A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 10. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1975.
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The ancient parish of Wilsford was made up of Wilsford tithing, co-terminous with the modern civil parish, and Manningford Bohune, a detached tithing about 2½ miles east. (fn. 1) Its three settlements, Wilsford village, in Wilsford tithing, and the hamlets of Bohune and Bottlesford in that of Bohune, stand considerably distant from one another. Since Manningford Bohune tithing apparently supported its own poor, it was deemed a poor-law parish in the 19th century and after 1871 was known as a civil parish. (fn. 2) As such it is described separately below.
The modern civil parish of Wilsford (1,759 a.) lies between Marden and Charlton 6¼ miles from Devizes and 4½ miles from Pewsey. (fn. 3) It is long and narrow and measures only a mile wide at its broadest point near the settlement. It extends 4½ miles southwards from the low-lying soils near its northern boundary, the Avon, across the chalk soils on to the north scarp of Salisbury Plain and over the downland beyond to the southernmost boundary marked by Ell Barrow. The main area of settlement lies in an exposed position near the river in the north of the parish along a lane which crosses Wilsford on an east-west course. The ford from which the settlement is named is that on the Avon south of Cuttenham Farm (in North Newnton), on the parish boundary between Wilsford and North Newnton. (fn. 4)
The alluvial soils bordering the south bank of the Avon, an area formerly occupied by water-meadows, lie below 350 ft. (fn. 5) To the south a bed of River and Valley Gravel extends for ¾ mile. The village of Wilsford is situated there at about 325 ft. A few hundred yards north of the Devizes-Pewsey road the River and Valley Gravel is succeeded by the Lower Chalk, which rises gently for ¾ mile. The area between the village and the northern scarp of Salisbury Plain, the site of the former open fields, was still under arable cultivation in 1971. (fn. 6) The scarp of the downs rises steeply over the successive beds of Middle and Upper Chalk to a height of over 600 ft. on the crest, Wilsford Hill, across which the Ridge Way runs on an east-west course. To the south the downland slopes away south-westwards across successive beds of Clay-with-flints, Upper, and Middle Chalk. Some distance south of the Ridge Way an eastwards-flowing head-stream of the Christchurch Avon formerly cut a valley through the Middle Chalk. The coomb, now dry, lies at just under 400 ft. South-westwards the downland rises across a bed of Upper Chalk to a height of 610 ft. on the extreme southern parish boundary.
Archaeological evidence shows the downland in the south of Wilsford to have been an area of considerable prehistoric activity. Visible remains include Ell Barrow, a long barrow, and on Wilsford Hill a bowl-, a pond-, and a saucer-barrow. (fn. 7) The 'long ditch', of unknown date, runs from west to east through the coomb on Wilsford Down. (fn. 8) Another ditch, which probably marks the western limit of an early settlement area, runs southwestwards from the Ridge Way across a possibly contemporary field system. Two storage-pits excavated in that area yielded a number of early-IronAge articles. (fn. 9) Broadbury Banks, an early-Iron-Age hill-fort, is situated on the northern scarp of Salisbury Plain. (fn. 10) There was also a settlement of Roman date on Wilsford Down. (fn. 11) Prehistoric activity on Manningford Bohune Down is attested by visible remains such as a bowl-barrow and a ditch. (fn. 12)
There were 77 poll-tax payers in Wilsford tithing and 43 in that of Manningford Bohune in 1377. (fn. 13) When systematic enumerations of population were begun in 1801 the parish had 387 inhabitants, of whom 224 lived in Wilsford and 163 in Manningford Bohune. The population of both tithings increased steadily and in 1841 the parish had a total of 587 inhabitants, of whom 304 lived in Wilsford and 283 in Manningford Bohune. During the next thirty years the population of the ancient parish decreased. Numbers in Wilsford, considered a separate civil parish after 1871, continued to decrease and in 1971 only 100 people lived there. (fn. 14)
In the 18th century a lane, which survived as a track in 1971, ran south of the village of Wilsford and provided more direct access to Marden in the west and Charlton in the east. (fn. 15) The downland tracks in the extreme south were no longer generally used after Wilsford Down was bought in 1897 by the War Department. (fn. 16)
Architectural evidence suggests that the pattern of settlement remains much as in the later Middle Ages. The lane along which the village is situated was known as 'the street' in 1730 and 'the church way in street' is also mentioned at that date. Sumner's Lane was so called in 1764 but its location is unknown. (fn. 17) In 1773 the street was built up on either side and a few dwellings also bordered the lane running northwards from its western end towards the river Avon. (fn. 18) By 1808, however, settlement was mainly limited to the south side. In 1971 the few buildings on the north side of Wilsford, as the street was then called, included a cottage of 17th-century date and two recently-built dwellings which occupied the site of the former school. (fn. 19) The nucleus of the settlement was at the eastern end of the village by the ford on the river Avon. The church stands there with the former Vicarage to the south-west and the former millhouse, which in 1971 was being modernized, to the east. Wilsford Manor and its grounds lie to the south. The south side of the village street is bordered by several groups of cottages of 17th-, 18th-, and 19th-century dates. A number have thatched roofs, some are partly timber-framed, and some partly of colour-washed brick. Most were owned in 1971 by Mr. Henry Horton, who had carried out much internal modernization. (fn. 20) No. 18 Wilsford, a long one-storeyed medieval building, incorporates four cruck trusses of which at least one is much smokeblackened. Further west along the street Yew Tree Farm, a 17th-century building with a hipped thatched roof, formerly contained a shop in its projecting eastern bay. (fn. 21) The Old Malthouse, which stands at the western end of the street, has a centre range partly of late-16th-century date. The house was extended and wings constructed to the north in the 17th century, giving it a U-shaped north elevation. A brick block was built on the east c. 1800, and the south elevation converted into an entrance front at that date by the addition of a brick façade and the insertion of a central doorway and segmental bay windows. By 1971 the cob wall which formerly stood to the south of the house had been demolished. (fn. 22) At right angles to the west side of the house a long thatched brick barn has 'R.H.R.A. 1770' picked out in contrasting brick on its east-facing wall. The Poores, a long 19th-century building of colour-washed brick with a thatched roof, known in 1934 as the Poores Arms, stands on the corner of the lane which runs north from the village street's western end. (fn. 23) Cruck End, which stands behind a cob wall further north along the east side of that lane, is a thatched timber-framed building. It incorporates two cruck trusses, one of which is smoke-blackened, and which were presumably part of a late-medieval open hall.
In 1971 Wilsford appeared remote and undeveloped. Apart from the two houses mentioned above and a few modern farm buildings, no new buildings had been erected. Employment for many of the local inhabitants was provided on Manor and Wilsford House farms by Mr. Henry Horton.
Manningford Bohune lies in the Vale of Pewsey about 2½ miles east from Wilsford, of which it was anciently a detached tithing. As explained above, it was considered a separate civil parish after 1871. Reckoned in 1931 at 1,310 a., it was merged in the newly-formed civil parish of Manningford in 1934. (fn. 24) Long and narrow in shape, it measured 5 miles in length from its northern boundary at Woodborough across the greensand vale and the Avon valley to Bohune Down in the south, and ¾ mile wide at its broadest part on the northern boundary. The former eastern boundary was apparently straightened when the open fields were inclosed in 1805, and thereafter ran from Nursery Farm south to All Saints church and running east of Bohune common followed the lane to the village, crossed the Devizes-Pewsey road at Townsend and ran south-eastwards over the downs for 2¾ miles. (fn. 25) The origin of the name 'Manningford' has been discussed above. (fn. 26) Manningford Bohune, so called by the 13th century from its connexions with the Bohun earls of Hereford and to distinguish it from its easterly neighbours, stands on the south bank of the river Avon. (fn. 27) The hamlet of Bottlesford, situated 1¾ mile north, lies within the former tithing and extends along the secondary road from Gores (in North Newnton). It derives its name from the ford on the western boundary stream, known from at least the 9th century as 'botan waelle'. (fn. 28)
From Bottlesford, which is situated on the Upper Greensand around the 375 ft. contour line, the land slopes away south-eastwards for 2 miles to the alluvium bordering the river Avon. (fn. 29) The land to the east of Bottlesford, including Manningford Bohune common, was devoted to market-gardening in 1971. (fn. 30) The alluvial soils of the Avon valley and those bordering the head-stream of the Avon which formed the western boundary of the former civil parish were well wooded in 1805. (fn. 31) Squire's and Fir copses lie north of the village and Smallbrook copse to the north-west. South of the Avon the settlement of Manningford Bohune lies on the River and Valley Gravel, which stretches across the main Devizes-Pewsey road for ¾ mile. Beyond, a wide terrace of Lower Chalk rises gradually southeastwards. The land continues to rise over successive beds of Middle and Upper Chalk to a height of over 625 ft. on Manningford Bohune Down.
The civil parish of Manningford Bohune had a population of 233 in 1881 and of 240 in 1891. Thereafter numbers declined and in 1931, shortly before its incorporation in the new civil parish of Manningford, Bohune contained 158 people. (fn. 32)
The main Devizes-Pewsey road enters Manningford Bohune across the river Avon at Wood Bridge, mentioned in the 15th century. (fn. 33) The secondary road from Gores (in North Newnton) to Pewsey runs through Bottlesford in the north of the parish. The two settlements were formerly linked by a lane, no more than a track beyond All Saints church in 1971, which ran from Woodborough across the Bottlesford road south-eastwards over Manningford Bohune common to the village. At the church a lane branched eastwards and provided more direct access to Manningford Bruce. When the Berks. & Hants Extension Railway, opened in 1862, was constructed across the tithing, the cross-roads east of Bottlesford were diverted over a bridge. (fn. 34)
The settlement of Manningford Bohune is arranged round a semicircular lane north of the main Devizes-Pewsey road with the manor-house, described below, to the north-west. A lane called 'Lyppeyate' was mentioned in 1549 and Hunt's Lane and 'the street' in the 17th century. (fn. 35) The settlement appears to have altered little since 1805 when dwellings are shown to the west and north of that part of the lane which until 1934 formed part of the eastern boundary of the civil parish. (fn. 36) The cottages along the eastern arm of the lane are mainly of 17thand 18th-century dates. The Providence Chapel and, to its west, a range of thatched colour-washed 19thcentury cottages probably built to house estate workers, stand at Townsend, so called in 1840, on the south side of the main Devizes-Pewsey road. (fn. 37) Despite the amount of traffic carried by that road, numerous trees and lack of modern development, apart from farm buildings and one or two houses, gave the settlement a secluded aspect in 1971.
In 1773 and 1805 the hamlet of Bottlesford comprised a number of dwellings on either side of the secondary road to Pewsey. (fn. 38) The Seven Stars inn, mentioned by that name in 1822, stands at the western end of the hamlet, (fn. 39) which developed eastwards during the 19th century. In 1971 settlement was limited to the north side of the road and included a number of more recent dwellings. A house called Manningford Common House stood south-east of the hamlet on the edge of Bohune common in 1773. (fn. 40) By 1805 a small settlement had grown up on the edge of the common a little further south-east. (fn. 41) It was there that All Saints church, a chapel of ease for the parish church at Wilsford, was built in 1859. (fn. 42) The church and one or two houses occupied the area in 1971.
Manors and other Estates.
T.R.E. Brismar held the estate later known as the manor of WILSFORD. In 1086 it was held of the king by Alfric of Melksham and held in mortgage (in vadimonio) by Edward, probably Edward of Salisbury. (fn. 43) He afterwards gave it to his daughter Maud and her husband Humphrey de Bohun. (fn. 44) The estate passed to their son Humphrey de Bohun, grandson Humphrey de Bohun, greatgrandson Henry de Bohun (cr. earl of Hereford 1200 and d. 1220), and great-great-grandson Humphrey, earl of Hereford (d. 1275), who vindicated his claim to the manor in 1229 against Ela Longspée, countess of Salisbury (d. 1261), the great-great-granddaughter of Edward of Salisbury. (fn. 45) The manor thereafter descended with the Hereford title until 1373 when, on the death of Humphrey, earl of Hereford, it was assigned in dower to his widow Joan. (fn. 46) After Joan's death in 1419 a final partition of the Hereford inheritance was made between her grandson Henry V, as son and heir of her younger daughter Mary, and her granddaughter Anne, countess of Stafford, as daughter and heir of her elder daughter, Eleanor, and in 1421 the manor of Wilsford was finally allotted to Anne, countess of Stafford. (fn. 47) On her death in 1438 she was succeeded by her son Humphrey (cr. duke of Buckingham 1444 and d. 1460), and greatgrandson Henry (executed and attainted 1483). (fn. 48) Henry's son Edward was restored to his father's lands in 1485 but was himself executed and attainted in 1521, when the estate passed to the Crown. (fn. 49)
The earls of Hereford granted the estate to a succession of life tenants. Roger Dauntsey, second husband of Maud (d. 1236), widow of Henry, earl of Hereford (d. 1220), held Wilsford in 1242. (fn. 50) In 1255 the earl of Hereford granted the manor to Nicholas St. Bride and his wife Maud for their lives. (fn. 51) He afterwards granted a similar estate to his cousin John de Bohun, a younger son of the Midhurst (Suss.) branch of the family. (fn. 52) John forfeited the land in 1265 and afterwards, in 1271, it was granted to John de Dykel and his wife Maud for Maud's life. (fn. 53) The reversion of the manor was then granted to another John de Bohun, the eldest son of Humphrey, earl of Hereford (d. 1275) by his second wife Maud, who was in possession by 1275 and died seised c. 1292. (fn. 54)
In 1522 Sir William Sandys (cr. Baron Sandys 1523 and d. 1540) received a Crown grant of the estate, which descended with the title until 1654 when William, Lord Sandys (d. 1668 or 1669), the great-great-great-great-grandson of the 1st Baron Sandys, conveyed the manor to Henry Druell. (fn. 55) By 1685 John Young and his wife Susan had acquired the estate. (fn. 56) In 1718 Cary (Carice) and Carolina Stewkeley were described as ladies of the manor and in 1730 Carice (d. c. 1733) alone was so called. (fn. 57) The manor afterwards passed to Sir John Hinde Cotton (d. 1752), who was described as lord in 1733, and from him to his son and namesake. The younger Sir John (d. 1795) sold the manor c. 1778 to Francis Dugdale Astley (d. 1818), who later acquired the estate formerly known as the 'manor' of Wilsford Dauntsey (see below). (fn. 58) He was succeeded by his son Sir John Dugdale Astley (d. 1842), grandson Sir Francis Dugdale Astley (d. 1873), and great-grandson Sir John Dugdale Astley (d. 1894). (fn. 59) In 1875 Sir John offered the Wilsford estate for sale; it then chiefly comprised two farms, one of 450 a. (later known as Wilsford House farm), which represented the former 'manor' of Wilsford Dauntsey and lay in the western half of the parish, and another of 506 a. (known later as Manor farm), representing the former manor of Wilsford, which lay in the eastern half of the parish. (fn. 60) The estate may have been bought at that date by Captain Charles H. Wyndham (d. 1891), who was described as lord of the manor in 1885. (fn. 61) In 1897 the downland south of the DevizesUpavon road was sold to the War Department for inclusion in the firing ranges of the Salisbury Plain area. (fn. 62) Both farms, then known as Manor and Wilsford House farms, were bought in 1919 from John Butler by Henry J. Horton (d. 1924), whose son and successor Henry Horton was owner in 1971. (fn. 63)
Wilsford Manor, an early-19th-century doublepile house of red brick with a slated roof, stands amid gardens east of the lane which runs southwards from the church. Formerly a farm-house, it was considerably altered by Mr. Henry Horton after he acquired the estate. (fn. 64)
At an unknown date the earls of Hereford subinfeudated part of their Wilsford estate. In 1257 Lawrence de Shamford conveyed an estate, known in the 16th century as the 'manor' of WILSFORD DAUNTSEY, to Gilbert Dauntsey for life with remainder to Gilbert's brother Richard Dauntsey in tail special. (fn. 65) Richard apparently succeeded his brother and was himself succeeded by his son Richard, who was in possession by 1292. (fn. 66) He was still living in 1344 when he settled the estate on himself and his wife Joan for life with remainder to his grandson John Dauntsey (d. 1391). (fn. 67) In 1333 Richard and Joan were licensed to have an oratory on their estate but no more is known of it. (fn. 68)
The estate descended like the manor of Marden to Henry Danvers, Lord Danby (d. 1644), who in 1607 conveyed it to James Parkinson. (fn. 69) Thereafter little is known of its ownership. By 1675 George Evans had acquired the farm. A namesake, presumably his son, owned it in 1715. (fn. 70) James Harris was owner in 1724. (fn. 71) He died in 1731 and was succeeded by a son James (d. 1780), and grandson Sir James Harris (cr. earl of Malmesbury 1800 and d. 1820). (fn. 72) In either 1786 or 1787 James Sutton (d. 1801) bought the estate, then called Harris's farm. (fn. 73) It was afterwards acquired by Francis Dugdale Astley, owner in 1808. (fn. 74) It then descended with the main manor of Wilsford (see above), and became known in the 20th century as Wilsford House farm.
Wilsford House, which stands on the west side of the road at the western entrance to the village, was originally a small 18th-century house. It was enlarged in two stages and by the mid 19th century had mostly been encased in red brick. (fn. 75) It was much altered by Mr. H. Horton in the early 1960s, when the south elevation, rendered and colour-washed, was converted to an entrance front and a tablet inscribed 'H. 1963' placed above the doorway. (fn. 76)
An estate at Manningford, to be identified with the later manor of MANNINGFORD BOHUNE, was held T.R.E. by Godric. In 1086 Amelric de Drewes held it of the king. (fn. 77) The estate, like the manor of Wilsford (see above), was acquired by Edward of Salisbury and later given by him to his daughter Maud and her husband Humphrey de Bohun. It descended with the manor of Wilsford until 1419 and in 1421, following the final partition of the Hereford inheritance, was allotted to Henry V and thereafter formed part of the duchy of Lancaster until the earlier 17th century. (fn. 78)
Some time in the 13th century the manor was granted, possibly as a life estate, to John de Bohun, the eldest son of Humphrey, earl of Hereford (d. 1275), by his second wife. (fn. 79) John forfeited it in 1265 but was later restored and died seised c. 1292. (fn. 80) The estate was granted to Edward de Bohun (d. 1334), a younger son of Humphrey, earl of Hereford (d. 1322), some time in the earlier 14th century. He granted a life estate in the lands to Thomas de Aldon, on whose death in 1361 the lands reverted to Edward's brother and heir Humphrey, earl of Hereford (d. 1361). (fn. 81) The manor was assigned to Catherine (d. 1437), widow of Henry V, in 1422, and in 1467 to Elizabeth Woodville, queen of Edward IV. (fn. 82)
The estate remained part of the duchy until 1629 when it was conveyed to Edward Ditchfield and others as trustees for the city of London. (fn. 83) They appear to have conveyed it shortly afterwards to Sir Robert Gorges, who was in possession by 1632. (fn. 84) In accordance with a settlement made that year the estate seems to have passed on Robert's death in 1648 to the widow of his son Thomas (d. 1638), Margaret, who married secondly Sir Richard Hastings (d. c. 1668), and thirdly Samuel Gorges of Wraxall (Som.) (d. 1686 or 1687). (fn. 85) Margaret's sister-in-law, Jane, widow of Charles Gorges (d. 1650), Thomas's brother, had acquired the manor by 1657. (fn. 86) In 1664 Jane and her second husband, Sir Hugh Middleton (d. 1675), whom she married in 1657, sold Manningford Bohune to Sir Wadham Wyndham (d. 1668). (fn. 87) He was succeeded in turn by his son John (d. 1724), grandson John (d. 1750), and great-granddaughter Anne, the wife of James Everard Arundell. (fn. 88) On her death in 1796 the lands inherited from Sir Wadham Wyndham passed, in accordance with a settlement of 1745, to her kinsman William Wyndham (d. 1841) of Dinton. (fn. 89) William Wyndham sold the manor in 1830 to James Alexander. On Alexander's death in 1848 it passed to his trustees who sold it in 1852 to the trustees under the will of John Morse. (fn. 90) Morse's trustees conveyed the estate in 1864 to Welbore Ellis Agar, 2nd earl of Normanton (d. 1868), and thereafter it descended with that title. (fn. 91) The estate was offered for sale in 1917 and again in 1918 by the 4th earl, and then comprised Manor (460 a.), Field (412 a.), and Dairy (179 a.) farms. (fn. 92) Of these Manor farm was owned by the Rottingdean Estates Company in 1919. (fn. 93)
By 1927 George M. Odlum had acquired Manor farm and was apparently still owner in 1939. (fn. 94) He sold the estate at an unknown date, probably to Robert Spear Hudson (cr. Viscount Hudson of Pewsey 1952 and d. 1957), who was succeeded by his son, Robert William Hudson, the 2nd viscount (d. 1963). (fn. 95) In 1971 Manor farm (670 a.) was held in trust for the 2nd viscount's daughter, the Hon. Mrs. Annabel J. Garton. (fn. 96)
Manor Farm stands north-west of Manningford Bohune's remaining lane. A two-storeyed brick building of late-18th- or early-19th-century date, it has an old tile roof with flanking chimneys and a south entrance front with one-storeyed extensions on either side. To the east a brick granary stands on staddle stones.
Robert Rogers had an estate in Manningford Bohune in the earlier 16th century which seems to have passed to his kinswomen Agnes Trappe and Emma Galion. (fn. 97) In 1521 Emma and her husband John sold all their lands in Wiltshire to John Button and his son William. (fn. 98) Agnes Trappe may have made a similar conveyance and shortly afterwards both Agnes and Emma claimed to have been dispossessed by the Buttons, who seem, however, to have retained the land. (fn. 99) The last Button to own it was probably William (d. 1599), from whom it may have been acquired by William Kent who died seised in 1632. (fn. 100) He was succeeded by his son, another William (d. 1666), and grandson William, who sold the estate to Sir Wadham Wyndham in 1668, and thereafter it descended with the main manor (see above). (fn. 101)
The tithes comprising the rectorial estate were leased out at £13 yearly in the 16th and earlier 17th centuries. (fn. 102) William Rowse acquired a 61-year term in 1543 and in the later 16th century members of the Sweet family were lessees. William Hurd acquired a lease at the same rent c. 1609. John Hurd leased the estate for lives at £16 15s. 10d. yearly in 1666. John Long was lessee in 1717, and in 1758 his wife Honour was tenant. By the 19th century the appropriate tithes of the tithings of Wilsford and Manningford Bohune were leased out separately. (fn. 103)
T.R.E. Brismar's estate in Wilsford was assessed at five hides and was worth £5. In 1086 the same estate contained 8 a. of meadow and pasture five furlongs in length by one furlong broad. There was land for two ploughs and a half, and ten bordars worked on the estate. It was then apparently worth only 8s. (fn. 104) That estate, probably co-terminous with the later tithing of Wilsford, was divided lengthwise by the 13th century into the main manorial estate (Wilsford Manor farm) and that later known as the 'manor' of Wilsford Dauntsey (Wilsford House farm). (fn. 105) Of Wilsford Dauntsey nothing is known until the 19th century.
The demesne lands of the manor were farmed at £22 16s. yearly in 1419. Customary rents totalling £2 2s. 7d. were then paid by a virgater and 5 halfvirgaters on the entire manorial estate. The manor then contained an open arable west field and pasture on the downs for 700 second-year sheep, which it was customary to let for 10 marks yearly. The lord of Wilsford also rented Mill mead from the lord of Puckshipton (in Beechingstoke), and Cuttenham meadow (in North Newnton) from the abbess of Wilton at that date. (fn. 106) In 1500 there were 8 holdings of one virgate and 8 of half a virgate within the manor. (fn. 107)
In 1793 the manor contained open arable called Neatham, North Hill, and East and West End fields, which lay between the village and the downs on either side of the Devizes-Pewsey road. Downland within the manor was then estimated at 605 a. Of that total East and West cow downs contained 140 a. each, the Cow Drove 33 a., the East End sheep down 141 a., and the West End sheep down 117 a. The manorial estate at that date contained 5 holdings at rack-rent, totalling 101 a., 8 copyholds also totalling 101 a., and 5 leaseholds containing a total of 74 a. All tenants within the manor then had common pasture rights for specified numbers of sheep; although the numbers allowed were often disproportionate to the size of their holdings, in general the custom was 30 sheep to half a yardland and 60 sheep to a yardland. The demesne was represented by 437 a. in the eastern half of the tithing then known as Wilsford farm and let at rack-rent to Thomas Hayter. (fn. 108) Part, at least, of the demesne seems to have been consolidated at a fairly early date and in 1502 the farmer was expressly enjoined to maintain certain hedges inclosing an unspecified amount of arable and meadow. (fn. 109) The demesne farm had in 1793, besides its fields, meadow, and downland, 16 a. of watermeadows, 5 a. in Neatham (part of the open fields), and 13 a. of pasture in West and Catbane meadows. (fn. 110)
Little is known of the progress of inclosure in the tithing. In 1745 a tenant within the manor was presented for inclosing part of Ruslett common. (fn. 111) In 1808 a total of 1,617 a. was inclosed. The lord of Wilsford manor, Francis Dugdale Astley, was allotted 480 a. for the demesne farm and received 496 a. for the Wilsford Dauntsey estate, which he had acquired a few years earlier, and another 276 a. for another two small estates within the manor. In addition his 3 leasehold tenants were allotted a total of 35 a., and his 9 copyhold tenants, 255 a. (fn. 112)
During the next thirty years both the Wilsford manor and the Wilsford Dauntsey estates were considerably enlarged by the addition of leasehold and copyhold lands. Thus in 1844 the one was estimated at 782 a. and the other at 706 a. In addition an estate made up of both leasehold and copyhold land totalling 108 a. was tenanted under the lord of the manor by Jacob Stratton, a member of a prominent Wiltshire farming family. (fn. 113)
T.R.E. Manningford Bohune was assessed for geld at three hides and a half and was worth 3s. By 1086 its value had doubled and there was land on the estate for a plough and a half. There were four bordars. (fn. 114) In 1361 of the 24 tenants 5 free tenants paid £2 6s. 4d., 8 virgaters £4, and 6 half-virgaters £1 10s., while 5 cottars paid 10s. (fn. 115) In 1412 there were 6 virgaters, 6 half-virgaters, and 5 holders of 'acremanplaces', while at least 9 holdings, including 4 'acremanplaces', were in the lord's hands. All customary tenants were then expected to perform general summer and autumn labour services. Besides the usual ploughing and harvesting works the six virgaters and one of the half-virgaters owed carting duties. (fn. 116) There were 4 freeholds on the estate in 1591 and during the 17th century 7 copyholds. (fn. 117) In 1725 there were still 4 freeholders, 10 leaseholders, and 8 copyholders, and in 1805 2 leaseholders and 6 copyholders. (fn. 118)
The demesne was extended at 60 a. of arable and 12 a. of meadow in 1361, and contained pasture for 80 great cattle worth 20s. and for 400 sheep worth 6s. 8d. (fn. 119) In 1412 the demesne lands were farmed at £20 yearly, and in 1426 at £16 13s. 4d. (fn. 120) In 1453 and until the mid 16th century the farm was fixed at £12 yearly. (fn. 121) The demesne arable was estimated at 176 a., and demesne meadow and pasture at 160 a. in 1558. (fn. 122) In 1664 the demesne farm was reckoned to contain ten yardlands and was farmed at £174 yearly. (fn. 123) It was represented in the 19th and 20th centuries by Manor farm.
The estate contained open arable North and Over fields in 1412. (fn. 124) The open fields lay immediately south of the village and stretched southwards across the Devizes-Pewsey road to the scarp of the downs, an area described in the earlier 16th century by John Leland as 'playne champine ground, frutfull of grasse and corn, especially good whete and barley'. (fn. 125) Over field, 'Sherfeld', Blacknell, White Hill, Middle, and Nether fields were named in 1558, a Clay field in 1608, and in 1805 Woodbridge, Lower, Upper, and Down fields. (fn. 126) The 12 a. of meadow mentioned in 1086 may be identified with those 12 a. held in demesne in 1361, when 3 a. in severalty were worth 2s. 6d. each, and the remaining 9 a., held in common, 1s. 6d. each. (fn. 127) The meadows were called Smallmead, Longmead, the 'More', and 'Benethethornes' in 1412, and in 1608 Longmead, Rawlins, and Woodbridge meads. (fn. 128) By 1764 some had apparently been laid out as water-meadows. (fn. 129) The expanse of common land south of Bottlesford, later known as Manningford common, was called Manningford heath in the 16th century and in 1558 was described as lately inclosed. (fn. 130) The demesne farmer was entitled to a close of c. 140 a. to replace his common rights there. (fn. 131) Another waste ground of c. 120 a. was inclosed c. 1580. (fn. 132) By 1805 325 a. already inclosed lay in the extreme north of the tithing in an area called the Rye fields and also to the east and north of Manningford Bohune village. The remaining land was inclosed by Act in 1805, when 579 a. were allotted to William Wyndham as lord of the manor for the demesne farm, 236 a. to his copyhold tenants, and 79 a. to his leasehold tenants. (fn. 133)
The tenant holdings were apparently consolidated after parliamentary inclosure in the earlier 19th century and in 1830 John Alexander held a copyhold estate of 170 a. and a leasehold one of 140 a., made up of smaller leaseholds called Arundell's, Arundell's and Wyndham's, and Green's. (fn. 134) In 1840 the farm of 170 a. was worked from a farm-house directly west of the Manor and the bulk of its lands lay between that house and the Devizes-Pewsey road. (fn. 135) The three farms in the tithing all contained watermeadows in 1840 which totalled 23 a. and, known as Bottles meadow, Mill headings, Farm Rawlins, and Fir mead, lay beside the river Avon east of North Newnton and by the tithing's north-western boundary stream south of Bottlesford. (fn. 136) In 1865 Manor farm, presumably by absorbing the other estates in Manningford Bohune, had an increased acreage of 1,097 a., of which 58 a. were given over to water-meadows. (fn. 137) The sheep-and-corn husbandry of earlier centuries continued on the farm into the 19th century. The change to dairy farming took place in the later 19th century when the firm of Frank Stratton & Co. tenanted Manor farm and established a dairy herd there. (fn. 138)
Walter T. Ware (d. 1917) rented Nursery farm (c. 100 a.) at Bottlesford in the north-east corner of Bohune in 1906 and established a market-garden. The freehold was acquired by Walter T. Ware Ltd. from the Grant Meek estate in 1950. Trial grounds were laid out there on which bulbs for the firm's nursery at Bath could be grown. The daffodil 'Fortune' was produced at Bohune in 1913. In 1973 daffodils were grown on 80 a., with smaller acreages devoted to tulips and irises. A retail garden centre for the sale of bulbs, flowers, and other produce then stood in the apex of the roads to Pewsey and Woodborough. (fn. 139) The market-garden was worked in conjunction with land at Abbots. (fn. 140)
In 1971 most of the land in the civil parish of Wilsford was divided between Manor and Wilsford farms and comprised some 815 a. of freehold land owned by Mr. Henry Horton and 1,000 a. leased by him from the War Department. The whole estate, given over to mixed farming, had beef and dairy cattle and sheep in 1971, while most of the land south of the village and a certain amount of downland was under arable cultivation. (fn. 141) Yew Tree farm (32 a.), owned by Mr. J. W. S. Sainsbury, supported a herd of Frisian cattle and in 1971 was farmed with Park farm, Cadley (in Savernake). (fn. 142) The former tithing of Manningford Bohune contained two mixed farms and a market-garden (see above) in 1971. (fn. 143) Mullens farm (330 a.), formerly Manningford Dairy farm, was then owned and farmed by D. Smith and Sons. (fn. 144) Manor farm (670 a.), leased from the Hudson estate by Mr. J. M. Strong of Green Drove House, Pewsey, contained 64 a. of grazing downland, the remainder being devoted to ley farmed with beef and corn. (fn. 145)
In 1898 and 1903 fireworks were made at Bottlesford. The firm, A. J. Peacock and Son, described themselves as 'pyrotechnic artists'. (fn. 146)
Mills. A water-mill, tenanted by John Saunders at 25s. yearly, formed part of the main manor of Wilsford in 1500. (fn. 147) It was held, with a small amount of land, by copy of court roll and was tenanted for most of the 18th and 19th centuries by successive members of the Springbatt family. (fn. 148) It was described in 1793 as undershot with two pairs of stones. It lay beside the river Avon in the north-east corner of the parish and was approached by a lane running north from the village street. (fn. 149) In 1875, with the rest of the Wilsford estate, it was offered for sale as a separate freehold. (fn. 150) Besides the mill buildings, the estate then comprised 85 a. of arable and 20 a. of watermeadows, and appears to have been acquired by Charles Chamberlain, who was still described as miller in 1885. (fn. 151) Daniel and John Butler were millers at the end of the 19th century. (fn. 152) The mill was later acquired by the Hortons and continued in use until the 1920s, although by 1923 the house attached to the estate, then called Mill House, was rented out separately as a private dwelling. (fn. 153)
In 1086 Amelric de Drewes, lord of Manningford Bohune, was entitled to a third of a mill, paying 50d., the rest of which was held by the lord of the estate later known as the manor of Manningford Bruce. (fn. 154) The manorial estate at Manningford Bohune in 1361 included a ruinous water-mill worth nothing and charged, moreover, with an annual payment of 40s. to the free chapel of Oaksey. (fn. 155) In 1608 the mill was reputed formerly to have stood in a field called Rawlins, parcel of the manorial demesne lands. (fn. 156)
In 1275 John de Bohun, tenant under the earls of Hereford of the Wilsford and Manningford Bohune estates, claimed leet jurisdiction within both manors. (fn. 157) No medieval records of courts for either manor are extant. In 1500 the reeve of Wilsford accounted for the perquisites of two views of frankpledge held that year, while throughout the 15th and earlier 16th centuries the reeves of Manningford Bohune similarly accounted for the perquisites of courts and views of frankpledge, which were generally held twice yearly. (fn. 158) A court book for Wilsford manor covering 1730 to 1817 records views of frankpledge and courts baron which were held once yearly and the proceedings recorded together. At the views a tithingman was elected and in 1772 the appointment of a hayward is first recorded. (fn. 159) Courts held at Manningford Bohune are recorded for 1543 to 1546 and 1548–9, while proceedings for 1658 to 1678 and 1738 to 1808 are entered in books. (fn. 160) Matters dealt with by the manorial courts in the 17th century included the repair, in 1660, of Manningford Bohune 'town bridge' and also of the road leading from the village towards Devizes. Similarly, in 1675, the road through Bottlesford was ordered to be repaired. (fn. 161)
In 1835 both Wilsford and Manningford Bohune, which apparently relieved its own poor at that date, became part of Pewsey poor-law union. (fn. 162) No records concerning the government of the ancient parish or of the later civil parishes are known to exist.
A church at Wilsford is mentioned in the earlier 12th century. (fn. 163) There was then also a chapel in the detached tithing of Manningford Bohune, presumably attached to it, but to which no further reference has been found. (fn. 164) The abbey of St. Wandrille de Fontenelle (Seine-Maritime) and the Bohun family, lords of the manors of Wilsford and Manningford Bohune, both claimed the church at that date. Its endowment was then made up of all the tithes of the parish and of a hide at Manningford Bohune. (fn. 165) Of the land no more is known after the 13th century. Humphrey de Bohun and his wife Margaret conveyed the church to Monkton Farleigh Priory at some date but in 1142 Pope Innocent II confirmed it to St. Wandrille. (fn. 166) In the earlier 13th century St. Wandrille surrendered its rights in the church to the bishop of Salisbury. (fn. 167) Farleigh Priory and its patron, the earl of Hereford, later also submitted the church to the bishop's ordination. In 1227 the bishop appropriated it to the hospital of St. Nicholas, Salisbury, for the support of a chaplain there. (fn. 168) In 1840 the hospital received a rent-charge of £267 in place of great tithes from Manningford Bohune and in 1844 another of £217 to replace those from Wilsford tithing. (fn. 169)
A portion of the great tithes of the demesne had evidently been reserved from the grant of the church to Farleigh Priory, for in 1218 the bishop exercised, through lapse, the right to present a clerk to the portion as though to a benefice. (fn. 170) In 1239 the earl of Hereford's right to present to the tithes and also to the hide in Manningford Bohune, which had originally formed part of the endowment of the rectory (see above), was confirmed; it was then agreed that the earl's presentee should pay 30s. yearly to the appropriators of Wilsford. (fn. 171) The earl of Hereford conveyed the portion c. 1243 to Farleigh Priory, which undertook to continue the annual 30s. payments to the appropriators. (fn. 172) Shortly before 1266 Farleigh granted the portion to Roger, archdeacon of Wiltshire, for a five-year term, and he sub-let it in 1266 to St. Nicholas's Hospital in return for a yearly payment of £4 6s. 8d. (fn. 173) In 1268, apparently at the end of Roger's term, Farleigh finally granted the portion to St. Nicholas's Hospital in return for a yearly payment of £3 6s. 8d., which was still paid to the priory in 1535. (fn. 174)
At an unknown date, but probably in the later 13th century, the rector of Dauntsey apparently acquired the right to take certain great and small tithes from part of the Wilsford Dauntsey estate. (fn. 175) In 1291 he received a yearly payment of £2 13s. 4d. in lieu from the appropriators of Wilsford, but later rectors may have received their tithes in kind. (fn. 176) In 1844 the rector of Dauntsey received a rentcharge of £52 in place of the great and small tithes arising from 115 a. on Wilsford House farm. (fn. 177)
In 1227, when he appropriated the church to St. Nicholas's Hospital, the bishop ordained a vicarage, of which the hospital's master was to be patron. (fn. 178) The master is first recorded as presenting a vicar in 1332 and continued to do so, except in 1548, 1739, and 1770 when the bishop of Salisbury presented, and in 1611 when the king did so. (fn. 179) In 1859 a chapel of ease, described below, was built at Manningford Bohune common to serve the detached tithing of Manningford Bohune and the benefice was afterwards always formally designated the vicarage of Wilsford with Manningford Bohune. (fn. 180) The vicarage was separated from the chapelry in 1939 and united with the vicarage of Charlton, (fn. 181) and thereafter the master of St. Nicholas's Hospital presented to the united benefice of Wilsford and Charlton alternately with Christ Church, Oxford, patron of Charlton. (fn. 182) The living of North Newnton, held in plurality with the united benefice from 1946, was added in 1956 and the living was afterwards known as the combined benefice of Charlton with North Newnton and Wilsford. (fn. 183) The patron of North Newnton transferred his rights to St. Nicholas's Hospital in 1956 and the master thus became entitled to the second and third turns of presentation to the combined benefice, Christ Church being entitled to the first turn. (fn. 184) The chapelry of Manningford Bohune was divided in 1939. The southern mediety became part of the united benefice of Manningford Bruce with Abbots, while the northern mediety, including Manningford Bohune common and Bottlesford, was annexed to the rectory of Woodborough. That benefice, held in plurality with the rectory of Beechingstoke from 1951 and united with it ten years later, in 1970 became part of the Swanborough team of parishes, (fn. 185) formally constituted the benefice of Swanborough two years later. (fn. 186)
The vicarage's value, given at £9 9s. in 1535, may have been made up entirely of tithe, since no mention of glebe has been found. (fn. 187) The net average yearly income of the vicarage from 1829 to 1831 was £242. (fn. 188)
In 1227 the vicar of Wilsford was allotted all the small tithes of the parish. (fn. 189) He ceded some of them to the rector of Dauntsey, probably in the later 13th century (see above). Thereafter he was entitled to all the small tithes of the parish, except those from certain lands on the Wilsford Dauntsey estate. (fn. 190) In 1840 the vicar received a rent-charge of £133 10s. to replace his vicarial tithes from the tithing of Manningford Bohune and in 1844 received another of £125 in place of those from Wilsford tithing. (fn. 191)
A vicarage-house, described in 1783 as a long two-storeyed thatched building with three rooms on either floor surrounded by a garden of ½ a. and fronted by a mud wall, may possibly have been represented in 1971 by the west wing of the former vicarage-house which then stood, much altered and renovated but still fronted by a thatched cob wall, on the south side of the village street south-west of the church. (fn. 192) It was sold to Mr. Henry Horton as a private house shortly after the Second World War. (fn. 193)
In 1548 a light on the high altar of the parish church was maintained by a yearly income of 8d. from an acre of land in Wilsford. (fn. 194) It was reported in 1574 that an obit of some sort had been endowed at an unknown date with an annual income of 5s. 8d. from a house and an acre of land in Wilsford. (fn. 195)
Vicars who served the church in the later 18th century seem not to have resided and apparently employed curates there. From c. 1746 to 1762 John Mayo, rector of Beechingstoke, was curate and in 1783 the vicar of Wilcot served Wilsford as curate. (fn. 196) The vicar apparently resided from 1829 to 1831 but was helped by a curate who was paid £75 yearly. (fn. 197) An assistant curate was solely responsible for the parish in 1864 when the non-resident vicar lived at Stockton (Worcs.), the rectory of which he held in plurality with Wilsford. (fn. 198) Services at Wilsford were held only once on Sundays in 1783 because of 'custom and the smallness of the income'. The sole weekday service was held on Christmas day and Holy Communion, attended by some fourteen or sixteen communicants, was celebrated at Christmas, Easter, Whitsun, and Michaelmas. (fn. 199) During the year 1850–1 the average attendance at morning services was 112 and at afternoon services, 103 people. (fn. 200) In 1864 services were held twice on Sundays, weekday services on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and Christmas day, while the Sacrament, which was administered at the four great festivals and on four other Sundays in the year, was attended by an average of eighteen communicants. (fn. 201)
The church of ST. NICHOLAS is built of ashlar and consists of a chancel, nave with south porch, and west tower. Of the church at Wilsford mentioned in the early 12th century nothing remains except possibly a doorway reset into the external face of the north wall of the nave. The chancel was built in the 13th century, probably after the church's appropriation to St. Nicholas's Hospital Salisbury in 1227, and retains a triple-lancet east window and single lancets with lateral walls. The north wall of the nave was built in the 14th century and an archway inserted at its eastern end to give access to a new north chapel. The tower was constructed, and the chancel arch rebuilt, in the 15th century. Later in the same century the south wall of the nave was almost completely rebuilt, the nave itself given a roof of lower pitch, new windows were put into the north wall, and the porch added. (fn. 202) The chancel roof was renewed in the late 16th or early 17th centuries. In 1864 the church was said to be in great need of repair. (fn. 203) That report probably resulted in the reconstruction of the nave roof, which was restored to a higher pitch, and of the porch. Pulpit and pews were also renewed in the 19th century. The north chapel, having been variously used as schoolroom and parish bakehouse, was demolished c. 1959. (fn. 204) The whole church, and the tower in particular, was thoroughly restored and finally reconsecrated in 1963. (fn. 205) The chancel windows contain 19th-century commemorative glass and the chancel walls bear memorial tablets of the 18th and early 19th centuries. A clock on the external west wall of the tower was given by William Pierce Hayward the younger in 1882–3. (fn. 206)
The church retained a chalice in 1553. In 1891 and in 1971 the church plate comprised a chalice hallmarked 1733 and inscribed with the names of the vicar and churchwardens, a paten hallmarked 1715 and given by Mary Quintin, daughter of a former vicar, Samuel Quintin (d. c. 1685), and an almsdish, hallmarked 1754 and given by W. P. Hayward in memory of his wife Susan (d. 1857). (fn. 207) The church had four bells and a sanctus bell in 1553. A peal of five bells, variously inscribed but all dated 1718 and cast by Abraham Rudhall of Gloucester, served the church until the earlier 20th century when the tenor fell. (fn. 208) During the restoration of c. 1959 it was used to repair the remaining four bells, which were afterwards rehung. (fn. 209) Registrations of baptisms, marriages, and burials begin in 1588 and are complete. (fn. 210)
The chapel of ease opened at Manningford Bohune in 1859 cost £1,600, of which £700 was apparently provided by the Revd. G. E. Howman, the master of St. Nicholas's Hospital, Salisbury, as patron of the vicarage of Wilsford. (fn. 211) In 1864 services, attended by about 70 parishioners and by a few people living outside the parish, were held there on Sunday afternoons and also on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and Christmas day. During 1863 about fourteen people received the Sacrament there regularly, but it was added that Holy Communion was celebrated only when the services of a neighbouring clergyman could be obtained. (fn. 212) The chapel was declared redundant in 1973. (fn. 213)
The church of ALL SAINTS at Manningford Bohune common is remote from both the hamlets of Bottlesford and Manningford Bohune. Built in the style of the 13th century to the design of N. E. Clacey of Devizes, the building, faced in stone arranged in crazy-paving fashion, comprises chancel with north vestry, and nave with south porch and a bell-gable with one bell at its western end. (fn. 214) The east and west windows were given by the Revd. G. E. Howman. (fn. 215) The church was lit by candles in 1971. The plate comprises chalice, flagon, and paten, all hallmarked 1858. (fn. 216)
A chapel of unknown denomination, held by William Keepence and others, stood at the south-west corner of Wilsford Street in 1844. (fn. 217) No more is known of it, but dissent flourished in the civil parish of Manningford Bohune into the 20th century. In 1840 George Hawkins certified a building there, perhaps to be identified with the Particular Baptist chapel on the south side of the Devizes-Pewsey road at Townsend. (fn. 218) Forty people attended both morning and afternoon services there on Census Sunday 1851. (fn. 219) Lord Normanton gave land at Townsend to enlarge its graveyard in 1896. (fn. 220) The Providence Strict and Particular Baptist chapel, a red-brick building with stone dressings and a date tablet of 1869, still stood at Townsend in 1971, with a small graveyard to the east.
A chapel for Particular Baptists was built at Bottlesford in 1842 and registered by John Keepence a year later. (fn. 221) Known in 1851 as the Ebenezer Baptist chapel, 30 people attended morning, and 100 afternoon service on Census Sunday that year. (fn. 222) The chapel was closed in 1937 and in 1971 was a private dwelling. (fn. 223)
In 1783 the parish clerk taught the village children in a small room, demolished c. 1959, on the north side of Wilsford church. (fn. 224) It may have been there that eight or ten children were taught by a 'dame' in 1818. (fn. 225) There was no school in 1833. (fn. 226) In 1848 the rector of Beechingstoke and the parishioners of Wilsford built a schoolroom. It incorporated the former east window of Beechingstoke church and stood on land north of the village street given by Sir Francis Dugdale Astley (d. 1873). (fn. 227) The school was united with the National Society and an elderly mistress taught between 30 and 40 children there in 1859. (fn. 228) In 1906 an average of 26 children had attended over the past year. (fn. 229) Numbers declined gradually towards the middle of the 20th century and in 1934 children over twelve years were sent to school at Rushall. (fn. 230) Wilsford school was closed in 1965 and the pupils transferred to Rushall. (fn. 231) The school buildings were demolished shortly afterwards. (fn. 232)
Children from Manningford Bohune attended school at Manningford Bruce in 1859, while some ten or fifteen children were taught by a 'dame' at Bottlesford. (fn. 233) A number of children from Manningford Bohune, undoubtedly those living at Bottlesford, afterwards attended the school at Broad Street (in Beechingstoke and known as Woodborough school in 1971), which was opened in 1872, although others apparently also attended schools at Manningford Bruce and Rushall. (fn. 234)
Charities for the Poor.
In 1714 Samuel Benger bequeathed £26 to provide bread for 24 poor people of the parish but it is not clear whether the bequest applied to the entire ancient parish or to Wilsford tithing only. (fn. 235) Part of the capital was reported lost by 1786 but interest was received from the remainder. The charity was deemed lost in 1834.
The civil parish of Manningford Bohune received a bequest of £12 under Samuel Benger's will to provide bread for eight poor people. In 1786 the interest was said to have been used occasionally to buy bread. By 1834 £2 of the capital had been lost and the remainder invested. In 1901 income was distributed to the sick and poor as need arose.
John Morse (will pr. c. 1854) bequeathed £100 stock in trust, the income to be used to buy blankets and clothing to be distributed at Christmas by the vicar to three inhabitants of Manningford Bohune who attended church regularly. (fn. 236) Clothing tickets, distributed at Christmas by the vicar to needy families, were bought with the income of £2 9s. 4d. in 1901.
By the 1960s the income of 4s. 4d. from Benger's Bohune charity and that of £2 4s. 8d. from Morse's charity had been amalgamated. In 1964–5 one person received £1 from the joint fund and in 1965 there was a balance of c. £55. (fn. 237)