to his younger son Roger, expressly excluding his eldest son Christopher. (fn. 119) The descent of the manor over the next 40 years is obscure. In 1603 Christopher Calley, in spite of the terms of his father's will, conveyed it to William Calley, who may have been William Calley (d. 1630), third son of Christopher's grandfather, Ralph Calley, by his second wife. (fn. 120) But in 1606 Christopher's mother, Martha, was still alive and holding the manor. (fn. 121) It may not, however, have passed from her to her younger son, Roger, and is not among the property settled by him in 1659 upon his daughter and heir, Martha, wife of John Jacob. (fn. 122) In 1640 Richard Turner, Lucy his wife, who may have been a Calley, and William Turner sold Clevancy to John Glanville, of Broad Hinton, serjeant-at-law (d. 1661), and to William Glanville. (fn. 123) The manor then passed in the Glanville family until c. 1789 when Lady Glanville was succeeded by Henry Merewether of Calne. (fn. 124) The estate at this date comprised two adjoining farms both leased to tenant farmers. (fn. 125) In 1809 the estate was acquired from Henry Merewether by Richard Large. (fn. 126) In 1866 William Abbot Large was the owner of the Clevancy estate. (fn. 127) In 1901 Clevancy was purchased by Magdalen College, Oxford, to add to the small estate the college already held there. (fn. 128) In 1921 Magdalen sold all its Clevancy lands to a Mr. Bolt. (fn. 129)
Clevancy Farm stands on an elevated site on the slopes of the downs. It appears to date from the late 18th or early 19th century and may have been largely rebuilt when Richard Large bought the estate in 1809. Cliffansty House, which stands to the northeast, and is the farm-house of the second of the two farms at Clevancy, was probably rebuilt at the same time.
Corton cannot be certainly identified with any entry in Domesday, although it has been conjectured that the 'Corstone' held by Alfred of Marlborough may be that estate. (fn. 130) By 1242–3 it belonged to the honor of Gloucester (fn. 131) and was still held of the Earl of Gloucester in 1428. (fn. 132)
William FitzEllis was seised of Corton in the earlier 13th century. (fn. 133) In 1242–3 it was held by Roger Waspail of William FitzEllis, who held of the chief lord. (fn. 134) FitzEllis was succeeded by a son William (d. 1262), and this son granted Corton to his younger son Roger FitzEllis. (fn. 135) Roger, who died in 1302, also acquired an estate in Clevancy and henceforth the manor of CORTON and these lands in Clevancy, sometimes known as Corton Clevancy, followed the same descent. (fn. 136) Roger was succeeded by his son William (d. 1318), and William's heir was his daughter Elizabeth. Elizabeth married John Russell of Bradenstoke, usually called simply John of Bradenstoke, who presented to the free chapel of Corton in 1344, 1350, and 1354. (fn. 137) John Russell, son of John of Bradenstoke and Elizabeth, both of whom died in 1363, married first Alice Elkested and by her had a son Nicholas. He married secondly Agnes and they had a daughter Joan. After John Russell's death Agnes married secondly Walter Botiller and Corton was held by her and her husband during the minority of Nicholas Russell. On coming of age Nicholas granted Corton to Agnes and Walter but shortly afterwards he made a similar grant to John Dauntsey and great confusion ensued. After the death of Agnes, Corton should have passed by settlement to William, son of Nicholas, with remainder to John, son of Agnes and Walter Botiller. Both William and John died, however, before Agnes, and so the manor passed to Joan Russell, daughter of Agnes by John Russell of Bradenstoke.
Joan Russell married Thomas Quatremains and they were succeeded by a son Richard. (fn. 138) Richard died childless in 1477 and Corton passed to Thomas Danvers, son of Joan Danvers, who was the daughter of Richard's sister Maud. In 1482 Thomas Danvers sold the manor to Bishop William of Waynflete, who devised it to Magdalen College, Oxford, recently founded by him.
Magdalen College retained Corton until 1921 when it was sold to a Mr. Ferris. (fn. 139) The lands known as Corton Clevancy had been enlarged in 1901 when the college purchased Clevancy Farm and in 1921 they were sold with this farm to a Mr. Bolt. (fn. 140) Corton Farm is a brick house of the late 18th century.
Before the Conquest Brictric held 2 hides in WITCOMB, which by 1086 had passed to Ernulf of Hesdin. (fn. 141) The overlordship of this land passed in the same way as Ernulf's estate at Great Chalfield to the earls of Salisbury (fn. 142) and was held as a knight's fee of the earl in 1242–3 as of the honor of Trowbridge. (fn. 143) It then descended like the earldom of Salisbury (fn. 144) and the last reference to it found occurs in 1570 when Witcomb was said to be held of the queen as of her manor of Great Amesbury, which was an integral part of the Salisbury Earldom. (fn. 145)
In 1086 Robert held Witcomb under Ernulf of Hesdin. (fn. 146) When it is next heard of, in 1242–3, it was held by William of Bingham of the Earl of Salisbury. (fn. 147) In 1305 Clemence, widow of William of Bingham, perhaps the son of the above William, conveyed the manor to Walter du Punt of Langford and in 1316 Walter Hervy conveyed it to John of Langford and Ellen his wife. (fn. 148) John of Langford, or another of the same name, held the manor in 1332 and 1339 and presented to the chapel at Witcomb in those years. (fn. 149) The manor is next heard of in 1428 when it was held by William of Witcomb, (fn. 150) who in 1433 was committed to prison charged with various debts and misdemeanours. (fn. 151) In 1447 it had passed to John Lowys and his wife Joan, possibly daughter of William of Witcomb, and that year they conveyed it to Walter, Lord Hungerford, Sir Robert Hungerford, Sir Edmund Hungerford, and others. (fn. 152)
In 1512 Walter Mervyn died seised of the manor, which may have been acquired by his father, John Mervyn, who bought the manor of Fonthill Giffard from the Hungerfords. (fn. 153) Witcomb then passed in the Mervyn family like Fonthill Giffard until 1609 when Sir James Mervyn settled it upon his daughter, Lucy, her husband, George Tuchet, Lord Audley, and their heirs. (fn. 154) Lord Audley was created Earl of Castlehaven in 1616 and Witcomb then descended with that title to James Tuchet, Lord Castlehaven. (fn. 155) Before his death in 1684 Lord Castlehaven must have conveyed Witcomb to his brother and eventual heir, Mervyn Tuchet, for Mervyn conveyed it in 1658 to Walter Norborne. (fn. 156) Norborne was lord of the capital manor of Hilmarton and after his death in 1684, Witcomb, like Hilmarton, was divided between his two daughters, Elizabeth, wife of Viscount Hereford, and Susan, wife of Sir Ralph Hare. (fn. 157) In 1709 Ralph and Susan conveyed their share of Witcomb to Elizabeth, by then dowager Viscountess of Hereford. (fn. 158) In 1717 Elizabeth and her second husband, John Symes Berkeley, conveyed Witcomb to Dr. George Clarke, who, with other benefactions, gave it to Worcester College, Oxford. (fn. 159) It was sold by the college in 1919. (fn. 160)
The Witcomb estate included two farms, Witcomb Farm and Spillman's Farm. Spillman's Farm may derive from the hide in Hilmarton held in 1086 by Alfric the little, a king's thegn, (fn. 161) for this, it has been suggested elsewhere, may be the origin of the carucate in Hilmarton held in serjeanty by Walter Spileman in 1198. (fn. 162) No further reference to Spileman's holding has been found, and it presumably became merged in the Witcomb estate where the name is preserved in the farm called Spillman's.
The farm-house at Witcomb is an L-shaped building with a stone slated roof. Structurally it is of stone rubble with a brick facing. The house may have been largely rebuilt in 1740–1 when there is evidence that Worcester College spent considerable sums on building works there. (fn. 163) Spillman's Farm appears to date from the 17th century but much rebuilding was done there, too, in 1740–1.
Two estates at Beversbrook are recorded in Domesday Book. (fn. 164) One of ½ hide was held by Niel the physician. The other, which T.R.E. had paid geld for 2½ hides, was part of the fief of William of Eu, as was the main manor of Hilmarton. The descent of Niel's estate has not been traced and it may have become merged in the larger estate belonging to William of Eu. The overlordship of William of Eu's estate passed, like that of Hilmarton, to the Earl Marshal, by whom it was held in 1242–3. (fn. 165) It then descended like the overlordship of Hilmarton and was said in 1409 to be held of the queen as of her manor of Hampstead Marshall. (fn. 166)
Beversbrook was held in 1086 of William of Eu by William de Mara. (fn. 167) In 1242–3 Robert de Mare, presumably a descendent of William de Mara, held ½ a knight's fee there of Andrew Blunt, who held of Peter la Mare, who held of the Earl Marshal. (fn. 168) In 1247 Walter de la Mare, perhaps the son of the above Robert de Mare, conveyed to Robert le Blunt land in Beversbrook. (fn. 169) This was probably one of a number of conveyances which brought the manor of BEVERSBROOK to the family of Blunt. In 1298 Hugh le Blunt presented to the manorial chapel there. (fn. 170) In 1337 Andrew le Blunt was lord of Beversbrook. (fn. 171) By 1377 he had been succeeded by Sir John Blunt, who may have been the Sir John Blunt who died holding the manor in 1383–4. (fn. 172) He was followed by another Sir John Blunt, who was holding the manor in 1398 and it was presumably he who conveyed Beversbrook in 1406 to William and Thomas Wroughton. (fn. 173) The manor then passed in the Wroughton family in the same way as Woodhill in Clyffe Pypard to Sir William Wroughton. (fn. 174) Sir William died in 1559 and was succeeded by his son, Thomas. (fn. 175) Thomas died in 1597 and his son Giles conveyed Beversbrook in 1612–13 to Mervyn Audley, who succeeded his father in 1617 as Earl of Castlehaven. (fn. 176) After Lord Castlehaven's execution in 1631 Beversbrook passed to his son and heir James Tuchet, Earl of Castlehaven (d. 1684), and at an unknown date, but perhaps in 1654, Lord Castlehaven conveyed it to Walter Norborne (d. 1659), (fn. 177) who held it by 1657. (fn. 178) Thenceforth Beversbrook descended with the main manor. (fn. 179)
As mentioned above, land in Littlecott was included in the grant of 962 of 10 mansae in Hilmarton by King Edgar to Wulfmaer, a thegn. (fn. 180) Part of Littlecott may still have been included in the returns for Hilmarton in the Domesday Survey, (fn. 181) but another part was reckoned separately. This was the estate of 1 hide and 1 virgate held immediately before the Conquest by Godric (fn. 182) and in 1086 by Miles Crispin. (fn. 183) By 1242–3 the overlordship was divided between the Earl of Salisbury, who held a knight's fee, and the Earl of Hereford, who held 1/5 fee. Both were held of the honor of Trowbridge, which at that time was divided between the two earls (fn. 184) and, so far as is known, the overlordship then descended with the honor.
Under Miles Crispin Littlecott was held by Turchetil. (fn. 185) In 1242–3 the Earl of Salisbury's fee there was held by Adam of Littlecott and the Earl of Hereford's 1/5 fee was held by Robert Mauduit. (fn. 186) In 1316 Ralph Bluet was said to hold Littlecott, (fn. 187) but it is not known how it came to him, nor how it descended from him for the next 60 years.
In 1377 John of Littlecott, conceivably a descendant of Adam of Littlecott (see above), had an estate in Littlecott. (fn. 188) This, reckoned at ½ knight's fee, and said to have once been held by William of Littlecott, was held in 1428 by Thomas Quintin in right of his wife Alice, probably a daughter, or granddaughter of John of Littlecott. (fn. 189) In 1448 Thomas and Alice Quintin conveyed the estate to three persons, presumably trustees. (fn. 190) This may have been followed by a grant to Bradenstoke Priory, which already held lands in Littlecott. (fn. 191)
On the eve of the Dissolution land in Littlecott formed part of the manor of Lyneham, one of Bradenstoke's largest estates. (fn. 192) It was probably this part of Littlecott which was granted with Lyneham in 1559 to William Button. (fn. 193) Button's holding in Littlecott, later evidence shows, is represented in modern times by Upper Littlecott Farm. (fn. 194) It passed, like the manor of Lyneham, in the Button family until 1707 when Sir John Button (d. 1712) conveyed it to Thomas Cromwell and another. (fn. 195) By 1714 Upper Littlecott Farm had been acquired by Thomas Benet of Salthrop (Wroughton), who con- veyed it in 1732 to Robert Neale. (fn. 196) It then descended in the Neale family until 1856 when it was sold by the trustees of John Corbett Neale (d. 1853) to Gabriel Goldney of Chippenham. (fn. 197)
Besides the estate acquired by William Button other land in Littlecott, also said to have belonged previously to Bradenstoke, was granted in 1541 to Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford (cr. Duke of Somerset 1546–7, executed 1552). (fn. 198) Somerset's son Edward, Earl of Hertford (d. 1621), settled his Littlecott lands in 1612 upon his grandson Francis Seymour. (fn. 199) In 1647 Francis, by then Lord Seymour of Trowbridge, and his son, Charles, conveyed Littlecott to John Romen, clothier. (fn. 200) Two years later John Romen and his wife, Mary, settled the estate upon their only daughter Ruth and her husband Jacob Selfe of Beanacre. (fn. 201) Jacob and Ruth Selfe had three daughters upon whom, in 1685, the estate was settled in three parts, namely ⅓ to Margaret, who married Daniel Webb, ⅓ to Ruth, who married Roger Spackman, and ⅓ to Mary, wife of John Tuck. (fn. 202) Margaret and Daniel Webb had one child, Elizabeth, who married Thomas Smith of Shaw House, Melksham. (fn. 203) In 1698 Roger and Ruth Spackman conveyed their third to Thomas Smith, who also acquired later the share of John Tuck. (fn. 204) Thomas Smith died in 1723, leaving as heirs to his Littlecott lands his son Walter and daughter Elizabeth. (fn. 205) On the death of Walter Smith in 1732 Elizabeth acquired her brother's share and in the same year she acquired the share, which had been settled upon Margaret Webb, her grandmother, in 1685. (fn. 206) In 1735 Elizabeth Smith married Robert Neale (d. 1776) (fn. 207) who had already acquired Upper Littlecott Farm. All the Littlecott lands then passed in the Neale family until sold in 1853 (see above).
A rent of 50s. at Catcomb was among the endowments given in 1114 to the Abbey of St. Georges de Boscherville, near Rouen (Seine Maritime) by William de Tancarville to found a priory at Avebury. (fn. 208) Catcomb then became attached to the manor of Avebury and passed in 1411 with that manor to Fotheringhay College (Northants.), which held it at the Dissolution. (fn. 209) After the Dissolution Catcomb continued to pass with Avebury first to William Sharington in 1548, (fn. 210) and from Sharington to William Dunch in 1551. (fn. 211) Still as part of the manor of Avebury, it was sold in 1633 by William Dunch's grandson, also called William, to Sir Edward Baynton. (fn. 212) Baynton's eldest son, Robert, sold CATCOMB in 1682 (fn. 213) now detached from Avebury and called a manor, to Matthew Barlow of Lockerley (Hants), M.D., and henceforth Catcomb descended as a separate estate.
Matthew Barlow in 1686 settled Catcomb upon his wife for her life and after her death upon his nephew, also called Matthew Barlow, and his heirs. (fn. 214) Matthew (II) Barlow died in 1723 and devised Catcomb to his nephew, John Barlow, watchmaker, of London. (fn. 215) John Barlow's daughter, Eleanor, married John Cowper (fn. 216) and their son John (II) Cowper settled Catcomb upon his wife, Anne. (fn. 217) John (II) Cowper was dead by 1786 and Anne had married Wade Toby Caulfield. Catcomb was then settled upon Anne and W. T. Caulfield and their issue. (fn. 218) By 1802 W. T. Caulfield was dead and Anne married thirdly Charles Francis de Chartier de Bolleville. (fn. 219) As Madame de Bolleville, Anne held Catcomb Farm in 1842. (fn. 220) But soon afterwards it became part of the Poynder estate and the farm house was rebuilt by Thomas Henry Allen Poynder (d. 1873). (fn. 221)
It has been suggested that the hide at 'Gategram' held in 1086 by Saulf, a king's thegn, may refer to Goatacre. (fn. 222) But the first certain reference to Goatacre found occurs in 1242–3 when the Earl Marshal held 1/5 fee there. (fn. 223) This was held of the earl by Ralph de Barneville and of Ralph by Roger Bluet. (fn. 224) Roger was also holding the main manor of Hilmarton at this date as terre tenant of the earl, and presumably the two estates became amalgamated. (fn. 225) On the death of Eleanor Bluet in 1348 Goatacre was described as parcel of the manor of Hilmarton. It was, however, said to be held in chief as of the manor of Hampstead Marshall, while Hilmarton at that date was held of the manor of Chepstow. (fn. 226) No further reference to a separate overlordship for Goatacre has been found, however, and it remained part of the main manor of Hilmarton until the beginning of the 19th century. At the sale of 1802 Goatacre Farm was sold with Hilmarton to Samuel Hale, (fn. 227) but, unlike Hilmarton, it then passed to Anne de Bolleville, who owned it in 1838 and 1842. (fn. 228) Soon after this, however, it was bought by Thomas Poynder, and thus restored to the Hilmarton estate. (fn. 229) The farm-house was remodelled by his son T. H. A. Poynder (d. 1873). (fn. 230)
The rectory acquired by John and Martha Calley in 1590 included a farm known as Parsonage Farm. (fn. 231) This passed with the rectory, as shown below, and came in 1752 to Norborne Berkeley, lord of the capital manor. (fn. 232) At this date the farm was leased to Joseph Hopkins and comprised some 67 a. of arable and pasture, scattered in small pieces throughout the common fields of Hilmarton. (fn. 233) From 1752 the farm followed the same descent as the capital manor and became merged in the Hilmarton estate. (fn. 234) In the 20th century its name was changed to Manor Farm. (fn. 235)
The farm-house stands in the middle of the village just south-west of the church. It is an L-shaped building of two stories the north wing being timberframed and probably dating from the 16th century. The east wing is in the mid-19th-century Tudor style of the Poynders. Stone gate piers supporting vases in front of the house are of the 18th century.
By 1232 Bradenstoke Priory had a rent of 2s. in Clevancy, the gift of Muriel, late wife of Robert de Dodeford, and a meadow, which had been granted by Muriel, daughter of Ralph Lovel. (fn. 236) Other rents were conveyed to the prior by Thomas de Dodeford in 1249. (fn. 237) At the Dissolution Bradenstoke had a house, a virgate with common of pasture, some meadow, and 2s. rent in Clevancy. (fn. 238) Assized rent there was valued at 40s. 8d. (fn. 239) In 1560 these lands were granted to Thomas Reve and George Evelyn. (fn. 240) Their subsequent descent has not been traced.
The largest of the three estates called Hilmarton in 1086 was assessed at 9 hides in 1066 and was valued then and in 1086 at £7. (fn. 241) In 1086 there was land for 8 ploughs. The demesne contained 3 hides and had on it 2 ploughs. Seven villeins and 10 bordars had 6 ploughs. There were 50 a. of meadow and 40 a. of pasture. The one-hide estate belonging to Ernulf of Hesdin had increased in value from 15s. in 1066 to 30s. in 1086. (fn. 242) There was land for 1 plough and there were 3 coscez on the estate. There were 6 a. of meadow, 1 a. of pasture, and 8 a. of wood. The other one-hide estate was valued at 1s. in 1086 and on it were a plough and a serf. (fn. 243)
Five other entries in Domesday refer certainly to lands in Hilmarton. An estate in Littlecott was assessed in 1066 at a hide and a virgate. (fn. 244) In 1086 it was valued at 10s. There was land for ½ a plough and on it was a bordar. There were 4 a. each of meadow and pasture and 4 a. of bramble wood. The larger of the two Beversbrook estates was assessed in 1066 at 2½ hides and valued then and in 1086 at 30s. (fn. 245) In 1086 on the demesne of 1½ hide there were 2 ploughs and 2 serfs, and elsewhere on the estate there were 1 villein and 8 bordars. The half-hide estate in Beversbrook was worth 7s. in 1086 and on it were a villein and a bordar. (fn. 246) There was woodland 1 furlong long by ½ furlong broad. Clevancy was assessed at 4 hides in 1066 and valued at 40s. (fn. 247) But by 1086 its value had increased to 50s. There was then land for 2 ploughs. On the demesne there were 3 serfs and 2 coscez with 1 plough. There were 24 a. of meadow, 20 a. of pasture, and 6 a. of woodland. Witcomb assessed at 2 hides in 1066 and valued at 20s. was worth 30s. in 1086. (fn. 248) There was land for 2 ploughs, but only 1 is returned for the estate on which there were 7 coscez. There were 12 a. of meadow, 6 a. of pasture, and 12 a. of wood.
By the 14th century the main manor of Hilmarton included two farms, namely Hilmarton and Goatacre. When the manor was extended in 1348 (fn. 249) there was at Hilmarton a messuage with garden and curtilage, and a dovecot. There were 3 carucates of arable land containing 180 a. Of these 120 a. could be sewn every year, and were worth 6d. an acre, while 60 a. lay fallow. The pasture was said to be worth nothing because it lay in common. But 20 a. of meadow were worth 1s. 4d. an acre and an inclosed pasture was valued at 6s. 8d. A wood, in which there was no underwood, lay in common. Assized rents and labour services were worth £16. Goatacre was worth 15s. 6d. in all its issues and comprised 2 messuages and 18 a. A West Field and an East Field of Goatacre are mentioned at about this date, (fn. 250) so apparently Hilmarton and Goatacre each had its own set of common fields.
From the mid 13th century until the beginning of the 17th century the main manor of Hilmarton belonged to the lords of Lackham (in Lacock) and was probably farmed as an adjunct of that estate. (fn. 251) A considerable number of manorial account rolls survive for the later 14th and early 15th centuries and these show that in this period all but 9 a. of the Hilmarton demesne was in hand and they contain some evidence of a traffic in produce between Hilmarton and Lackham. (fn. 252)
In 1588 a three-year rotation was followed in the arable fields of the main Hilmarton manor, which permitted the land to be tilled for two years and then left fallow for the third year when no common grazing was allowed upon it. A North Field of Hilmarton is mentioned at this date. (fn. 253) The threeyear course is mentioned again in 1671. (fn. 254) In 1716 East, West, and South Fields are recorded. (fn. 255) In 1752, when Parsonage Farm was acquired for the estate, all its arable lay scattered in quite small pieces throughout the common fields of Hilmarton. (fn. 256) Fields and furlongs expressly named as common were Cowage Field, Mead Furlong, Crates Furlong, Black Furlong, and Swillfield. The pasture belong- ing to Parsonage Farm lay in three closes called Upper Close, Lower Marsh, and New Leaze. Presumably when this and other farms were added to the estate (see below), a re-allotment of the arable lands would be made, whereby the scattered strips were exchanged for more conveniently situated compact blocks. On a large estate, made up of several farms, all under one owner, the benefits of inclosure could be thus achieved without the authority of an inclosure award. Record survives of some exchanges of small quantities of land in the mid 18th century. (fn. 257) There is no inclosure award for Hilmarton.
In 1627 the Hilmarton estate comprised three farms, namely Hilmarton, Goatacre, and Penn. (fn. 258) In the mid 17th century the farms at Beversbrook and Witcomb were added, (fn. 259) and although early in the 18th century Witcomb was sold, that century also saw a building up of the estate. By the beginning of the 19th century, besides the farms already mentioned, it included Rodwell Farm, Beacon Hill Farm, and Catcomb Farm as well as a number of smaller unnamed farms. (fn. 260) All the farms were let to tenant farmers and the estate was managed as part of the larger Norborne estate. In the later part of the century the steward visited Hilmarton about three or four times a year to collect rents, order and pay for repairs, and once a year to hold a dinner for the tenant farmers. (fn. 261) During the 1790s considerable sums were spent on draining operations at Rodwell Farm. (fn. 262) In 1787 the expense of cropping an acre of corn on the estate, from the time of ploughing until delivery at the market, was reckoned at £3. The produce of the acre was valued at £4 15s., thus making the value of the acre £1 15s. (fn. 263)
In 1802 the estate covered some 3,000 acres and extended from the extreme north of the parish to its southern boundary. (fn. 264) All farms were let and the total rental was £1,512, exclusive of the manor, on which 27 copy- and leasehold tenants paid some £4 in rent. The estate was broken up at the sale of that year and the farms sold piecemeal. (fn. 265) But after the manor was bought by Thomas Poynder in 1813 the estate was built up again and a period of reconsolidation and improvement began. By 1880 it comprised some 3,500 a. and included besides Hilmarton Farm, Parsonage Farm (later called Manor Farm), Rodwell Farm, Penn Farm, Lower Littlecott Farm, Beversbrook Farm, Goatacre Farm, Catcomb Farm, and Cowage Farm. (fn. 266) It also included 106 a. in Catcomb Wood, part of which had been planted in 1876. (fn. 267) In the later part of the century 108 a. of the estate were in hand and 3,486 a. were let. (fn. 268) A policy of spending most of the income upon improvements was pursued by all the Poynders. (fn. 269) Piped water and drainage were laid on and most of the farmhouses were rebuilt. In 1883 £1,051 was spent on new buildings and £1,176 on improvements. (fn. 270) The appearance of the village in 1967 bears witness to the number of estate cottages built. In 1914 the estate was again broken up at a sale when many of the tenant farmers bought the farms they were occupying. (fn. 271)
Of the other farms in the parish, which were not, or were for only a short time, part of the Hilmarton estate, those at Corton and Clevancy on the east, at Littlecott in the north, and at Witcomb, roughly in the middle, were the largest. But little is known of their history. In the later 13th century Clevancy had a West Field and an East Field. (fn. 272) These lay above the farmsteads on the chalk uplands of Clevancy Hill and were reached by steep tracks running up the hillside from the farms. A holding granted in 1345 consisted of some 6 a. of arable distributed in small pieces among 5 furlongs in the East Field, about the same amount lying in 4 furlongs in the West Field, and 2 small pieces of land, presumably pasture, situated 'below the hill'. (fn. 273)
In c. 1483 the arable of the farm known as Corton Clevancy, which was a detached part of the manor of Corton, lay scattered in small strips in the two fields of Clevancy. Corton's arable also lay on Clevancy Hill, and its common pasture was at Corton Marsh to the north-west of the farmstead and adjoining a common known as Goatacre Common. Here the tenants of Corton Clevancy, as well as those of Corton, had grazing rights, and rights of way existed so that they could cross the lands of the intervening Clevancy manor to reach the marsh. (fn. 274) There were also rights of way enabling them to reach the market and mill in Hilmarton. (fn. 275) In 1768 the land of Corton Farm was divided about equally between pasture and arable. The arable of Corton Clevancy still lay in a field marked as open-field land on a map of this date and its pasture lay in two separated blocks. (fn. 276) This small farm belonging to Corton Farm, but surrounded by the lands of Clevancy Farm, was farmed by the two tenant farmers, who farmed the Clevancy manor lands in 1787. (fn. 277) But in 1901 Magdalen College, Oxford, the owners of Corton, bought Clevancy Farm and thus enlarged and consolidated its holding in Clevancy. (fn. 278)
The two farms at Witcomb lay mostly on the Oxford Clay and here dairy farming predominated. In 1724 Witcomb Farm had 48 a. of arable lying in 5 fields, 31 a. of meadow in 7 fields, and 118 a. of pasture in 5 fields. (fn. 279) Spillman's Farm at the same date had 16 a. of arable in 2 fields, 45 a. of meadow in 2 fields, and 31 a. of pasture in 4 fields. (fn. 280) In the early 20th century a special kind of cheese was made at Spillman's Farm which was said to be in high repute locally. (fn. 281)
As shown above stone suitable for building and road-making, could be had from numerous small quarries, particularly on the western side of the parish. (fn. 282) An early 19th-century Highways Book shows quarries being worked and then filled in as need for stone arose. (fn. 283) Considerable quantities of stone came from quarries at Goatacre, Catcomb, and Littlecott. Farmers were compensated from the highway rates for damage done to their land when stone was hauled across it. (fn. 284) Local stone was used in 1833 for repairing the bridge, called the Arch Bridge, by Witcomb Mill, for building 161 yds. of causeway in Hilmarton Street, and for a wall in Catcomb Street. (fn. 285) In 1840 stone from a quarry in Goatacre Field was used for the turnpike road from Calne to Lyneham Green. (fn. 286)
Two mills in Hilmarton are mentioned in 1086. One was on the estate of 9 hides held in chief by William of Eu, the other on the one-hide estate of Ernulf of Hesdin. (fn. 287) In 1348 there was a windmill worth 13s. 4d. on the manor of Hilmarton, (fn. 288) but, as far as is known, the only watermill in the parish was Witcomb Mill, which was part of the Witcomb estate and so passed to Worcester College, Oxford, in the 18th century. It was then a flour mill. (fn. 289) At the beginning of the 19th century it was leased from Worcester by Robert Stiles and his son Edward. (fn. 290) By 1899 it was described as useless, since the supply of water was inadequate during more than half the year. (fn. 291) In 1903 it was falling into disrepair and some time before 1915 it was pulled down. (fn. 292) In 1967 its site and some of the hatches could be clearly seen.
An annual fair to be held on the manor of Hilmarton on the eve and feast of St. Lawrence (10 and 11 Aug.) was granted to John Bluet in 1299. (fn. 293) Its tolls are mentioned in the extent of the manor in 1348 and with the pleas and perquisites of the manor court amounted to 20s. a year. (fn. 294) The fair was confirmed to Philip Baynard in 1401, (fn. 295) and in 1407–8 its tolls were worth 3s. 6d. (fn. 296) It seems that the fair was still being held in 1621, but nothing more is known about it. (fn. 297)
Almost no evidence of the clothing industry has been found. In 1349 there were 2 tailors in the parish, (fn. 298) and as is mentioned below, some people closely connected with the industry were active among the nonconformists at Goatacre in the 17th and 18th centuries. (fn. 299)
A considerable number of records of the manorial court survive. Beginning in 1337 there are court rolls for some years in the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries. (fn. 300) From the beginning of the 18th century there is a complete set of court books, ending in 1890 when the last court was held. (fn. 301) In the earlier period, besides Hilmarton and Goatacre, the tithings of Witcomb, Clevancy, in which Littlecott was sometimes expressly said to be included, and Clyffe Pypard sent tithingmen to the court. (fn. 302) So far as is known, the only other manor court in the parish was one for the manor of Corton, and there is only evidence for this for one year in the 15th century. (fn. 303) In the 18th century Corton sent its tithingman to the Hilmarton court. (fn. 304)
In the 14th century the court probably met four times a year. (fn. 305) In 1616 John Norborne, who had recently acquired the manor, had a re-grant of a court leet within it. (fn. 306) At first this met separately but by the 18th century the view of frankpledge and court baron were held together. (fn. 307) By the later date the court met twice a year. It was presided over by the steward of the estate, and at it a constable of Hilmarton and a hayward of Hilmarton and Goatacre were appointed. The court dealt with admissions to the manor of Hilmarton and the presentment of nuisances for the whole parish. (fn. 308) In 1738 the tithings of Witcomb and of Littlecott and Clevancy were ordered to erect stocks in the usual places. (fn. 309) Throughout the century nuisances continued to be presented, although the court probably had little authority to insist upon their remedy, since the same complaint is presented over and over again. The court, however, survived the break-up of the Hilmarton estate in 1802, (fn. 310) and when Thomas Poynder became lord of the manor in 1813, rules of procedure for holding it were laid down. (fn. 311) These dealt with the appointment of the constable, hayward, jury, and homage. In the 19th century courts were usually held annually, although for a time they were held only once every two years. (fn. 312)
Although the manor court survived so long, its function was limited to the matters mentioned above, and it is not known to have played any other part in parish affairs. In the later 17th century there were 2 churchwardens, 2 overseers, and 2 waywardens. (fn. 313) Liability to serve in these offices was evidently imposed upon specified estates or farms in the parish. (fn. 314) A few cases occur of women being elected to the office of overseer, presumably because they owned or occupied premises liable for this duty. (fn. 315) At the end of the 18th century the vestry, at least when important matters were under discussion, seems to have been composed of the principal paymasters of the parish. (fn. 316) In 1784 this body and the parish officers agreed to pay a doctor £12 12s. a year to attend the sick suffering from smallpox. (fn. 317) A similar arrangement was made in 1786, but a limit was then set upon the number and type of cases the doctor need attend for this salary. (fn. 318) As will be shown below, the vicarage house was used in the earlier 19th century to accommodate a few pauper families. (fn. 319) In 1805 the vestry decided to make 'the west corner' of the church a place suitable for paying the poor. The floor was to be boarded, and a small fire-place provided. Coal when required was to be paid for by the parish at large. (fn. 320) In the autumn of 1811 the vestry fixed the price of men's labour until the following haymaking time at 10s. a week. (fn. 321)
The church of Hilmarton is first mentioned in 1291 when it was valued for the taxation of Pope Nicholas. (fn. 322) Besides the parish church there were in the 14th century two free chapels, one at Corton and another at Witcomb. Corton chapel survived until the Reformation, that at Witcomb is heard of only for a few years (see below). There was also a chapel attached to the manor of Beversbrook (see below). In 1952 Highway church, until then a chapelry in Bremhill parish, was united with Hilmarton and a few years later Highway was closed. (fn. 323)
Although the church was not at that time appropriated, a vicarage had been ordained by 1291, (fn. 324) presumably because the rector could not reside or at some period had not done so. The advowson of the rectory belonged to the lords of the capital manor. The rector presented to the vicarage in 1301, 1342, and 1361, (fn. 325) but perhaps the vicarage was not always presentative for the institution of the vicar who held the cure in 1321–5 has not been traced. (fn. 326) The vicar instituted in 1361 had become rector by 1380. (fn. 327) His successor, instituted in 1380, was apparently reinstituted in 1395. (fn. 328) In 1386 Philip Baynard, lord of the manor, conveyed the advowson to three persons, presumably trustees. (fn. 329) In 1396 three other persons conveyed the advowson to Bisham Priory (Berks.), who the same year was given leave to appropriate the church. (fn. 330) Thereupon the presentation of rectors ceased and the priors of Bisham presented to the vicarage. (fn. 331) After the Dissolution rectory and advowson were granted in 1540–1 to Anne of Cleeves. (fn. 332) William Cavendish presented in 1546 under a grant from the priory. (fn. 333) The queen presented in 1552 (fn. 334) and from that time the advowson belonged to the Crown.
In 1291 the church, apart from the vicarage, was valued at £20. (fn. 335) At the time of the appropriation by Bisham it was reckoned at a sum 'not exceeding 30 marks'. (fn. 336) A re-allotment of the revenues between rector and vicar was probably made at this time whereby the vicar received a larger share. (fn. 337) In c. 1535 the value of the rectory was reckoned to be £9 19s. 3d. (fn. 338)
In 1590 the rectory, which had passed to Anne of Cleeves in 1540–1, was acquired by Sir Walter Hungerford and Edward Hungerford. (fn. 339) The Hungerfords sold it immediately to John and Martha Calley, who had been leasing it since 1583. (fn. 340) Like the manor of Clevancy, the rectory was settled in 1595 by John Calley upon his wife Martha and their youngest son Roger. (fn. 341) Roger's heir was his daughter Martha, who married John Jacob in 1649, and in 1659 her father's estate, including the rectory, was settled upon her and her heirs. (fn. 342) By 1752 the rectory had passed to John Jacob, grandson of John and Martha, and that year he sold it to Norborne Berkeley, lord of the manor of Hilmarton. (fn. 343) John Jacob, however, retained for himself and his heirs responsibility for the upkeep of the chancel of the church and the right to be buried there. (fn. 344)
All the great tithes belonged to the rectory except those of Clevancy, which belonged to the vicarage, (fn. 345) and those of Corton, which belonged to the free chapel there until its suppression (see below). After the dissolution of Bisham Priory, the great tithes passed with the rectory in 1540–1 to Anne of Cleeves. They then descended with the rectory (see above) and so came in 1752 to Norborne Berkeley, lord of the manor of Hilmarton. (fn. 346) They followed the same descent as that manor until its sale in 1802. (fn. 347) At that sale the great tithes due from certain lands at Witcomb were acquired by Robert Stiles. (fn. 348) Thus at the time of the tithe award in 1842 Thomas Poynder, lord of the manor of Hilmarton, and Edward Stiles, son of Robert, were the impropriators of the great tithes. (fn. 349) The tithes due to Poynder were that year commuted for a rentcharge of £83 4s. 6d., and those due to Stiles for a rent-charge of 16s. 8d. (fn. 350) A number of other landowners, including Worcester and Magdalen Colleges, had by this date acquired the great tithes due from certain lands. All these were extinguished by the tithe award.
In 1341 the church had an estate comprising a messuage, a carucate of land, some 14 a. of meadow, and certain rights of pasture. (fn. 351) When Bisham Priory appropriated the rectory in 1396 an acre of land accompanied the grant. (fn. 352) An estate, known as Parsonage Farm, descended with the rectory, as shown above, and so came in 1752 to Norborne Berkeley. (fn. 353)
In 1291 the vicarage was valued at £6 13s. 4d. (fn. 354) After the appropriation of the church by Bisham Priory in 1396 the endowment of the vicarage was probably increased and in c. 1535 it was reckoned at £19 8s. 9d. net. (fn. 355) In 1835 the average net income of the benefice was £399. (fn. 356)
The vicar had the tithes both great and small from Clevancy and the small tithes from the rest of the parish. (fn. 357) By 1588 certain farms and holdings had commuted their tithes for money payments. One of the farms at Littlecott (William Button's) paid 14s. 4d., the other (Lord Hertford's) paid 10s. A holding called 'Arterells' paid 3s. 4d., and another called 'Tarrants Trowghe' paid 1s. (fn. 358) There was some dispute in the earlier 16th century about the tithes from Corton Farm, formerly belonging to the free chapel of Corton. (fn. 359) But in 1704 a modus of 1s. was being paid to the vicar for the Corton tithes. (fn. 360) In 1842 the vicarial tithes were commuted for a rent-charge of £493 12s. 2d. (fn. 361)
In 1588 the vicarial glebe comprised 3 a. of meadow and 3 a. of arable, which lay scattered in the common fields of Hilmarton, and had to be tilled according to the custom of the manor. (fn. 362) It was estimated at about 5 a. in the glebe terriers of 1671 and 1704. (fn. 363) The vicar also had the right of pasturing 6 oxen at Great Beversbrook Farm in the summer. (fn. 364) In 1841 the detached pieces of glebe were exchanged with Thomas Poynder for land nearer the vicarage, thus making a more compact holding. (fn. 365) In 1887 it comprised some 3 a. (fn. 366)
A vicarage house is mentioned in 1588, 1671, and 1704. (fn. 367) In 1835 it was described as unfit for habitation. (fn. 368) It stood on a small piece of glebe almost opposite the eastern end of the present (1967) Poynder almshouses. (fn. 369) Since in the 18th and earlier 19th centuries the vicars were usually, if not always, non-resident, the vicarage house was used as a workhouse for paupers, and in the 19th century was described as a mere dilapidated cottage. (fn. 370) A new house was built in c. 1844 by John Henry Hume (vicar 1835–8) on a site to the south-west of the church. (fn. 371) This was much added to by Francis Goddard (vicar 1858–92). (fn. 372) In 1961 a smaller vicarage was built in the grounds of the previous one.
In 1291 the church was charged with the payment of a portion of £2 a year to the Prior of Ewias (Herefs.). (fn. 373) This payment may originate in a grant by Harold of Ewias, overlord of parts of Hilmarton, and founder and benefactor of the priory in c. 1100. (fn. 374) The portion is mentioned in 1341 and 1428. (fn. 375) After the dissolution of Ewias the portion, by then only 6s. 8d., was transferred to St. Peter's Abbey, Gloucester, the parent house of the priory. (fn. 376) It continued to be paid to Gloucester Cathedral until 1876 when it was extinguished. (fn. 377) In 1301 tithes valued at 70s. were due to Ewias Priory from the parishes of Hilmarton and Lydiard Tregoze. (fn. 378) But no other references to these have been found. At the time of the appropriation of Hilmarton by Bisham payments of 3s. 4d. to the Bishop of Salisbury and 2s. to Salisbury Chapter were imposed upon the church. (fn. 379) Only that due to the chapter is heard of again and that was still being paid in 1535. (fn. 380)
There was considerable religious dissent in the parish in the 17th century. In 1650 James Wealsh, the incumbent, vigorously resisted attempts by a group of parishioners to introduce lay preachers into the church. He refused to contribute towards the maintenance of a lecturer and was threatened with imprisonment. (fn. 381) He was ejected from the living in 1657, presumably for his failure to comply with Parliament's orders, and at the Restoration petitioned the king to re-instate him. (fn. 382) His petition was unsuccessful and he was followed in 1660 by Robert Rowswell, who was, however, also ejected two years later for his Puritanical and Independent views. (fn. 383) Nonconformity continued to be active in the parish, particularly at Goatacre, which lay a considerable distance from the parish church. At the end of the 17th century the incumbent had difficulty in extracting tithes from certain dissenters there. (fn. 384)
In 1783 the incumbent also served the churches of Lyneham and Tockenham. (fn. 385) A service was held at Hilmarton only once on Sundays and attendance was considered poor because some parishioners were occupied about the farms and others failed to attend because of 'profaneness and irreligion'. Holy Communion was celebrated at Christmas, Easter, and Whitsun, and there were about 10 communicants in the parish. Plain English and the Christian religion were taught in a Sunday school. (fn. 386) John Henry Hume (vicar 1835–8) built the first substantial vicarage house in the parish and installed in it a curate to serve the cure. (fn. 387) Hume was succeeded in 1838 by David James Stewart, who himself lived in the parish, the first incumbent, it was thought, to do so for a long time. (fn. 388) But upon Stewart's arrival, certain members of the congregation left the church to form a group led by the former curate. From this group grew the Particular Baptist church opened in 1849. (fn. 389) Since Stewart's time all vicars have resided. In 1861 weekly services were held in private houses in Goatacre and Clevancy. Attendance at Goatacre was about 60 and at Clevancy about 40. (fn. 390) In 1864 there were two services in the parish church on Sundays and the total congregation over the year was about 600. There was one weekday service with an attendance of about 60. Holy Communion was celebrated once a month as well as at the usual festivals. There were 48 communicants and the church was said to be always full. (fn. 391) In 1955–6 Sunday attendances over the year were calculated to average 25 persons. (fn. 392)
In 1662 Lancelot Addison, father of Joseph Addison, the essayist, was presented to the vicarage. But since in the same year he was appointed chaplain to the new dependency of Tangier, he cannot have resided. (fn. 393) Between 1858 and 1892 Francis Goddard, a member of the Goddard family of Clyffe Pypard, was vicar. In 1850 the Revd. Francis Fisher started a diary of parish events, which has been kept rather intermittently until the present day (1967). (fn. 394)
The church of ST. LAWRENCE, so called by the earlier 15th century, (fn. 395) comprises a chancel with vestry on the north and organ chamber on the south, nave of four bays, north aisle, south porch, and embattled west tower. The church was so thoroughly restored in the 19th century that the date of the original fabric is not immediately obvious. A view painted in 1810 shows the battlemented tower rising in two stages with, at its south-east corner, a small turret with conical-shaped roof. (fn. 396) The simple south porch had a barge-boarded gable-end and there were then, as now, two three-light windows in the south wall of the nave. There was a similar window on the south side of the chancel and another at the east end. Chancel, nave, and tower were all buttressed.
The oldest feature of the restored church is the north arcade of c. 1200. The chancel arch is probably of the 15th century and across it is a stone screen in Perpendicular style. After the closure of Highway church the beam from the chancel screen there was removed and placed along the top of the Hilmarton screen. In the north jamb of the chancel arch a little passage leads from the north aisle to the chancel, a feature which occurs in a few other Wiltshire churches, e.g. Avebury, and Bremhill. Just inside the passage is the entrance to a rood stair. The chancel walls may date from the 14th century and the nave, with its waggon-type roof, is probably of the 15th century. In the nave hang five hatchments of arms and in the south wall are the remains of a piscina. On the east wall of the north aisle there is a memorial tablet to William Quintin (d. 1651), and Margaret his wife (d. 1647). A Lady Chapel was formed at this end of the aisle in 1955. (fn. 397)
Repairs were required in 1804 when the rural dean visited the church and minor ones were carried out. (fn. 398) More substantial restoration was undertaken by Thomas Poynder towards the middle of the century. The tower was partly rebuilt in 1840 and the chancel restored. A little later the south porch was rebuilt to the design of Poynder's agent, Henry Weaver, who supervised the restoration of this period. (fn. 399) In 1879 a complete restoration of the whole church was begun at the expense of William Henry Poynder and under the superintendence of G. E. Street. (fn. 400) Among the larger structural alterations made were the building of the organ chamber and the removal and rebuilding of the north wall of the aisle nearly 2 ft. to the north. Internally the church was restored throughout.
In 1553 there were three bells. (fn. 401) In 1874 there were five and a sixth was added that year by W. H. Poynder. The fourth from the Bristol foundry, c. 1400, is dedicated to the patron saint. Its inscription is preceded by a cross of unusual design. The bells were re-hung and retuned in 1885 and a chiming apparatus was added. (fn. 402) They were again re-hung in c. 1933. (fn. 403)
The commissioners of 1553 took 11 oz. of silver from the church for the king and left a chalice of 10½ 0z. (fn. 404) In 1848 Thomas Poynder presented a large chalice, paten, flagon, and almsdish, all with the hall mark 1847. (fn. 405) In 1909 a smaller chalice was bought and in 1961 the Revd. K. S. Rich bequeathed to the church his own communion set and a silver-gilt baptismal shell. (fn. 406) The registers date from 1645 and are complete. A black letter chained bible, found in the parish chest in 1857, is kept in a glass case in the church. (fn. 407)
The free chapel of Corton is first mentioned in a deed of c. 1250–60. (fn. 408) The advowson belonged to the lords of the manor of Corton and all recorded presentations are by them, except once in 1507 when the bishop presented. (fn. 409) In 1434 the chapel was conveyed by Joan Quatremains to Walter Lord Hungerford, who in 1442 was granted licence to annex it to the chantry of St. Mary in Heytesbury church. (fn. 410) But no further reference to any connexion between Corton and the chantry has been found. In 1524 John Bryssett was instituted to the chapel in place of James Bromwich. (fn. 411) Bryssett was one of the first canons appointed by Wolsey to Cardinal College, Oxford, (fn. 412) and so far as is known, his only interest in Corton was his dispute with the Vicar of Hilmarton over the tithes there (see below). As late as 1548 Magdalen College presented to the chapel, but clearly no incumbent had been resident for many years. In 1549 the king granted the late free chapel, as it was called, to George Owen, one of his physicians, and to William Marten. (fn. 413) In 1556 the site of the chapel was acquired by Magdalen College. (fn. 414)
In 1291 the chapel was valued at £5. (fn. 415) The tithes of Corton Farm belonged to it. In 1341 a ninth of the tithe of sheaves, fleeces, and lambs was estimated at 14s. a year. Small tithes were reckoned at 13s. 4d. An estate of 1 messuage and 2 virgates belonged to the chapel. (fn. 416) In 1428 the value was again said to be £5. (fn. 417) In the earlier 16th century the right to the Corton tithes was disputed between John Bryssett, the non-resident incumbent (see above), and the Vicar of Hilmarton. The dispute dragged on over several years but in 1547 Bryssett renounced all claim to tithe from Corton, accepting instead an annual pension of £1 a year. (fn. 418) In 1535 the annual value of all tithes great and small and of other dues was £3 6s. 8d. (fn. 419)
The only reference found to the chapel's dedication occurs in 1588–9 when it was said to have been dedicated to St. Mary Magdalen. (fn. 420) The site of the chapel is traditionally said to be in a field to the south of Corton Farm on the slope of the downs. (fn. 421) It is marked on Ordnance Survey maps of the 19th and 20th centuries.
Record survives of three presentations to a chapel at Witcomb. These are in 1332 and twice in 1339. On all three occasions presentation was by the lord of the manor of Witcomb. (fn. 422) Nothing more is known about this chapel.
A chapel at Beversbrook is first mentioned in 1298 when the lord of the manor presented John Chyriel to it. (fn. 423) So far as is known, no record of any other presentations has survived. The advowson was conveyed with the manor in 1406. (fn. 424) The last mention of it found occurs in 1438. (fn. 425)
After his ejection from the living for his Independent views in 1662 Robert Rowswell continued to live in Hilmarton, preaching to dissenters there and in the neighbourhood. (fn. 426) In 1676 there were said to be 17 nonconformists in the parish. (fn. 427) These were probably mostly Quakers, who had a strong centre at Goatacre, led by members of the Harris family. (fn. 428) The families of Wakeham and Baily at Catcomb and Romen at Littlecott were also active dissenters and were connected by marriage with some of the other prominent Wiltshire Quaker families. Most had connexions with the cloth trade. (fn. 429) Some of the dissensions in the parish caused by the presence of these nonconformists have been touched upon above. (fn. 430) At the end of the 17th century John Harris of Goatacre was imprisoned for withholding his tithes and after his death Mary, his widow, was distrained to the value of about £150 upon items including yarn and cloth as well as farm produce. (fn. 431)
A Quaker burial ground was opened in 1678 in a remote place at the extreme east end of the hamlet of Goatacre. But in spite of the early activity of the Friends, especially at Goatacre, no settled Quaker meeting was established in the parish. In 1867 the burial ground was procured as a site for a Primitive Methodist chapel by a Mr. and Mrs. Harris of Goatacre, who were still Quakers. (fn. 432)
Goatacre stands out as a centre of nonconformity within the parish. Its rather isolated position at the top of a hill over a mile from the parish church undoubtedly had much to do with this. A chapel for Independents, later the Congregational Chapel, was licensed there in 1824 and was built with assistance from the Congregational Association. (fn. 433) On a Sunday in 1851 attendances here were 68 in the morning, 40 in the afternoon, and the same in the evening. (fn. 434) The chapel was closed in c. 1917 and for a time the building was used as a club-room. (fn. 435) In 1967, much converted, it housed a village shop.
The house of Frederick Taylor at Goatacre was licensed as a meeting-place for Primitive Methodists in 1825. (fn. 436) Owing largely to the exertions of Elizabeth Blackman a small chapel was built on the site of the Friends' burial ground in 1867. (fn. 437) In c. 1907 the church had 30 members and its week-night congregations were said to be among the largest in the Brinkworth Circuit. (fn. 438) But its situation at the east end of Goatacre was considered too remote, and in c. 1909 a new red-brick chapel was built on the main road where it passed through the centre of Goatacre. (fn. 439) The old chapel was then pulled down (fn. 440) and in 1967 only its foundations could be seen, lying in a little enclosure of trees and undergrowth, which contained also the remains of the former Quaker burial ground. The Methodist chapel on the main road was still in use in 1967.
A group, which left the parish church in 1838, (fn. 441) formed the nucleus of the Little Bethel Strict Baptist chapel, which was opened in Hilmarton in 1849. (fn. 442) On a Sunday in 1851 63 attended morning service, 39 came in the afternoon, and 55 in the evening. The average number attending over the year was said to vary from 55 to 120. (fn. 443) The chapel, a small corrugated iron building not far from the parish church, was still in use in 1967.
A cottage at Clevancy was used in the 19th century as a place for religious worship. This was replaced in 1881 by a small corrugated iron structure, which in 1967 was known as the Mission Hall and was in regular use for undenominational services. (fn. 444)
Besides the chapels mentioned above four houses were licensed as dissenters' meeting-places during the earlier 19th century: at Goatacre the house of Mary Greenaway in 1816, at Hilmarton the houses of Isaac Clifford in 1821, of William Goodwin in 1827, and of James Rumming in 1848. (fn. 445)
In the early 18th century an annual rent-charge of £4 from land in Kenn (Som.) was granted to pay a schoolmistress to teach 5 poor children of Hilmarton to read. The origin of the rent-charge is obscure, but it is thought to have been granted by Ann Jacob in 1709. (fn. 446) Later when a village school had become well established, the money was used to buy prizes. (fn. 447) In 1819 the £4 was paid to a mistress, who taught 7 or 8 children. Four other schools existed at this date, but were probably very small, and the poor were said to be 'very desirous of possessing more sufficient means of education'. (fn. 448) There were 7 children in the school in 1835. Another school, begun in 1826, had from 6 to 28 children, and a third, opened by a group of Independents in 1830, had 12 children. All three were mixed schools. There was a fourth school, run at the expense of the parents, and both Anglicans and Independents had Sunday schools. (fn. 449) The Independents still had a school at Goatacre in 1859. It was held in their chapel there, and in warm weather about 30 children were taught by a motherly middle-aged woman, who also managed the village shop. In winter 10 or 20 children were taught in the parlour at the back of the shop. (fn. 450)
A new school was built in Hilmarton in 1851, entirely at the expense of Thomas Poynder. (fn. 451) The old one, which had stood at the east end of the village street, was converted into a cottage. (fn. 452) A committee of farmers was formed to manage the new school, but it had few functions, and in 1857 was replaced by the vicar. (fn. 453) Two mistresses were appointed in 1855, and a few years later a master also. (fn. 454) In 1859 the school comprised two good schoolrooms and had 70 children. (fn. 455) The building was handed over to the county council in 1914. (fn. 456) In 1902 there were, besides the head master, an infants' teacher, 2 pupil teachers, and 2 monitors, aged 14. There were 31 infants and 95 boys and girls in the school. (fn. 457) In 1938 average attendance was 60. (fn. 458) In 1968 it was a primary school with about 80 children. (fn. 459)
In c. 1850 a night school was started by the vicar and had an average attendance of 40 men and boys. (fn. 460) In 1860 there were 26 attending night classes, which were held in the vicarage. (fn. 461) The following year the number was about 50 and classes in reading, writing, and arithmetic were popular. (fn. 462)
Ann Jacob by her will, dated 1780, gave £500 to be invested for charitable purposes in Hilmarton and Tockenham. From the interest on this an annual sum of approximately £10 was allotted to Hilmarton. Part was to be used to keep the family monuments in the church in good order, and the rest was to be distributed among the unrelieved poor. In 1905 the whole of the £10 was used to pay a bonus to all subscribers to the parish coal club. There were then between 60 and 70 subscribers. No more is known of that portion of Ann Jacob's Charity allotted to Hilmarton. (fn. 463)
In 1878 William Henry Poynder settled in trust a piece of ground, on which he had built five almshouses. He also invested £3,000 to provide for the maintenance of the property and to allow small pensions for the almspeople. These could be either married men over 65 years and their wives or single men or women over 65. The almspeople were to be former employees on the Hilmarton estate, preferably members of the congregation of the parish church, and they were not to be already in receipt of parish relief. In 1905 a doctor was paid £2 2s. a year from the charity's funds to attend the inmates and about £50 had accumulated as a repairing fund.
The pensions allotted to newly-appointed almspeople were reduced to 4s. in 1938 and in 1952 these payments ceased. In 1961 almspeople were appointed only if they agreed to contribute a sum of not more than 10s. weekly to the cost of maintaining the almshouses, and in 1962 this contribution was raised to 15s. a week. Since 1938 the property of the charity has been maintained partly by means of an extraordinary repair fund. (fn. 464)
The almshouses lie to the south-east of the church and are built of stone in the rather ornate style of the later Poynder buildings in the village. They are all on one floor and comprise living room, bedroom, kitchen, and the usual offices.